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Rockton couple, volunteer firefighters stay strong through cancer battle

ROCKTON — A Rockton couple who dedicate their lives to saving other people is facing a difficult battle of another kind.

Cody Bailey and Jessica Perry-Bailey were married in 2013, he said, adding it was “the best day of my life.”

Jessica is not only an ovarian and breast cancer survivor, but she is currently fighting gastrointestnial stromal adenocarcinoma — a type of stomach cancer — in its third stage, she said. She receives oral chemotherapy on a daily basis, chemotherapy treatments twice a week through a port, and weekly radiation.

Despite the struggles the couple have faced, they still donate most of their time to helping others. Both are volunteer firefighters at Union Township Fire Company in Rockton. Cody is deputy chief and Jessica is the fire police lieutenant.

“Firefighting and getting to save people is important,” Cody said. “When people are running out of a burning house, and we run in to try and save their belongings and their home, it’s an amazing feeling to serve and protect the community.”

Cody, a DuBois Area High School graduate, has been battling blazes for 13 years. His mother and father are also both firefighters.

“I love every minute of it, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” he said.

Through the long cancer journey Jessica has faced, the couple depend on their love and support for each other to stay strong.

The cancer she is facing now has been more intense due to the severity of the treatments, and her lack of energy, Jessica said.

This past year, though, she revisited another passion when she started working at Creative Garden Childcare at Jeff Tech (Jefferson County Vocational Technical School) in Reynoldsville.

“Going back to teaching has been difficult, but rewarding,” she said. “The children have become my escape from reality for a short time — they are very supportive and honest.

“I love my job, just knowing I’m teaching them something daily, and helping to create their future.”

Cody and Jessica continue their busy day-to-day lives, raising a son and a daughter, while aiming to better the lives of others, even through a hard time in their own.

“Cody and I have had a close relationship from the start,” Jessica said. “Our bond is like no other, and he’s a great supporter, as well as our children, other family and friends.”


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Punxsutawney center provides fellowship, enjoyment for seniors, volunteers

PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area Senior Center, according to its director, is dedicated to shaping and bettering the lives of area seniors through activities and fellowship.

Incorporated under the Jefferson County Area Agency on Aging umbrella, the center is located at New Beginnings Church at 2785 Walston Road. It moved from its downtown Punxsutawney location in the summer of last year.

Director Debbie Long spends Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the PASC, incorporating new activities for area seniors and talking with caregivers.

She said she is always trying to bring motivational incentives on board, such as having the seniors walk laps around the gymnasium, which enters them into a drawing each Friday for a bag of goodies. Regular activities, like ice cream socials, bingo, a pool table and electronic bowling, are offered weekly.

“They really appreciate everything,” she says.

Seniors also undertake art activities, like painting pieces of pottery Long creates and brings to the center, she says. Around Feb. 2, they painted groundhogs. Art tends to give participants a sense of accomplishment, Long adds, for having created something.

PASC volunteers are always needed to serve lunch, make coffee, assist with bingo and spend time with seniors, she said.

Senior centers also act as warming centers, Long said, when storms strike or residents lose electricity.

About 10-15 seniors will visit the center, Long says. Many of the seniors and even volunteers come just for fellowship.

“So many say they’d be on the couch if they weren’t here,” she said. “We are all sitting together, socializing and playing games and cards.”

Long, a Punxsuawney native, retired but still needed a job, and found her way to the senior center. She also has a connection to the cause — both her mother and sister have dementia.

The people there, though, feel like home to her.

“They are the most kind, dependable and honest people in the world,” she said. “I had never been to a senior center before — the Agency on Aging is a wonderful and very valuable organization.”

For seniors age 60 and older, a donation of $2.50 is asked for the meal served each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For those age 59 and younger, the cost is $4 per meal.

For more information, call the PASC at 814-938-8376.


Photo by Craig Moyer 

Ridgway's Jake Reynolds (4) scores on the inside in front of Wilmington's Robert Pontius (15) during the first quarter Wednesday. Reynolds finished with a game-high 13 points, including the game-winning three pointer to help lead the Elkers to a 38-36 win.


News
DuBois School Board approves appraisals for Walmart, Sandy Plaza

The DuBois Area School Board recently approved conducting appraisals on the Walmart and Sandy Plaza properties to contest real estate tax appeals by the two companies.

The board voted to approve paying Valbridge Property Advisors of Pittsburgh to perform an appraisal on both properties at a cost of $4,000 for Walmart at 20 Industrial Drive and $5,500 for the Sandy Plaza located at Route 255 and Shaffer Road.

The three taxing authorities, Clearfield County, Sandy Township and the school district will share the cost of the appraisals, with each paying a share proportional to its share of the real estate taxes on the properties.

The board also approved the Professional Learning Services Agreement with Great Minds for the Lead Eureka Math Professional Development Series at a cost of $10,400 to be paid with Title funds.

Directors approved an agreement between the district and Nelson’s Golden Years to provide future emergency temporary shelter for NGY residents at Oklahoma Elementary School or the DuBois Area Senior High School.

An agreement between the district and DuBois Continuum of Care Community Inc. to provide future emergency temporary shelter for DCCCI residents at Oklahoma Elementary School or the high school.

The board awarded the bid for the sale of the following trucks to the following individuals, as is, no warranties expressed or implied:

  • 2003 Ford F350, 144,349 miles, to Randy Caldwell, $4,525.
  • 2000 Chevy 2500, 124,976 miles, Gilbert Barker, $3,950.

The Juniata Elementary School PTA, with 30 chaperones, were approved to accompany 80 students to the Carnegie Science Center and the Gateway Clipper, Pittsburgh, on June 1 for the fourth grade field trip. There is no cost to the district. All expenses are to be paid with PTA funds.


Local
PennDOT and Penn Highlands Clearfield pair to discourage impaired driving

Officials from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Penn Highlands Healthcare, Clearfield Campus urged motorists not to drive under the influence and encouraged designated driving ahead of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations this weekend.

A mocktail party was held Wednesday at Penn Highlands, Clearfield to demonstrate why residents should not drive impaired.

“We are very excited to be hosting this event,” said Penn Highlands Clearfield President Rhonda Halstead, adding, “We see the results of impaired and distracted driving in our emergency department and the devastation it brings to families. Events like this are very important as reminders to keep safe.”

“It is fabulous that PennDOT chose us to partner with on this opportunity to educate the public to issues surrounding impaired driving and its impact on individuals and the community. Penn Highlands Clearfield wants to be in the forefront of making sure the community is safe and the goal of eliminating fatal crashes,” said Penn Highlands Clearfield Chief of Nursing Debra Thomas.

In addition to sampling a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, a punch made with fruit juices, ginger ale, ice cream and sherbet, those attending the event were encouraged to try activities that demonstrated various types of compromised driving including the impaired driving simulator and wear impairment simulation goggles.

Additionally, PennDOT personnel distributed DUI information and promoted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s SaferRide smartphone application. The app gives users the option of choosing from a list of available taxi services, calling a preprogrammed contact or selecting a map of their current location.

They were also able to use various props to enhance a photograph taken of themselves.

“We are hoping that visitors would take a selfie using some of the things we have here today and post it to their social media sites with the hashtag “Celebrate Safe” PennDOT Safety Press Officer Tim Nebgen said.

According to information provided at the mocktail party, there were 69 crashes in Clearfield County in 2017, the most current statistics available. Impaired driving indicates police suspected the vehicle’s driver of using alcohol or drugs while operating a vehicle.

For more information on the dangers and consequences of impaired driving safety, visit www.penndot.gov/safety and https://padui.org/

For regional traffic updates, follow www.twitter.com/511PAStateCOLL.