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Heindl Field dedication Sunday in DuBois; Pirates owner and Pirate Parrot to be guests

DuBOIS — It’s on again.

An official ribbon cutting and dedication of the Rose and Dennis Heindl Memorial Field — including appearances by Pittsburgh Pirate principal owner Bob Nutting, Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly and the Pittsburgh Pirate Parrot and Bucco Brigade — will be held Sunday at the field located on Parkway Drive in DuBois, according to City Manager John “Herm” Suplizio.

The event was originally scheduled for June 3, but due to inclement weather was postponed.

“We’re pleased to announce that we’re going to be finally doing the ribbon cutting on our Challenger Field and we’re excited about it,” said Suplizio. “We have some interesting things going on so we’re trying to get all the public to come out.”

The free public event will be held from 1-3 p.m., with the ceremonies starting shortly after 1 p.m.

After the opening ceremony, there will be an appearance by Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix, a slapstick comedy act, Suplizio said.

Peers will lead more than a dozen dogs through tricks as he plays the straight man role in the show, Suplizio said.

“I think all of the kids will enjoy it. They will be right on the field and we’re looking forward to it,” Suplizio said.

The Bucco Brigade will make balloon animals for children.

The main event for those attending will be having the chance to cheer on their favorite team during a Challenger League game on Heindl Field, Suplizio said.

“If you have not seen one of these games yet, you will love it,” Suplizio said.

The DuBois Little League will serve free hot dogs, chips and drinks.

The Pirate Parrot and Bucco Brigade, which will make balloon animals for children, will be making their way throughout the park.

Dennis Heindl, who was a major financial supporter of the new field and is part-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, will also be in attendance.

“We cannot thank him (Heindl) enough,” Suplizio said.

Heindl decided he wanted to be a part of the new state-of-the-art facility which was built by the City of DuBois primarily for use by the Challenger League. In addition to providing specialized athletic opportunities for those with special physical and mental needs, the field can also be used for girls softball.

Heindl, a Ridgway resident and former DuBois businessman, donated a total of $250,000, $100,000 last year, $50,000 this year, and will give $50,000 in 2019 and $50,000 in 2020. He’s also giving $10,000 a year in perpetuity to be used to maintain the field.

“We’re also fortunate that the Pittsburgh Pirates Charities contributed $100,000 toward the new facility that we have in DuBois, which is one of, if not the nicest and finest ball fields in the state of Pennsylvania,” Suplizio said.

“We feel honored to have a facility such as this in the community,” Suplizio said. “It’s a field that the Challenger League can call its own and will also support girls softball for years to come.”

“We are asking the whole community to come out, enjoy the day, help us dedicate and enjoy the park,” Suplizio said.


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Ridgway chainsaw carvers hit the road for fall shows

RIDGWAY — Ridgway’s chainsaw artists are hitting the road this time of year, “revving up” their creativity for fall competitions and shows.

Liz Boni is about the only one in her family who isn’t a carver, she says.

Rick and Liz Boni own Appalachian Arts Studio on Boot Jack Road, which is an all-around family affair. Rick’s brother, Roland, and his son, Geno, operate Mudslide Pottery, located within the plaza.

The studio as a whole aims to showcase almost any type of creative outlet or form of art, including chainsaw carving, pottery, print making and painting.

The art of chainsaw carving is purely entertainment, Liz said. It’s about seeing the process of the product and appreciating the outcome, too.

“It’s a creative outlet, and a quick reward for your efforts,” she said. “It’s fast and it takes sculpture to a whole new level.”

The Bonis’ daughter, Zoe, and her husband, Joe Dussia, also are carvers and have followed in the family’s footsteps.

They do a lot of carving at the studio itself, creating anywhere from four to five pieces a day, Liz said.

Throughout the months of August, September and October, the family of carvers is on the road, hitting show after show, Liz says. They attend fairs, fall festivals and competitions, some of which are speed-carving events.

Besides the artistic aspect, carving can be a sporting event, too, Liz said. Rick, who has been carving for 25 years, can create a “standing eagle” in 40 minutes.

“The more you get to know the wood and the saw and what you can do with it, you can go pretty fast,” she said.

They are most well known in connection with the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous — the largest chainsaw carving event in the world, showcasing more than 200 carvers and bringing some 25,000 people to the Pennsylvania Wilds.

The Rendezvous, held in April, has come to play an important role in promoting chainsaw carving, Liz said, and an art movement all around the world.

People driving into Ridgway can see almost any type of wooden animal carving alongside the road. They have anywhere from 20-40 displayed at a time, Liz said.

International tourists have even been known to stop by, she said. She can remember a family from Norway who came through and said their chainsaw shop stop was the best part of their trip.

“People like art and creativity and they like seeing it,” she said. “They’re just in awe of what can be done.”

Visitors can stop by, check out the carvings and pick something out for their house or front yard, and then head next door to see the pottery process.

Liz, who is the Rendezvous organizer, said although she isn’t a carver herself, she loves being a part of everything the family does and witnessing their unique creativity.

“This has been a wonderful experience,” she said. “My job is easy, because the Boni family is so gifted. The things they make and what comes out of them is just unique and very, very special.”

For more information, visit www.appalachian-arts.com.


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SOUTHSIDE PICKIN': DuBois collectors dabble in local antiques, art

DuBOIS — Local pickers have found a home in the “southside” of DuBois, where a community collector or traveling tourist can find just about anything.

Darrell and Faye Clark travel to auctions and estate sales, gathering items to bring back to their store, Southside Pickers, located on South Brady Street.

A “picker” is considered someone who gathers or collects things. Fans of the reality television show “American Pickers” may be looking for a local version of their collector fantasy.

The DuBois store opened in October of 2017, in partnership with Scotty Walker of Scotty’s Donut, offering everything from antiques, art and vintage items to historical military memorabilia.

They have always “dabbled” in collecting things, Faye says, and have a passion for history and the stories these items can tell.

This is the Clark’s third shop. They had one in the ‘90s in downtown DuBois, and their Sykesville shop sold out, Darrell said. The other shops were their own items, though, whereas Southside Pickers incorporates around a dozen other vendors.

The Clarks have watched DuBois go through many phases, collecting pieces of history and tradition along the way.

Southside Pickers is a local treasure, and an enjoyable place for tourists to walk through and learn more about the area. An entire wall that customers see as soon as they enter the shop is dedicated to DuBois memorabilia.

As they walk though, people can also see a soapbox derby car that was used locally “back in the day,” a DuBois Brewery sign and old yearbooks from Sandy Township and DuBois.

They get people coming through town from places around the country, such as Michigan and Canada, Faye said, calling it “the perfect location,” in town.

There also are items in the display case from Punxsutawney, Brookville, St. Marys and Reynoldsville.

Southside Pickers can just be a place for people to reminisce, too. The store often attracts visitors who recognize a vintage item from when a parent or grandparent had it, and they buy it to keep as a memory, Faye said.

The Clarks attend mostly local auctions within the state of Pennsylvania, and have area vendors within the store.

Many collectors come in looking for specific things like records, coins, or instruments. People can walk through the shop and see a guitar or lantern from Pittsburgh, though, or smell handmade soap or candles from a Punxsutawney crafter.

Even if a customer can’t find something in their shop, they know which vendor to call or another store to which to direct them, Darrell said. He has been able to build connections and partnerships with vendors, appraisers and auctioneers.

“We have been in the business long enough to know what vendors specialize in,” he said.

Darrell considers himself to have a “panel of experts” to call for questions or references, since he has gotten to know many area vendors over the past 20 years.

For example, Southside Pickers doesn’t carry a lot of furniture items, and recommends other area businesses that do.

“After you travel the same circle for so long, you have the same vendors and pickers,” he said. “Even if we aren’t the right buyer, we know where to send people.”

For more information, visit Southside Pickers on Facebook or stop by 310 Brady Street on Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Sunday from noon-4 p.m.


Photo by Chris Wechtenhiser 

DuBois manager Jeff Gasbarre shows off the Federation League championship trophy to his team following a 5-2, 8-inning victory in Game 6 Thursday against Sykesville that gave the Rockets their first crown since 2011.


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Downtown DuBois to host large item pickup

DuBOIS — DuBois City residents who are wondering what to do with large items such as furniture and electronics will want to register for the Downtown DuBois Revitalization Group’s fifth annual large item pickup program on Saturday, Aug. 18.

“This event is a community service to help DuBois City residents to remove items they can’t move themselves due to physical limitations or no vehicle,” said DDRG Manager Dan Bowman.

“This is a volunteer effort that includes people with pickup trucks and other volunteers who go to registered homes or businesses to pick up items,” Bowman said.

The goal, according to group organizers, is to help city residents and to keep the exteriors of properties free of debris.

Items that can be picked up include furniture, appliances and wood scraps.

Residents are reminded that this program is for City of DuBois addresses only and they must be Advanced Disposal customers.

There is no fee to participate, but cash donations will be accepted to help with ongoing revitalization work in downtown DuBois.

To register, please call 591-2570.