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FULL KOURT FUNDRAISER: Punxsutawney family keeps teenager's legacy alive

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney community is keeping a high school student’s legacy alive through a full-kourt fundraiser in her honor.

Two years ago, three best friends were enjoying a convertible ride on a sunny summer day, never anticipating one of them would lose her life.

On July 21, 2016, Kally Graham of Punxsutawney was thrown from the car after the driver lost control on a gravel road. The other two young women survived after enduring some injuries, but will carry the loss of their friend forever.

Kally was 16 years old and heading into her junior year of high school, with plans of attending nursing school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Two summers later, Kally’s family, friends and community supports are constructing a plan for “Kally’s Kourt” — a tennis court that will be placed next to the Josh Smith Memorial Playground and Thomas L. Barlette Skate Park in east end Punxsutawney.

Kally’s mother Kristin Graham said Josh was a good friend of Kally’s brother, and died just a month before her daughter did.

The Smith and Graham families are now joining to construct a full-fledged complex for the community, with a tennis court, playground and skate park all in one location.

Her daughter loved to play tennis from the time she was little, Kris says. Since there is currently no public tennis court in the Punxsutawney area, they thought this was the perfect way to honor her legacy.

It started out with a scholarship in her name — The Kally Graham Memorial Scholarship, and has since turned into a huge community effort in honor of the sweet teenager. The scholarship was awarded to a student in Kally’s 2018 graduating class.

“We wanted to do something more permanent to keep her name out there,” Kris said.

They were hoping to have a tennis court installed at the high school, Kris said, but the plan wasn’t seen through. It turns out, it was meant to be, since Kally’s Kourt will be right next to Josh’s playground.

Kally and her sister, who were just 11 months apart, also attended tennis camp when they were younger. Kris hopes to offer tennis camps and lessons at Kally’s Kourt in the future.

“We wanted to keep her legacy alive, and also do something to benefit the community,” Kris said. “We want it to be a place where families can go.”

Kris is also aiming to generate interest in tennis as a sport and an enjoyable outlet for people, hoping more will head down to the park and pick up a racket. If given a court to play on, children and people may even discover it’s something they love and want to pursue in the future.

They just received their permit to go ahead with the court, Kris said. In order to complete the construction, they are aiming to raise another $60,000. They are around halfway there with their fundraising goal, and the plan is to hopefully break ground on the project this fall.

In addition to the Mahoning Shadow Trail, the Josh Smith Memorial Playground and Thomas L. Barlette Skate Park, Kally’s Kourts will be the finishing touch to complete the complex, Kris said. Each piece of the puzzle is in memory of a local person who left an impact.

The single court will be a lighter purple color with green around the outside, standing out from a traditional tennis court.

“Nothing would make us all happier than knowing that Josh and Kally’s friends, and future children, as well as local kids and adults, would have the opportunity to enjoy playing tennis at Kally’s Kourt.”

The public can help keep the future bright in Kally’s name by contributing in any way possible — whether through monetary donations or just being a supportive shoulder to lean on.

Anyone interested in helping can send donations to the Kally Graham Foundation, 1417 Graffius Ave. Ext., Punxsutawney, PA 15767 or S&T Bank, 232 Hampton Ave., Punxsutawney, PA 15767.

“The community has been amazing,” Kris said. “We have had so much feedback, and we are so appreciative. We’ve had so many generous people, and so much support.”


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REVVING UP: Go-kart track in DuBois is 'hidden secret' to many

DuBOIS — All throughout the summer, go-kart racers and enthusiasts gather at a full-function racing facility off of Oklahoma Salem Road in DuBois, revving up for a good time.

For many people, the motor speedway race track in DuBois is considered a “hidden secret.”

Locals are familiar with Hummingbird Speedway of Reynoldsville and other tracks, but some DuBois residents are unaware that there is one in their own backyard.

For more than 20 years, Owners Andy and Sherry Watt have been giving riders a safe place to race — a hometown track where riders of many classes can compete and get a little dirty.

RACE-1 Motor Speedway, located off Oklahoma Salem Road in DuBois on Fox Run Road, opened in the late ‘90s.

“It’s hard to believe we have been here for 21 years, advertised all over and still, most people don’t know about us,” Andy said.

Go-kart racing tends to be safer and more family oriented than other forms of racing. Not only do children and younger adults get excited about it, but families like to watch them race and cheer them on.

RACE-1 Motor Speedway also ensures that the track is maintained and properly prepared for the karts.

Throughout the months of April through October, there are Friday night races and also occasional Saturday events.

The Keystone Unlimited All Stars, the western Pennsylvania region of muscle kart racing, visited Motor 1 Speedway in mid July, Andy said, which was one of their biggest events.

The track is an eighth of a mile long, with a professionally maintained clay surface. Homemade food, a family-friendly playground for little ones and fellowship are involved.

Several race families have been involved in the track for the entire 21 years, Andy said. Most racers have family members attend to help with maintaining their kart and getting them ready for take off.

Each racer gets two qualifying events, and a feature race at each event.

The next event will be Friday, Aug. 10.

For more information, visit www.race1info.com, call 814-590-4139 or email {span}Race-1@comcast.net.{/span}


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Turbulent weather doesn't dampen Clearfield County Fair

CLEARFIELD — Despite probably being one of the worst weeks of weather in fair history, the 158th Clearfield County Fair boasted high attendance and pleased crowds last week.

Opening day on Sunday and the last day on Saturday were the best two days with no rain.

That could not be said for the other five days.

“With the way the weather was, we were very pleased with the turnout of attendance,” said Clearfield County Fair Board President Dave Franson. “During the day, the weather didn’t seem to cooperate. We didn’t have to cancel anything, but there were a few days where the attendance was low.

“But at night, we were able to get every show in.”

Wednesday night’s country music show featuring Kane Brown was sold out and the fair board parked cars on the track to make room for attendees. Franson said there was also great attendance for Thursday’s truck and tractor pull and on Friday for Collective Soul and Three Doors Down.

Saturday’s attendance was also very good, Franson said.

He added that Kids Day on Tuesday was one of the best-attended Kids Day that he could recall.

“Between Paw Patrol being there and the $6 admission deal offered in the daytime, it was a huge draw,” Franson added. “There were long lines to meet the Paw Patrol characters.”

The steady rain — and sometimes torrentional downpours — on most of the weekdays did cause some headaches in the fair parking lots.

“We had to make some adjustments,” Franson said. “The board had to purchase screenings, or small rock, as well as other mediums, to provide driving areas for cars to get into the lots without getting stuck.

“We had to keep the parking lots from being mud pits,” Franson explained. “We did shut down the Silk Mill lot on Thursday to get some rock in there to make the lot more user-friendly and accessible.”

Franson, has been working with the fair board in some capacity for many years, said he could not remember the weather being so fair-unfriendly.

“In all my time, that’s the worst that I have ever seen the lots,” Franson said. “We just never got that day where we had the heat to soak up the mud.”

Franson credited his fellow board members, fair employees and volunteers for making the lots as usable as possible for attendees.

“Our board and volunteers were able to handle the conditions for patrons and for everyone who was in the park. The gate people knew what the plan was, they followed it, and we were able to get people in and out.”

He added that folks with properties outside of the fairground property were able to cash in on the parking problem.

“The people who parked cars outside the fairgrounds raised their rates and they were able to make some money,” Franson said. “People had no problem paying higher parking costs to avoid the mud and get into the fair.”

He said there were no issues with concerts or promoters, stating everyone watched weather forecasts so that everything went well.

The biggest concern was Monday’s Clearfield County Fair Parade — a popular event for local folks, especially Clearfield Borough residents who host parties and get-togethers along the parade route.

Rain that day was not only steady, but there were many reports of flash flooding in other parts of the region.

“We were thinking there was a possibility the parade wouldn’t go as planned, but we saw the weather was to break around 5 p.m. so we put the word out at 3 p.m. that the parade was still going to be held,” Franson said. “It’s a big deal for the community, and we wanted to make sure it happened. We had numerous phone calls asking if it was canceled.”

Franson said he and the board were thankful for the community’s support.

“We thank all the patrons who support the fair and everyone who braved the weather to enjoy the fair,” Franson said. “If we had nice weather, we may have had a record fair. But overall, it was an excellent fair.”