(Editor’s note: Each year, the editorial staff at The Spirit dives into the stacks from the past year’s papers to bring you a Year In Review, highlighting some of the biggest news stories to take place over the year. Today, news reporter Larry McGuire brings you the top news stories from the months of October, November and December.)
• The Punxsutawney Spirit held Appreciation Day on Saturday at the S.S.C.D. auditorium to give a big thank-you to the community. The fun-filled day included the 3rd Annual Punxsy’s Got Talent show
and a pumpkin-decorating contest.
Winners of the talent show were Brielle King, third place, who sang and played the keyboard; Garrett Rowan, who played the guitar; and Caleb Dinger, who also sang and played the keyboard.
• The Lady Chucks golf team captured the District IX AAA title in Brookville, achieving a season-long goal.
• Troopers from the Pennsylvania State Police in Troop C, Punxsutawney, conduct an investigation into a report of suspicious vehicles that consisted of three white vans in the Smicksburg area of Indiana County.
The vans reportedly boxed in a motorist who was traveling on State Route 210 and attempted to prevent her from continuing on her way.
After breaking free of the suspicious vehicles, she made her way to the Punxsutawney State Police station and immediately reported the incident.
• Tim Lowmaster, the owner of Groundhog Lanes on Pine Street in Punxsutawney, has just completed a major renovation with brand-new
state-of-the-art Brunswick pinsetters.
Lowmaster said he has just begun his 13th year of owning Groundhog Lanes and knew he needed to upgrade the old AMF pinsetters.
• Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson rules that Pennsylvania voters won’t have to show photo identification to cast ballots on Election Day.
• President Barack Obama and Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney square off in their first campaign debate. Polls declare Romney the debate winner.
• Two adults have been arrested in connection with the May 2011 drowning of a 3-year-old Clearfield County boy in Mahoning Creek in Punxsy, according to Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police.
Cindy L. O’Neill, 31, Irvona, and Scott Cary, 42, no address given, were charged in the drowning of the Irvona boy.
• Forty-one years of volunteering were acknowledged as more than just free help at the Senior Corps-RSVP Volunteer recognition luncheon held Wednesday at The Foundry in Reynoldsville, as a Punxsutawney woman was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year.
Jean White was chosen as the Volunteer of the Year for her service to the Punxsutawney Area Hospital.
• The Fox’s Pizza Den Pizza & Prevention 11th annual fundraiser has broken more records in raising money for the Punxsutawney Fire Department over the weekend.
The final totals are still coming in, but as of Sunday, Fox’s Pizza sold close to 5,000 pizzas and pizza coupons during the annual fire department fundraiser, said Scott Anthony, owner of Fox’s Pizza Den in Punxsy.
Converting that into dollars, it totals $45,449.79, with the money donated in tips yet to be added to the tally, Anthony said, adding that the public has embraced this as an event more than a fundraiser.
• Punxsutawney Borough Council voted 6-1 to begin legal action to foreclose against Stello Foods Inc. of Punxsutawney for being delinquent on its payments earlier this year to the borough’s Economic Loan Fund.
Nick Stello, president of Stello Foods, spoke to council during the meeting, and during an executive session he spoke with the media, saying that with council acting against his company, he’ll be forced to declare bankruptcy.
Following an executive session, Larry Chenoga, Council president, said council will take everything Stello said at the meeting into consideration. “That is all the comment we’re going to make at this time,” Chenoga said.
• Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, 68, is sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.
• The portion of the tax money raised on a recent Marcellus Shale gas tax that is intended for the county will be less than originally projected, the county commissioners told those in attendance at their meeting on Wednesday.
“That’s all changed as of today... The county lost $100,000 today,” Commissioner Jeff Pisarcik said.
Commission Chairman Paul Corbin offered some speculation as to the cause of the sudden drop.
“There was a predetermined amount of money that was going to be sent to different things,” he said, “and while I don’t recall exactly what they were ...You know, that was coming out off the top first ...The drilling hasn’t been as active as they thought it was going to be.”
• Taxes, the economy and Medicare are all topics of the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
• October is recognized as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the county.
• Friday at his formal arraignment, Lewis Beatty of South Mahoning Township pleaded not guilty and requested a trial by jury in the triple homicide case againt him in Indiana County court.
In August, the Indiana County District Attorney’s office held a press conference to announce its plans to seek the death penalty against Beatty, who has been charged with three counts of criminal homicide in the deaths of an adopted daughter; his biological daughter; and his estranged wife.
• Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter dies Sunday at his Philadelphia home at age 82.
• The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle broke ground on Saturday for a new entrance to Gobbler’s Knob, which will bring even more of a royal feel to the entrance of the home of Punxsutawney Phil.
“The entrance will include a large arch that will proclaim the location to be Gobbler’s Knob,” said Jeff Lundy, vice president of the
Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle.
• The ribbon was cut Monday morning for Graystone Court Villas at the former location of the Mary A. Wilson Elementary School.
• Big Run Borough Council modified its ordinance regarding the types of animals that are permitted in the borough.
• In response to the escalating number of inquiries about the tainted spine steroid shot related to a deadly national outbreak of meningitis, practitioners at Punxsutawney Area Hospital (PAH) reassured patients that PAH’s supply of steroids was not involved.
• Punxsutawney Borough Police reported Thursday that two adults and a number of juveniles were transported to Punxsutawney Area Hospital for treatment after an accident between a Pontiac Grand Am and a Ford school van.
Police reported that the accident occurred at 2:48 p.m. on West Mahoning Street.
• Jerry Sandusky asks a judge on Thursday to overturn his child sexual abuse convictions and grant him a new trial.
• Newsweek announces it will end its print edition and increase its Web presence at the end of 2012.
• The Brookville Area school board discussed at its meeting last Monday the possibility of allowing the football field to be used for a planned alumni football game between the Punxsutawney Chucks and the Brookville Raiders.
The board ultimately did not take any action on this proposal, apart from advising Mick Stormer, the evening’s spokesperson for and captain of the Brookville alumni football team, to resubmit the facility use form so that the board could review it at a later date, in a special meeting if need be.
• A fire that was reported at 8:37 a.m. Tuesday morning at Creps United Publications printing plant in Indiana left four firefighters involved with battling the blaze injured.
• Local firefighters responded to a blaze that broke out at about 10 a.m. Tuesday at Plyler’s At Your Service Garage in Brookville.
Located at 9 Race St., the garage was a total loss by the time the flames subsided.
• The Jefferson County Commissioners, at their meeting on Tuesday,
announced that the position of Children and Youth Services director had been filled and introduced the individual now holding the position — Cindy Cornwell.
Cornwell officially took over the position on Sunday and has been working in that capacity throughout the week.
However, Tuesday marked the official announcement.
In addition, Commissioner Jeff Pisarcik made certain to wish the previous director, Brian Mowrey, well and thank him for his service to the county.
• The Jeff Tech Joint Operating Committee (JOC) approved a motion to move the CDL program to the lumbering annex as soon as is practical at Monday’s meeting.
Michael Knobloch, facilities manager, said the CDL instructors held a test run with the tractor trailers that are used in the program to see if the trucks could navigate the hilly road on which the former lumbering program building is located.
• Improvements to Jack F. Lamarca Stadium are still years in the future, as the Punxsutawney Area School Board discussed aluminum bleachers and a storage building that would be constructed adjacent to the stadium grounds at Wednesday’s athletic committee meeting.
Dave London, PAHS principal, said the proposed project is the construction of a garage to be located near the football field and be used for the storage of equipment and athletic gear in the proximity of the existing trailer.
• Three occupants safely escaped a Friday morning fire that destroyed the home of Dr. Kitty Scott on Kachmar Road, just off of Route 210 in Indiana County.
The initial call came through Jefferson County dispatch at approximately 7:45 a.m., and initial responders reported that smoke and flames were showing from approximately a mile away.
Perry Township Fire Chief Kris Grove reported that there was no indication of a cause as of Friday evening.
• The bridge formerly known as the “Blake’s Hardware Bridge” in Brookville is now the “Purple Heart Memorial Bridge of Jefferson County.”
The renaming took place Friday when the official signs were unveiled during a ceremony attended by Purple Heart recipients from Jefferson County and other parts of western Pennsylvania, representatives from several local veteran groups and local dignitaries.
Among those attending was Lance Corporal Ryan Blochberger, of Brookville, a Purple Heart recipient who was seriously wounded in Afghanistan in May 2011.
• Punxsy Mayor Jim Wehrle issued a declaration of disaster emergency in the Borough of Punxsutawney effective Monday at 6 p.m. to enable staff and related officials to respond effectively to any possible impact of Hurricane Sandy in the borough.
• The Punxsutawney Area School Board once again held a short discussion on moving 7th-grade students to the high school at its latest meeting on Wednesday.
Superintendent Keith Wolfe said that he feels things should be left as they are.
Right now, there are 623 students in the elementary schools, 526 at the middle school and about 1,100 at the high school.
“If we move 7th graders to the high school, then there would be only 474 students in the elementary schools, 672 in the middle school and over 1,100 at the High School,” Wolfe said.
• A traffic accident that occurred at about 4:50 p.m. Oct. 31 on State Route 219 in Washington Township has resulted in one death and one injury, with severe damage to all three vehicles involved.
• The Comet Market at 1028 W. Mahoning St., announced to their employees that the difficult decision to close the store’s doors had been made.
The decision, Ben Levy said, was a difficult one for the entire family, as the Comet has always been a business the family has been associated with since the store opened in 1963.
• Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police are investigating an attempted burglary that occurred around 1:22 a.m. Sunday at the Summerville Volunteer Fire Department.
• President Barack Obama won re-election Tuesday night, beating Mitt Romney.
“Thank you.” Obama tweeted to supporters.
• Christopher Thornhill, the alleged shooter of two Punxsutawney men back in September 2011, faced his supposed victims and other individuals as they testified against him on day two of his trial on Tuesday in Brookville.
• The Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce held its annual members’ luncheon, and the highlight of the event was the naming of the 2012 Business of the Year Award, Krise Bus Service of Punxsutawney.
• The trial of Christopher Thornhill ended on Thursday with him being found guilty of all but one of the counts with which he was charged in a shooting that took place in Punxsutawney on Sept. 22, 2011.
• The Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce announced The Walston Club will be sponsoring the fireworks for this year’s Home for the Holidays Parade.
The parade will be held on Nov. 23 at 6 p.m., and fireworks will be set off right afterwards.
• VFW Post 9044 and the Ladies Auxiliary held their annual ceremony recognizing and celebrating Veterans’ Day on Sunday at the Big Run War Memorial.
The ceremony also commemorated the 65th anniversary of Big Run VFW Post 9044 and honored its four living charter members, Richard Ellenberger, Sherman Hollopeter, Robert Kerr and Eugene North.
• Thanks to a public outpouring of generosity, the members of the Jefferson County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR) is sending thousands of items to fill Christmas stockings for American troops serving in Afghanistan.
• John H. London, 80, of Big Run, died Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, at home with his family.
John has been heard of around the world as the Big Run “Frogcaster,” the “Peeper Keeper” and “Peeper Frog Man,” after charting for decades the first time spring peepers were heard each year behind Big Run Carpet.
• Punxsutawney Borough Council approved the preliminary 2013 borough tax budget with no tax increase at Tuesday night’s meeting.
• Four freight-rail lines in the 25th Senatorial District — including one in Jefferson County — will receive more than $6 million in state grants to upgrade rail infrastructure and provide repairs to their lines, according to Senator Joe Scarnati.
• Christopher Thornhill was sentenced by Jefferson County Presdient Judge John Foradora to a minimum aggregate sentence of no less than 45 years and no more than 90 in a state correctional institution following his conviction in a shooting that occurred on Sept. 22, 2011, in Punxsutawney.
• Ryanne Lindenpitz and her miniature horse Gunner participated in the Pennsylvania State 4-H Horse Show at the end of October.
Ryanne placed 4th out of 22 contestants. This was Ryanne’s first year showing at the state competition.
• During Tuesday night’s council meeting, members of the PRIDE organization requested the borough’s assistance.
Katie Laska, PRIDE member, requested the borough’s assistance in improving the community. She also stated that outside interest is needed.
A proposal for partnership was given. Shirley Sharp, another PRIDE member, requested support for the town center project.
• The announcement is made that on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, the Australian group “Little River Band” will be performing on the stage of the Punxsutawney Area Community Center, located at 220 North Jefferson St.
This concert is part of the band’s scheduled 2012 tour.
• A Punxsutawney woman was involved in a two-vehicle accident on Pine Street in Punxsy at 5:39 a.m., when she struck a legally parked, unattended Volkswagon Jetta.
According to Punxsutawney Borough Police, the vehicle struck the left rear of of the parked vehicle and pushed it into a utility pole which caused her vehicle to spin around coming to rest facing east.
There were no injuries, and both vehicles were towed from the scene.
• Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police reported that a 48-year-old Hamilton man has been cited for cruelty to animals.
According to police, the man was found keeping a dog “confined to deplorable living conditions.”
• The Oak Ridge Boys packed the Jackson Theater at the Punxsutawney Area Community Center on Saturday night for a sold-out Christmas concert.
• Alternative fuels — specifically, natural gas — for Jefferson County remained a hot topic last Friday as local businessmen and entrepreneurs gathered at the Pinecrest Country Club in Brookville to learn more information on the subject from major organizations, experts and local politicians.
• Sykesville Borough Police Officer Earl Campbell came in front of the Big Run Council Monday to speak about a Regional Police Force.
A new study called the Regional Police Consolidation is being done to see how much it would cost to have a regional police force for Big Run and the surrounding areas.
Officials in Harrisburg will look over the study and then review the crime rate and the population.
• Big Run VFW Post 9044 presents Alexis Young with a certificate after she was announced as the winner of the VFW Voice of Democracy essay contest.
• The proposed 2013 budget for Jefferson County includes a tax increase, the commissioners announced at their meeting on Tuesday.
The commissioners approved a motion to place the 2013 budget on display for 20 days with the vote for adoption scheduled for Dec. 11.
• The presentation of the prestigious Lauretta Woodson Award to two educators from the Brookville Area Schools and the conducting of the annual memorial service were among the highlights of the recent fall luncheon of the Jefferson County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR).
• Saturday evening, the Home for the Holidays Parade, sponsored by the F.O. Eagles No. 1231, was held, entertaining all who attended.
After Santa came cruising into town to conclude the parade and a fireworks show was held, sponsored by the Walston Club, the winners were announced at an after party at the Eagles.
Two of the winning participants were McDonald’s, best float; and the PAHS marching band, best performers.
• It was a cold, snowy day in the town of Punxsutawney, but up at FEMCO’s beautiful Gingerbread House, the holiday spirit was easy to find.
Inside the house could be found all the wrapped toys that have already been donated — toys that will bring smiles to the faces of children in need through the Toys for Tots campaign.
• Following the Home for the Holidays Parade Saturday, the Rotary Club held its annual Circle of Trees lighting event.
The PAHS 8th- and 9th-grade Art Club won the best overall tree; Boy Scout Troop 243’s tree, best appearing nighttime; and the Punxsutawney Garden Club’s tree, best appearing daytime.
• The weather conditions were nearly perfect for the opening day of Pennsylvania Buck hunting season, in which 750,000 were expected to head into the woods throughout the state in pursuit of a trophy buck.
It was described as a decent turnout for the first day in southern Jefferson County, according to Andy Troutman, Wildlife Conservation officer (WCO) for southern Jefferson County.
He said while making his rounds throughout the county, he checked four or five decent-sized bucks out in the field.
• Kay Curtis was shocked when she heard that she had been chosen by the Punxsutawney Career Women’s Club to be one of this year’s Career Women.
For the past 30 years, she has been working as a waitress at Punxy Phil’s restaurant
“I enjoy being a waitress and meeting new people,” said Curtis.
• Colleen (Lyons) Casaday was born and raised in Punxsutawney, and she feels fortunate that she and her husband, Jim, were able to remain in the town to raise their two children, son Nathan and daughter Cara.
Casaday said that she is very honored to be chosen as one of the five women being highlighted by the Punxsutawney Career Women’s Club.
• Jeff Kuntz, fifth-grade math and social studies teacher at the Punxsutawney Area Middle School, is no stranger to First Energy Education grants.
In fact, Jeff Kuntz has qualified for several FE grants over the past 10 years by developing innovative educational programs that not only benefit the students in his classes, but in the entire school district and beyond.
Kuntz’s latest curriculum, “Geometry: Survivor Style,” has once again been recognized by First Energy for a Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics award and a $500 grant.
• Six years ago on the last day of January, Lil Defelice-Cameron achieved one of her goals by opening what would soon be known as Lily’s Bakery, Deli and Restaurant.
Cameron said that she is very honored to be chosen as one of the five women being highlighted by the Punxsutawney Career Women’s Club.
• Despite the fact that she is an individual who many know for her service to the community in many aspects and many facets, Charlotte Fye said she was surprised to hear she’d been selected by the Career Women’s Club as one of this year’s representatives, who the club recognizes for serving as positive role models to the young women of Punxsy.
• Things are looking up at the partially renovated Mahoning and Findley Street building in downtown Punxsutawney, as the installation of an elevator has been completed.
If you think that building an elevator shaft into an existing building might be a difficult task, you are correct, said Bev Fairman, owner of the Mahoning and Findley Building.
• Not having a career with a “regular paycheck” certainly doesn’t mean the work one is doing isn’t highly valued, which is exactly why the Punxsutawney Career
Women’s Club chose to honor Renee Doverspike of Ringgold as one of the five women recognized during Career Women Week this year.
“I don’t work formally, but I spend much of my time volunteering with various organizations, most of which operate through the church I attend, Ss. Cosmas & Damian Roman Catholic Church,” she said.
• A potential catastrophe was averted when residents and maintenance personnel of Sycamore Apartments in Punxsutawney were able to remove a dryer that had heavy smoke showing and used a fire extinguisher on it at 2:23 p.m. Saturday in the laundry room of the building located at 505 Sycamore St. in Punxsutawney.
• Big Run VFW Post 9044 presented a Patriot’s Pen certificate to Maggie Prutznal of Punxsy for winning this year’s essay contest.
Maggie received $100 from the post, and she also has been announced as the District 19 winner.
She will receive $100 from the District 19 Ladies Auxiliary, and her essay will be passed on to the state level for department judging.
• A 17-year-old juvenile male from Punxsutawney was arrested by Punxsutawney Borough Police on arson charges regarding the dryer fire that occurred at 2:23 p.m. Dec. 1 at Sycamore Apartments at 505 Sycamore St. in Punxsutawney.
• If you’re a fan of the Bubble’s World children’s books series, then you’ll be happy to know the sixth edition is out and ready for purchase, “Bubble’s World — Isabella’s Magic Dream.”
The bad news is, according to the author Jules (Julie Branken of Punxsutawney), this could very well be the last book in the series.
• The Punxsutawney Area School Board held their reorganization meeting Tuesday evening in Punxsutawney, with very little looking different after the meeting than it did before.
Current board President Gary Conrad was re-elected and will continue to be president of the Punxsutawney Area School Board for 2013.
Vice President Francis Molinaro was re-elected as well and will continue to be vice-president for the next year.
• Two Punxsutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police cars sustained heavy damage after being struck by a fleeing vehicle during a pursuit at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday on Route 310 in Young Township.
According to Punx-sutawney-based Pennsylvania State Police, Douglas Bryan Oharah, 41, Reynoldsville, was traveling north on Route 119 approximately one mile south of Punxsutawney Borough when a state trooper attempted to stop him for a traffic violation.Police said Oharah was charged with 12 felony counts of aggravated assault.
• Punxsutawney Borough Council’s Public Safety Committee held its meeting Tuesday and discussed the proposed liquor license transfer from Sykesville into Punxsy for a new Mexican restaurant that is to be coming to the Groundhog Plaza.
The borough received the application from the developer, Developac of DuBois, which owns the Groundhog Plaza, said Ben White, Punxsutawney Borough manager.
“The restaurant Tres Amigos will be constructed in the former Long John Silver’s/KFC restaurant building,” White said.
• The Punxsutawney Salvation Army presented Fezell’s County Market with an award for its many years of hosting the Red Kettle campaign at Christmastime.
The Salvation Army is recognizing Tim Fezell and Fezell’s County Market with a plaque because they are supporting the community in all that they do, said Capt. Keith Jache, co-commander of the Punxsutawney Salvation Army.
“Not only do they host the Red Kettle every year, they also prepare the bagged food that is distributed at Christmas,” he said.
• Brockway Area School District teacher Ryan Devlin has been named Pennsylvania’s 2013 Teacher of the Year, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).
• While the school term is winding down toward break, the IUP-Punxsy campus held its annual Toys for Tots Dinner event Thursday night to celebrate its season of giving. The event was open to the public as well as students.
• The Jeff Tech Joint Operating Committee (JOC) held its mandatory, annual reorganization meeting Thursday in the school library, with Lloyd McCreight from the DuBois Area School District being elected as chairperson and Shelly Caine, from the Brockway Area School District, being chosen as vice chairperson.
• Lewis Beatty, 41, pleaded guilty to murdering his estranged wife and two young daughters, after which he was immediately sentenced to three consecutive life prison terms.
• The first weekend of the 20th-anniversary performance of the Living Christmas Tree put on by the First Church of God in Punxsutawney was performed in front of large crowds over the weekend.
• Punxsutawney Mayor James Wehrle is asking area residents to send greetings to servicemen and women who are stationed overseas during the holiday season.
Wehrle said he has a supply of composition books, in which people can write holiday greetings, set up next to the Punxsutawney Borough Council Chambers in the Mahoning East Civic Center this week.
• The Make-A-Wish “Light Up a Child’s Life” campaign got underway Monday in Punxsutawney.
The total amount raised as of 4 p.m. Monday was $9,385.43.
• The GPS units that were purchased by Punxsutawney Borough Council have finally arrived and are ready to be installed in all four Punxsutawney Borough Police vehicles
• The Punxsutawney Eagles and Ladies’ Auxiliary both made donations to the Punxsutawney Fire Department’s annual Boot Drive for the eight area food banks and for food baskets.
The Eagles donated $500, and the Ladies’ Auxiliary donated $200.
The annual food drive received $8,325.05 in donations from the public and various organizations.
• The second day of the Make-A-Wish Light Up a Child’s Life campaign was highly successful Tuesday, as the two-day total raised now sits at $10,155.43.
• The Jefferson County Commissioners reviewed and approved the 2013 county budget at their meeting on Tuesday.
The newly passed budget includes a tax increase.
The tax increase clocks in at one quarter of a mill, which determines tax amounts based on property values.
• Over $199,000 in scholarships were announced Wednesday at the Punxsutawney Christian School (PCS) as part of the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program.
• The SS.C.D. School’s children’s choir performed for the residents of Mulberry Square in Punxsutawney live on WPXZ radio during the Make-A-Wish “Light Up A Child’s Life” campaign Wednesday.
The total amount raised for Make-A-Wish as of 4 p.m. Wednesday is $16,270.43 which is four wishes, with the average cost per wish $3,900.
• The Young Township supervisors approved the 2013 budget with no tax increase at their final meeting of the year Wednesday.
The total revenues and expenditures for the 2013 budget are $787,874 for a balanced budget.
• Sandra McGuire, the executive director of the Jefferson County Housing Authority,had an announcement to make at the group’s most recent meeting on Tuesday: the authority has been awarded three certificates praising it for its performance in providing housing throughout the county.
“We are considered a high performer,” McGuire said.
The housing authority is evaluated by the Pittsburgh HUD office on a regular basis.
• Thursday night, the National Honor Society inducted new members with 25 Punxsutawney Area High School students being recognized.
• The fourth day of the Make-a-Wish “Light up a Child’s Life” campaign brought the organization closer to reaching its goal.
As of Thursday, $20,548 had been raised in the campaign.
• The town of Newtown, Conn., becomes known nationwide when police say a 20-year-old man killed his mother at home and then opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26, including 20 children, before taking his own life.
• In what has become a Christmas tradition for not only Punxsutawney but the surrounding area, The 2012 Make-A-Wish “Light up A Child’s Life” Campaign concluded Friday in the lobby of the Pantall Hotel after another successful year.
Al Lockwood, Renda Radio Inc. program director, and Tiffany Bennett, a long time “Wish Kid” announced during the wrap-up on WPXZ 104.1 that this year’s campaign raised $66,515.68.
• The Punxsutawney
Weather Discovery Center received a donation of $2,500 from the Pennsylvania American Water Company.
• Dr. Keith Wolfe, Punxsutawney Area School District superintendent, said school safety and security are ongoing concerns that requires vigilant attention.
• Big Run Borough Council voted to eliminate the rental fee for non-profit organizations at Monday’s council meeting.
• The second annual “Breakfast with Santa” put on by the Big Run Area Volunteer Fire Company (BRAVFC) was a huge success as firefighters raised $902.60 that was donated to Big Run Betas and the Big Run Area New Community Helping Hands (BRANCHH) Saturday.
• The Jefferson County Bar Association presented a check for $500 to Captain Keith Jache for the Salvation Army food pantry Tuesday.
• The Punxsutawney Area Education Association recently presented checks to six of the area’s food banks.
The association makes a donation three to four times a year to organizations that their students benefit from.
• The state Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary C. Alan Walker was joined on Thursday by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Speaker of the House Sam Smith to award a state grant to support the continued development of the Jefferson County Business Park.
• Rumors Tavern is closed due to the Saw Mill Run Bridge replacement project. However, a new Rumors building is being constructed just yards away and is expected to open by Groundhog Day 2013.
• In recognition of the more than 2,000 hours she has devoted to a variety of organizations and projects in the past twelve months, Jeanne Curtis of Punxsutawney has been chosen as the Volunteer of the Year by the Community Service Committee of the Jefferson County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR).
• The first big winter storm hits the area. “We had over seven inches of snow on the ground in Punxsutawney Borough as of 5:30 p.m. today (Wednesday),” said Charlie Hoeh, Punxsutawney Borough Emergency Management coordinator.
• Jefferson County commissioners approved an ordinance opposing injection wells in the area.
• The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club recently sponsored the “Elderly Care Gift Basket Drive” for local personal care and nursing facilities in the Punxsutawney area.
With the help of the community, the Groundhog Club was able to provide over 250 gifts for local facilities.
• We’ve heard the old saying it’s either “feast or famine,” and this weekend at the Punxsutawney Alliance Church, for members of the church’s youth group it will be famine as they participate in a “30 Hour Famine” event to help raise awareness for world hunger.
“This is not just an event that is occurring at the Punxsutawney Alliance Church. It is put on by Worldvision across the country,” said Connie Neal of the Punxsutawney Alliance Church.