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Beaver Drive sidewalk project to begin May 13

A major sidewalk project is expected to begin in less than a month in the City of DuBois, according to Manager John “Herm” Suplizio.

“We’re pleased to announce that the city has secured a $600,000 grant to put sidewalks in on Beaver Drive from Division Street to Shaffer Road,” said Suplizio.

The project, which is expected to start around May 13, will start on the left side of Beaver Drive by the Greater DuBois Chamber of Commerce and continue in the direction of the DuBois Mall to McCracken Run Creek. At that point, it will start across the road and continue down the right side of the road until it reaches Shaffer Road.

Suplizio said the project will also include three bus pull-offs.

“We’re very excited about this project. A lot of people walk on Beaver Drive and discover there’s nowhere to walk. We think this is a great enhancement,” said Suplizio. “Hopefully, traffic delays will be minimal. No roads will be closed during the project.”

Francis J. Palo Inc., based in Clarion, was awarded the bid for the project.

Suplizio credited City of DuBois staff, particularly Director of Redevelopment Joe Mitchell and Engineer Chris Nasuti, for obtaining the state grant through the Multimodal Transportation Fund. He also expressed appreciation to the state Department of Transportation and North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission.

“Once again, my hat goes off to (state) Sen. Joseph Scarnati who, yet again, knows the value of this community and goes to bat for us anytime we need his help,” said Suplizio. “He’s always there for us and he’s never let us down. We have to thank him and appreciate all the work he’s done for us. Without him, this grant is not possible.”


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Spring Creative Crawl had largest number of participants yet

The Spring Creative Crawl held Saturday in downtown DuBois was the most successful one yet, according to Mint Culinary Studio owner and co-organizer Joanne Bish.

Bish said this was the third event of the Creative Crawl Series, which was started in the summer of 2018. The goal of the Creative Crawl series is to provide an opportunity for local business owners to work together to offer a destination event featuring the rich creative artistry of the community while brining awareness to their business, she said.

The Spring Crawl includes six area businesses, where those attending participated in classes presented by Brady Street Florist, Marianne Fyda’s Studio, Mint Culinary Studio, re.invent.ed, and the Winery at Wilcox.

At each destination, industry professionals offered a hands-on, 45-minute class on topics ranging from an introduction to Chalk Paint to the art of pairing food and wine, Bish said.

At the conclusion of the Crawl, participants enjoyed lunch at Luigi’s Ristorante.

“Organizers were thrilled with the amount of interest from the community,” said Bish. “The Crawl had a total of 48 participants from across Clearfield, Jefferson, Indiana, and Elk counties.”

Tickets were available to the public for purchase online and were sold out within two weeks of being offered, according to Bish.

Based on the positive feedback from participants and business owners, plans have begun for a Summer Creative Crawl to be held on Saturday, July 20.

For more information on this event or the next crawl, please contact Bish via email at Chef@MintCulinary.com or Jennifer via phone at 814-591-9420.


Photo by Craig Moyer 

Johnsonburg's Zack Zameroski drives a double to deep left field during the first inning against Elk County Catholic Tuesday. Zameroski went 1-for-3 and scored a run in the Rams' 9-2 victory.


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Brookville girl's wish for swingset comes true in time for summer

BROOKVILLE — Children facing a debilitating illness often pick a trip to Disney World or meeting their celebrity idol when receiving a gift from Make-A-Wish.

A little Brookville girl’s wish, though, was just to have a swing set for summer.

Anna Songer’s health issues began the day she was born, when she was unresponsive and not breathing, her mother, Lindsay Songer, said. Anna spent seven days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

At 9 months old, she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid in the brain causes the head to enlarge, at times causing brain damage. Anna had a cerebral shunt placed for four years.

In summer of last year, Anna was also diagnosed with Chiari malformation, Songer said, a condition in which brain tissue extends into the spinal canal.

Her 4-year-old has had five brain surgeries total, Songer says.

The Songer family’s troubles don’t end there. Her husband, Dustin, was diagnosed with brain cancer three years ago, and is on hospice care.

The second week of April, Make-A-Wish of Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia gave Anna her brand-new dream swingset, with a cake, balloons and backyard party at home.

“She hasn’t had a lot of happy times as a kid,” Songer said. “It was kind of a wish for Dustin, too, to see her get this and play on it.”

The swingset is equipped with a tire swing, sandbox, monkey bar, slide, rock climbing and a couple other quirks.

Anna goes back to Children’s Hospital in May, when she will have an MRI done to see if her last surgery was a success, Songer said. Right now, incredibly, she is showing no indication that it wasn’t.

“We could never afford a swingset,” Songer says. “She’s doing so good now, and can look forward to a lot of summer days outside, just being a kid.”

Songer says the family always thought Make-A-Wish was for children with certain conditions or circumstances, so when the organization insisited on helping Anna, they were very grateful.

“It’s overwhelming to know they would do something so special for her,” she said. “It has made Dustin and I so happy. Just to see your child happy is the icing on the cake.”

The Songers not only want to spread awareness for Make-A-Wish and its generosity, but awareness of child illnesses that can go undetected. Through their many trips to the hospital, they met many other families and people going through similar things.

“Chiari is very rare, but it’s becoming much more common,” she said. “It’s great to spread awareness for what Anna has had.”

Despite two extremely challenging circumstances in the Songer household, there is no point in “being negative,” she says.

“Your kids look to you to be their strength,” Songer said. “We just kind of stay positive, and make the most of every day.”


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With spring comes sightings, feeding of hummingbirds, says area biologist

With blooming plants and warmer temperatures spring also brings sightings of hummingbirds. Area residents are preparing to hang their bright-red feeders, if they haven’t already, to attract a beautiful and unique bird species.

Emily Thomas, a certified wildlife biologist and wildlife technology instructor at Penn State DuBois, said the ruby-throated hummingbird is one of many bird species in the area that return in the spring after migrating south in the fall.

“Spring is certainly an exciting time, especially in the bird world,” Thomas said.

The diminutive bird returns to the region in late April and early May, she adds.

“They can be found in woodlands and backyards throughout the area,” Thomas said. “Almost anyone who puts a feeder in their yard will attract at least one or two hummingbirds.”

The males arrive first in spring, she said, to establish territories.

“Hummingbirds are unique in that the male defends a food source, rather than a territory, like other bird species,” Thomas said. “Also, they don’t form mating pairs. Once the courtship is over, the male and female do not interact with the exception of possibly fighting at a feeder or other reliable food source.”

Female hummingbirds build a “tiny nest” lined with soft plants and lichen, lay two eggs and care for the young, without the help of the male, she said. The babies leave the nest in early June or July, but can be seen with adult hummingbirds until fall migration.

“You can tell them apart, due to their pale gray markings on the throat, rather than the brilliant red of an adult male, or the white of an adult female,” Thomas said, adding they’ll stay in the area until around September.

Appropriate hummingbird feeders have a “bright red” color to attract the birds, she said.

“Anyone can maintain a feeder for them,” Thomas said. “The best food can simply be made at home by mixing four-parts water to one-part sugar, and placing it in the feeder. They should be kept clean and placed out any day now, in anticipation of the first birds arriving back.”

Hummingbirds are very attractive to the human eye. Besides coloring, they are known to fly backward, hover up and down and go from full-speed flying to an instant halt. Its wings can beat up to 80 times per second, according to www.wootandhammy.com.

The “meaning” behind a hummingbird visit can symbolize many things to different people. In Aztec culture, they were seen as messengers sent by ancestors, and in Native American culture, they were known as “healers and bringers of love, good fortune and joy.”

In Central America, hummingbirds are a sign of love. They can also be considered a “messenger from Heaven.”

“As with many others, I very much enjoy the first ruby-throated hummingbird sightings each spring,” Thomas said. “They are a much welcomed sign of warmer days, and beginning of new life for plants and animals.”