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M AI NLI NE newspapers

(814) 472-4110

Portage’s Irene Huschak surprised with volunteer award Vol. 116 No. 6

USPS 439-000

Portage, Pa.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Since 1904

Newsstand Price 75¢

By Ron Portash

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For four years now, state representative Frank Burns has been honoring volunteers across the 72nd legislative district with the Charlie Vizzini Award, named after a volunteer in his local legislative offices, Charlie Vizzini, of Ebensburg. According to Burns, Vizzini has volunteered more than 8,000 hours in his local office, serving the constituents of the district. He developed the award and ceremony in 2016 and presented the award to Vizzini the first year. “The award now continues to be presented to constituents in the 72nd legislative district who, like Vizzini, have volunteered to better the community and exemplify selflessness, following in the steps of our most appreciated volunteer,” explained Burns. At a surprise ceremony held

The daughters of Irene Huschak, Gina Horwat (left) and Mary Kaufman (left) are proud of their mother’s accomplishments in winning the Charlie Vizzini Award for Volunteerism at a special surprise ceremony Jan. 30 in Ebensburg. Photo by Ron Portash.

Jan. 30 at the Noon Collins Inn, Ebensburg, Burns presented this

year’s award to Irene Huschak. Calling Huschak “a tireless

advocate and volunteer for the Portage community,” Burns

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Winter break

Nunez takes helm of Penn Highlands By Kristin Baudoux

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A new era at Penn Highlands Community College begins this year. Dr. Steven Nunez recently began his position of university president Jan. 6 and has spent the first few weeks of his tenure visiting each of the college’s six campuses, recently stopping at the Ebensburg site Jan. 30. Nunez is the fifth person to serve as president of the college. Nunez previously worked at Sauk Valley Community College

Dr. Steven Nunez

in Dixon, Illinois, a college similar in size to Penn Highlands. Though this was the only college he worked at prior to his move to Penn Highlands, he has held numerous roles there. He spent his first 15 years as an instructor, then transitioned into institutional research. In this role, Nunez also picked up skills in several instrumental departments including

marketing, recruitment, community education, customized training and information technology. He eventually rose to the position of vice president of academics and student services. “My career really prepared me for the next step,” he said. Nunez said his work at Sauk Valley, along with strong mentorship, encouraged him to take the next step in his career and apply at Penn Highlands. “I was running toward an opportunity,” Nunez said in regard to the opening at Penn Highlands. Nunez said he was also attracted to Penn Highlands because it enabled him to work closer to his childhood home in southwestern Virginia, and he expressed his love for the local landscape. “I was always drawn back to the mountains,” Nunez said.


described how she exemplifies the meaning behind the award. “Through this award, we’re trying to recognize someone in the district who has volunteered to make the community a better place,” Burns said. “Clearly, Irene [Huschak] fits that bill and is a great example of community volunteerism.” The award and ceremony were a surprise to Huschak. Nominated by her family, she was lured to the Noon Collins Inn under the guise of an evening out. The surprise showed on Huschak’s face as she walked into the banquet room to the applause of more than 50 family and friends. Huschak is an ever-present figure in Portage, serving as president of the Portage Area Historical Society. She has organized fundraisers for the Portage Station Museum, regularly interviews residents for

Portage Boro welcomes new tax collector

By Ron Portash

Louise Fresch (left), Dana Fresch and Carrissa Milkovick spend time together at the South Fork Winterfest Jan. 25. Photo by Ron Portash.

28 Pages

Newly elected Portage Borough tax collector David Layo was appointed as the per capita tax collector for the borough at the Feb. 3 council meeting. Layo will operate out of his house at 830 Orchard St. with hours limited to Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. These hours will only be for the discount period of the real estate tax collection period. Due to not having handicap accessibility, Layo said to call 814-615-3938 to make special arrangements. He explained that he could meet those requiring special access at borough building by appointment, or make other arrangements. Courtney St. Clair was appointed as deputy tax collector in the event of Layo’s

Break time


unavailability. In other matters, Doug Wagner, of Allegheny Ridge Recreation Association, thanked the council for their action to move forward in researching the possibility of allowing ATVs on borough streets to transit into and out of the borough only. Wagner explained that he and the members of the association hope that by allowing ATVs to transit on a limited number of borough streets businesses in the borough will benefit with an increase in customers, especially on weekends. The borough council voted to move forward in developing a plan to limit ATVs to alleys and a minimal number of streets to allow borough residents who own ATVs to legally ride to areas in Portage Township. SEE WELCOMES, PAGE 4A

Annette and Paul Lutz take a break during the South Fork Winterfest Jan. 25. Photo by Ron Portash.

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