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SCI Cresson closing


Vol. 115 No. 5

USPS 326-480

Cresson, Pa.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Since 1898


Newsstand Price 75¢

(814) 472-4110

40 Pages

Open forum to address politicians set for tonight

By Justin Eger

of Mainline Newspapers

Though it has been just a little over three weeks since news broke that the State Correctional Institution at Cresson would be closed on or before June 30 of this year, it seems as if there has been a great deal that has occurred in these weeks. Prison employees have already been tasked with deciding where they want to go, while prisoners have already been moved from the Cresson facility to other locations around the state. Hearings on the matter have been held in Harrisburg, spurred by the

suddenness of the announcement and accusations of dirty dealings on the part of the governor’s office. The outcry has been large, but also largely met with indifference on the part of Governor Tom Corbett and the Department of Corrections. So what, some wonder, is the point of sitting down to talk about it now? “We’ve taken some criticism for how long it has taken to get this set up,” said State Representative Gary Haluska of tonight’s meeting at the Cresson Fire Hall. “But


Commissioner Chernisky pens letter to Corbett, DOC By Ian Wissinger

of Mainline Newspapers

Tonight, Pennsylvania State Representative Gary Haluska, joined by other lawmakers, will host an event at the Cresson Fire Hall regarding an inescapable issue that has been weighing heavily on the hearts and minds of not only SCI Cresson employees, but local business owners, families and elected officials as well. With the closing of that par-

ticular correctional facility, announced by the state Department of Corrections earlier this month and tagged with a June 30 deadline, officials such as Haluska and State Senator John Wozniak have voiced their intent to reach out to Harrisburg with the intent of somehow altering the proposed timetable, or easing the transition for the soon-to-be affected area. Meanwhile, on the county

All Saints Catholic School kicks off new Project Smile collection drive

Eighth-graders of All Saints Catholic School donned special Project Smile T-shirts as they promoted the soldier-support program, which is now entering its 11th year. Photo by Justin Eger.

By Justin Eger

of Mainline Newspapers

Earlier this week, as the students of All Saints Catholic School in Cresson kicked off Catholic Schools Week, one could easily see the double meaning in the theme for this year’s celebration of Catholic schools — “Raising the Standard.” In this case, though, in addition to remarking on the standard of education being offered, one could see the “standard” being raised as the flag of the United States of America. On the afternoon of Jan. 28, ASCS students and families kicked off a new year of supporting local troops serving abroad through its Project Smile. Begun following the first deployment of troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan for Operation Enduring

Local artist offers ‘new experience’ to students at St. Michael’s School By Justin Eger

of Mainline Newspapers

For many years, student at St. Michael’s School had little understanding of what art classes could be. With limited funding and a difficulty generating much interest in an art program, many students passed through the school without any concept of what they could have learned. Sure, some talents were most certainly nurtured privately, but there might have been just as many, if not more, lost due to the simple lack of anyone there to gauge and assist students. But in the last few years, all that has changed. With a dedicated art teacher, many students have uncovered, or at least found a place to display, their wonderful artistic talents, and many look forward to art class each week. Such was the case last Thursday, when woodcarver Tom McCarty returned to the Loretto school to assist students with a carving project that teaches dedication, patience, and control. “It’s a real thrill to be right here in


my own backyard,” said McCarty, who lives in Munster. “I love doing classes like this, going into the schools and teaching the kids about art.” During McCarty’s tenure at St. Michael’s, which continues today,

“Mr. T” (as he is affectionately referred to by the students) showcases the basics of woodworking, helping students design and then carve an image onto a block of SEE ARTIST, PAGE 4A

Artist Tom McCarty assists Zach Bohrer (below) and Jody Caretti (right) with their woodcarving projects as he serves as the artistin-residence at St. Michael’s School in Loretto. Photos by Justin Eger.

Freedom, Project Smile was designed as a program in which the school could do something, however small, to boost the morale of the troops serving overseas. However, the goal of the project was also in keeping with the Catholic values being taught at the school — praying for the safety of those troops they communicate with, as well as praying for peace in the world. Those prayers for peace grow ever more important as one plain fact was put forth during the kickoff presentation: most of the students who attend All Saints cannot remember a time when the nation was at peace, having grown up in the shadow of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and subsequent battles with the networks and supporters of those terrorists. And while there are hopes that the wars will soon be over, and our troops returned home, there are still SEE PROJECT SMILE, PAGE 4A

Cresson Mainliner 1-31-13