REYNOLDSVILLE — Eighteen runners have been jogging their way across the country throughout the summer, inspiring people in the communities through which they pass.
These aren’t just regular runners, though. With each mile they complete, they have broken through a barrier or faced a painful challenge that others might consider impossible.
The “MS Run in the U.S.” is a 3,100-mile fundraising and awareness effort. Eighteen participants run an average of 160 miles each throughout a six-day period, raising $10,000 for the cause.
Yadkinville, N.C., resident Robert Moore kicked off his run in Brookville on July 29. He passed through Reynoldsville early this week, and also ran through Black Moshannon State Park.
Multiple Sclerosis is the body’s abnormal response to its own immune system, affecting the central nervous system — the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. MS can cause typically progressive symptoms like numbness, severe fatigue, speech impairment and impairment of muscular coordination, according to the National MS Society.
The MS Run in the U.S. raises funds and awareness for research, while also helping to improve the quality of life of people living with the disease.
The run started in Los Angeles on April 7, passing through 12 states total, said Community Engagement Manager Amy Wirtz.
“Running across America gives us a great opportunity to raise awareness in many communities,” she said. “We meet people all over the U.S. that have been affected by MS, and they are given hope by what we’re doing to help end this disease.”
Moore was diagnosed with MS at a young age, and has since been doing everything he can to increase awareness of the disease.
On his first day of the run, Moore completed 26 miles, he said. By Tuesday, he completed 79.2 miles. The plan has been to run 26 miles for the first five days of his run, and 20 miles the last day.
His diagnosis impacts him in different ways than it might other runners, since his sensitivity to heat tends to make him extremely tired, and his recovery time is longer, Moore says.
It’s hard for him to train during North Carolina summers, where it stays steadily in the 90-degree range. Although he has run 19 marathons, he has never attempted one like this, and it has been a learning experience, Moore says.
Being diagnosed with something like MS can be extremely discouraging, since many people with the disease are in wheelchairs or have limited mobility, Moore said.
Moore didn’t start running until after his diagnosis 10 years ago. Running has become a release he loves.
“I wanted to get as much use out of my body as I could,” he said. “That was the reason I started running, but it has developed into a passion and something I enjoy.”
He has had many supporters throughout this journey, including people just like himself. A man who has struggled with MS for 23 years ran 10 miles alongside Moore on Sunday, and another from North Carolina made the trip to run 26 miles with him.
“That definitely made it a lot easier — having someone to talk with and something to keep my mind off the pain,” Moore said.
Moore said he recognizes that MS impacts everyone differently, and some people aren’t able to have the activity level he does. But the ones who have the opportunity to be should join the fight against the disease.
“It’s important for me to show others struggling with MS that if you’re able to stay active, stay active,” he said. “Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
Moore is set to complete his run on Friday, after finishing around 150 miles. The last runner will wrap up the challenge in New York City on Aug. 10.
For more information, visit www.msruntheus.org.
CLEARFIELD — It all started in the early 1990s when Philipsburg resident Steve Kozee said he was looking for a way to start a business.
“I didn’t know what to do,” Kozee said.
He was talking to a friend of his who suggested he open up a concession stand. Kozee said he was skeptical of the idea because he didn’t think it was very profitable. However, his friend quickly convinced him otherwise, stating that many stands seen at various fairs and festivals are the same stands year after year.
“He said, ‘Do you think they’re going there just for the heck of it or are they making a few bucks?’” Kozee said. “So I bought a trailer and (fixed it all up).”
Kozee already had his trailer ready to go, but was missing one other crucial item — he didn’t yet know what he was going to sell. His friend also suggested that he make something different that other stands don’t have.
“We made (monkey bread) at home forever and ever,” Kozee said. “I was just going down the road one night and I said, ‘I know what we’re going to do — monkey bread.’”
So in 1993, Kozee took to the fair and festival circuit to sell his pastry treat of dough covered with cinnamon and sugar, which he said was an old family recipe.
“At the beginning, you couldn’t give monkey bread away,” Kozee said. “People were like, ‘What the heck is monkey bread?’”
But Kozee stayed persistent and things were much different in his second year. Now in his 25th year, Kozee has quite the following.
“It just started taking off by word of mouth,” Kozee said. “It started as a little business to make a couple bucks on the side and it just took off like crazy.”
On average, Kozee then makes about 100 pounds of dough and uses 100 pounds of sugar each day. They also make apple dumplings, which they started about 3 to 4 years into the venture.
From June to October, Kozee — along with a handful of helpers — takes his stand within about a 100-mile radius of central Pennsylvania. Local places include the Clearfield County Fair and his hometown festival of Philipsburg’s Heritage Days, but he also goes to the nearby Centre County Grange Fair, the Bloomsburg State Fair, and more.
Kozee said he enjoys making something that people look forward to, as well as meeting new people and seeing others that he may see only once a year during a certain event.
“You get to know a lot of people over the years and they become friends,” Kozee said. “There’s people that follow us around to all of the different fairs.”
Kozee said he’s extremely appreciative of his customers.
“The people are so dedicated at a lot of the fairs,” Kozee said. “It could be pouring down rain and they’ll stand out in line waiting to get a monkey bread. It’s unbelievable the fan base we have.”
￼DuBOIS — Southern Airways, which has been the operator of the air service in DuBois and Johnstown since taking over for Silver Airways in 2017, has posted the highest monthly passenger counts at both airports in its tenure.
Southern has set a company monthly record for passenger counts at the DuBois Regional Airport with 1,130 passengers in July. This latest milestone puts Southern on pace to hit the highest passenger count in DuBois since 2013. The July passenger counts at the Johnstown-Cambria County Airport grew to more than 1,000 as well, which was an increase of more than 35 percent over June’s numbers. June’s total was 980.
In addition to the record-setting passenger counts in July, Southern also completed a rarity in aviation by completing 99.7 percent of all of its scheduled flights to both airports for the last 90 days.
“I am very pleased in how well the passengers have responded in these markets,” said Stan Little, chairman and CEO of Southern Airways. “It’s not just the near perfect completion percentages that the customers are responding to, but it is our on-time performance. Over the last 30 days we are above the industry average in both of these markets and, as a company, have out-performed many of the legacy carriers during the last reporting period.”
In June, Southern announced interline agreements with American Airlines and European air carrier Condor Airlines. Interline connectivity to those airlines, officials say, means a seamless travel experience to the connecting flights of those carriers. Single ticketing and checked baggage through to the final destinations are two of the most convenient benefits of the interline agreements. Connections to American and Condor can be made at either Southern hub, Pittsburgh or Baltimore.
“We are seeing passengers that we have never before seen in DuBois,“ said Bob Shaffer, manager of the DuBois Regional Airport. “Prior to Southern, only the business people could afford the high fares to Washington-Dulles. With Southern’s low fares and the low cost connections at both Pittsburgh and Baltimore, we have become an airport that everyone can use.”
Shaffer said attributes several reasons for this increase:
Southern Airways is the Essential Air Service provider for the DuBois and Johnstown airports as well as all other Pennsylvania airports that are in that program. In addition to records in DuBois and Johnstown set in July, Southern is also announcing company records in the Pennsylvania cities of Lancaster and Franklin. Though not records, Altoona experienced their third best month in five years and Bradford posted the best monthly numbers in the last twenty months.
￼Passengers looking for more information about the Southern Airways may call the customer service center at 800-329-0485 or visit Southern’s website at, www.iFlySouthern.com.