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2 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

Stefanie Neal: Teaching Students with Hearing Differences By Danielle Merrow for Hometown magazine tefanie Neal has spent the past thirty years working with the Punxsutawney Area School District as a deaf support teacher and hearing therapist using total communication: a combination of auditory and verbal teaching, true American Sign Language (ASL) plus pigeon, signed exact English, body language, facial expression, gestures and visual cues. This gives her the ability to reach those students who don’t have, or can’t find, their voice. She also provides one-on-one classroom support, helping her students through what can be the auditory chaos of a classroom with their hearing peers. Her gentle yet straightforward approach, laced with a delightful sense of humor and a unique ability to connect, makes it easy for her students to find her teaching style both relatable and fun. Her fingers form the words as do her lips. After years of communicating with students using total communication, her use of sign language is second nature. She signs deliberately, teaching even when she’s off-duty, but in a way that makes one wonder if she’s even conscious of the fact that she’s signing as she speaks. Going into college, Neal says she started out pursuing a biology major. She later changed to nursing. Thanks to growing up with a friend whose aunt and uncle were deaf and who communicated via signs, Neal already had a basic understanding of ASL. Following a chance meeting in an elevator with a professor from the Education for the Hearing Impaired Department at her college, she changed her major one last time. Neal says while she sometimes wonders what life would look like if she’d pursued a career in the biology or nursing fields, she knows she ultimately ended up where she needs to be. “Teachers are born, not made,” she says. “And, God puts us where we’re meant to be. This job gives me a good way to combine all of the things that interest me: the medical aspect, with biology and a


On the cover: Stefanie Neal uses total communication to teach her students different techniques for connecting with others. Photo by Meredith Brooks.

‘Punxsutawney Hometown’ magazine © Copyright 2021 — All Rights Reserved. Schedule your advertising in our next edition! We reach 100% of the local and area homes and businesses! - Concentrated Circulation 8,100+ copies of Punxsutawney Hometown magazine are direct-mailed to homes in Punxsutawney and surrounding towns and areas, giving our advertisers nearly 100% coverage . . . we deliver to every home and business! (As always — our circulation is verified — mailing and printing statements available.)

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Hometown Writers Jennifer Skarbek, Editor S. Thomas Curry Shirley Sharp Mary Ellen Pollock-Raneri Marty Armstrong Dr. Gloria Kerr Danielle Merrow All material submitted becomes the property of Punxsutawney Hometown magazine. Mary Roberts......................(814) 952-3668 Tracey Young......................(814) 938-9084

Our business mailing address: 129 Aspen Rd., Punxsutawney, PA 15767 With our office located in: Railroad Building, Suite 100 N. Penn St., Punxsutawney, PA 15767 Yearly Subscriptions: $37 — First Class Mail

Communication teacher Stefanie Neal (right) uses ASL to carry on a conversation with 8th grader Kahli Reddinger (left) at PAHS. Photo by Meredith Brooks.

genuine love of teaching.” (Neal often accompanies students and their families on medical appointments to stay informed on their progress and to be sure she understands the technologies they are using to improve their hearing.) She goes on to say, “No two days are ever the

same, which keeps things interesting. Every day is different.” She further explains, “I do teach reading and math, and I teach auditory organization. I help my students navigate everyday life. I’ve been working with my high school - Continued on page 6


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he global pandemic that began in late 2019 and spread into 2021 had a devastating impact on the world. The human toll was significant, as millions of people across the globe lost their lives to the COVID-19 virus. The virus also had far-reaching economic consequences, many of which were felt in small towns and communities that had been thriving prior to the pandemic. Va c c i n a t i o n rollouts that began in the final weeks of 2020 gave many people a glimmer of hope that life would soon return to some semblance of normalcy. The effort to restore towns and cities will require a communitywide effort, and families can do their part as the world slowly emerges from the pandemic. • Support local businesses. A recent survey from the expert business mentors at Score® found that just 34 percent of small business owners indicated their operations were currently profitable in late 2020. The numbers were even worse for minorityowned businesses, as the survey found that just 26.5 percent of Black business owners had businesses that were currently profitable while the number was 29.2 percent among Hispanic-owned businesses. A thriving local economy is a vital component of a strong community, and families can do their part in the pandemic recovery by making a concerted effort to support the small businesses in their towns and cities, especially those owned by minorities. Support locally owned restaurants instead of chain restaurants when dining out or ordering in. Even visiting a locally owned barbershop instead of a chain hair cutter can be a great way to help community-based businesses recover.

• Lend a hand to the elderly. At the onset of the pandemic, public health agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization identified elderly men and women as among the most vulnerable to serious illness if they were infected with COVID-19. As a result, many aging men and women spent much of 2020 isolated from their friends and families. Families can help seniors in their communities recover from that isolation by volunteering at local senior centers, inviting aging neighbors over for weekly dinners or inviting them along on family outings to the beach or park. Such efforts can reassure seniors, many of whom played vital roles in building the communities they call home, that their neighbors have not forgotten them. • Take active roles in the community. Recovering from the pandemic won’t be easy for any community. Some small businesses closed for good while others struggled to stay afloat, and local towns and cities lost significant tax revenue as a result. Residents, including adults and children, can help their towns and cities overcome budget shortfalls by becoming more active in their communities. Organize initiatives like park clean-ups to keep communities clean if budget constraints have forced local officials to cut back on such services. In addition, attend town or city council meetings to lend support to programs or even recommend new initiatives to help the community recover from the pandemic. Restoring communities after the pandemic will be a tall task. But it’s one that will be more easily accomplished if families pitch in and do their part. •••


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4 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

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students on how to place a 911 call, identifying themselves as a caller who is hard of hearing. We cover technology geared towards deaf people - texting and FaceTime and Relay, and I have a vibrating alarm clock I loan out to students who need it,” (though this is becoming less necessary since most cell phones have a vibrating feature for the alarm). “I troubleshoot amplification


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6 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

Stephanie Neal (photo by Lizzie Neal)

systems and Bluetooth connections to hearing aids and cochlear implants.” In Neal’s experience, medicine has occasionally dictated prognoses for children that she has then helped them to overcome. Take, for instance, the mother who was told her daughter would never recognize her as “Mom.” Neal said that was simply not acceptable; it became her mission to teach the word Mom, and, of course, they succeeded. “I will do whatever I need to do to help a child understand,” she’s famous for saying. And, she means it. “My sisters and I have this saying: ‘They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ It’s that simple. You’re not going to get your students to pay attention and learn until they see how invested you are in their success.” The same parent asked how to explain to her deaf child that a surface was slippery and to use caution to avoid falling. “We have to show her,” Neal said. “We have to fall.” This resulted in two adult women sliding around on a slippery floor in their socks to demonstrate the concept of falling on a slick surface. “She saw it on our faces that it hurt,” Neal recalls. “She recognized what we were trying to show her. It resulted in some bruises and pain, but it was worth it to see her understand.” “Sign is a language of concepts more than words,” Neal explains. “And, in order to demonstrate the concept, you have to be very literal.” The use of sarcasm, irony and idioms can be quite confusing for a deaf or hard of hearing person, especially when words, facial expressions and body language contradict one another. Additionally, while the English alphabet consists of 26 letters, but actually has 44 sounds (think of the sounds made from sh, ch, th, etc.), the ASL alphabet consists of 44 visual phonics - a strategy that combines hand

signals with letter sounds. Teaching those sounds to a child who cannot hear them can be a very hands-on endeavor literally. “I have them put their hands on my throat to feel the sounds of the letter g,” Neal explained. “Then I have them put their hand in front of my mouth to feel my breath for the letter h.” She continued by saying, “A word has to be heard one thousand times before it becomes part of regular vocabulary. I tell the parents of my students to talk until they grow tired of hearing their own voice. Explain steps, repeat words, just talk. Talk until they are tired of hearing themselves talk- even if you don’t think they hear you.” Conversely, Neal cautions that “even deaf kids can choose not to listen.” While conversing with other adults in school hallways, if accompanied by a deaf student, Neal is always sure to sign for the student so they are aware of what is being said. “If a deaf kid walks into a classroom and kids are laughing over a shared joke that coincided with the timing of a kid who can’t hear entering the room, it can make the deaf kid feel self-conscious. Deaf kids have just as much of a right to know what’s being said as a hearing kid, and they can decide for themselves whether they want to listen or not.” She continued, “Remember, listening and hearing are not necessarily the same. Listening is a passive act - you listen to background noise all the time, and it can be tuned out; whereas, hearing requires active participation. And communication is where it breaks down.” Neal accompanies students to their classrooms and encourages additional compensatory strategies for learning: understanding visual cues; auditory reasoning; choosing seats in the classroom that are most conducive to their learning experience; and selfadvocating - being able to communicate their needs to their teachers and peers. Even when using all of the recommended techniques, there’s still a large margin for error when translating spoken English to ASL, and words and meanings can easily get misconstrued. Neal says students have had confusion over words that sound similar but are completely different like “curb” vs “curve,” or “lip lock” vs “lip gloss,” or “vanilla bars” vs “granola bars.” These slight misunderstandings can make a big difference and can lead to long sessions of explanations. Additionally, not every word translates to a sign, making teaching even more difficult. Words with multiple meanings can also provide a challenge; for example, “duck,” “pitch,” “stroke,” “store,” “ring,” and idioms or idiomatic phrases like “give me a hand,” are just a few common English language phrases that require creative teaching on Neal’s part. “We trace our bodies on paper and label different body parts that have a corresponding idiomatic phrase, like ‘green thumb,’ or ‘lend an ear’ to teach those,” Neal added. And while literal interpretations can sometimes be frustrating for students, Neal makes sure there’s a lot of fun in her classroom as well. - Continued on next page

Stefanie Neal Continued from previous page “Anything that can be taught in a book can also be taught in a different way. We don’t just cut out pictures of making lemonade; I bring in lemons. We squeeze the lemons; we make lemonade; we drink lemonade,” Neal said, going on to explain that this enforces the teaching method 3D, 2D, abstract (hold it, see a picture of it, then learn the word or sign). Neal states that four in 1,000 children will be born with some degree of hearing loss. This can range from mild hearing loss to profound deafness. That means, in a town the size of Punxsutawney, with slightly less than 6,000 residents, 24 will suffer some degree of deafness. “Members of the hearing loss community typically prefer to be described broadly as Deaf, deaf, and hard of hearing. Capital D Deaf describes a person who has profound hearing loss and identifies themselves as members of the Deaf Community with a distinct language (sign) and culture. Those described as small d deaf may or may not consider themselves part of the deaf community. And those who are hard of hearing have a mild to moderate hearing loss and may use hearing aids or other assistive listening devices. (Finch, C. 5 Dec 2020. “Many People With Hearing Loss Don’t Like the Term ‘HearingImpaired’” Soapboxie Neal begins working with her students as they enter kindergarten and continues through graduation. She says that with proper intervention and proper education, 90% of deaf students can reach their ageappropriate milestones. The average deaf kid, suffering from no other disabilities, graduates reading at a 6th grade level (compared to the average hearing kid graduating reading at an 8th grade level). In some cases, Neal has had the opportunity to establish the first meaningful communication with her students and considers herself blessed to be able to witness all their milestones as they grow, year after year, and continue to build on the progress she knows they’ve already made. She says her favorite part of her job is when she can see that lightbulb of understanding in her students’ eyes. Neal said that there is sometimes literal sweat involved with the effort to learn a word or phrase, but once something clicks, it’s not uncommon for more connections to follow, and, once that happens, it makes all the hard work worth it, “and there is no greater feeling in the world.” Because some forms of hearing loss are genetic, after thirty years on the job, Neal says she’s now teaching some “grandstudents”- the children of her former students. She’s attended sporting events and weddings for students, treating them as members of her family, cheering them on every step of the way. Neal emphasizes her belief that ASL should be taught to everyone. In fact, studies show that kids who learn to sign learn spoken language better. Additionally, she encourages that the community take a cue from Martha’s Vineyard where deafness saw a severe

spike in the early 19th century, and 1 in 155 islanders was affected by a genetic predisposition to deafness. Because of its prevalence, there was a great need for both hearing and non-hearing residents to learn, understand and be fluent in sign language. Some good sources for those interested in learning ASL are “See It Sign It Say It” with Jack Hartmann (geared toward younger children via YouTube);;;; and other YouTube videos. Also, search YouTube to listen to a sample of what sound is like through a cochlear implant. Neal says, it’s “like looking at the world through pixels.” Neal said, “My supervisor trusts me and goes to bat for me to let me advocate for

my students. I have very supportive classroom teachers who trust me to just do what I need to do for my students.” She added, “My own children understand disabilities better than most other kids and are more sympathetic to others. They’ve seen me creating games at home to adapt for deaf kids (and help, when I promise to make brownies for them if they do!). I want people in Punxs’y to realize my students are (even though it’s a low incidence disability) very lucky to be in a district that offers such support. I’ve taught in storage rooms, broom closets, and stairways, yet I rarely come home not having had a good day- when someone learns something new. A lot of times it’s me who’s learned something new. It’s a very rewarding profession.

Notes from parents, the lightbulbs in the eyes of my students when they master a new concept- that’s more rewarding than the paycheck. I can’t imagine having done anything else. Success is measured by figuring out what you’re good at and what you know and how you can help people with it.” Neal goes on to say, “My dad always said, ‘If nobody picks up the garbage at NASA, the rocket isn’t going to launch.’ It takes everyone being willing to pitch in and help these kids to understand. I couldn’t do what I do without the support of parents, the school district and my own family. A shout out definitely goes to the teachers who support me and help me to help these kids.” •••

Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247 – 7

Having just finished replacing the wood in one of the Community Garden beds,VFW members Butch Troutman and senior vice commander Bob Lott rest on their shovels. Bob Hoover looks on in the background.

Garden Club members Sharon Murray, Kim Wittenburg, and Barb Certo put their muscle into shoveling garden soil aside to make way for new bed frames.

VFW members Tim Brady, Sam Cleveland, and quartermaster adjutant Jim Davis drill in the last screws to finish the replacement bed closest to the rain barrel water source next to the Presbyterian Church.

VFW Helps Garden Club Upgrade Community Garden Beds By Dr. Gloria Kerr for Hometown magazine hen the Punxsutawney Garden Club took over management last year of the Community Garden located along Union Street, it was clear that many of the beds were rotting and needed to be replaced. With the help of volunteers from Punxsutawney’s VFW Post 2076, those replacements


began recently on Thursday, April 8. In 2015, the Punxsutawney Rotary Club, led by then president Erin Cameron, constructed twelve raised beds along Union Street on property next to, and owned by, the Presbyterian Church. Rotary constructed twelve squares divided in two parts each to create twentyfour plots to rent to interested community members. Renters could

8 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

choose to rent a whole square for $20. or a half square for $10. Rental applications are available on site in the Info. box attached to the garden sign. In the spring of 2020, Marlene Lellock, on behalf of the Rotary Club, contacted the Punxsutawney Garden Club to ask if it would take over management of the Community Garden. The club agreed to do so, and artist Robin McIlvaine was

VFW member John Becker works side-by-side with Garden Club member Shelda Kramer to square up and complete one of fiver raised bed frames replaced with new, linseed-oil treated wood this season. More will be replaced next year.

hired to alter the sign at the site to reflect the change in management. Garden Club has maintained Rotary’s rental prices. While community gardening is not a beautification project like most of the Garden Club’s other projects which feature colorful flowers, it does fit the mission of the club established in 1933. According to the club’s constitution, “The mission of the Punxsutawney Garden Club shall be the advancement of gardening, the development of home grounds, the furthering of city and highway beautification, and aiding in the protection of forests, wildflowers and birds.”

- Continued on next page

VFW Helps Continued from previous page

A Community Garden is a great way to promote “community” as gardeners share tips about their successful gardening tricks, when the brussels sprouts might be ready to harvest or just how to construct the best support for tomato plants or cucumbers. Friendships also blossom at Community Garden as gardeners make new friends while they tend their plots. Anyone in the Punxsutawney Area School District is encouraged to

fall and was dried over the winter. Knowing the wood should be treated to prevent rot, and knowing that chemically treated lumber can leak chemicals into the soil, Garden Club workers treated the wood organically in late March before the beds were built. After all pieces were cut to size for the eight by eight-feet beds, they were soaked with linseed oil, a natural preservative made from the flax plant. One of the new beds is a two and a halffoot high, raised bed that gardeners can work while standing. Eight-feet by fourfeet in area, the center of the bed is within arm’s reach so a gardener can plant, water and weed it with ease. Its rental fee is $12. GC’s Community Garden committee

members are Barb Certo, Libby Hoover, Gloria Kerr, Shelda Kramer, Sharon Murray, Kerri Stebbins, Clarence Troutman and Kim Wittenburg. Spouses Bob Hoover, Dale Kerr and Officer Frank Wittenburg also helped enrich garden plot soil and/or worked alongside the VFW volunteer builders on the new beds. These nine VFW members responded to the call to lend their building skills, tools and time to replace four standard beds and construct one new raised bed: senior vice commander Bob Lott, quartermaster adjutant Jim Davis, John Becker, Tim Brady, Sam Cleveland, Dale Kerr, Duane Miller, Chuck Pifer and Clarence “Butch” Troutman. •••

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Applications to rent garden plots are readily available to interested persons who can pick up one anytime from the plastic Info Box attached to the Community Garden sign on site. Artist Robin McIlvaine refurbished it last season to reflect Garden Club’s management of the project. (Garden Club photos by Dr. Gloria Kerr)

consider renting a plot and sharing in the healthy spirit of growing vegetables or flowers with like-minded others. When Garden Club’s Community Garden committee met last fall to make plans for 2021, it decided to begin building new wood frames for a third of the beds each year to make the best use of physical and financial resources. Club member Barb Certo, with professional health care experience, suggested that one of the beds be raised to make it more user friendly to gardeners who have difficulty bending or kneeling. The new construction took place during the first week of April. Builders used hemlock lumber that was purchased last

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In recent years, area residents and others traveling through Punxsutawney’s downtown have become familiar with the sight of “remains” of a bustling business district of the past. As seen today, it compares to memories from the 1950s (photo), before numerous fires affected that section. (photos provided by S. Thomas Curry)


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10 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

Punxsutawney’s Downtown: Changes Coming By S. Thomas Curry for Hometown magazine unxsutawney’s downtown business district has seen many changes in its landscape of a variety of business and shopping opportunities for local and area residents. Many users of social media, especially Facebook, are former residents who interact with local folk by its feature called “You might be from Punxsutawney, PA ...” Memories galore and questions about what is remembered are common. Since especially the early 1970s the changes came. The first of these was when the nearly barren land of the Light Coal Company along West Mahoning Street was bull-dozed and cleared in January 1970 for a multi-store facility. That area, between the older Punxsutawney and Clayville (now Punxsutawney’s West End), was known as Punxsutawney’s mid-town section. A minimum number of structures needed to be moved or demolished in developing and constructing what came to be called The Punx’y Plaza. This was the first shopping “strip” to be built in Punxsutawney, located outside the familiar strip of businesses and eating places of the downtown experience. For “uptown,” or is it “downtown,” Punxsutawney, borough council and area leaders held meetings and public hearings to develop a master plan in order to participate in an Urban Renewal federally funded redevelopment program. New zoning was approved by borough council, and plans were in place for three blocks of downtown, from Jefferson Street to the Mahoning Creek to the east. Major changes would begin, removing a number of businesses and houses. Gone were the familiar businesses, many locallyowned, along East Mahoning Street that included the older “plaza strip.” The Eagles lodge building was spared from demolition. The first phase of the major “facelift” of Punxsutawney was the Mahoning East Civic Center. Groundbreaking was in August 1973. The new “civic center” was dedicated in October 1974. Nearly fifty years later, particular interest in 2021 will be another major change in the downtown physical landscape. Having been thought through over a few years’ time, it will be one of the “planned changes” in the downtown as compared to the many fire disasters that have occurred since the mid1970s. (Lasting in memory are the down-


town fires of December 1971 of the Jordan Furniture Store, now an empty lot, and the fire of October 1981 of the former Punxsutawney Hardware Store, then Charlie Chen’s Chinese Restaurant and Eddies Men’s Clothing - long time an empty lot before McDonald’s was erected.) Attention is directed to what remains of the downtown block on the south side of West Mahoning Street between South Jefferson Street and South Gilpin Street. That section has been drastically affected and altered by major fires. It had fires of January 1975 and December 1988 that resulted in shortened buildings and an empty lot. One highlight for the time was the opening of The Arcade in 1977 from remains of the 1975 fire. However, from Murphy’s 5&10, McCrory’s 5&10 to JCPenney, it is not the memory that older readers may have from the 1950s and 1960s, and seen in older postcards and photographs. Some History Before Our Time The early development of the block, beginning at West Mahoning Street and South Findley Street, began before 1900 as a part of the business section of Punxsutawney. In Punxsutawney history, F.O. and E.G. Snyder came to Punxsutawney in 1889 and purchased a building on West Mahoning Street that was owned by Capt. John Hastings, of Civil War fame. Located next to the old Cumberland Presbyterian Church on the corner of Mahoning Street with South Findley St., the two-story brick building became the Snyder Bros’ Department Store. After some improvements to the older brick structure, adding a third floor and stone facing, the Snyder brothers had a Grand Opening in December 1902, declared by The Spirit as “one of the largest and finest business buildings in this part of the State.” In 1899, the Torrence sisters, Ella and Elizabeth Torrence, had a three-story building built on the same block of West Mahoning Street, more to the west and near South Gilpin Street. The property was the homestead land of the Torrence family that had a tannery there when Punxsutawney was a crossroad village in the mid-1800s. Their brother William Torrence was the first soldier from Punxsutawney to enlist for the Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers. On April 26, 1899, The Punxsutawney Spirit made note: “The Torrence residence is an old landmark that is rapidly disappearing, to give way to a - Continued on page 12

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Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247 – 11

Familiar buildings, such as the former McCrory’s 5&10 Store and the building for Jaynell’s (recently Frank’s Hot Dogs), were built before 1900. They have been in use in that section of the downtown landscape for more than 120 years. At left, in 1900, is the two-story Snyder Bros. brick building; at right is the three-story Torrence building with two store fronts. (1900 photos reproduced from The Punxsutawney Spirit’s Special Industrial Edition)

Punxsutawney’s Downtown Continued from page 10 modern brick business building.” The threestory brick and stone building contained two store rooms on the first floor with offices and apartments above. The building was called the Torrence Block. In a similar way, when the Pantall Hotel was built in 1889, with three store fronts, the completed building project near the park was referred to as the Pantall Block. In 1902, the site of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was purchased by J.B. Eberhart in order to erect a large three-story brick building for his Eberhart Department Store. The formal grand opening for the new Eberhart Department Store was in late October 1902. (The old church was demol-

ished, and a new stone church building on the corner of East Union Street and South Findley Street was dedicated in 1904.) After some remodeling in 1928, the Eberhart Store ended business in 1932, at the end of the Great Depression in American history. In October 1934, a G.C. Murphy 5 & 10 store began business in the building. With a remodeling in early 1966, the store continued in business until G.C. Murphy’s downtown store closed in the 1980s, at a time when national chains were moving out of downtowns across the country to popular shopping centers and malls. While leaving behind many memories in downtown Punxsutawney, a Murphy Mart was included among many businesses in the Punx’y Plaza. The downtown building was later oc-

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12 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

1902, The Punxsutawney Spirit announced, “The Snyder Bros. and Grube buildings which occupy the space between J. B. Eberhart & Co.’s new store and the Torrence block on Main street, are gradually nearing completion. When finished the block occupied by these buildings will present a most substantial appearance, and will mark the beginning of a new era in architecture in Punxsutawney.” In Dr. Grube’s building was Punxsutawney’s first hospital available for the general public, commonly referred to as Grube’s Hospital. The Snyder Brothers’ store went out of business in May 1912, and, in March 1913, the J.G. McCrory company purchased the Snyder building for a 5 and 10 cent store. - Continued on page 14

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cupied by Western Auto Store and Wade Mock’s Photo Lab, after the federal Redevelopment Program demolished the building in the “old plaza” opposite Barclay Square. In recent memory, the former Eberhart building was “repurposed” after the Punxsutawney Regional Development Corporation (PRDC) and the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce turned over the building to Indiana University of Pennsylvania for a second life as a part of the IUP Culinary school in Punxsutawney in the Fairman Centre. In addition to the Snyder Bros. Store and the Eberhart Store buildings on the east side of the Torrence Block, Dr. John E. Grube built a narrow 4-story building. In October

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In early 1902, with the Eberhart Department Store under construction adjacent to it, the Snyder brothers expanded their building to make it three stories with two window fronts. Stone was added to the front of the building. The building, as seen in 2021, can be compared to a 1910 post card view. Snyder Bros. went out of business in 1912. In 1913, McCrory’s 5 & 10 Store had a grand opening. (post card and photo provided by S. Thomas Curry)


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yme disease is one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. Lyme disease primarily affects people, but dogs also are at risk. Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete, borrelia burgdorferi, which is a type of bacterium, says VCA Animal Hospitals. Bacteria are contained in the bodies of blacklegged ticks, which are then passed to the host animal when bitten. Transmission of Lyme disease has been reported in dogs throughout the United States and Europe.

munosorbent assay. 4. Lyme disease is a year-round threat. Ticks do not die in the winter. Rather, they hide out and wait for the first warm day to arrive to move around. It’s important to keep up with tick-control treatments no matter the month. 5. Most tick control remedies do not actually repel ticks, they just kill the tick shortly after the tick has bitten. That’s good news

since there is a greater chance of bacteria being transmitted the longer the tick is attached. Only tick collars repel ticks, but there are pros and cons to such products. 6. Ticks latch on to dogs in areas where blood vessels are closest to the surface of the skin. This includes the head, the neck and the ears. However, since adult ticks are quite big, dogs will attempt to bite them off if they are seen. Ticks tend to hide in places like inside the ears, between the toes and around the neck. Pet owners should use gloves, tweezers or a tissue to form a barrier between the tick and their skin when removing ticks. The bacterium that causes Lyme disease can pass through a wound in the skin, says VCA Hospitals. Annual vaccination also can help dogs maintain immunity. •••



It is most prevalent in the upper midwestern states, the Atlantic seaboard and the Pacific coastal states, advises PetMD. Even though Lyme disease is widely known for its effects on humans, pet parents should learn about the ways that tick bites can affect their furry companions. 1. Lyme disease only causes symptoms in 5 to 10 percent of affected dogs. Many dogs have it but never show symptoms. 2. The animal health experts at Boehringer Ingelheim say dogs with Lyme disease can experience various symptoms, including joint swelling and pain, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and kidney problems. Dogs may not exhibit symptoms for weeks or months after being bitten. 3. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on the presence of certain symptoms. A Lyme disease antibody test can identify the presence of the disease, but only if the dog’s body has produced antibodies. Testing is recommended no sooner than four weeks after a tick bite. Other tests include a polymerase chain reaction and an enzyme-linked im-

OPENING MAY 9 FOR THE 2021 SEASON Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247 – 13

wee JJoin oin uuss aass w

BBuild uild tthe he FFuture uture Spring Virtual Event Saturday, May 8th 7:00 pm - YouTube Live For years, generous individuals like yourself have helped lay the foundation for many students to receive a Catholic education at DuBois Central Catholic School. Join us as we keep the tradition alive to give our students the thing they need most: THE FUTURE. Though things look a little different this year, this will be an event you'll want to attend! Host a Watch Party, or tune in from the comfort of your own home with your family. Bid on silent auction items, call in to make a pledge, and enjoy the show!

For more information, please visit: Follow us on Facebook: DCC’s Spring Virtual Event

With memories stirred by a 1960 view of the business section on West Mahoning Street, between South Findley Street and South Gilpin Street, older residents recognize the physical changes in the downtown landscape, with remnants of the past waiting for a future of change and improvement. (post card and photo courtesy of S. Thomas Curry)

Punxsutawney’s Downtown Continued from page 12

After two decades, a new three-story, less ornate red brick building was erected in 1921 on the west end of the block near South Gilpin Street to replace older buildings. The store fronts housed what will be remembered as the JCPenney Store and Miller’s Furniture store. The Downtown Punxsutawney We Remember By the 1950s, the structures that created the images of downtown Punxsutawney were solid, massive, three-story buildings that formed an impressive city look for shoppers in the area. With a wide variety of stores and shops, and store fronts and character provided by individual signs, Hometown readers have many memories of shopping in downtown Punxsutawney before shopping centers, shopping plazas and malls created competition for the local shopping experience.

The 1950s was also a period of many fires in the downtown scene - the Pantall Hotel fire and the Feicht’s Drug Store fire in the early 1950s. After a few years with many fires around town, in December 1971 a writer in The Punxsutawney Spirit remarked, “Punxsutawney is a terrified town today. The rash of fires makes you wonder.” With the raging fire in 1974 in the old Grube Hospital building, involving the Clinton Discount Store (where once before was Feicht’s Drug Store) and the nearby Jaynell Store in the old Torrence block, that area between South Findley Street and South Gilpin Street would change. Among the changes was Punxsutawney’s unique new “downtown mall,” to be called “The Arcade.” Unplanned or planned, changes came. The story will continue as the future lies ahead for that area of the business district. And, a major change is coming. Readers are invited to share their “downtown” experiences during the decades of the 1950s to 1980s. •••

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uBois Central Catholic will conduct its first Spring Virtual Auction at 7 PM on Saturday, May 8, 2021. Hosted by Nick Suplizio and Andy Klark, with special guest Carol Korthaus, the event will be livestreamed from DuBois Central Catholic (DCC) on YouTube Live. Organizers, Molly Kelsey and Paula Sliwinski, have worked very hard to make this live event a great deal of fun. Participants will be entertained by our hosts; students

and teachers will be highlighted; and alumni will share a story or two. Watch the Give Smart site: for auction items. DCC was unable to conduct many of our fundraisers and family events this past year due to the coronavirus. In order to continue to provide a quality education for our students and facilities our families have come to expect, we are hopeful this first-time event will be a great success. •••







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Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247 – 15

Hot Dogs and Mom, Dad and Me By Mary Ellen Pollock-Raneri for Hometown magazine paghetti, apple pie and hotdogs: Those were some of my favorite foods growing up as a kid in the 60s. My dad and I especially loved hot dogs. Dad and I liked the same toppings too: ketchup, relish, a little mustard and maybe some onion. If we got fancy, we put sauerkraut on them. If we got crazy, Mom whipped up some special hot dog sauce. Wherever they come from and whatever they are made from, I don’t care. Hotdogs will always reign as one of my favorite foods. When my mother made hotdogs, she boiled them first. Next, she slit them lengthwise and browned them in a little black skillet with some olive oil and onion. We would eat them on her homemade buns, and I don’t think there was anything quite as delicious. Sometimes, if Lucy got real fancy, she made this meat sauce for them that was made with ground meat, ketchup, onions, garlic and some spices. Mom thought her secret sauce tasted like the hotdog sauce at our favorite hot dog place. I am not sure if it ever did, but we sure enjoyed it. Sometimes things only taste the same when they are made on the same weathered and seasoned grill or skillet with the same chef at the helm. Her concoction was inspired by Carlino’s market on the way out of town, which was popular for delightful hot sandwiches. It was a small market, but in the back there was a small place with a grill where you could buy hamburgers and hotdogs. Sometimes my dad would take


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me there for a hotdog. You know the kind: the ones on a grilled bun with delicious sauce that can never be duplicated. The thing about this memory is that it was not just the taste of the hotdog; it was the whole experience: the squeak of the door, the cook at the grill, the smell of the onions and the sauce dripping from your mouth or the toasted bun that didn’t look like any bun that you could buy anywhere. It was the total event that tasted so good. And the best part was sitting with my dad and enjoying that hot dog with him. Sometimes on Sundays, my father would take us on an afternoon drive, and we would go to this long fruit stand near Dubois. We called it “the Blinker,” because it was located by a four-way blinking light. Dad would go into the building and Mom and I usually stayed in the car while he got the goodies. When my dad came back to the car, he usually had a white paper bag that held three hotdogs in buns. Each sandwich had mustard and sauerkraut. The three of us would munch on the hotdogs as the station wagon meandered around the countryside on our afternoon drive. Mom used hotdogs in other ways, too. Sometimes she chopped them up and put them in her green bean soup that was one of my favorites. It was a creamy broth with onion, mushroom soup, potatoes, carrots and green beans. The hot dogs in it were a special treat! Other times, she ground up hot dogs in her big cast iron grinder that clamped on the edge of the kitchen counter. I begged my mom to make pizza burgers like I got at the school cafeteria, and somehow she managed to get the secret recipe that really wasn’t so secret. Mom worked her magic with the recipe, and the pizza burgers tasted like the kid food that I loved so much. Ah! Hot dogs were a great part of my childhood. To be perfectly frank (excuse the pun), I didn’t care what they were made from or how they were prepared. I even ate them raw and lived to tell the story! I ate them whether they were grilled, fried, boiled, stewed or baked. Whether they were served in a bun or stuffed in a slice of store-bought bread, I loved them. To this day, every time I eat a hot dog, I am back with my dad, holding his hand, or I am sitting at our table enjoying Mom’s hotdog creations. I take a bite out of my sandwich, wipe the ketchup from my mouth and smile and smile. ••• HAWTHORN FIRE CO. ANNUAL KAYAK/CANOE


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Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247 – 17

Three Generations of Miners in the William Hockin Family

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By Coal Memorial Committee for Hometown magazine he Punxsutawney Area Coal Memorial Tile Dedication, planned for September 5, 2021, will include the men of the William Hockin Family, who represent three generations of miners. The first generation of the family to come to the area was William Hockin. He left England and came to Sandy Township, Clearfield County, near DuBois, when he


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Percy Sidney Hockin, Junior, graduated with the Punxsutawney High School Class of 1936. As a high school student, he was keen on becoming an aeronautical engineer. To achieve his desired career, he worked as a coal miner to earn the money to attend Parks Air College in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo courtesy of PAHGS.

was 28 years old. He arrived during the “coal boom” in the area and easily found employment as a coal miner. He met and married Amelia Daniels, who had immigrated from England in 1884. They made their home in Sandy Township where they raised four children to adulthood: sons, Alfred James and Percy Sidney; and daughters, Mary Grace and Dorothy L. His sons Alfred, who went by the name Fred, and Percy became the second generation of miners in the Hockin family. Fred worked in the mines near DuBois. He advanced from a miner to a shot-firer, which was a specialized occupation in the mines at that time. The shot firer position was developed as a means of making the mines safer. A shot firer had specialized training on blasting the coal loose in an effort to make the mines a safer place to work. Fred continued his career in mining until his retirement. He also served in the elected position of Sandy Township Supervisor. One of his sons, William Alfred “Bill” Hoskins, was among the third generation of the family to work in mining. He was an electrician with the Northwestern Mine Exchange for twenty-five years. Electricians, who installed electric lines and maintained electrical equipment, became essential workers in the mines. Electricity provided opportunity for the mining industry to eliminate the

18 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

mule by using the electric motors to pull the lines of coal cars from the mine to the tipple. Electricity was also used to power the ironman, an electric cutter which replaced the pick miner, whose job it was to undercut the coal before it was blasted loose from the wall of the mine. These innovations helped make coal mines safer places to work by reducing the number of miners injured by their mules or in sudden falls of coal. After pausing his life to serve in WWI, Percy became a second generation miner when he found employment with the Northwestern Mine Exchange which, in 1922, was opening the Kramer shaft mine at Stump Creek in Henderson Township, Jefferson County. In 1918, Percy had married Ada Bassett of Reynoldsville. They moved to Henderson Township where they became an integral part of the Kramer Community. The July 13, 1927 issue of the DuBois Courier Express reported on the large number of miners taking the Mine Foreman Examination in DuBois. Among those from the region were six miners from the Kramer mine. They were David Crawford, John Patrick, Olen Raymond Weber, James Patrick Sloan, William Clair Mowrey and Percy Sidney Hockin. With six potential foremen, the competition for advancement was keen. By 1930, Percy had advanced to the position of mine foreman at the Kramer Mine. Percy and his family lived at Kramer for about ten years. In addition to his work in the mine, Percy was a member of the Kramer Base Ball team, where he was the third baseman. In 1932, his thirteen-yearold son Percy, Jr, achieved recognition of scoring the highest, among the six top Henderson-Township scorers, on the mid-term tests taken on January 15, 1932. Eighth grade students were required to pass this test to qualify to enter high school. Percy, Jr.’s achievement brought recognition for the quality of academic scholarship achieved at the Kramer School. About 1934, Percy Sr. accepted the position of foreman at Lindsey Coal Mining Company’s No. 8 mine. The family now included five children: Percy, Jr., James, Jean, Eleanor, Lucille and Kenneth, who ranged in age from 15-year-old Percy down to one-year-old Kenneth. Percy, Sr. continued his mining career, eventually becoming the superintendent at No. 8 mine, before retiring. The move to the No. 8 mine enabled his children to attend the Punxsutawney High School. His sons, Percy, Jr. and James, graduated from high school before becoming part of the third generation of the family to take up coal mining. Percy, Jr. was keenly interested in the new field of aeronautics. Aeronautics was a career that many young men aspired to in the 1940s. He used his earnings from coal mining to enroll in Parks Air College in St. Louis, Missouri, where he graduated in - Continued on page 20


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Continued from page 18

1941. He found employment as an inspector in the Curtis-Wright factory at Kirkwood, Missouri. He was living his dream in 1941, when he was killed in an automobile accident at Kirkwood, Missouri. James Hockin continued to work in coal mining. In June 1943, he married Punxsutawney native Patricia Mae Snyder. When the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company closed its Jefferson county mines in 1949, James found work with Duquense Light Mining in Greene County, Pennsylvania. The James Hockin

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James Wesley Hockin graduated with the Punxsutawney High School Class of 1936. He was described as a quiet, studious young man, who played in the High School Orchestra for four years. He and his brother Sidney were listed on the 1940 census as coal miners. James chose to continue his career in mining, gradually working his way to more responsible positions. His last assignment before retirement was that of an inspector with the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. Photo courtesy of PAHGS.

family moved to Greene County in 1950. During his 19 years with the company, he advanced in responsibility. In 1969, landmark federal legislation containing tough health and safety provisions was passed and signed into law which increased safety in coal mines. The main emphasis of this legislation centered on the number of miners with pneumoconiosis, also known as “black lung.” The new law contained requirements for reducing dust levels in the mines and required spot inspections and screening for black lung. To


monitor the implementation of these new requirements, additional mine safety inspectors would be needed. The dust levels in mines needed to be reduced by half within six months after the legislation was signed, with lower levels to be met by year three thereafter. Federal mine inspectors would be required to make a minimum of one spot inspection during every five working days at mines where there had been an explosion or fire within the previous five years. Other measures included an x-ray for each miner within 18 months after enactment of the bill and at five-year increments thereafter. James Hockin had the experience required to become an inspector for the Mine Safety and Health Administration in 1969 when landmark mine safety legislation was passed at the federal level. His new employment provided an opportunity to move closer to the Hockin and Snyder families who had remained in the Punxsutawney area. The Hockin family moved to Indiana in 1969, where James functioned as a federal inspector for the Mine Safety and Health Administration. His work was mainly monitoring the progress of the Rochester and Pittsburgh Coal and Iron Company toward full implementation of the new health standards required. James Hockin retired from his position as an inspector for the Mine Safety and Health Administration in 1983. Three generations of the Hockin family have work a century in the coal industry. They began as basic coal miners and, as time passed, they held positions of foremen, superintendent and federal inspector. During the years, they provided for their families, educating and encouraging the next generations to become better workers and citizens. They have left a legacy of commitment to work and improvement of community. This article has been prepared by the Coal Memorial Committee of the Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society. Resources used in preparing this article are from Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society, The Punxsutawney Spirit and Comments may be directed to PAHGS, P.O. Box 286, Punxsutawney, PA 15767. Individuals desiring to honor a coal or coal related industry worker in 2021 are encouraged to purchase their tile by June 30, 2021. A Coal Memorial tile may honor persons who worked in any aspect of the coal industry including railroads and ancillary services. Additional information and forms may be found online at or may be requested by e-mail at:, or calling 814-9382555 and leaving a message. •••

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the Kopchicks from Czechoslovakia and the Tates from Hungary. By 1940, census records show Augustine and Rose with several children at home: Joseph, 18; Dominic, 16; William, 14; Theresa, 12; Mary, 10; Rosa, 8; Anthony, 6; John, 4; and Margaret Ann, 4 months.  The oldest, Joseph Anthony, a former student at Ss.C.D., entered the U.S. Army in May 1944 at age 22. He had been living at Glassport, Pennsylvania, and was employed by the Pittsburgh Steel Company. While on furlough from the Army in 1945, he married Elizabeth Marini of Glassport. The couple is noted in the clipping files as being the victims of a scam when obtaining a marriage license. Along with other couples, they were forced to pay an exorbitant fee for their license; the account named three justices of the peace and an Allegheny county police officer as perpetrators of the racket. Joseph served nearly a year in Italy prior to the marriage and was reassigned following his furlough. They are buried at New St. Joseph’s Cemetery, North Versailles, Pennsylvania. Dominic Thomas, he of the arresting gaze, entered service in the U.S. Dominic Thomas Capozzoli (1923-1996) and William Paul Army in 1943 at age 20. His draft Capozzoli (1925-1993), sons of Augustine Joseph and For- registration particularly notes his tuna Rose Carrturo Capozzoli of Punxsutawney, pictured in 1943 following their entering the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, gray eyes. The WWII clipping files respectively. Both ultimately served in the Pacific where reveal that he served in the Pacific, Dominic was wounded in action during the invasion of taking part in the invasion of the Saipan, earning a Purple Heart, and William served aboard Marshall Islands and, subsequently, the USS Saratoga. Clipping from PAHGS WWII Collection. Saipan, where he received wounds in his leg and foot. Online military hospitalthe Punxsutawney Area Historical and Geization records describe the artillery shell nealogical Society, Inc. Numerous families wounds for which he received the Purple sent sons and daughters off to serve, but the Heart. He married Jean Luketich, and they arresting gaze of Dominic Thomas Capozzoli featured with his brother, William Paul Joseph Anthony Capozzoli, cemented the choice. Both enCapozzoli (19212009), son of Augustered the service in 1943; Dominic enlisted tine Joseph and in the U.S. Army in May and William joined Fortuna Rose Carthe U.S. Navy in August. A few months later, rturo Capozzoli of Punxsutawney, pican older brother, Joseph Anthony, enlisted, tured in 1944 followjoining the U.S. Army in May of 1944. All ing his enlistment in were sons of Augustine Joseph and Fortuna the U.S. Army. Rose Carturo Capozzoli, Pennsylvania AvJoseph served initially in Germany enue residents of Punxsutawney. Augustine and later was able to and Rose both had immigrated from Italy. visit with extended Augustine’s name can be found among WWI family members in Italy. Clipping from soldiers returning from Europe in 1919 on PAHGS WWII Collecthe transport ship Texan. On the ship’s list tion. of passengers, he is described as a private, made their home in part of the 22nd Co. 20th Engineers. This Glassport where he had worked at Kelsey may have been the route he took to become Hayes Wheel Company and was a retired a U.S. citizen, as immigrants who volunemployee of the Borough of Glassport. Doteered to serve were afforded the opportunity minic was a member of both the American to gain citizenship. Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He In the 1930 U.S. Census records, one can see and Jean are buried at Calvary Cemetery in the names of neighbors. Three families livPunxsutawney. ing near one another then on Pennsylvania Avenue included the Capozzolis from Italy, - Continued on next page

AIR Call fo CONDITIONING a freer S P E C I A L estimate


By Marty Armstrong for Hometown magazine he search for siblings whose surname begins with “C” and who served during the second World War, began, as will often be the case, with the WWII clipping files created by Punxsutawney librarian Miss Mildred Harlan and currently held by





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22 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian, medical practitioners during the early years of Christianity. During the time of Diocletian, they were executed after refusing to renounce their Christian faith after suffering egregious torture and were subsequently elevated to sainthood. It is they for whom the Punxsutawney Roman Catholic Church is named. Image from Ss.C.D. History, 2009.

buried at Florida National Cemetery at Bushnell, Florida.  Two younger brothers served after WWII-Tony, with the US Air Force in Okinawa during the Korean Conflict, and Jake with the US Army in Germany.  During WWI, the U.S. joined with England, France, Italy and others to successfully defeat German attempts to control Europe. In WWII, Italy was an early partner of Germany in the next war to dominate Europe and beyond while Japan joined forces with them in a quest to control the Pacific. For these reasons, individuals in the U.S., as well as government officials, were suspicious of Americans with German, Italian or Japanese ties. Most have heard of American camps to intern Japanese immigrants out of this fear. There were camps to intern Germans and Italians as well, but they are less well known. There were travel and employment restrictions, curfews and forced evacuations from “sensitive” areas. These policies were lifted early in 1942. Several years ago, Professor Dennis McIlnay from St. Francis in Loretto wrote a book—three books in one, really— detailing the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the foiled plot during WWII to destroy the Horseshoe Curve by a team which did include a disgruntled German-American man married to a former resident of Walston and the steps taken by authorities in Altoona to surveil German-American citizens. His book, “The Horseshoe Curve: Sabotage and Subversion,” makes for good reading. What everyone came to realize, however, is that those people who came to America as immigrants brought loyalty to their lives in a new country and stepped forward in the hundreds of thousands in the country’s time of need. Fortunately for the Capozzolis, the threat

from Italy as a county had ended with the 1943 surrender of the Kingdom of Italy to the Allies, and Joseph was actually able to visit with extended family members when he served in Europe. Finally, for every time we remember the military service of those from our community, we also remember the many other forms of service of those around us. This month, because the Capozzolis were part of the Ss.C.D. community of faith, the time is right to remember persons who serve their faiths. As members and many others know, the community bears the names of two siblings, brothers, who were trained in the healing arts. Known to us as Cosmas and Damian, they had means and were, therefore, able to provide their medical services to others without charge, itself a worthy service. Christian men in the early years of Christianity, however, they ran afoul of authorities who did not believe and were pressured to recant in spite of dreadful tortures they endured. Finally, they were executed for their faith and raised to sainthood in the Church. Punxsutawney is one of many faith communities around the world where Saint Cosmas and Saint Damien are honored. The specialness of the choice here is due to the efforts of German-born Father Wienker.  According to a February 26, 1904, Punxsutawney article printed in the New Bethlehem Leader Vindicator, Father Herman Clement Wienker served the Catholic community of southern Jefferson County (and for a time, portions of Clarion County) from 1869 to 1904, at which time he became superintendent of parochial schools in the Erie Diocese. From the Punxsutawney congregation’s history, researched and compiled in 2009 by its leaders, we learn that when it became apparent in the late 1800s that a new building was needed due to the growth of the community, plans were made. The article stated: “The foundations for the new brick structure were laid in the summer and autumn of 1885. On August 26, 1885, at six o’clock in the morning, Father Wienker blessed and laid the cornerstone. It was at that time he announced what saintly patronage he had decided to name the new church. During this time priests often waited to name a new church until the bishop arrived for its dedication… Father Wienker did not want to wait. His brother was a Benedictine monk in Great Britain – so out of respect and admiration for his sibling, Father Wienker named the new church after the name his brother had chosen in religious life – Cosmas (together with his sibling, Damian) … Father Wienker …celebrated the first mass there on March 13, 1887, to a congregation that numbered about 425.” We also learn that Father Wienker’s only other known sibling, Josephine, came to Punxsutawney to serve as his companion and housekeeper for the balance of his life.  In 2010, in celebration of the 125th anniversary, statues of the two saints were acquired and installed in exterior niches prepared for them many years before.  Another set of siblings are described in the church’s history as formative in the beginning and growth of the congregation. They are the Gillespies of Clayville: William Gillespie, who offered his home for initial services, and Joseph Gillespie, who later donated land for use as a burial ground (located near what is now McHugh Avenue).  Thus, there are many examples of siblings in service to which one may look for inspiration. •••

Johnstown Symphony Orchestra music director Blachly wins Grammy;

'A victory for all of us in Johnstown,' he says By David Hurst of the Tribune-Democrat reprinted by permission oments after capturing his first Grammy Award last month, Johnstown Symphony Orchestra music director James Blachly was on the phone, sharing in the shock and excitement with


Johnstown Symphony Orchestra Maestro James Blachly. Photo courtesy of the TribuneDemocrat.

some of the 400 or more performers and project partners who made it happen. He said he counted the community of Johnstown and its orchestra among that list. “This was a five-year project, and Johnstown is inextricably connected to this victory because we gave the U.S. world premiere of this piece, in April of 2018, here in Johnstown,” he said Sunday. “We’re all beside ourselves with joy.” As conductor of the New York-based Experiential Orchestra, Blachly, with Sarah Brailey and Dashon Burton, won the Grammy in the Best Classical Solo Vocal Album category for his orchestra’s recording of Dame Ethel Smyth’s “The Prison.” Originally performed in 1931, it’s considered the last major piece by the early-1900s British composer and champion of

woman’s suffrage. And to Blachly, the Grammy win serves as long-overdue respect for a composer who was well ahead of her time. The “expressive, beautiful and powerful music” of Smyth’s work inspired him, he said. “And to make it recognizable by the world in this way is truly wonderful,” he added. Featuring heralded performers Brailey and Burton, The Experiential Orchestra recorded the piece in New York before releasing it on U.K.-based Chandos Records. It topped four other hopefuls, including a performance of Farinelli by 17-time Grammy nominee and five-time winner Cecilia Bartoli. Jessica Satava, Johnstown Symphony Orchestra executive director, organized a virtual celebration through Zoom to congratulate Blachly on Sunday evening. More than 60 Johnstown Symphony Orchestra members and supporters joined in, many of them applauding and raising glasses of wine. “Congratulations, James. You deserve this wonderful honor,” Johnstown Symphony Chorus member Debbie Chuba said. Fellow members praised Blachly’s “vision,” recalling their reactions three years ago when Blachly first brought “The Prison” to them, noting they weren’t sure what to expect from a piece they’d never heard. Blachly reminded them that they were the ones who brought it to life – creating a sound that led to the Grammy-winning recording. “This is a victory for all of us in Johnstown,” he said. Blachly is the second person with Johnstown ties to earn such a high-profile award in the past year. Former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, a 2004 Bishop McCort grad, and Mike Owensm a 1991 Greater Johnstown grad, shared in an Academy Award in the animated short category in early 2020. •••

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John Rocco Stellabuto of Delancey April 25, 1937 - February 13, 2021 He attended SS. Cosmas & Damian Church.  John proudly served in the U.S. Navy for four years as a boatsman. He served on the destroyer, USS William C. Lawe and was accommodated “Sailor of the Month.” On August 1, 1959, he married They recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.  He spent the majority of his career working for Jefferson Wholesale Grocery and retired as a manager/produce manager for the West End Comet. He continued working part-time for several years.  He was a member of the Punxsutawney Fraternal Order of the Eagles, American Legion Post #62 and the Walston Club.  After retiring, John and his wife enjoyed spending time with his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, who moved to AZ. If you knew him, he couldn’t sit still, so he got a part-time job working for a community college as a utility worker. John was a great singer and was known for Karaoke, he was one of the best Polka dancers around. He also loved to cook, and no function was complete without his kielbasa and sauerkraut. He loved being Grandpa and Poppy to all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He also loved spending time with his pets. In addition to his wife, Shirley A. Rypczyk, he is survived by four children, Margie (George) Mesanko, Michelle (Dennis) Brooks, Melisa (Randy) Brooks, and Michael (Lori) Stellabuto; 10 grandchildren, Autumn Mesanko, Brandon (Elsa) Mesanko, Sommer (Greg) Marshall, Dustin (Lyndsay) Brooks, Denny (Katie) Brooks, Amanda (Corey) Farmery, Tyler (Abby) Brooks, John Stellabuto and Vincent Stellabuto and 13 great grandchildren; sisters Linda Conser and Geraldine Troutman, sister-in-law Marie Stellabuto, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents Antonio and Margaret (Lorelli) Stellabotta and seven siblings, Amelia Thompson, James Stellabuto, William Stellabuto, Caroline Ritchey, Richard Stellabuto, Eugene Stellabuto and Rita Heckman. u Helen E. Junod of Mahaffey, May 6, 1946 - March 12, 2021  Helen attended Otterbein God’s Missionary Church where she assisted and taught at Otterbein Christian Academy. She also worked in home health. Helen enjoyed going on ATV rides, walking, her dogs, spending time with family and having pizza with the neighborhood kids.  She is survived by her husband, William E. Junod; four daughters and four sons: Jane (Kevin) Hunter, Kimberly (Brad) Kratz, Darren Junod, Jordan Junod, Brandi Simmons, Reymond Junod, Kelly Gregory, and Eric D. Junod; numerous grandchildren and one great-grandson; two brothers; two sisters; and numerous nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Leona (Snow) Conrad, and several brothers and sisters. McCabe Funeral Home Inc. u Robert Joseph “Joe” Rising of Rochester Mills July 28, 1956 - March 17, 2021

 Joe was a graduate of Marion Center High School where he excelled in the FFA program. He worked on his family’s Dairy Farm, and also for Rolling Green Acres Dairy Farm, Charlie Houser, C.L. Ruffners and Son, Clearview Farms, Mears Enterprises, Amfire Mining and recently for Star Iron Works. He had also served North Mahoning Township as a Supervisor since 2003.  Joe loved working on machines and restoring tractors, taking his grandkids fishing and to Pizza Town, hosting the Outlaw-In-Law Father’s Day picnic at his house and planting a garden that he shared with all.  Joe is survived by his wife, Sarah (Anthony) Rising, and his children, Tina (David) Rising Mundy and their son Caleb; Peggy (Jason) Cribbs and their children, Jolene (who was named after him) and Alexander.  Surviving siblings are Mary (Ronald) Isenberg, Carol Buterbaugh, Patricia Rising, Catherine Kimmel, Linda (Gary) Stephens, Janet (Russel) Lippert, John (Jennifer) Rising, Edward (Rene) Rising and Joanne (Gerald) Ruffner.  Surviving brothers- and sisters-in-law are Tim (Theresa) Anthony, Edward (Diane) Anthony and Barbara (Stephen) Means. Also surviving is his mother-in-law, Twila Margaret (Peggy) Anthony, many nieces and nephews and many great-nieces and great-nephews.  In addition to his parents, Robert D. and Jean (Houser) Rising, he was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Clifford Anthony, infant brother, William Rising, brother-in-law, Randy Kimmel, brother-in-law, Larry Buterbaugh, nephew, Andy Isenburg and great-nieces, Faith and Hope Sabo. Deeley Funeral Home, Inc. u Genevieve Bridge of Punxsutawney November 19, 1929 - March 17, 2021  Genevieve enjoyed cooking and baking for her family, spending time at the family camp, gardening and sitting on her porch.  She is survived by her two sons, Thomas (Debbie) Bridge and David (fiancée Diane) Bridge; grandsons, Joshua (Beth) Bridge, Matthew Bridge and David Bridge; great-granddaughters, Hope, Hannah and Haley Bridge, special caregiver, Denise Himes and numerous nieces and nephews.  In addition to her husband, Thomas L. Bridge, and parents, Clair & Irene Baker, Genevieve was preceded in death by her daughter-in-law, Priscilla Bridge, sisters, Margaret Koestler, Pansy Roberts, Esther Kendra and Virginia Conrad, brothers, Wilbur Baker, Kenneth Baker, Gardner Baker, Edward Baker and Clair Baker. McCabe Funeral Home Inc. u Nancy Elaine Reddinger of Punxsutawney October 24, 1942 - April 3, 2021  Nancy enjoyed anything that was outdoors, especially gardening. She also enjoyed cooking and spending time with her family.  She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Clarence A. Reddinger of Punxsutawney; two sons, Terry (Gail) A. Reddinger, Daniel (Rebecca) P. Red-

24 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

dinger Sr.; a daughter, Lucinda (James) Harvey; six grandchildren, Jessica Copare, Terry Reddinger II, Stephanie Hook, D.J. Reddinger, Shaina Reddinger, and Jacob Harvey; nine great-grandchildren; three sisters, Irene Drummond, Shirley McKeen, Denise Frye; three brothers, Irvin (Barb) Kunselman Jr., Pete (Violet) Kunselman, Ted (Ellen) Kunselman and numerous nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Irvin Clayson and Esther Elizabeth (Adams) Kunselman, a son, Christopher J. Reddinger, a granddaughter, Erica Lynn Reddinger. McCabe Funeral Home Inc. u Hazel Irene (Powell) Reddinger Bleggi December 18, 1937 - April 6, 2021  Hazel was married to the late Raymond Eugene Reddinger, Sr. for 34 years. Together they had five children who survive: Raymond (Colleen) Jr., Gary (Bambi), Mark (Tammy), Patty (John) and David (Deb). During this time, Hazel was employed in the cafeteria at IUP.  She is also survived by nine grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren.  Once widowed, Hazel married the late Angelo Bleggi, Jr. They were together for 23 years.  Hazel was a woman who lived her life serving the Lord. She had a beautiful soul and was tirelessly present for her family. She is forever loved by her family and will always be treasured in their hearts.  Hazel was preceded in death by her husbands, Raymond Reddinger, Sr. and Angelo Bleggi, Jr.; her parents, Elias and Opal (Kunselman) Powell; her sister, Gladys (Powell) Reddinger; her grandson, Carl Kellar; and her beloved dog, Ripp. Surviving relatives include her five children. Richard L. Fait Funeral Home u Larry Edward Neiswonger of Punxsutawney September 4, 1941 - April 7, 2021 Larry was a 1959 graduate of Punxsutawney Area High School. During his early years, he worked for Benson Poultry. He then began a long-term career as a heavy equipment operator with P&N Coal. During his retirement, he and his wife, Marilyn, served as foster parents for eleven years with Specialized Family Foster Care of Johnstown. He was a lifelong member of Canoe Ridge Church of God in Rossiter.  Larry was an avid sportsman. He enjoyed hunting and fishing and was an avid gun collector and Civil War and WWII buff.  He was predeeded in death by his parents, Clair (Bud) and Esther (Hilliard) Neiswonger and his wife, Marilyn Kay White.  Larry is survived by three daughters, Dana Emmell, Darla (Samuel) Stanford and Rebecca Neiswonger; five grand-children, Brittany (William) Hutchinson, Nyssa (Colin) Zambory, Samuel Stanford, Justine Freedline and Ariel Neiswonger; two great-granddaughters, Laci and Peyton Hutchinson; a “great-granddog,” Ziggy Zambory; his faithful Australian Shepherd, Missy, and close friends, Carl Pape and Richard Kelly. McCabe Funeral Home Inc. u Goldie A. Sones of Rochester Mills December 1, 1947 - April 9, 2021  Goldie was a member of Calvary United

Methodist in Rossiter. She worked at the Punxsutawney Walmart for 15 years. Goldie enjoyed traveling and reading her Bible. She loved her granddaughter and great-granddaughters and spending time with her family.  She is survived by a son, James (Mary) Sones Jr., her mother, Dorothy Ryen, granddaughter, Megan (Adam) Perry, two greatgranddaughters, Chalet and Addalee, and a sister-in-law, Shirley Ryen. She was preceded in death by her father, Leonard Blaine Ryen, her husband, James Sones Sr., an infant son, Mark, and a brother, Leonard “Len” Ryen. McCabe Funeral Home Inc. u Arietta J. Jasulavich-Fletcher of Punxsutawney August 4, 1931 - April 10, 2021  Arietta belonged to the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church in Punxsutawney. She moved from Punxsutawney to Texas, where she worked as a security guard in the Houston Area for 14 years. She then moved to Duncansville, New Castle, before retiring in Punxsutawney. She enjoyed raising her family.  She is survived by a daughter, Karen (Rev. Bruce) Allen, a son, John (Judy) J. Jasulavich III, a step daughter, JoAnne Fletcher Schumacher, six grandchildren, Elizabeth (Devin) Romanio, Joanna (Rev. Brett) Dinger, Sarah (Capt. Zak) Markley, Abigail Allen, Jennifer (Roger) Andrews and nine great-grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Arthur D. and Ruby (Parkinson) Burkett, two husbands, John J. Jasulavich Jr., and William R. Fletcher and an infant brother, Nelson Burkett. McCabe Funeral Home Inc. u Richard A. “Rich” Getty of Marion Center March 14, 1947 - April 13, 2021  Rich was of Protestant faith. He attended Gilgal Presbyterian Church. Rich graduated from Marion Center High School in 1965. He was a veteran of the United States Army Reserves, Punxsutawney Unit. Rich worked as a rig hand, then worked on the family dairy farm and later worked for TLH Coal Company until retirement. Rich enjoyed fabricating items and the challenge of any project.  The family would like to thank Tom and Tina Loughry and the staff of Crystal Waters Personal Care Home for the excellent care he received.  He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Carol A. (Winebark) Getty, a brother, James (Karen) Getty, a sister, Patricia (Randy) Wells, two nephews, Nathan (Amy) Wells, Chad (Julianna) Getty, two nieces, Emily Altomare and friend Josh Ellis, Megan (Brett) Avey, four great-nephews, three great-nieces, one aunt, Ruth Smith and special friends, Jerry Snyder and Gene Philippi. He was preceded in death by his parents, John W. and Ina J. (Smith) Getty. McCabe Funeral Home Inc. u Please visit the website of the funeral homes listed to view complete obituary, sign their guestbook, plant a tree and offer your condolences. uuu

Hometown Community Happenings


rom the staff of Hometown magazine and the Community Calendar at, here is a list of events coming up in our area:  Please check with the host organization, website, or Facebook page for up-to-date information. Events subject to change and Coronavirus restrictions. n Hometown’s Penguins Hockey contest winner. On April 6, the Rangers were victorious over the Penguins with a score of 4 to 8, total game points 12. Dorothy Painter guessed total points of 13. She wishes to redeem her merchandise certificate at Smokin’ Petes. Play to win this month, see contest on page 27 of this issue. n The Punxsutawney Memorial Library has re-opened the book stacks. Contact the library or visit its Facebook page for more information on what services are available. n The Jackson Theater at the Punxsutawney Area Community Center has reopened for weekend movies. n April 24: Girl Scout Juniors Get Moving Journey Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Weather Discovery Center. Bring your lunch. $25 per scout. Call 814-938-1000 or email for registration information. n April 30: Arbor Day. Plant a tree! n April 30 & May 1: Grange’s Helping Hands free clothing. Friday, noon to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Grange Church of God. Please wear a mask. n April 30 & May 1: PAHS Music Workshop Presentation, “Beauty & the Beast.” Friday, 7 to 9 p.m., PAHS auditorium; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m., PAHS auditorium. n May 1: Jefferson County Jaguars football game, 1 p.m. at Harmon Field. n May 3: Voter registration deadline for the Primary Election on May 18. n May 3-7: Teacher Appreciation Week. Honor that special teacher with something from one of Hometown’s advertisers. n May 4: Meet the Candidates at the Punxsutawney Country Club, presented by the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce. School board candidates 5-6 p.m. and borough council candidates 6-8 p.m. n May 5: PAHS Choir Concert, 7 to 9 p.m. at PAHS auditorium. n May 6: National Day of Prayer. n May 7: Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to noon, on S. Findley St., Punxsutawney n May 8: Outdoor Flea Market, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., joint project of Yoder’s Antique Mall & London’s Country Creamery. n May 8: Spring Artist Show, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at River Road Pottery, Worthville. 25+ vendors, food, live music. n May 8: Girl Scout Space Science Day for Daisies, Brownies & Juniors at Weather Discovery Center: Daisies, 10 a.m. to noon; Brownies & Juniors, 1 to 3 p.m. Cost $15. Pre-register by May 3 at 814-938-1000 or email n May 9: Mother’s Day. Remember your mother with a special something from one of Hometown’s advertisers. n May 14: PAHS Band Concert, 7 to 9 p.m. at PAHS auditorium. n May 15: 11th Annual Dash 4 Diabetes, 8 a.m. to noon, starting at 120 Maple Ave., Punxsutawney. Check their Facebook page for registration information. n May 15: Jefferson County Jaguars

football game, 1 p.m. at Harmon Field. n May 17: Tax Day. Last filing day for federal & PA state taxes. n May 18: Primary Election Day in PA. Don’t forget to vote! n May 18: Blood Drive, 1 to 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church, Reynoldsville. Benefits American Red Cross. n May 19-23: Blacksmith Gathering USA at Reynlow Park. n May 19: PAHS Spring Voice Recital, 7 to 9 p.m. at PAHS auditorium. n May 21: Blood Drive, 1 to 5:30 p.m. at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church, Sykesville. Benefits American Red Cross. n May 22: Boy Scout Plant Science Merit Badge program, 9 a.m. to noon at Weather Discovery Center. Cost $20. Pre-register by May 17 at 814-938-1000 or email n May 22: Three Prim Sisters Spring Craft & Vendor Show, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 392 Laska Rd., Punxsutawney. 35+ vendors. n May 23: 1-4-3 Day of Kindness in PA, in honor of Fred Rogers. n May 25: Blood Drive, noon to 6 p.m. at Cobblestone Hotel & Suites, Punxsutawney. Benefits American Red Cross. n May 26: PAHS Show Choir performance, 5 to 7 p.m. at PAHS courtyard. n May 30: Fish for Free Day in PA, sponsored by the PA Fish & Boat Commission. No license needed for fishing today. n May 31: Memorial Day. Remember those who passed away in active military service. n The George C. Brown Community Pool is seeking financial donations to help keep the pool open. For more information, see a Splash member or contact the Chamber of Commerce. The pool plans to open for the season on June 5. n Watch for summer programs at the Punxsutawney Memorial Library. Visit the library’s website or Facebook page for more information. Call the library at 814938-5020 for information on what services are available. n Sponsors are being sought for the 2021 Festival in the Park, scheduled for June 26 – July 3, sponsored by the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce. Contact the Chamber at 814-938-7700, ext. 2 or email for more information. n Unity Rises Association, a local nonprofit organization, is raising funds to obtain a larger space for its free donation center. This group currently operates a donation center in Cloe that is open to help the public. They are hoping to find a larger space that is handicapped accessible and on a bus route. They also hope to use the larger space to accept furniture and food donations. For more information, contact n June 6: Hawthorn Fire Co.'s Annual Kayak/Canoe Poker Run. Launch 9 a.m. at Summerville Bridge. Register at Hawthorn Boat Launch. Registration information & costs at or call 814-5414005.  n Email your hometown community happenings items to •••

Punxsutawney Area Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc. The facilities of the Punxsutawney Area Historical and Genealogical Society Facilities will remain closed to the public until COVID-19 is controlled.

h Gift Shop items may be purchased online h Genealogy searches may be requested by phone, e-mail or regular mail h Watch for our reopening later in 2021 h A new exhibit “SPORTS” will be in the Griffiths Galleries at the Lattimer House 400 & 401 W. Mahoning St.



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26 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

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 May 4, 1871 — The ladies of Punxsutawney and vicinity are respectfully invited to call at Mrs. Little’s Millinery Store and see her new and late style of hats, bonnets, ribbons of all colors, hair switches, chignons, beads, flowers, and trimmings of all kinds. (Punxsutawney Plaindealer) [Note: Mrs. Little’s husband, Capt. E.H. Little, was killed at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, during the Civil War.]  May 2, 1888 — W. T. Rodgers’ brick yard at Clayville was imbued with a new life last week when the weather was such as to permit him to begin making brick with his new brick-making machine. Mr. Rodgers said that it would mould [sic] brick as fast as the men could handle them. Busy hands will be seen flitting to and fro carrying the well formed lumps of clay. Mr. Rodgers has the contract of furnishing brick for Pantall’s large hotel to be built this summer. [Note: Clayville was named for its abundance of clay. Clayville is now Punxsutawney’s West End. Pantall’s “large hotel” is the Pantall Hotel, opened in March 1889, and currently being restored.]  May 4, 1887 — J. A. Weber has made the salesroom of the Checkered Front Clothing store look as if the room took in another block back by hanging a large mirror on the rear wall. It presents a fine picture when they are grouped so as to be seen through the looking-glass. (The Punxsutawney Spirit) [Note: The Checkered Front Clothing store was a frame building at the corner of West Mahoning and North Findley streets, where now is the 3-story brick building occupied by the Fair Lady store.] •••


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(‘From Our Past,’ researched by S. Thomas Curry, features items of interest from past editions of Punxsutawney and area newspapers.)  April 18, 1906 — The fire department was called out the other evening to test the merits of the new aerial ladders. From the time the bell was tapped only seven minutes were consumed in getting the horses hitched to the ladder truck and hose wagon, the apparatus down town as far as the Salvation Army hall, the hose attached, the ladders run up to the roof of the Army hall, the hose taken up and the water turned on. (Punxsutawney News)  April 20, 1904 — S. Taylor Shaffer, superintendent of Bellefonte Coal & Coke Co. has purchased a 40 foot lot on West Mahoning street from Mrs. E. W. Robinson for a consideration of $2,000 and has selected plans for a magnificent dwelling to occupy the lot between the residences of E. C. McKibben and H. W. Mundorff on the South side of West Mahoning street, west of Morrison avenue. (The Punxsutawney Spirit)  April 23, 1907 — All property owners in Greater Punxsutawney are hereby notified that beginning May 1, 1907, the Board of Health will enforce strictly the borough ordinances and state laws relating to sanitary measures. This means that on, and after that date property owners or tenants having refuse of garbage or any article that may be designated as a nuisance or a menace to health in their cellars, alleys, back yards, lots, gardens or building, or on the streets, will be dealt with according to the law. Remember, the Board of Health will take action. (The Punxsutawney Spirit)





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3. Enter one of the participating advertisers on this page in the space provided to redeem your coupon should you be the contest winner. 4. Clip and forward the coupon to:‘Penguins Hockey Contest,’ c/o Hometown magazine, 129 Aspen Road, Punxsutawney, PA 15767. PLEASE MARK YOUR TEAM PICK & TOTAL POINTS ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE ENVELOPE.

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5. All entries must be received by 4 p.m. Thursday, May 6. 6. No purchase necessary to participate. All entries must be original magazine coupon (no photocopies). 7. In the event two or more contestants correctly pick the winning team and total number of points, one winner will be randomly selected and awarded the winning prize. In event two or more contestants tie for closest to the total score, one winner will be randomly selected to win the $20 certificate. Each issue we will give one $20 certificate. 8. Hometown magazine retains the right to make any final decisions regarding the contest, and by submitting an entry, contestants agree to abide by the rules of the contest.

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Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247 – 27

McCabe Waldron



Andrew R. Philliber, Supervisor

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Andrew R. Philliber, Funeral Director 125 Market St., Mahaffey



Joe Buterbaugh, Funeral Associate 28 – Punxsutawney Hometown – May 2021 - Issue #247

Profile for Punxsutawney Hometown Magazine

#247 MAY 2021  

• Stefanie Neal: Teaching Students with Hearing Differences • VFW and Garden Club Members Work Together to Improve Community Garden Beds • T...

#247 MAY 2021  

• Stefanie Neal: Teaching Students with Hearing Differences • VFW and Garden Club Members Work Together to Improve Community Garden Beds • T...


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