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December 12th

Punxsy Hotel fire investigation continues

December 13, 2011

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Two days after a devastating fire destroyed a borough landmark, officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze that nearly leveled the Punxsy Hotel along North Findley Street.

Cpl. Chuck Gross, Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police Fire marshal, said he was “looking for clues as to how the fire began” Monday in the kitchen area of the Smuggler’s Inn, which is attached to the Hotel.

Fedigan’s contract approved for another four years

December 13, 2011

Council: No tax increase in 2012

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Punxsutawney Borough Police Chief Tom Fedigan was granted a new four-year contract at Monday's meeting, but it was not unanimous.

The vote was four council members in favor of the motion — Susan Glessner, Donna Lellock, William Spencer and Roger Steele — with Larry Chenoga and Mike Porada voting no.

Council member Robert Reesman did not vote, as he had left the meeting early due to illness.

Also at Monday's meeting, council:
• Approved the 2012 budget with no tax increase.

Wish Kid reaches for the sky with gift that keeps on giving

December 12, 2011

BROOKVILLE — With only a smile and very few words, nine-year-old Michael Goddard can light up a room and make anyone feel special.

"He says hi to everybody," Paula Goddard said of her son, Michael. "No matter what they look like, or how old they are, or what color they are, it doesn't matter."

Michael has Down syndrome, and because of this, he has difficulty speaking.

But he doesn't let that get in the way of showing others love and compassion.

"He's really special," Paula said. "He's taught us a lot, on how to love unconditionally — just to accept people for who they are."

December 11th

Landmark building burns down in Saturday blaze

December 11, 2011

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Sunday, Ken and Toie Neal began the rest of their lives without the Hotel Punxsutawney, which has been a part of their lives since 1973.

“Today was the first day (Ken) didn't get up, get a shower and say, 'I'm going to the Hotel;' that was his life,” Toie said Sunday night. “We wonder where the guys will go for lunch. His brother (Gubby) said, 'I told my wife (Candy), she'll have to start packing my lunch.'

Punxsy teen takes Wish trip to Florida, swims with dolphins

December 11, 2011

PUNXSUTAWNEY – Ever since Emily Keth, 16, of Punxsy, was a little girl, she has been obsessed with dolphins. She would decorate her with room with pictures of the creatures and dreamed of one day being able to swim with them.

Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, that dream came true.

In April 2011, doctors found three blood clots in Emily's brain, which caused her to lose 83 percent of her vision. Soon after, she was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden, a blood-clotting disorder that will affect her for the rest of her life.

Way Back When

December 11, 2011

(The Spirit is pleased to share with our readers vignettes of life in the 19th century as originally reported in past issues of the newspapers. These reproduced stories include their original headlines and spelling.)

Local Intelligence
(April 22, 1896)

A strange bicycle rider ran into Morris Weber, little son of J. A. Weber, yesterday, and hurt him considereably, though not dangerously. His head and face were badly cut and bruised, and the boy looked as though he had attended a Donnebrook fair.

***

December 10th

Punxsy Hotel destroyed by fire

December 10, 2011

PUNXSUTAWNEY – Firefighters from several local companies battled an intense blaze that destroyed the Punxsy Hotel Restaurant & Lounge, North Findley Street, early Saturday morning.

The fire was called in as smoke emanating from the Smuggler's Inn – housed at the rear of the same structure – around 3 a.m. Saturday.

Within minutes, police reported that flames were visible, and within an hour, the flames were emerging from the windows and front doors.

Shortly after 4 a.m., the north and south walls of the upper floors collapsed, damaging three vehicles parked near the building.

December 9th

Make-A-Wish kicks off campaign Monday

December 10, 2011

PUNXSUTAWNEY — At some point in 2011, a child saved his or her birthday money.

A group of teachers pitched in a couple of bucks to wear jeans to school on a Friday.

Spare change from the grocery store wound up in a special savings place, where it would eventually find its way to a greater good.

A high school senior dedicated his or her senior project to the cause.
And this coming week is when those who saved money, pitched in a few bucks, stashed some change and performed fund-raisers realize that it was all worth it to light up a child’s life.

Punxsy firefighters collecting for food pantries this weekend

December 10, 2011

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Members of the Punxsutawney Fire Department will have their boots in hand from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. this weekend at major intersections throughout town, collecting donations for area food banks.
Boot drive locations are in front of the Lindsey Fire Hall, West Mahoning; Central Fire Hall, East Mahoning, Hampton Avenue and Front Street intersection; and Elk Run Fire Company; at the intersection of Elk Run and Graffius avenues.

Time to get all dressed up: First-ever Groundhog Ball is Jan. 28

December 10, 2011

PUNXSUTAWNEY — This Groundhog Day, the Inner Circle members won’t be the only ones dressed to the nines.

Years after a non-Groundhog Day related charity ball had run its course, the Inner Circle will host the first-ever Groundhog Ball, scheduled from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 — just days before Groundhog Day — at the Punxsutawney Country Club (See the accompanying box for more).

The evening will include hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, music by Rudy & The Professionals and, of course, an appearance by Punxsutawney Phil.

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