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Happy Groundhog Day, Punx’y! Photo by Bill Anderson ‘Hometown Punxsutawney’ magazine © Copyright 2008 — All Rights Reserved.

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7,760+ copies of Hometown Punxsutawney magazine are direct-mailed to homes in Punxsutawney and surrounding towns and areas, giving our advertisers nearly 100% coverage . . . every home! (As always — our circulation is verified — mailing and printing statements available.) This complete edition can be found online at: We are the only Punxsutawney-owned media! Punx’y Proud — Boosting our Hometown! Our staff has over 100 years of Punxsutawney news and publishing experience! Publishers William C. Anderson Mary L. Roberts Advertising Mary L. Roberts Tracey Young Contributing Writers S. Thomas Curry Bill Anderson Justin Eger Carole Milton Roberts Graphic Artists Melissa Salsgiver Carol Smouse We accept articles and photos for publication. All material submitted becomes the property of Hometown Punxsutawney magazine.

‘I’m Going to Gobbler’s Knob for the very First Time...’ I

By Carole Milton Roberts of Hometown magazine have a confession to make. I have never been to Gobbler’s Knob on Groundhog Day. I am not new to the area, and for most of my life, I have lived in Punxsutawney. It’s not that I don’t appreciate or even celebrate Groundhog Day. In fact, there were even a few times that I had every intention of going to the Knob in order to experience the festivities. I just never made it. It is not easy to get out of a warm, cozy bed on a very cold, dark February morning. The bitter, frosty, bone-chilling cold that typifies winter mornings in Pennsylvania is what has kept me from venturing to Gobbler’s Knob. I appreciate Groundhog Day, I love living in our town, and I have written about the fact that Groundhog Day is something to embrace. I’ve simply chosen to participate in the festivities later in the morning—in town—when the big crowds have already dissipated. All of that is about to change, because this year I am going to Gobbler’s Knob for Groundhog Day. I can’t believe I actually said that in print because now there will be no turning back. So, there

we have it. I can’t tell the kids I sleptin and forgot about Groundhog Day. I won’t be able to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock and I won’t be able to say, “Eh, let’s just watch it on TV.” I will be there. Though I am not looking forward to the cold, I am looking forward to the party that will be Groundhog Day this year. The crowd is supposed to be bigger than ever, therefore, the fun will undoubtedly be better than ever. I have family and friends coming to visit who will help celebrate the day, and I think we are going to have a good time. No, we are going to have a

Olivia and Ryan Roberts with Punx’y Phil in Barclay Square. (Photo by

- Continued on next page Carole Roberts)

Happy Groundhog Day!

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Daily Hours 10-4 p.m. except WeD. & sun. If you are an adult going to the Knob for the first time, the best advice is to dress warm and join the fun. The Knob, however, is no place for small children. (From Hometown magazine photo files)

Going to the Knob Continued from previous page

great time. And on the slim chance that we don’t, well, at least I’ll have a story to write. I am not going to Gobbler’s Knob unprepared. I consulted the experts — seasoned pros, if you will, three individuals who have experienced Groundhog Day on the front lines. Michele Neal, Marlene Lellock, and Bill Anderson had great advice for anyone trekking up to the Knob in the wee hours of February 2. Michele is the current Groundhog Day Events Coordinator, while Marlene Lellock, from the Chamber of Commerce, is a former GHD Events Coordinator. Bill Anderson is an emeritus member of the Groundhog Club who has been involved in Groundhog Day celebrations for the past 30 years. When it comes to GHD preparations, these three know what to do. If you are going to Gobbler’s Knob for the first time, just as I am, a few key items are important to remember. Bill Anderson started off by advising, “Everyone should know the weather forecast for Saturday morning before Phil exits his stump. If you are an adult, and going to the Knob for the first time, the best advice is to dress warm and join the fun. Nature and outdoor lovers can certainly dive in to this hearty adventure. But, if your idea of the great outdoors is walking across the mall parking lot, it’s best to stay at home. It can be an absolutely great experience,

however, for the number of people attending makes it a memorable event.” Hmm…I’m kind of in between the outdoor lover and the mall parking lot person, so I think I’ll be okay. “We tell ‘first-timers’ to do their homework!” recommended Marlene Lellock. Visitors need “to read over the

information about attending, check out the schedule of events to see everything there is to do, and get familiar with the layout of the town and where the shuttle bus stops are. And, above all, have fun!” The complete schedule of events, map of the town and Groundhog Day information appears in this edition of Hometown magazine in a special 2008

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While Phil has a fur coat, he advises all others to dress warm when coming to the Knob. (From Hometown magazine photo files)

Michele Neal also gave me some helpful hints. “If you are going to the Knob for the first time, I have two suggestions,” Michele stated. “First, dress in layers. You will be outside for an extended period of time, and keeping warm is key. Don’t forget a comfortable, warm pair of boots. Second, make sure you are on a Knob bus by 5:30 a.m. Buses only run until 6:30 a.m., and you don’t want to be left behind.” Both are great suggestions, and I plan to dress appropriately. Bill also suggested bringing hand warmers. As for bringing my children, I can’t say for sure what I will do. One thing I’ve learned about being a parent is that I need to be flexible and sometimes that means that I don’t know what the exact plan is until the time comes to execute it. So, as I often wind up saying to my children anyway, “We’ll see.” If you are thinking about bringing children, consider what the authorities had to say. “You should know that there is not any shelter there,” stated Michele Neal, “and you will be outside the entire time. There is standing room only. So, make sure you are in the family section, and make sure you dress them warmly.” Marlene and Bill both agreed that Gobbler’s Knob isn’t the place for small children. Marlene stated, “We encourage families, but we caution them that being outdoors in frigid temperatures for several hours is tough for infants and toddlers. There is no building at the Knob to take young children inside from the cold, so we feel it's best to leave them at home.” Bill went on to say, “There is plenty going on in town after Phil’s prognostication for them to enjoy. And, when you do bring your children, avoid getting too close to the action. Most everyone who goes to the Knob wants to be up front, as close to the entertainment and Phil as possible. But, this is not where you want to be with your kids. Years ago, my family was positioned behind the fence which surrounds the stump. The crowd was so large, they were literally crushing my young children against the wooden rails. The best place to be with children - continued on page 8

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From a membership of six in its first year in 1899, the popularity and attendance at the late summer Hunt and Feasts became so large that a meeting of the Groundhog “faithful” was called, and it was determined that measures would be taken to form a corporation and elect officials and committees to “direct its destines.”

Over 300 disciples of Br’er Groundhog were present at the Hunt and Feast on September 19, 1907, with about sixty posing for history (above). (From Hometown magazine photo files)

Hunting and Eating Groundhogs

By S. Thomas Curry of Hometown magazine roundhog Day again, and the eyes of the world will be on Punxsutawney at Gobbler’s Knob. For some people — and their records — it will be for the 122nd time. It can be said for certain that the early German settlers who migrated to this region from eastern Pennsylvania were caught up in the annual sightings of “the groundhog” to determine the length of winter for six more weeks or to expect an early spring, according to the tradition of their forefathers. Old-timers in the early twentieth century in this section would often recall their grandparent’s stories about spotting a groundhog and reporting the results of the shadow, whether long and thin, wide and


The Morsels of a Legend

dark (“blacker than a coal mine,” some would say) or just a glimmer of a shadow. And maybe no shadow at all. One native of these parts, in the 1930s, made a claim that his step-grandfather, Squire John Drum, the “first burgomaster of Punxsutawney” (comparable to a mayor), started the Groundhog tradition in the early 1800s after he settled here in 1831. The folklore of the groundhog and its shadow was firmly established in the lives of many of the early German families. There was no organized ceremony then, however, to publicize the observations. There were no newspapers yet in the small settlements in the Mahoning Valley. By the late 1860s, the earliest newspapers in Punxsutawney would publish a brief state-

ment, if there was one, concerning Groundhog Day. The formal observation of the groundhog on February 2 can be attributed to the group of men in Punx’y in the late nineteenth century that formed what would be called “The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.” That small group would picnic annually in the fall and feast on groundhog. From the initial hunt and feast in 1899, the club evolved and later made the annual journey each February to a place called the Weather Works on Canoe Ridge, a few miles outside town, to make a pronouncement to the world through telegraph and telephone to reach friends, and the big city newspapers, too. A few years later that special spot would be called Groundhog Knob and then

Gobbler’s Knob. Beginning in 1902, the September Groundhog Hunt and Feast became a widely publicized event that attracted prominent men from throughout the eastern United States, especially Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Buffalo and Rochester, and other financial and cultural centers where Punx’y men of area businesses and industries made deals. By September 1914, the announcement for the outing claimed, “Each year the Groundhog Feast and Hunt takes on a more national aspect. Time was when it was the biggest feast east of the Mississippi, but it has within recent years come into its own as the most celebrated of the years’ feasts, from coast to coast and from the lakes to the gulf.”

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Hunting Groundhogs Continued from previous page It was a great opportunity to spread word of the local legend of Groundhog Day. The autumn “fair weather banquet” in the outdoors called men “to gather round the official weatherworks and fix up a weather schedule for the six weeks following February 2,” that day usually a blustery cold and snowy day. The reports of these gatherings of men claimed attendance in the hundreds: 500, 600, and on to 1,000. Each year, more men, young and old, would learn about the legend of Groundhog Day through the hunts and feasts of fricasseed groundhogs. Their experience of good times in Punx’y was shared with friends and fellow workers with more lasting value than any printed




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The September Groundhog Hunt and Feast became a widely publicized event that attracted prominent men from throughout the eastern United States, including Elbert Green Hubbard (right) who joined other dignitaries in digging for groundhogs 1n 1906. Hubbard was a famous American writer, publisher, artist, philosopher, and was an influential exponent of the Arts and Crafts movement. (From Hometown magazine photo files)

word. All that was required of those attending the hunt and feast was the ability to use a mattock and shovel in the hunt to dig out and gather the groundhogs from their underground burrow of tunnels. The burrow was more than a hole or stump as often depicted. The groundhogs would be skinned and cooked for the late afternoon feast by popular chef Harry Beatty, who, after many years as a cook at area lumber camps, was the steward of the Punxsutawney Elks Club. His specialty was fricasseed groundhog, which, we understand, is meat cut into pieces,

browned lightly and served in its own gravy stock. A news report for the 1908 outing mentioned, “…camp (was set up) near a big spring which welled up in the center of a pretty grove and at the foot of Groundhog Knob. A huge fire-place was erected, kettles and frying pans were brought from the supply wagons and Chef Beatty and his assistants whetted up their skinning knives.” Before the table was prepared with cooked groundhog, chicken, corn from the nearby farms, and Groundhog Punch, the - continued on next page

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Hunting Groundhogs Continued from previous page men were entertained with eloquent speeches by invited orators and other guests, and by music from soloists, men’s quartettes or an ensemble of men who formed a German-style band. It was common, as strange as it may sound, for roasted groundhog to be a part of many meals and gatherings of people in those days of the nineteenth century and early 1900s. In 1909, during Punxsutawney’s great gala of Old Home Week, Pennsylvania’s Governor Edwin S. Stuart was among many dignitaries attending the special banquet on the day designated as Groundhog Day during the week. The governor’s schedule for that day was the review and inspection of Troop D in the afternoon, and his review of passing floats around the theme of weather in the mammoth parade. On that Friday evening, it was planned to have “500 groundhogs devoured by 400 invited guests with the governor at the formal dinner at 10 o’clock. The meal of

Clymer Freas, city editor of the Punx’y newspaper, advanced the growing Groundhog Day tradition and maintained that the weather for the next six weeks succeeding February 2 was manufactured at Gobbler’s Knob. (From Hometown magazine photo files)

‘woodchuck roast, fried chicken, groundhog punch and all of the other delicacies of the season’ would be prepared by a professional caterer from Pittsburgh and served in the East End Auditorium Rink by 75 of Punxsutawney’s most charming and gracious women and girls.” (The Rink was


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the former East Mahoning Street Opera House and was used for skating and as a basketball court in the early years of that sport.) Prior to the prestigious banquet, the editor of the Harrisburg Patriot questioned the notion of feeding Governor Stuart “gamey” groundhog meat from the wilds of Punxsutawney fields and hills. Various newspaper reports following the festive evening laid doubts about the quality of the groundhog prepared and served by the outof-town chefs. But, following Old Home Week, the meal prepared by local Chef Beatty at the annual Hunt and Feast for that summer of 1909 was praised in a news story with the assuring words, “The groundhog as a delicious morsel was vindicated.” Before the Old Home Week celebration, the novelty associated with the name of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club led to an invitation for its members to visit New York City and introduce the groundhog dish to a banquet at the Waldorf Hotel. The invitation read, in part, “New Yorkers would be glad to entertain the members of so famous an organization...and the name of Punxsutawney will be world-wide.” The club accepted and visited the big city in September with “luscious woodchucks” and would let New York City “and the rest of the world know that there is such a place as Punxsutawney ... and that it wants to be known for something else than ... coal.” And as time passed, the message of Punxsutawney as the Weather Capital of the World was passed on. The recipes for sumptuous groundhog meals and feasts

had been passed on, too. While Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney has become popular over the years as a joyous moment in the middle of winter, the tradition and heritage of groundhog dinners has been shunned. Will someday our annual summer Groundhog Festival in July or the latesummer Groundhog Hunt and Feast in September announce some special features of fried woodchuck, roasted woodchuck or stewed woodchuck? Will one of our future specialty eating places in our downtown be adding woodchuck soup, woodchuck patties, or woodchuck in tomato sauce to our dining pleasure? I have some recipes. You provide the groundhogs. •••


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Going to the Knob

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when going to the Knob is on the left side as you face the Knob, and back from the action.” Expectations for Groundhog weekend are pretty high this year since it is on a weekend. The crowd will be large (expected to be about 30,000) but, as Marlene said, “We hope that everything goes smoothly, and it should since we’ve got a pretty good handle on GHD after all these years!” And Michele seems to feel the same way. “We hope that everyone just remembers to treat each other with kindness.” Visitors to Punxsutawney who have seen the movie Groundhog Day may


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If you are planning on going to the Knob Saturday morning to see Phil, make sure you are on a Knob bus by 5:30 a.m. Buses only run until 6:30 a.m., and you don’t want to be left behind. (From Hometown magazine photo files)

have a different set of expectations altogether. Bill Anderson added, “For those coming the first time, there is little they can do to get any feel as to what Groundhog Day is like in Punxsutawney. Any preconceived notion they may have about the Groundhog Day experience will immediately by dashed when a newcomer sets foot out of their car. Scenes from the movie, such as portraying a sweet little get-together in the park, are what most first-timers envision. It is completely the opposite. The best approach is to just go with the crowd, go with the flow and enjoy the moment.” After consulting with these veteran Knob organizers, I know what I need to do. It really comes down to dressing warmly, being prepared, and having the right attitude. It is going to be an interesting GHD. I have no doubt about that. “Groundhog Day is always special when it falls on a weekend,” said Bill Anderson. “Punxsutawney will again be inundated with tens of thousands of people who will want to take a winter break and come to see Phil. It is exciting for our town, and all the events should be well-attended. Everyone should do their share in joining the members of the Groundhog Club who work so hard in greeting the people and making them feel welcome.” Marlene Lellock had a few parting thoughts: “As usual, Michele Neal has done a fabulous job in developing events and coordinating all the events put on by the Chamber as well as other


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3 Know the forecast before you leave and prepare accordingly. 3 Dress in layers. 3 Wear a pair of warm, comfortable boots. 3 Bring hand and feet warmers. 3 Know where to meet shuttle buses: Alley off W. Mahoning St. beside McDonald's Downtown, County Market in the Groundhog Plaza ( along Route 119 coming from the North), Wal-Mart (along Route 119 coming from the South), Punxsy Plaza (along West Mahoning Street). 3 Departures begin at 3 a.m. and run approximately every 15 minutes. 3 Bring money for the shuttle: $5.00 per person or $10.00 for family. 3 Check out these websites: or for more information. Have fun and enjoy the day’s activities!  groups in town. Those with February 2 birthdays do not want to miss Phil's Birthday Celebration.” New this year – the celebration/information tent in Barclay Square -- should be a stop, as there will be some fun entertainment and things to do inside there. Also in Barclay Square is Groundhog Day in the Park with metalworking, chainsaw carving, food, vendors and more. I will certainly make every effort to do as much as I can to get the full-tilt-allon-Groundhog Day experience at Gobbler’s Knob. Who knows? Maybe this will be the start of an annual tradition for our family. It could happen. For those of you going to Gobbler’s Knob on the 2nd, enjoy, stay warm, and have fun! •••

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Br’er Groundhog Finds His Home in Punxsutawney

The Story of a Cartoon Character that Made Punx’y Famous By Bill Anderson of Hometown magazine


ith its autumn Hunts and Feasts recognized in the early 1900s in Punxsutawney — and across the Eastern seaboard — as a peculiar community event (see related story in this issue), the Groundhog Club promoted and advanced the exposure until accompanying

the world identifies with it now – would not exist. To most people today, Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney are one and the same. The Groundhog Club has seen its image successfully evolve over the past century from “Groundhog roaster” to “Groundhog toaster.” The leap from “the town of the Groundhog Hunts and Feasts” to “Weather Capital of the World, Home

so in his “Coon Hollow” comic strip that featured the escapades of wildlife characters that made the Pittsburgh paper popular throughout western Pennsylvania and Punxsutawney. Payne, who later wrote about his career and association with the

tory: “Colonel” Charles M. Payne was a prominent newspaper cartoonist for the Pittsburgh newspapers in the early part of the twentieth century. Payne was the first to portray an image of “Br’er Groundhog, Weather Prophet” and did

- Continued on next page


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Pittsburgh newspaper cartoonist Charlie Payne, after attending Punx’y’s Groundhog Hunt and Feast in 1902, officially placed Br’er Groundhog in Punxsutawney for the first time and laid the foundation for Punx’y to become the Weather Capital of the World. It was Payne who first portrayed the Groundhog with a top hat and umbrella in his cartoon strip ‘Coon Hollow.’ (From the files of Hometown magazine)

Punxsutawney became the official home of the Weather Prophet, Punx’y Phil. The history and tradition of Groundhog Day developed through centuries and evolved from a variety of sources. If not for the early groundhog hunters, however, Groundhog Day – as

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of Punx’y Phil” would never have occurred without happenstances as odd as the Groundhog legend itself. The story of Punx’y Phil has entertaining interpretations. Here is an episode, one of those strange circumstances in the story of Phil and the subsequent note it made in our town’s his-

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Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008 – 9


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Br’er Groundhog Continued from previous page Groundhog, explained how — because of his comic strip — Br’er Groundhog and the celebration of Groundhog Day came to Punxsutawney. “[T]he Oliver family sold out to U.S. Steel and bought The Gazette and The Times and combined them in to the (Pittsburgh) Gazette-Times and ‘raided’ other papers for the best newspaper features,” Payne penned. “They ‘stole’ me from the Chronicle Telegraph, which by the way, they also bought later. Syndicated Sunday comics had not been invented then so I made our own. I called my comic page ‘Coon Hollow Folks.’”

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Br’er Groundhog greets weatherman Prof. Frank Ridgway, Chief of the United States Signal Service for Western Pennsylvania, at the 1905 Groundhog Hunt and Feast. Cartoonist Charlie Payne is credited with making Punxsutawney the official home of the weather-forecasting Groundhog through his Pittsburgh newspaper ‘Coon Hollow’ cartoon strip. (From the files of Hometown magazine)

Leading characters in the animalbased comic strip were Pop and Johnny Bear and Br’er Wolf, a villain. “Naturally, I thought of Br’er Groundhog because I had (used him) on Groundhog Day.” Payne first used “Br’er Groundhog, Weather Prophet” on Groundhog Day, 1902. Although the cartoon did portray the strip’s groundhog as “weather prophet,” he was not associated with Punxsutawney. That same year, the Punx’y newspaper, The Spirit, had not yet made the connection between February 2 and Punxsutawney. It referred to Groundhog Day that year as “the great American holiday.” Payne continued, “Next I heard that Punxsutawney fellows were having a

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See You at the Knob!

- Continued on next page

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10 – Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008

Br’er Groundhog Continued from previous page

big Groundhog Day and hunt and they sent me an invitation as the top guest (to attend the fourth annual Groundhog Hunt and Feast, September 1902). “I went up there with John Cowan, a writer, and got a great reception. We did the Punxsutawney Groundhog Day hunt in a big way for the Gazette-Times. In the evening we went to some lodge rooms and were initiated into the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.” Following his induction into the Groundhog Club, Colonel Payne returned to Pittsburgh. Grateful for the reception he received here, he quickly thanked his hosts by giving Punx’y valuable exposure in the large city newspaper by introducing “Br’er Groundhog, Punxsutawney” to his comic strip friends on September 14. Br’er Groundhog was pictured wearing a straw hat, overcoat, boots, and he was carrying a folded umbrella under his arm and a suitcase labeled, “Br’er Groundhog, Punxsutawney.” It was the first connection between Payne’s February 2, Weather-Prophet cartoon character Br’er Groundhog and Punxsutawney. Payne then included a major change the following week. On September 21, 1902, for the first time, the Groundhog was sporting a felt stovepipe hat, which is now the traditional image of Phil and his Inner Circle followers. Br’er Groundhog of Punxsutawney became a regular in the Pittsburgh newspaper comic strip feature. On Groundhog Day the following year (1903), Payne’s cartoon of February 1 referred to the Punxsutawney Groundhog as “Weather Maker.” With that one cartoon, the institution of the Groundhog Club grew in prestige. Two days later, on February 4, 1903, the Punxsutawney Spirit printed, “The little beast saw his silhouette reflected on the brown earth, chuckled malignantly, and scrambled back into his burrow. The groundhog, having been made light of by the Pittsburgh Gazette, is greatly chagrined…” It was the first time that Punxsutawney allied itself with a local Groundhog. The Pittsburgh Gazette subsequently claimed, “All the apostles of good weather look upon Punxsutawney as their capital … Here is the official resi-

dence of the Groundhog… In short, Punxsutawney is the seat of the weather works.” The weather-forecasting Groundhog found his home in Punxsutawney and was now exporting the town’s chief commodity, weather, for the next six weeks. As the years passed, Colonel Charles Payne attended his last Groundhog Hunt and Feast in 1916, Br’er Groundhog changed his name to Punx’y Phil, the Groundhog Club continued to celebrate its annual Hunt and Feast in September and the nation — and most of the world — is entertained each February 2 by the magic in the legend that was brought to life in the “Coon Hollow” cartoons over one hundred years ago. •••

PHIl SAYS, “11 more weeks of tax season!”

We live here. We work here. We play here. We invest here.

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Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008 – 11

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(Editor’s Note: ‘From Our Past,’ researched by S. Thomas Curry, features items of interest from past editions of Punxsutawney and area newspapers.) January 4, 1888 — In regard to the gum chewing habit, which is alluring so many of our good and beautiful young women

into the yawning vortex of despair, Bill Nye remarks: “It interferes with a clear, nasal enunciation, and when one goes to bed with gum in the mouth it is too apt to be stuck on the headboard of the bed where it mars the symmetry of the furniture and takes off the varnish. You seem to accomplish so little in chewing gum.

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12 – Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008

January 11, 1899 — One of the hills around town has been given a new name. When announcing a cottage prayer meeting last Sunday, Rev. Dodds did not know any convenient name to give the location of George Hennigh’s residence than to say he lived on “Hospital Hill.” That name is appropriate enough since the new hospital has been built, but when we boys spent many happy days coasting on that hill we knew it only as “Jenks Hill.” Now we have Hospital Hill, Sauerkraut Hill and Gobbler’s Knob. (Punxsutawney News) (Editor’s Note: The hospital in question was the Adrian Hospital, moved to Punxsutawney from Adrian Mines and built in 1898.) January 12, 1887 — Coasting is fine sport, but then there is much danger connected with it. A number of youthful lives have been lost already this winter by the too reckless manner of coasting. When a boy lies flat down upon his sled and uses his head for a “bumper,” he must look out for the consequences. Don’t be reckless, boys. (The Valley News)



Chew, dear one, as long as you may. Man gets weary at the set of sun, but you cannot fatigue a cud of gum.” (Punxsutawney Spirit)

February 3, 1870 — GROUND-HOG DAY - Believers in this sign can prepare for an abundance of cold weather, for yesterday was a sunshiny day, which would afford the ground-hog a delightful opportunity to see its shadow if it ventured out. (Punxsutawney Plaindealer) February 8, 1906 — A young man by the name of Mottern did some gastronomical stunts at an uptown restaurant several nights ago that gives him the record, undisputed and unenviable. At one sitting he stowed away three pounds of cheese, one pie, four plates of raw oysters and, presumably as a relish, several limburger sandwiches. (Big Run Tribune) •••

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Visiting Fairlady and Company  spaghettI A New Treasure in Town sauCe

By Carole Milton Roberts of Hometown magazine nside the doors of Fairlady and Company are treasures to be found, baubles to be worn, and soft, cushy blankets in which to be buried on a cold winter’s day. But, there is more, much more. Like many people in town, I have been curious about this place ever since I saw the construction going on last spring and summer. It became even more intriguing when the green awnings were unrolled and the brown paper was put up to cover


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the windows. I was one of the curious onlookers trying to sneak a peek through the windows one Saturday morning while walking through town. When I finally got the chance to go into Fairlady and Company, it was for the debut weekend in November. I wanted to check out Beverly Fairman, owner and the place operator of Fairlady and while my Company, enjoys meeting customers as they visit the store. d a u g h t e r Olivia want(Photo by Carole Roberts) ed to see the girls from Van Dyke and Company who were on hand to dance inside Fairlady to promote the Nutcracker. So, after a trip to the library, Olivia and I strolled through town and made our way to Fairlady and Company. My daughter and I both loved the dancing, but I was left wishing I had more time to look at the merchandise on display without a little hand tugging on my sleeve and a little voice pleading with me to go back to the spot where the stuffed animals were locat-

- Continued on next page

Sam Smith - State Representative -

Happy Groundhog Day! See you at the Knob!

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Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008 – 13

Cakes N Catering Visiting Fairlady Continued from previous page

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ed. I was glad when it came time to do this story. Once I entered the doors of Fairlady and Company for the second time, I found all kinds of potential gifts, not to mention a few things I’d like to call my own. I saw a stuffed deer puppet my son would adore, a Christmas ornament in the shape of a chili pepper that would be perfect for my sister-in-law’s birthday, and exquisite bowls and platters in different shapes, styles, and colors. Crystal that anyone could take home and really use was displayed in a cabinet made by Mike Skarbek and I’m not sure which I wanted to take home more, the crystal or the cab-

Purses, bags, and scarves can be found inside the cabinets at Fairlady and Company. (Photo by Carole Roberts)

Happy Groundhog Day from everyone at


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inet. I had a nice visit with Beverly Fairman as she told me about how Fairlady and Company came to be. Along with her two nieces, Michelle and Leslie, Beverly opened Fairlady and Company this past November. These ladies had been playing with the idea of opening a business for three years. They wanted to create a place to work that would also fill a need in town. Many of the ideas for the place came from Michelle, who, according to Beverly, has a “feel for art.” After many discussions, Beverly and her nieces came up with the idea of Fairlady. It is a place where you can find gifts for all kinds of occasions, weddings, showers, birthdays, holidays, etc. It is more than just a gift shop, however. Inside you can find antiques, specialty soaps and bath products, bedding, purses, scarves, and artwork in the form of original paintings, photography, pottery, and jewelry. And you just might find someone playing an acoustic guitar while you browse through the store. Not only that, but Fairlady and Company is also a place to come and visit just to walk around and see what’s been done to the building architecturally, and Beverly invites the public to do so. “We would love for people to come in and take a look around to see what we’ve done,” she stated. The former John A. Weber building has changed in many ways, but the historical integrity of the space was an important consideration and concern for Beverly. Once the ladies decided on what kind of business they wanted to open, they began - Continued on next page

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14 – Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008

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Visiting Fairlady Continued from previous page

looking at real estate. They looked at six different locations in town, but as Beverly put it, “We loved everything about this place. We liked the history of it, we wanted a place that had tenants (which this does), and we liked the fact that it had an

boxed in as part of the wall. Once uncovered, those pillars were incorporated into the design of the open room downstairs. “Michelle did a lot of research on stores en-vogue at the time it [the building] was originally built,” said Beverly, “and we wanted to preserve the features that we could.” For example, the tin ceiling that you see in the store now is the original with the exception of the black paint. In July, that tin ceiling was sandblasted so that it could be repainted, but, in order to prevent the tin from rusting, it had to be painted quickly. Templates of original moldings upstairs were made in order to create replicas for the main floor, and original lighting fixtures upstairs served as models for replacement lighting on the main

floor. “We really wanted people to feel like they were getting a shopping experience here,” stated Beverly, who along with her nieces has been collecting antiques and artwork to sell in the store for the last three years. “One of the primary components of the store is that we wanted to be able to showcase local artists. There are so many people [locally] doing wonderful things,” said Beverly, “and one of our ideas was to have wholesale and consignment art available to the public. I really like the local bent to it. It’s nice to be able to say, ‘this was made in town’ or close to the area.” Beverly is always on the lookout for new artwork. Occasionally, artists will

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open third floor for storage or possible expansion. We were simply tickled with the idea of making it our own.” That is exactly what they did. The former Weber building housed many businesses over the years, but it was most notably a men’s store that Ted Swartz ran for nearly fifty years. Beverly worked with P.J. Smochek of APEX Building and Design to create the space that it is today. “P.J. and his crew took over in March of 2007, and it was ready for our opening on November 1,” stated Beverly. When they first went into the building, Keith Covert, Michelle’s husband, lifted up tiles from the drop ceiling to discover that the original tin ceiling was still intact. Not only that, but they discovered pillars original to the building which had been

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Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008 – 15

Complete Groundhog Day Guide online for Groundhog Weekend By Bill Anderson of Hometown magazine o you know of someone coming to town this weekend for Groundhog Day? If so, you will want to have them check out the complete and official edition of “Groundhog Day, 2008” online before they come to ensure their visit to Punxsutawney is enjoyable. The complete guide is online at


The 16-page edition that is also inside this issue of Hometown magazine includes the complete schedule of events and entertainment, a map of Punx’y, tips for going to the Knob, and important information such as bus stops, dining guide, and more! “Everyone is now able to read the digital edition of Groundhog Day 2008 quickly and easily,” according to Mary Roberts, co-publisher of the magazine. The guide is a valuable resource for

out-of-towners coming to Punx’y. “A trip to Punxsutawney requires advance planning,” Roberts explained. “All the information for a successful trip is included in the online edition. Punxsutawney residents should let their out-of-town friends know of the online edition before they come to town.” The pages of the Groundhog Day 2008 edition appear in their entirety online.

Pages can be enlarged for easy reading and the digital edition can be downloaded to a personal computer. The gray menu bar appearing above the pages allows the reader of the online edition to scroll through the pages and enlarge them to obtain all of the information. To access Hometown magazine online, users must have a current Web browser for their PC or Macintosh. • • •

The complete official ‘Groundhog Day, 2008’ edition can be found online at:

Tell your out-of-town friends to check it out before coming to Punx’y 16 – Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008

Visiting Fairlady Continued from page 15

visit the store and customers can speak to the creators. “Even if somebody just comes in to admire the art on display in the store, then we’ve accomplished part of our goal and why we wanted to be here,” Beverly concluded. Beverly added that the store has “exceeded my expectations and that really speaks to the ability and talent of P.J. Smochek and Mike Skarbek. Response from the general public and community has been positive as well. I am overwhelmed with the incredible support of the community, and I want to thank everyone who has come in to support us. Everyone has been so kind and heartwarming.” Marlene Lellock from the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce stated, “The purchase of the Mahoning and Findley building by Beverly Fairman and the subsequent opening of Fairlady and Company has been yet another positive development for our Downtown, following on the heels of the announcement of IUP's Fairman Centre and the opening of several other new businesses over the past year. Our downtown is becoming a destination as it was many years ago.” When asked what she liked most about the business, Beverly replied, “I enjoy talking to the customers and seeing people that are home for the holidays. I am enjoying it. I am having fun with the process of watching the business grow. I never had retail on my radar twenty-five

years ago which just shows that you never know where you’ll end up. Also, I have to say that the girls (Leslie and Michelle) have been great. Leslie has been my right hand. She is very astute with computers. She is very patient and can give me information on what’s trendy with her age group. She’s worked hard to get me through the busy holiday season. She’s been wonderful.” Fairlady and Company sponsored a jewelry-making event with Terri Dunkel recently. Dunkel set up crystals, beads, and other jewelry-making supplies. Patrons then chose the materials and items they wanted in order for Terri to create one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry for them. Other events like this may be in the works. For Groundhog Day, Dunkel will be back to do portraits. As I was ready to part with Beverly, she had a final thought for readers, “Before leaving town to go shopping, remember the resources that are right here in town.” Marlene Lellock responded in a similar fashion. “Anyone who hasn't visited our newest store should make a point to stop there soon. The products carried by Fairlady and Company are not those you'd find elsewhere in town.” Lellock went on to say, “In fact, you might save yourself a trip out of town by stopping to see if they have it first! Actually, that rule applies to all our businesses - see if you can find it in Punxsutawney before you spend the gas money and time to go outside the community.” Hopefully, I’ll be shopping at Fairlady and Company for years to come. •••


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Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008 – 17

Naming the Punx’y High School Mascot  The Story Behind the ‘Chucks’

By S. Thomas Curry of Hometown magazine or many folk, Groundhog Day on February 2 has become a popular celebration and activity that breaks up the bleak days of colder temperatures and shortened daylight hours occurring after the comforts of fall and before the promise of spring. This is especially so in the regions of the northern hemisphere. Oh, what to do during those days? There are, of course, many occupations that require the worker to be in the outdoors


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despite the weather conditions to be prognosticated by the famous woodchuck in Punxsutawney. There would also be some winter activities popular with the hardy individual who loved the outdoor world. In the past, as true today, some men would take to the woods to hunt, and if there was a long cold spell, the creeks and ponds would freeze to permit ice skating and ice hockey by boys. With snow, the hills would be prepared for tobogganing. Roads and fields would invite sleigh rides. Whether young or old, the winter months

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forced most people of the land indoors to a Theatre on North Findley Street was life of little physical activity. For the active opened in 1905. The abandoned opera person there was a period of “emptiness” house building was also an indoor skating between the close of the football season in rink, and when basketball games were the fall and the opening of the baseball seascheduled the skating was discontinued so son in the spring. teams could practice and play. The large Locally, some indoor activity would be hall was unheated and cold for the young provided with men interested in the help of the playing. Showers Young Men’s were not a feature Christian of the old hall, but Association that didn’t deter (YMCA) organany of the particiized in the pants. 1890s in The popularity The Punx’y. of the game led to “Y” sought to the formation of a provide “human basketball league improvement” in November through mental, 1906 among social, spiritual Y M C A and physical Associations in conditioning. the area. Girls When the also were organYMCA opened ized and trained to its new building play basketball in on North girls‚ gymnastic Findley Street in classes of the 1909, they YMCA. could bring to The beginning the area a new of basketball for gymnasium for boys (and girls) in a program of the local high c a l i s t h e n i c s , Basketball, invented in 1891 as an indoor sport by Dr. school athletic James Naismith (above), was introduced to Punxsutawney gymnastics and in the early 20th century at the same time Groundhog Day program was drills, and the was beginning to become popularized with the efforts of the started in 1908 newest of Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. when Frank S. “recreational Jackson was prinsports,” the game of basketball. cipal, and active in the organization of the By most accounts, this newest of games in Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic the United States was introduced in 1891 Association (PIAA). by Dr. James Naismith while he was a 31Although there were teams before 1908 year-old student at a YMCA training school that bore the “high school” name, those in Massachusetts. Basketball would be teams frequently had players on it who introduced into Punxsutawney in the early were not even in high school. In those 1900s through a renewed interest in the early years, the teams merely played games YMCA program by a new generation of with whatever teams could be found in area prominent young businessmen. towns, instead of in a regular league schedBefore the expansive three-story “Y” ule. building on North Findley Street was built, The start of an official Punxsutawney with its gym, the game of basketball was High School athletic team should be creditplayed on an empty lot on East Union ed to the boys’ basketball team of 1908 that Street at South Penn Street as a part of the was 100 per cent high school boys. program. In the winter, basketball was Usually, though, the first official team in played in the old Opera House building that high school sports is marked after the - Continued on next page became available after the new Jefferson

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through this area on the Shamokin Path from the east. For many years after 1926, until the media tagged the famous Punxsutawney Seer of Seers, Sage of Sage, and Weather P r o p h e t Extraordinary as “Punxsutawney Phil,” local news reports about Groundhog Day forecasts referred to the world’s prognosticator as “the Chuck.” “C-H-U-C-K-S! We are the Chucks!” is so much easier to scream in enthusiastic, competitive cheers than to call out “G-RO-U-N-D-H-ODuring the early years of the 20th century the high school sports teams were referred to as “P.H.S. team” or “Punx’y High School.” During G-S! We are the 1926-27, the basketball team wore an image of the woodchuck on their jersey and began to be called “the Chucks.” (From Hometown Groundhogs!” magazine photo files) (Editor’s Note: This story is in worldwide as the Home of The Groundhog, response to a question asked by an out-ofand local sports writers were beginning to town news reporter before the 2007 call the Punxsutawney teams “the Groundhog Day. The inquiry was forwardGroundhog team,” “the Groundhog gang,” Continued from previous ed to this writer when others could not “the Groundhog outfit,” or a more extenanswer the question, “When did the school sively used term, “the Groundhoggers.” organization of the PIAA in 1919. The teams begin to be called the Chucks?”) The first time a Punxsutawney High newspaper accounts of events in the early ••• School team was referred to as “the years of organChucks” in a newspaper report was the first ized high basketball game of the 1926-27 school school sports year, a game against Curwensville on the (basketball, Friday night of December 18, 1926. track and field The boys’ basketball uniforms for the seaand football) son would bear the image of the groundhog simply called on the front. Gradually, the tag of “the the teams Groundhogs” would be replaced with “the “Punx’y High Chucks” from 1927 and on. In 1928, the School,” PHS Athletic Association introduced the “P.H.S. team,” Chuck as a mascot; that is, a real-live, tame or, “the High woodchuck. The Chuck would appear at Team.” home games and accompany football and Through pubbasketball teams at away trips for the 1928licity efforts by 29 season. the Punx’y With Punxsutawney becom- G r o u n d h o g The term woodchuck, of course, is anothing identified worldwide as er name for groundhog, as is the word Club in the “the Town of the whistlepig. “Woodchuck” is thought to Groundhog,” sports teams in early decades town and with the high of the twentihave its origin in the Native American word school were often tagged as eth “oijik,” or “wojak” of the Delaware tribe century, the “groundhog team” or that settled in the eastern region of the “groundhoggers,” later the Punxsutawney North-American continent and traveled became known “Chucks.”

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Are we all networked out? By Gina kim for Hometown magazine ou already MySpace. You're LinkedIn. Your slobbery canine even has a page on Dogster. But how many online social networks can you be on before it makes life too complicated? Four, says Beth Simas, 24, a graduate student at the University of California, Davis, who is a member of LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and inCircle, a community for Santa Clara University alumni.


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"I don't even keep up with the ones I'm in. I rarely log on to all four during the month — it just takes too much time," says Simas. If we aren't already cyber-networked out, we're hitting online networking fatigue as we navigate the plethora of new social sites dedicated to everything from divorce or paganism to firefighting or anime. "We've only got so much time in the day, and that's what it boils down to," says Fred Stutzman, a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina's School of Information and Library Science. "You want to be there with your friends, you want to hang out with them, but when there are so many social networks, we can't really meaningfully spend time there. And if you're not getting meaningful interactions, then it's not all that fun." It's only natural that social interactions today have moved to the Web, since 65 percent of Americans spend more time with their computers than with their significant others, according to a study by Kelton Research and The average visit to a social network site lasts more than 21 minutes, up from almost 15 minutes last year, according to Hitwise, an Internet measurement com-

pany. And that's not counting the number of times a person visits those sites in a day. "The purpose of social network sites is to hang out with your friends," says Danah Boyd, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. Teenagers visit each other online because parents keep them from seeing - Continued on page 23

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tion as simply "putting conversations on a page," and I don't pretend to be good at grammar.) But what I don't understand is how thousands of completely talentless people (again) turned out for the inaugural auditions for the new season of Fox's "American Idol," which hit the airwaves to great fanfare several weeks ago. Or rather, I do get it. It's our culture of self-esteem on steroids. Look, my kids and I love "American

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American Idol Continued from previous page

Idol." Two years ago I felt differently. I confess I thought it was a waste of time. But about halfway through that season, my daughter Madeleine, then barely 7, convinced me to take a look -- and I was hooked. Here was a real talent competition. Winners, losers and excellence all in

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the same show. Something the whole family could watch and enjoy. It was only the following season that I was treated to the early stages of what goes on at auditions before a handful of these folks hit Hollywood. Ouch. I certainly don't endorse Simon Cowan's way of completely denigrating these people. On the other hand, when those with horrific voices get up there on the national stage because they think they have talent that can take them to Hollywood, one wonders -- why did no one dare tell these folks they have no singing ability? This isn't the annual variety-show competition at the local grade school. Dreams are one thing. A few of these people have fantastic voices. Nightmares are another. I'm "tone impaired," but not "tone deaf." Who told these thousands of people who can't carry a tune any better than I can that they can sing? Was it the third-grade school teacher who had to convince every child what a wonderful singer he was? Was it the parent in the

middle grades who told his daughter she sounded terrific belting out a Karen Carpenter oldie? Was it the high-school choir leader who felt he had to say, "Wow -- great!" when it wasn't great at all? Did no one have the guts to say, "Stop -don't go on 'American Idol'; this is not your strength"? Or even, "You have a pleasant voice but not good enough for the big time"? Or did wanting the child to feel good whether or not he was doing good trump actually helping the child find his real strengths? That's what the self-esteem culture is about. "You can be anything you want to be" is its mantra. Only, that's ridiculous. I love the title of a book by Arthur Miller and William Hendricks, "Why You Can't Be Anything You Want to Be" (Zondervan, 1999). The point is, we are uniquely created with giftedness in certain areas and not in others. Helping our children find their gifts, and learn what they are not, is a blessing to them. I thought of this as Madeleine asked me not long ago if she had a good singing voice. She said, "Mom, don't lie to me if I don't. I don't want to end up making a fool of myself on 'American Idol' someday!" Good thinking. So, my answer? "Honey, I'm way too partial to you. I love your singing voice, and your enthusiasm, because you are my baby. So we'll have to ask someone else whether you have real talent." (Betsy Hart hosts the "It Takes a Parent" radio show on WYLL-AM 1160 in Chicago. Reach her through For more stories, visit •••

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Networked out Continued from page 20

each other in person as often as they would like, Boyd says. College students use sites like Facebook as a procrastination tool. And the highest online social network usage for adults is during weekdays, when they're supposed to be working, Boyd says. MySpace and Facebook continue to dominate social networking — MySpace maintains about 72 percent of the market share and Facebook holds 16 percent, says Heather Dougherty, director of research at Hitwise. Other social Web sites — such as Bebo, BlackPlanet, ClubPenguin, GaiaOnline, myYearbook, hi5, Classmates and Yahoo!360 — each claim about 1 percent or less of the market, she says. So, how do you decide where to spend your time? It's all about organizing your socializing, says Stutzman of the University of North Carolina. If John Foley were to look for a birthday present for his wife, he would click around, the social shopping site, and look for someone with a similar style for ideas on what to get, he says. The Web site is vertically focused and useful, not meant to compete with Web sites focused on "gratuitous communication," says Foley, who serves as the site's president. "People don't go to Pronto every day like they do Facebook, but they do go to Pronto when they're shopping, to see what people like," he says. But social networking simply to network still fulfills a purpose of staying connected — so connected that you know the minute your friends and acquaintances who live thousands of miles away update their profiles. "Five hundred friends, that's not real. But we can have 500 contacts, people we've met who can provide some sort of value at some time," Stutzman says. "And to be able to keep them a few mouse clicks away is interesting — it's social capital, and that's important for things like getting a job." While MySpace still commands the numbers, some believe users are letting their profiles idle there while moving to Facebook, which increased its market share last year by 51 percent (from almost 11 percent to more than 16 percent, while MySpace's went from 79 percent to 72 percent), according to Hitwise. That movement is much like how people change the regular bars they go to during their lives, says Harvard's Boyd. "You care more often than not about where your friends are than the bar itself. Social network sites look a lot like that," she says. The usefulness of MySpace didn't outweigh the time and effort it took to maintain the profile for Ila Zapanta of Sacramento. She deleted her profile a few weeks ago. "I just came to the point where for a while, I stopped using it and I realized I didn't miss it," she says. "It was too time consuming." (Contact Gina Kim at gkim@ (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, •••

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24 – Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008

A stress-free Valentine’s Day By Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore


hy is it that the day we're supposed to celebrate the person who makes us feel the most special ends up being the day that makes us feel the most stressed? What should I get my beloved? What will my sweetheart get me? Is this romantic enough? Should we go somewhere fancy or spend an intimate night in? Whatever the stresses are, it all usually ends up being about expectations, and whether you or your special someone meets them. What ends up on the sidelines is the reason for the holiday in the first place: Love. Alicia on "Managing expectations" Even though it may sound like you're angling for a better gift, bringing up Valentine's Day before the actual day can help get everyone on the same page as far as expectations. One of the ways to have a stress-free day is to share ideas about what you may want to do, be it if you want to go out to dinner or have a romantic night in, or setting a price limit of gifts. Phrasing is key: "What should we do for Valentine's Day?" Good. "What are you getting me for Valentine's Day?" Not so good. Sarah on "the Gift" A friend of mine once said, "For Valentine's Day, I get my wife the thing she really wanted but didn't get for Christmas." That's one not-so-romantic way to go about it. We prefer the idea of getting something you both can enjoy. Whether it's tickets to a concert, a couple's massage or something as simple as buying a nice bottle of wine to share, the fact that

you're spending time together doing something special is what true love is all about.

to avoid another Valentine's Day horror story, here are a few tips: 1. Keep It Simple

What are the things you keep as mementos of love? No, not chocolate, or flowers, or massage oils. (OK, maybe massage oils.) It's letters. Sometimes we forget this holiday is about our expression of love, and the simple act of telling your loved one how you feel will communicate your love more than a dozen roses ever could. The perfect gift? It's you.

2. His Valentine's Day Maybe we've seen too many movies, or read too many cards, but Valentine's Day seems like it's built around men showing their love to the women in their lives. By making the day a two-way street, you not only take some of the pressure off him, but you show him that you appreciate him just as much as he does you. 3. Schedule A Monthly Valentine's Day Why wait until Valentine's Day to show how much you love your partner? Take some of the stress off Feb. 14, and make the 14th of every month Valentine's Day. Plan a nice dinner, write a love note, exchange a list of the 10 things you love about the other person. Whatever it is, it's all about spending time together. We'd say make every day Valentine's Day, but, c'mon...who are we kidding? (The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to yourlife(at) For more columns, go to •••

Tips on buying diamonds By Anna Wallner and kristina Wallner FIne Living alentines Day is just weeks away and if you're thinking of popping t h e question on Feb. 14, it might be time to go diamond shopping. But this is a big purchase so it's obviously worth a little research before you hit the mall. Keep the following tips in mind when buying diamonds: • First and foremost, buy the stone, not the ring. Buying an unset stone will allow you to verify color, clarity and proportions in a way that simply can't be done when a stone is in


a setting. The yellow or white metal color of the setting will affect the color and appearance of the stone. And when parts of the diamond are covered with claws or a bezel, flaws may be hidden from both you and the salesperson. • Know the four Cs of diamond shopping: cut, color, carat clarity. and Cut refers to the way a diamond reflects light — its sparkle — and to the shape of the diamond. Color, is just t h a t . Diamonds range from absolutely colorless, and very expensive, to yellow or pink, which can also be expensive! Clarity is the flaws that every diamond has. From very, very slight flaws that - Continued on page 30

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Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008 – 25

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The value of one true friend W By Sharon Randall for Hometown magazine hen I saw her name on the email, I lit up like the candles on my last birthday cake, which is to say pretty darn

bright. I met Marilyn 26 years ago, when I took my first newspaper job as a file clerk in the library, an ink-smeared cave called "the morgue." Let me assure you, it was not called that for naught. If I had the dirtiest job in the newsroom, Marilyn had the worst — singlehandedly compiling TV listings into a weekly magazine, a job most newspapers have since replaced with, well, never mind. She worked harder than all the rest of us and she was really good at her job. I knew that at the start, as everybody said so, but I knew it a lot better after I became the "goat" who filled in for her on vacations or if, God forbid, she got sick. I prayed for her health like a house on fire, and for her vacations, that she would never take more than a week at once. It's not like she didn't train me. If I trained that hard for a marathon, I'd either hold the world record, or be dead. It was just a pitifully detailed, tedious job, which come to think of it, might also be said of motherhood. But given a choice between nursing babies and listing reruns for "Hee Haw," I'd pick human dairy any day. Enough about the job. The blessing in it was Marilyn. We became friends and remained so, even after she came back from vacation and had to clean up the mess I had made. After she retired, I missed her a lot, but I didn't miss doing her job. I still hear from her on occasion in cheery little emails, all perfectly edited, of course. This one was not so cheery. She wrote to tell me about a friend, her best friend, she said, since high school 50 years ago. Let's call her Nan. Marilyn described in detail her friend's predicament. Nan, she said, is going through "a very scary time," waiting for

insurance and doctors and other such "gods" to schedule a much needed, very serious abdominal surgery. Meanwhile, Nan is bedridden, flat on her back, in fear of bleeding or worse. And there are no guarantees of what the surgery will find. Marilyn knows that I've been in a few "scary places" myself, during the years when my late husband was battling cancer. She was hoping, she said, that I could write something for Nan to encourage her and help to ease her fears. And don't I wish that I could do that for my friend, Marilyn, as well as for her friend Nan? Truth is, I haven't much to offer. Aside from what Marilyn told me, I know very little about Nan. I've never met her, couldn't spot her in a crowd. I don't know what lifts her spirits, calms her fears, gives her hope, or where she turns when there is nowhere to turn. I cannot promise her that everything will be "all right;" I don't even know what "all right" means to her. All I can say with certainty is this: First, she is stronger than she knows, and she's about to find that out. It's always a surprise to look around and see that we're walking on water. Second, waiting is the hardest part. Grief is better than dread. If she can live in this moment — not the future or the past — she will have already won the fight. Finally, I can tell Nan that she is lucky, because in Marilyn she has, at least, one true friend. One true friend can be the cool side of the pillow. She can be the song for the road, the sword for the battle, the angel on your shoulder, the arm around your back. One true friend can make everything "all right." And I'm going to pray like a house on fire for them both. (Sharon Randall can be contacted at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077 or at •••


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26 – Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008

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Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008 – 27

They are all there...

Trailhead Gallery Features Artist Fred Carrow Feb. 1, 2 Artist Fred Carrow will be at Trailhead Gallery located at 124 W. Mahoning St. He will be featuring his Steeler artwork on Friday, Feb. 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 2 all day. Champagne and Hors d’Ouevres will be provided by Amy Ta l a d a y during the art show. F r e d Carrow is an artist and art teacher of 20 years a t Keystone High School in Knox, PA. Fred works primarily in oils and has a wide range of subject matter. He paints wildlife, landscapes, seascapes and narratives of sports, particularly the Pittsburgh Steelers. His rather elaborate painted banners are hung at Heinz Field during Pittsburgh home games and have popularized his work among the vast Steeler Nation. “I never realized just how many Steeler fans are out there and how dispersed they are until I started receiving emails from places as far away as Australia. They are truly the most loyal fans in the world”. Fred has won numerous awards for his

arT ShoW The

sToP in & see BeAuTiFul ArTwork By


Visit our website... Every page, every story, every photo, every ad... All there for everyone in the world to see!

For advertising that works Mary Roberts 938-0312 or Tracey Young 938-9084 100% and more!

work both nationally and locally. He lives in Cranberry Township with his wife Laurie and two children Caleb and Madison. Feel free to view Fred’s artwork online at ••• Last Minute Additions/Correction to Official Groundhog Day Schedule: February 1st, 10:30- 2:00 p.m. - Hot dog and homemade soup luncheon, Mulberry Square 411 ½ W Mahoning Street, Lunch includes hot dog, homemade soup, dessert and drink for $5. February 2nd, 10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Annual Rails to trails Dance, Punxsutawney Eagles Club, 238 E. Mahoning Street, Dance with Down to the Wire, admission $8 per person. Tickets available at the Chamber of Commerce, PACC, and Gimmicks andmay be available at the door if not sold out. Late night event correction, 12am-2:00A.M. the Shadow Scavenge, First United Methodist Church – the correct address is 310 W. Mahoning Street not 204 Park Avenue. Take part in a scavenger hunt that you will never forget. Cash prizes. $5 admission.


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Friday, Feb. 1 5-9Pm saturday, Feb. 2 aLL day

view Fred’s artwork online at

*eXcePT consignMenT

124 w. Mahoning st. Punxsutawney


ChaMPaGne & horS d’oueVreS will be provided by amy Taladay

Wishing you a GReaT! Groundhog day...


Expedite and Trailer Load Services from 1 lb. to 45,000 lb. call us for a rate

brian a. smith - president 2311 rt. 310, reynoldsville

110 Gaskill Ave., Punx’y, PA

Fax: (814) 939-8990 cell: (814) 591-5244

(814) 939-8999

gROunDHOg DAy gREETingS 28 – Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008

9 38 -7 3 03

SHOWROOM HOuRS: Mon. - Fri. 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sat. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Fun Events Around Town for Groundhog Weekend By Carole Milton Roberts for Hometown magazine ichele Neal, Groundhog Events Coordinator, provided us with some quick suggestions for activities to enjoy while in town on Feb. 1 and 2. So, get out there and have fun!


Barclay Square —Celebration tent and Information The tent at Barclay Square will be open 24 hours for the first time ever and will be manned with volunteers. A host of activities planned for Feb. 2

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will entertain families. Some of those activities include face painting, decorating groundhog cookies, and painting or coloring a mural prepared by artist, Jeff Marshall. Stop by and enjoy the magic show and the jugglers, too! Phil’s Souvenir Shop —everything Phil The souvenir shop is in the Chamber of Commerce, and yes, it does have “everything Phil” inside its doors. You can find cookie cutters, posters, pencils, pens, ornaments, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, pictures, artwork, and so many other items in the shop. Stock up on gifts while you’re there. You won’t be sorry you did. The shop will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and may have extended hours if needed. Punxsutawney Community Center —Souvenir Show and Sale, Woodchuck Whittle A group of carvers showcasing their skills and selling their wares will be on hand at the Punxsutawney Community Center. These carvers also do work for hire, so don’t be shy about asking them questions. Also, artisans located in the gym will have crafts and other goodies for sale. Art Show — Create Your Own Phil The Punxsutawney Arts Guild is sponsoring an art show in the Jefferson High Rise across the street from the Civic Center. Also, art supplies will be provided for visitors to create their very own Phil. At 2 p.m. on Feb. 2, judges will confer in order to choose a winner and present a gift basket filled with Phil souvenirs, courtesy of the Groundhog Club. Punx’y Weather Discovery Center Chief meteorologist Jeff Verszyla from KDKA television will be the second person officially inducted into the Meteorologist’s Hall of Fame at 2 p.m., Feb. 2. Congratulate Jeff, and stop by to see the fascinating weather exhibits that are very kid-friendly.

The original Punxsutawney Spicy Groundhogs 2 c. sifted all purpose flour 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. ground ginger 1 tsp. ground cloves 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 c. soft butter 1 c. sugar 1/2 c. molasses 1 egg yolk 1 egg, slightly beaten Currents or raisins Sift flour, salt, soda, baking powder, and spices together. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.


Blend in molasses and egg yolk. Stir in flour mixture and mix well. Form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Chill one hour or longer. Roll out a small amount at a time on a sugar-sprinkled board. Roll 1/8inch thick. Cut out cookies with lightly-floured groundhog cookie cutter. Place cookies on greased baking sheet. Brush with slightly beaten egg. Decorate with currant eye, raisins, etc. Bake 8 to 10 min. in a preheated 350 degree oven. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet. Yield: Makes 12 to 15 large size groundhogs, or 3 to 4 dozen smaller ones.

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Propane gives you up to three times as much hot water as an electric hot water heater of the same size. Switch to Bells Mills Gas today and save $$$$$. Call today and talk with Mark about our new customer specials at (814) 938-9170 or 1-800-513-9170.

See our special page: 6791 Rt. 119, marion Center

Groundhog Day Greetings!

724-397-8838 or toll free 800-705-8838 HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY PUNxSUtAWNeY FRIeNDS

1230 Rt. 119 • Punxsutawney, PA 15767

- Continued on next page

Speed and Sport cycle center


• Developers and producers of natural gas

• Developers of commercial and residential real estate for lease and purchase

D.e. LIMIteD FAMILY PARtneRSHIP 1406 N. Main St., Punx’y • 814-938-0800

Rt. 436 • 430 S. Main St., Punx’y • 938-8780 or 938-6952 SALES • PARTS • SERVicE cylinder Boring • PA State inspection *On approved Yamaha card purchases made between 1/1/08 and 2/29/08. Valid on any new Yamaha Motorcycle, ATV, and Side by Side. 8.99% APR and $69 (purchase between $4,801 to $8,500), $89 ($8,501 and $10,000), $129 ($10,001 to $16,000) payment until January 2010. The minimum monthly payment may increase due to any debt cancellation or late payment fees. Paying only this amount will not pay off the purchase during this period. Thereafter, the regular Minimum Monthly Payment and Standard Rate APR of 12.99%, 16.99%, 18.99% or 22.99% apply. For Accounts not current, the promotion is cancelled and regular Minimum Monthly Payments and the Default Rate 24.99% APR apply. Minimum Finance Charge $1. Certain rules apply to the allocation of payments and Finance Charges on your promotional purchase if you make more than one purchase on your Yamaha Card. Call 1-888-367-4310 or review your cardholder agreement for information. **For ATVs, fi nance promotion cannot be combined with Customer Cash offer. Professional riders depicted on a closed course. Yamaha and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation encourage you to ride safely and respect the environment. For further information regarding the MSF course, please call 1-800-4469227. • ATVs with engine sizes of 90cc or greater are recommended for use only by riders age 16 years and older. Yamaha recommends that all ATV riders take an approved training course. For safety and training information, see your dealer or call the ATV Safety Institute at 1-800-887-2887. ATVs can be hazardous to operate. For your safety: Always avoid paved surfaces. Never ride on public roads. Always wear a helmet, eye protection and protective clothing; never carry passengers; never engage in stunt riding; riding and alcohol/drugs don’t mix; avoid excessive speed; and be particularly careful on diffi cult terrain. On the Yamaha Rhino, always wear your seat belt, helmet, eye protection and protective clothing. ©2007 Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A. Cypress, CA 90630.


938-8780 • 939-9311 Ask for Denny 24/7 • 30 year Experience Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008 – 29


iNdustRiAL fABRiCAtioN & mAChiNiNg


Personal care Home

weLdiNg & mAChiNe Co.

One Park Ave., Punx’y • 938-3100

P.O. Box G, Brookville • 849-3061

Shick’s Cakes 858 Salem Rd., Mayport Beautiful Cakes For All Occasions

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Happy Groundhog Day!



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938-8494 938-7685

Mon-Fri 9 -9; Sat 9-7; Sun 10-6 (closed every day 1:30-2:00 p.m. for lunch)

21920 Rt. 119, Punx’y •

By Debbie Shick



LocaLLY owNeD & oPeRateD SiNce 1965


Meat Market Package Deals Large Selection Available

• Party Trays • Meat & Cheese • Fresh & Lean Meat • Our Own Old-Fashioned Sugar-Cured Hickory Smoked Semi-Boneless Ham Owned & Operated by Ted Palumbo & Sons

now carries a complete line of firearms and accessories

Hours: Mon-Wed 8 to 5; Thurs 8 to 6 Fri 8 to 8; Sat 8 to Noon

Directions: 36 N from Punx’y to 536 W 5 Miles, turn left on Porter Rd., Follow Signs HOURS: Mon.-Thur. 9-5 • Fri. 9-7 • Sat. 9-2

Located 1 1/4 mile East of Reynoldsville on 4th St. or 6 miles West of DuBois on Wayne Road



Fun Events


Continued from previous page

Continued from page 25 you can barely see, even under a microscope, to larger blemishes that are visible to the naked eye. And finally carat; it's the weight of a diamond, and it's really tiny. A 1-carat diamond weighs only 200 milligrams, or two tenths of a gram. • If there's a gemologist on site — they tend to be found at high-end specialty jewelers — the store will have a microscope. Ask to use it to inspect any stone you're considering. The microscope will allow you to see flaws, color and characteristics of the stone • If you're purchasing a stone that's half a carat or larger, make sure the stone has been certified. Not all certifications are created equal, however. Our experts recommend certifications from the Gemological Institute of America, the American Gem Society or the Diamond High Council in Belgium. • Have the stone you're considering examined by an independent, certified appraiser who doesn't work for the store. • To ensure a diamond is real, hold the stone above a newspaper. If you can read the newsprint, it's a fake! (Anna Wallner and Kristina Matisic host The Shopping Bags on Fine living TV Network. Contact them at For more columns visit ••• this issue of Hometown magazine reaches 100% of the Punx’y & Area Homes

Phil’s Shadow Chaser — Go Deep Into Phil’s Burrow Go through the maze that actually depicts what the burrow of a groundhog would be like in the Punx’y Christian School’s High School building. The best hours to go are in the evening. Historical Society and Hayride tours The Historical Society will be open for tours, and on Feb. 1 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. hayrides will be provided. Tom Curry hosts these rides that begin at the Historical Society and go through and around town. Hot cocoa will be provided to keep guests warm. Children’s Activities Children can participate in crafts, games, and other activities geared toward the younger set at Mary A. Wilson Elementary School. Service agencies will be available. Kid’s day is sponsored by Community Action and affiliates and will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. •••



mA RtiN iNCome tAx &ElectronicFiling

819 Kachmar Rd. • Punx’y happy Groundhog day!

For life insurance, call a good neighbor. Call me and I’ll help you get the right life insurance for you and your family.

Scott VanLeer, Agent 1535 South Main St. Ext. Punxsutawney, PA 15767-7949 Bus: 814-938-8070 LIKe A GOOD NeIGHBOR

StAte FARM IS tHeRe.®

State Farm Life Insurance Company (Not licensed in MA, NY, or WI), State Farm Life and Accident Assurance Company P062046 12/06 (Licensed in NY and WI) - Bloomington, IL


The illustrated history book by Bill Anderson, Hometown publisher and Groundhog Scribe available for $5.95 at:

814-265-1975 or 800-338-8971 Senior citizen Discounts

Hometown Magazine office B&P railroad Building 938-0312 • 938-9141 or Mail a Check or Money order for $5.95 + $2.75 Shipping = $8.70 to:

Hometown Magazine P.o. Box 197, Punxsutawney, PA 15767 or Look for it at Local Businesses

30 – Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008

A Pennsylvania Corporation. A new name for an old friend! 25 off any temporary container when you mention this ad.


Wishing Everyone Happy Groundhog Day!

Just In Time for Groundhog Day 2008, Journey Back to Gobbler’s Knob with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell ‘Groundhog Day’ 15th Anniversary Edition Released


ust in time for Punxsutawney Phil’s 122nd Groundhog Day prognostication on February 2, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment unleashes the Bill Murray comedy classic, Groundhog Day, as a Special Edition, fifteenth Anniversary DVD on January 29, 2008. The digitally re-mastered anniversary special edition DVD arrives with newlydiscovered deleted scenes, three featurettes including “The Study of Groundhogs: A Real Life Look at

over again... and again... and again. Groundhog Day was cheered by critics as Bill Murray's best movie ever. DVD bonus features include: “A Different Day: An Interview with Harold Ramis”; “The Study of Groundhogs: A Real Life Look at

Marmots”;Newly discovered Deleted Scenes; “The Weight of Time” - a documentary on the making of "Groundhog Day", and Audio Commentary with Director Harold Ramis Originally released in 1993, Groundhog Day was produced, written

and directed by Harold Ramis from a story by Trevor Albert. The film stars Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliot and Stephen Tobolowsky and was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois. •••

To our Punx’y & area businesses...

Take the

HOMETOWN MAGAZINE Challenge! ‘When driving down the road...


HOMETOWN MAGAZINE Marmots,” “A Different Day: An Interview with Harold Ramis,” and a making-of documentary — as well as a running commentary by Ramis, all for an SLP of $19.94. Synopsis of Movie Bill Murray is at his wry, wisecracking best in this riotous romantic comedy about a weatherman caught in a personal time warp on the worst day of his life. Teamed with a relentlessly cheerful producer (Andie MacDowell) and a smart-aleck cameraman (Chris Elliott), TV weatherman Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is sent to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities. But on his way out of town, Phil is caught in a giant blizzard, which he failed to predict, and finds himself stuck in smalltown hell. Just when things couldn't get worse, they get worse; Phil wakes the next morning to find it's Groundhog Day all

! is delivered to all of them

When placing your advertising, why settle for some of the homes when you can have them all? We deliver to 100% of the homes in a quality publication which is read and saved by your customers.

HOMETOWN 100% of the homes MAGAZINE 938-0312 your advertisement and our complete magazine is also online at: Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008 – 31

Bill Cooper, President of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club and a member of S&T Bank’s Commercial lending staff, up close with Phil at Gobblers Knob.

Photo © Alan Freed

32 – Hometown Punxsutawney – January 2008

January 2008 #88  
January 2008 #88