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Downtown DuBois group unveils new banners to honor hometown heroes

Members of the Downtown DuBois Revitalization Group unveiled new banners to honor area military and first responders who have served their country and community at Sunday’s Dedication Ceremony in DuBois Memorial Park.

Starting last year, the downtown organization invited the community to purchase banners for its fundraising project which honors DuBois’ Hometown Heroes, including military, police, firefighters and EMTs, past and present.

A total of 63 banners were purchased and include the person’s picture, name, branch of service, medallion logo with branch or service, and the sponsor’s name.

The banners are 18 inches wide and 36 inches high and will be located on street lights throughout the city.

Lisa Gabler, a Downtown DuBois board member who spearheaded the effort, said the banners will hopefully be hung by the Fourth of July and expressed appreciation to the City of DuBois for their help.

Major Matthew M. Gabler, who is also a state representative, was the keynote speaker at the dedication ceremony. He expressed appreciation to the DDRG for their work on this project. Gabler is also recognized on one of the banners, which was purchased by his parents. He is a medical logistics officer in the Army National Guard 28th Infantry Division Headquarters.

“It will not only beautify and decorate our downtown, but it will also provide us with a tangible reminder of what and who makes our community what it is,” said Matt Gabler. “That sense of community is something that will make all of us stronger.”

In addition to acknowledging the military for their service to the country, Matt Gabler also recognized the area’s first responders.

“The importance of our police, our EMTs, our paramedics and our volunteer firefighters cannot be overstated,” said Matt Gabler. “Quite simply their services make life in our community possible. Without them, our daily lives can and would fall apart in a heartbeat.”

All of these people have something in common, said Matt Gabler.

“When they’re making a difference in the lives of others, they put their own lives on pause,” said Matt Gabler. He thanked the families for “sharing their special person with everyone in the community who needs them ... because your love and support makes them strong, which makes us all strong. And that is what today is truly all about. Let’s celebrate our collective strength. The strength of our community is when we all come together.”

Other speakers included DDRG Board President Julie Stewart, who provided the opening and welcome, DDRG Program Manager Dan Bowman and closing remarks were made by Lisa Gabler. Charlie Nixon sang, “God Bless the USA,” accompanied by Joe Sensor, while Shannon Cooper sang the “National Anthem.”

Tom and Joan Hockman said they purchased a banner for Tom’s father, Eddie Hockman, who served in the U.S. Army.

“I think it’s amazing, I love it. I think it’s a great community project,” said Joan Hockman. “It’s a great honor for our servicemen, we’ve seen it in other towns. I can’t wait to see them on the streetlights.”

Applications for the second banner project are available in the DDRG office at the Parkside Community Center, 120 W. Park Ave., DuBois, or at the Gabler Agency — Farmers Insurance at 21 W. Long Ave., DuBois.

Check out the Facebook page at DuBoisHometownHeroes or www.facebook.com/DuBoisHometownHeroes for an online submission form and additional information.

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 31 and will only be processed with a fully completed form, photo, proof of service and a check or money order made payable to: DuBois Renaissance Inc. Please put “Hometown Heroes” in the memo. Banner placement will be solely at the discretion of the City of DuBois.


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Fourth Ward wins DuBois Firemen's Week competition

Fourth Ward No. 4 of the DuBois Volunteer Fire Department was declared “City Champs” after last week’s games in the City of DuBois, according to DVFD Chief Joe Mitchell.

“Congratulations to Fourth Ward on their City Championship and a big thank you to all of the companies for their hard work last week in a great community event,” said Mitchell.

The city’s five fire companies competed in three events, including battle of the barrel, sink the tub, and the standing pump contests. In addition to Fourth Ward, the five fire companies include Volunteer Hose Co. No. 1, J.E. DuBois Hose Co. No. 3, Friendship Hose Co. No. 2, and Goodwill Hose Co. No. 5.

Fourth Ward won both the sink the tub and standing pump competitions, while Friendship won the battle of the barrel contest.

Prior to this year’s competition, Friendship had been the “City Champs” for seven consecutive years.

The Firemen’s Week games have been a mainstay in the city since the late 1960s. Some of the fire companies start practicing for the competitions during Firemen’s Week in April.

There are approximately 450 firefighters in the entire department.


Photo by Chris Wechtenhiser 

DuBois Little League All-Star coach Rick McClelland, left, congratulates Emma Elensky after she blasted a 2-run triple to right-center in the top of the third inning Sunday against St. Marys. Elensky was 1-for-2 with the triple and three RBIs in a 20-4, 4-inning victory.


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Lazy River Canoe Rental offers rentals, camping along Clarion River

RIDGWAY — Lazy River Canoe Rental at 40 West Main Street is open for the summer, welcoming Clarion River canoe aficionados to enjoy sunny days on the water.

Tim McClain started Lazy River Canoe Rental in St. Marys in 2010, operating it for a year before moving into its current 40 West Main Street facility in spring 2011.

McClain said at the time, Love’s Canoe Rental in Ridgway was going out of business after 30 years, so there was a need for a similar facility.

McClain, a born-and-raised Ridgway native, has logged more than 5,000 miles on the Clarion River. LRCR is a way for him to share his passion for canoeing with families, tourists and outdoor enthusiasts.

The canoe-rental facility is open from the first of April through October, and also in the winter as needed for ice fishing.

LRCR, open seven days a week, puts 200-300 people on the river per week, McClain said.

“It’s wild and scenic, and runs through Allegheny National Forest and two state parks,” he said. “You can start in Ridgway and go all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.”

Families like to camp along the 2019 Pennsylvania River of the Year, McClain said. Canoeing is also a good fitness activity, he adds.

“It’s one of the few rivers in Pennsylvania where you have primitive opportunities as you’re paddling,” he said.

LRCR participated in the Ridgway Fitness Challenge June 15, welcoming racing canoe goers. It also hosts “Pirates of the Claribbean” costume event on the second Saturday in August.

“People dress up and decorate their boats as pirate ships,” McClain said.

There is also a dice run beginning in Ridgway and ending in Portland Mills.

For more information, visit LRCR on Facebook.