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M AI NLI NE newspapers

Forest Hills Festival entertains big crowds Vol. 113 No. 36

USPS 439-000

Portage, Pa.

Thursday, September 7, 2016

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

Even though Sept. 2 had a chilly start, with rain dampening the spirit of the crowd, thousands still attended the threeday Forest Hills Labor Day Festival at Berwind-Wayside Park in St. Michael. The festival is put on by the Adams Township No. 2 Volunteer Fire Company every year. According to fire chief Paul Kundrod, “Even with the hiccup Saturday evening with the weather, we had faith in the people that support us. The crowds turned out, and we are grateful for everyone’s support of the festival.” The Forest Hills Labor Day Festival has garnered a statewide reputation for being one of the best local festivals around. Beginning with breakfast at the fire hall each day, people

Alexis Schenkemeyer (left), along with her grandmother Janet Shumaker, and mother, Krissy Schenkemeyer, check out the craft vendors at the Forest Hills Labor Day Festival on Sept. 4 in St. Michael. The three-day festival drew thousands of people to the Berwind-Wayside Park for music, food, crafts, and fun. Photo by Ron Portash.

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around the region and from across the state attended the festival for the activities and family atmosphere. Many former residents flocked back to the area to reunite with their family and friends around the many activities of the festival. People united around food booths and craft vendors. With nearly 80 craft vendors, 25 food vendors, and a multitude of children’s activities, there was something for everyone at the festival. Music provided a varied backdrop to the many who browsed the crafts. Others focused on the music, dancing or relaxing and listening to the bands. Many others went just for the food. If they were not hungry when they arrived, it wasn’t long before the smell of halupki, barbecue ribs, chicken, and French fries filled the air. After that, if there was room, funnel cakes, gobs,

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32 Pages

Captain America

Dressed as Captain America, Mike Brennon enjoys playing on the inflatable slide at the Forest Hills Labor Day Festival in St. Michael on Sept. 2. Photo by Ron Portash.

Portage Area receives ‘Stop the Bleed’ kits SEE FESTIVAL, PAGE 5A

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers


Sicilia (left) and Mila Dipaola and Kadyn Kobal sparkle after participating in a hair and makeup booth at the Forest Hills Labor Day Festival on Sept. 3 in St. Michael. Photo by Ron Portash.

Structurally unsound building limits activities, life in South Fork

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The closure of Main Street in South Fork due to a structurally unsound building has caused problems for more than just the borough council. The roadway and one edge of the sidewalk on the 300 block of Main Street has been closed since July because a building in that area is in danger of collapsing. South Fork librarian Joy Bailey stated that a lot of people are unsure the library is even open. The library is located at

320 Main Street, right across from the dilapidated building. Although the sidewalk is open in front of the library, there is no parking on that block of Main Street. “Every day I expect the building to collapse,” Bailey commented. The library is open, but according to Bailey, the street closure limits the activities at the library to a certain extent. Bailey is not hosting any special programs so that people don’t have to use the sidewalk to access the library. “We would not want anyone out on the sidewalk in case the building does fall down,” she said. Ginger Bichik, director of the Forest Hills Activity Center, stated that the street closure has hampered the center. The

CamTran buses that bring the majority of seniors to and from the activity center have an extremely difficult time making the turn from Church Street onto Main Street to load and unload the passengers. Before the closure, the buses were able to turn from Railroad Street onto Main Street. The traffic, parked cars, and narrowness of the current route has heavily impacted the seniors who attend the center. The residence next door to the structure is within inches of the dilapidated building. The Roberts family has resided in the home for decades. According to Marinea Roberts, “We know the borough is working hard to come up with a solution.” One of the Roberts’ worries is SEE BUILDING, PAGE 13A

On the final day of the 2016-17 school year, the administration and teachers at Portage Area School District began preparing for the unthinkable: intentional mass casualty incidents such as those that shook Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. and Franklin Regional High School in Westmoreland County. After the Sandy Hook shootings, “Stop the Bleed,” a protocol to enhance survivability from active shooter and intentional mass casualty incidents, was developed as an educational program to teach school personnel to control bleeding in situations involving trauma. At the time of the training, the Portage Area Ambulance Association made a commitment to place Stop the Bleed kits in every teacher’s desk in the school district at no cost to the school district, according to Terry Sloan, director of operations for the ambulance association. During the training, the teachers, administration, and staff learned that experience in the military has led to many recent trauma innovations, including renewed use of tourniquets. Military medical records show that bleeding control is vital in trauma situations. A person can die from blood loss in under five minutes. In a mass casualty incident at a school, the police must clear the scene first to ensure safety of those in the school and for the emergency medical personnel about to enter the building. This takes more than five minSEE KITS, PAGE 6A

For a cause

Jordyn Smith hits the water at the dunking booth sponsored by the Forest Hills High School athletics. The dunking booth was part of nearly 100 craft, food, and fun activities at the three-day Forest Hills Labor Day Festival at the Berwind-Wayside Park in St. Michael over the weekend. Photo by Ron Portash.

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