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DuBois local wins Clearfield County Fair Queen title

DuBOIS — Becca Liddle, 19, of DuBois, was crowned the Clearfield County Fair Queen on July 28 as part of the 159th Clearfield County Fair.

Liddle is a 2018 graduate of DuBois Central Catholic school. She attends Duquesne University where she is studying speech and language pathology. She hopes to work teaching disabled children once she graduates.

Liddle is a three-time fair queen contestant and was first runner-up in both 2017 and 2018. Shortly after being crowned, she said it was something she’s been dreaming of her whole life.

First runner-up this year is Sarah Simcox, 18, of Curwensville, and second runner-up is Karter Bell, 17, of Curwensville.

The contestants for the fair competition participated in a personal interview with the panel of judges before the on stage portion of the competition. While on stage, contestants had to give a timed three to five minute speech about why people should come to the fair.

In her presentation, Liddle focused on how all five of the senses are stimulated when walking into the fair. She spoke of the smells of food, the buzzing of conversations, the sights around the grounds and ag building, and “bangs and booms” of fireworks at the end of Monday night’s fair events.

“I can talk all day about the things you can see and do at this fair, but the only way you’ll get a true experience is to come for yourself,” Liddle said.

The impromptu question for the competition was, between 2012 and 2019, Pennsylvania has lost over 6,000 farms, what do you feel could be changed to support its number one industry — agriculture?

Liddle responded by encouraging people to shop locally and purchase from local farmers markets. She said by doing this, the spirit of farms and agriculture can be kept alive.

Liddle will represent Clearfield County in the 2019 Pennsylvania State Fair Queen competition in January.

Curwensville band claims honors at Clearfield Fair Parade

CLEARFIELD — The Curwensville, P-O, and Purchase Line marching bands took home top honors at last night’s Clearfield Firemen’s Parade but it was the Golden Tide who were the big winners last night.

Purchase Line won first place in the AAA division and P-O won first place in the A division but Curwensville won first place in every category it competed in, including first place in the AA division, Best Overall Drum Major and Best Overall Percussion. The Golden Tide Junior High Band won first place in the junior high division.

Other winners in the musical divisions include West Branch who won second place in the AA division and Moshannon Valley who won second place in the A division.

Clearfield Area High School also marched in the parade but it wasn’t judged because it is the host band for the parade.

A complete list of last night’s winners will be published in tomorrow’s edition.

The Parade was led by the Vietnam Veterans of America Honor Guard who received a standing ovation from the crowd when it marched in front of the Grandstand at approximately 6:30 p.m.

DuBois painter teaches self expression, positivity through artwork

A DuBois painter is dedicated to teaching personal expression and self-love through artwork, encouraging people to “be the color in the room.”

Anna Cass started drawing when she was 8 years old, and has since grown to create colorful pieces and murals.

Cass regularly hosts private art classes, team-building and couples events, children’s classes, “open paint” sessions, bridal and baby showers and more at her studio “Anna’s Art and Soul” on Beaver Drive. She also travels to area schools and facilities, teaching people of all ages to use personal expression and development.

Cass’s 14-year-old daughter taught her “art therapy,” she said, with which she fell in love. Since then, she has worked with the Arc of Jefferson and Clearfield counties, life skills classes at DuBois Area High School and more.

Recently, Cass has visited places like The Cove mental health drop-in center and seniors with disabilities, she said.

Cass moved to the area in 2010, she said, and is an office manager and bookkeeper during the day. Art is the hobby and passion that “feeds her soul.”

One of her main causes, Cass says, is working with young girls and women, reminding them to love themselves.

“Society tells them to be a certain way,” she said. “I tell them to ‘be the color in the room.’ It’s okay to like the arts. Our imperfections are what make us perfect.”

Cass also visits local preschools, teaching them art therapy and watching their “little minds” swirl with ideas.

“You can see their personalities go into their art,” she said.

When she’s teaching area stroke victims, Cass picks a painting that allows some leniency, such as the person’s hand shaking. She can recall a time when a person’s daughter came to her crying after watching the experience of a parent painting.

Cass is also a promoter of hand-painted “blessing boxes,” she says, an idea to help people be grateful amidst life’s stressful times. Each box comes with a laminated note card with a poem, instructions, note pad and pen.

“It’s an ongoing therapy piece,” she said. “You put what you’re thankful for in the box, and when you’re stressed, you open it.”

Through everything she does, Cass aims to be accepting of all people, providing them with the freeing expression of a paintbrush. She also works to raise funds for Relay for Life and breast-cancer awareness.

Cass makes “spoon jewelry,” too, and teaches silver flatware classes using a jewel press and bench grinder.

Several seniors often attend classes, Cass says, as well as local teachers from schools like Juanita or Oklahoma Elementary who come as a group. It’s a therapeutic way to be creative and find fellowship.

For more information, visit Anna’s Heart and Soul by Anna Cass on Facebook, or call 303-522-5425.

Photo by Craig Moyer 

Swoyersville Post 644 pitcher Nate Baranski delivers a pitch during the first inning against Hempfield East Monday. Baranski pitched a complete game, allowing one run on seven hits and one walk while striking out eight over seven innings to get the win in a 4-1 victory.

DuBois Area School Board waives student activity fee for 2019-20 school year

Directors of the DuBois Area School Board, at last week’s meeting, unanimously approved waiving a $50 student activity participation fee for the 2019-2020 school year.

The activity fee was initially implemented by the board during the 2014-15 school year in order to increase revenue. It was a one-time, per student payment for students taking part in extracurricular activities.

Prior to the board voting to waive the fee, Director David Schwab asked why it was being considered.

“We have looked at the historical trend of the amount of money that we’re bringing in every year for the participation fee,” said Superintendent Wendy Benton. “Last year, we brought in about $30,000. When we look at $30,000 and we look at the hardship that has created for some of our families, we’re left weighing that out. Is it worth $30,000 when we know we have students in our district who cannot afford to participate?”

Benton said the administration reviewed the benefits of getting more students involved in extracurricular activities.

“Primarily, if you look at increasing protective factors for kids, I see the middle school and I see at the end of the day all of these kids walking across the street and going off into the park or wherever they’re going,” said Benton. “And I think rather than them going to an area in which they may be unsupervised or engaging in unsupervised activity, what if they would stay with us and they would get involved in the arts and music and athletics and the extracurricular activities that we have.”

Although attendance rates are strong in the district, Benton said when students are involved in an extracurricular activity, they may have more motivation to attend school because they have practice that day or they need to be there for some other reason related to their participation.

“Another reason that we really want more kids to get involved is academic achievement,” said Benton. “You cannot participate if you’re ineligible so this would help to drive, hopefully, academic success.”

Participation in extracurricular activities also fosters the development of 21st Century learning skills, said Benton.

“We need our kids to graduate and enter the world who are able to problem solve, collaborate, think and plan and be a part of a team. And these are all life skills that kids learn through extracurricular activities,” she said. “When I look at the $30,000 and when I look at those other benefits, I think that it is something that we really need to consider.”

“And then we say, waive the fee for this year because maybe next year we’re in a position financially that we can’t afford to waive that $30,000 but, as of right now, I believe that we can,” said Benton. “And I would like to look at the data to see can we get more kids involved. Can we increase protective factors, can we get better results, can we improve our attendance rates and our achievement rates?”

Board President Larry Salone said he believes it is a great idea to open up these doors for the students since the district has money in its current budget.

“I agree with you wholeheartedly, having been the president of one of the youth football teams in town,” said Director Gilbert Barker. “I saw it first hand. There were families that would come and find out there was a fee and we wouldn’t see them again and then we had to address that. And once we addressed that, we had higher participation.”

Director Patty Fish, who was on the board when the activity fee was implemented, said it was a very tough decision at the time. She said she is happy that the district is financially able to waive the fee for this coming school year.

“It shows that some of the decisions that have been made in the past ... I believe good things come of it,” said Director Mark Gilga. “I believe this is one of the good things.”

Benefit dinner for 6-year-old Lyndsay Fox

BIG RUN — A benefit dinner will be held for 6-year-old Lyndsay Fox at the Big Run War Memorial on Saturday, Aug. 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fox was recently diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, a rare form of cancer that most commonly affects the skin and bones, but can affect any organ in the body.

The dinner will be meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn and green beans, salad, a dinner roll, and desert. Dinner donations will be $8 or $5 for those 10 years old and under. Takeout meals will be available for those who need to eat on the run. There will also be basket raffles and 50/50 drawings at 4 p.m.

LCH is a disorder that results in the body’s making too many dendritic cells, which play a role in the body’s immune system. When the cells build up they cause tumors that disrupt the normal function of tissue in the body.

Lyndsay is described by those close to her as a spunky, sassy 6-year-old girl. She enjoys crafts, swimming, playing with her dog Penelope, and shopping. Tisha Wachob, a close family friend helping to put together the benefit dinner, said Lyndsay’s family has been handling the situation well, considering everything, over the past two months.

“Their focus is making sure Lyndsay is happy and showing her love and support,” Wachob said.

The Fox family got a working diagnosis on May 29, but had it confirmed on June 26 by a lung biopsy. Lyndsay began chemotherapy treatments on July 19, and will continue to go weekly to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh for the treatments for at least the next year. She also has to take daily steroids.

It started with neck pain at the beginning of May, which brought Lyndsay to her family physician. The doctor ordered an X-ray, and immediately had her taken to Children’s hospital. The X-ray showed she has lesions on her skull, in her cervical spine, and lungs. She had to have a chest tube in for more than a week, and then had to have neck stabilization surgery with the placement of a halo to support her head. The port for her chemo treatments was placed at the same time.

Lyndsay has to wear the halo for about eight weeks, and will have it removed on Aug. 29. She then will be placed in a hard neck brace, and will attend therapy to strengthen her neck muscles. She will also be undergoing scans to ensure the treatment is working.

“I would also like thank everyone who has donated or helped in any way to this point. No words could ever express how much we appreciate every one of you,” Wachob said.

She added the dinner wouldn’t be possible without Josh Wachob, Pam Wachob, Robin McKee, Brenda Shumaker, Josie McElwain, Natasha Thomson, and Cheryl Minich. If anyone would like to donate, but can’t attend the benefit, they should contact Tisha Wachob at 814-952-2863.