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THE

M A I NLI NE newspapers

Vol. 97 No. 27

By Allie Garver

of Mainline Newspapers

JOURNAL ISSN:1529-9910

Nanty Glo, Pa.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Since 1921

‘We create all the magic’

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(814) 472-4110

32 Pages

Nanty Glo native tells of effects work at Disney

It’s been some time since Michael Kaschalk has stepped foot on a Nanty Glo street, but the small town he grew up in has never been far from his mind. The now Walt Disney Animation Studios Head of Effects and Studio Department Leader has returned home for the first time since the holidays to serve as the grand marshal of the Nanty Glo Centennial parade. “Honestly, it was really flattering and unexpected,” said Kaschalk. “I love this town, so it was definitely an honor to be thought of. I’m proud of this town and I’m happy to be back.” Kaschalk has worked at Disney for 21 years. He is in charge of a team of approximately 45 effects animators when working on a film. Kaschalk explained that effects in an animated movie are explosions, water, fire and basically all of the “elementals” that are visually seen in a film.

“We create all the magic,” said Kaschalk. Kaschalk has a long list of animated movies under his belt at Disney, such as “Fantasia 2000,” “Tangled,” “Frozen,” “Big Hero 6” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” Currently, “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” is Kaschalk’s most recent project. “I’m doing a lot of destruction at the moment,” Kaschalk said of his newest creation. But that’s not all he’s currently involved in. His next film is being kept under wraps and is being referred to as Film 2020 until the studio issues an official release. “I’m overseeing all of the effects on that [Film 2020],” said Kaschalk. “On Ralph, I’m just working as an artist.” Even though Kaschalk currently resides in Los Angeles, Calif., this hasn’t changed his perception of the town he grew up in. Growing up in Nanty Glo has had a profound affect on his work. “Nanty Glo is definitely a big

influence,” said Kaschalk. “When we came here [from Washington, D.C.], it was interesting being in a place where I had freedom to do whatever I wanted as a kid. I could go explore. I spent a lot of time adventuring out in the woods.” As far as the different elements that Kaschalk creates in movies, the four seasons have always played a big role in how he creates the scenes. As he works now, Kaschalk uses his memory of the snow, thunderstorms and streams in Nanty Glo as the basis for his visual effects. “Probably in the movies when you’re seeing something, it’s the Nanty Glo representation of what these things look like because that’s my point of reference,” said Kaschalk. “Also, being in a small town like this, you have a lot of time to just have solitude and absorb in the emotion of these things.” Kaschalk said that the thunderstorms in Pennsylvania have a certain smell that just can’t be found

anywhere else. He added that the smell can’t be described, but as an artist, he can recreate those feelings through visuals. “I would love it, even if the name could get into one of the films as a name of an area, or something that really tips a hat to Nanty Glo,” Kaschalk said. “One of the cool things about this town, too, is the diversity of its character. You have this quaint town and it’s beautiful, and then the other side, it has this gritty history of it being a coal mining town, which is tough.” When it came down to designing the microbots for “Big Hero 6,” Kaschalk used the edge and grit of Nanty Glo’s coal mining past and the “eerie nights” when it was “a little scary” to create the creepy creatures. He even accredited the way the microbots move and the shapes they create to memories of running into a beehive in Nanty Glo, because that stuff just doesn’t happen in the city. He also used Nanty Glo winters for the design of Elsa’s magic in

the huge hit “Frozen.” In a meeting to discuss the animated snow, he said that about half of the room had never actually seen snow. “They didn’t realize that if it’s warm out, the snow gets hard and crunchy or sometimes it’s really soft and fluffy, and they didn’t even know it gets dirty,” said Kaschalk. “It was fascinating to go through this and to be contributing to the conversation and actually helping to educate.” With Kaschalk’s understanding of western Pennsylvania winters, he made Elsa’s magic similar to how snow would behave. However, the process of getting the animation correct isn’t as easy as it sounds. Most kids watch their favorite movies time and time again, but Kaschalk said that the movie, while it’s being worked on, is watched a total of nine times by the effects team. The first time the film is watched, it is just story boards and “put up on reels,” which means all SEE MAGIC, PAGE 3A

Ice severed guide wires in Pindleton Ridge water tank

By Allie Garver

of Mainline Newspapers

An issue with the water tank at Pindleton Ridge on State Route 422 has been a topic of conversation at multiple Blacklick Valley Municipal Authority meetings. The June 27 meeting was no different, but this time chairman Mike Pisarcik and engineer Richard Wray had some more information regarding the problems with the Paks System. “Back in February, we had a leak develop in the tank right where a guide wire went through the tank for the Paks System,” said Wray. According to Wray, representa-

BVMA looks into solution

tives from Paks and Mid-Atlantic Storage inspected the tank and the facilities inside of the tank. The tank was drawn down and the inspection was completed June 26. “I would say there would be significant damage to the Paks System,” said Wray. “All four guide cables at the mid-tank area have been severed. The only thing that can do that is ice.” Wray explained that ice will build up on the outside wall of the tank, and when the first warm day comes, that ice will release from the wall and fall down.

“It’s going to act like a knife and cut those guide wires,” said Wray. Although there were problems, the system was operating. Since the inspection already took place, both entities will provide a proposal for repairs and for the replacement of equipment. According to Wray, “the Paks folks” have a new system on the market that is designed for tall tanks, like Pindleton Ridge. “It would eliminate the center column and it would be a floatingSEE SEVERED, PAGE 3A

Family fun

Adison (back, left), Clint, Jocelyn and Liam Divido are ready to run in the Paul Galko Memorial Bulldog Crawl June 30 in Nanty Glo. Photo by Allie Garver.

Jackson Twp. resident raises concern with EDUs

By Allie Garver

of Mainline Newspapers

Jackson Township resident Ed Smith visited the water authori-

ty once again to plead his case about his apartment building and the monthly payment he makes on it. At the June 26 meeting, Smith asked the board to reconsider his request and rethink the equivalent dwelling units (EDUs) the authority uses for their rates. Smith detailed his time as a city manager for several areas larger than Jackson SEE CONCERN, PAGE 4A

Large haul

On June 29, a super load was hauled from East Conemaugh to the CPV Fairview Energy project site in Jackson Township. The turbine weighed more than 1,000,000 pounds and the load was 192 feet long. Photo by Allie Garver.

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