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Pennsylvania Magazine publisher highlights 'fun facts' at DuBois Area Historical Society dinner

Al Holliday, publisher of Pennsylvania Magazine, spoke of “25 Odd, Improbable and Fun Facts about Pennsylvania” at the DuBois Area Historical Society’s 37th annual dinner held at Christ Lutheran Church in DuBois.

Holliday is a graduate of Michigan State University and holds a master’s degree in speech pathology and school administration. He has been the publisher of Pennsylvania Magazine since its first issue in 1981. He was the editor of the magazine for 20 years, with his son, Matt, now holding that position. Prior to joining Pennsylvania Magazine he was director of public relations for two school systems and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Holliday’s program focused on personalities, facts, figures and trivia, such as:

  • What honor did William and Hannah Penn receive in 1983? Honorary United State citizenship, said Holliday, noting, “There’s only about five people, including Winston Churchill, that have this honor.”
  • Which general in the Civil War lost a leg in a battle, later became Pennsylvania’s governor, and also has a sporting legacy? “General Beaver was the man who lost a leg in battle,” said Holliday. “He was a general, he became our governor, and the (Penn State) stadium is named after him. There are several books about that stadium and how it’s grown over the years. And it’s about the third biggest stadium in the nation.”
  • In the southeast part of the state, one can see lots of barns painted with hex signs. The only purpose for the signs is decoration, he said.
  • The Pennsylvania Turnpike officially opened on Oct. 1, 1940, with no speed limit, which didn’t last long, he said. The speed limit was set the next year at 60 miles per hour.
  • There are 121 state parks in Pennsylvania of various sizes.
  • How many covered bridges there are in the state is almost impossible to answer, said Holliday. There are many original covered bridges made in the 1800s, but a lot of them had been reinforced and moved and and there are some that have been built so, technically, there are 213. Lancaster County has the most, while Perry County has the second most.

Holliday congratulated the DuBois Area Historical Society on the large attendance at the dinner.

“I live in Camp Hill Borough on the other side of Harrisburg. We have 6,000 residents. We have a historical society and if we have more than 10 people at a meeting, it’s remarkable,” said Holliday. “You have a dedication to your area and I applaud you for it. I think it’s very important that we keep track of what goes on where we live, and you’ve done a wonderful job, thanks to the president and the staff members and all of the officers.”

Ken Wiser honored with 'Champion of History' Award at DuBois Area Historical Society dinner

Ken Wiser was honored with the “Champion of History” Award at the 37th annual DuBois Area Historical Society’s dinner last week.

Wiser has been the society’s Falls Creek representative for many years, said President Ruth Gregori. He has also researched the Looking Back articles that are published in the Courier Express.

Wiser, who is currently a resident at Christ The King Manor in DuBois, was unable to attend the dinner.

However, members of the historical society previously presented Wiser with a certificate to thank him for his many years of service to the organization.

“It was presented in recognition for outstanding service to the society, for enhancing and understanding our history through the newspaper column of 16 years, researching history, historical people, places and events, preserving our history accurately, promoting our history through a dedicated representation of the Falls Creek area, advancing our historical legacy by loyal service and special events in the society and contributing to the physical well-being of the new and restored historical artifacts,” said Gregori. “For your distinguished service and meritorious and deserving of our grateful appreciation.”

Lantern WalkThe historical society’s 12th annual Spirit of DuBois Lantern Walk will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12, said member Tom Schott.

“Our trip will take us through the city park,” said Schott. “We’re celebrating three 100th anniversaries this year.”

Those anniversaries include: The 100th anniversary of Liberty Boulevard; the 100th anniversary of John DuBois giving the land for the city park to the city; and the 100th anniversary of the DuBois American Legion.

The first walk leaves at 5 p.m. on Oct. 12 from the Parkside Community Center on West Park Avenue. There will be tours every 15 minutes. To make a reservation, call 814-371-4627.

FundraiserThe historical society will hold a fundraiser at the Italian Oven. A voucher is needed and can be obtained at the historical society located at 30 W. Long Ave., DuBois.

Railroad work begins on Liberty Boulevard in DuBois

The Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad began work to renovate the crossing in DuBois on Route 219 (Liberty Boulevard) near its intersection with Route 255.

Work is currently scheduled to continue Wednesday (today) during daylight hours and is in cooperation with the City of DuBois and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Drivers should be prepared for travel delays while the work is underway.

Routes 219 and 255 will remain open and traffic signals near the crossing will be placed in flash mode, with traffic directed by flaggers in the roadway.

North Park Place is closed at Liberty Boulevard but is accessible via Meadow Lane. Drivers familiar with the area may choose to use alternate routes to avoid delays, officials said.

Once the first day of work was completed, flagging was expected to stop and traffic signals were to return to normal mode for nighttime hours. North Park Place will remain closed around the clock for the two-day project.

Work at the railroad crossing will consist of removing existing concrete panels and replacing them with bituminous material. All work is weather dependent.

The current work is just a temporary repair, according to City Manager John “Herm” Suplizio. A major reconstruction and signal upgrade to both the railroad tracks on Liberty Boulevard and Route 255 and also Division Street near UPS and Route 255 is expected in 2021.

The rail seal asphalt replacement currently being done will be a solid replacement to last until the major reconstruction is done, said Suplizio.

Never Forget: Annual Patriot Day Remembrance Service to be held in DuBois

On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.

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Never forget.

In observance of the 9/11 attacks, first responders, veterans, and community members will take part in the 18th annual Patriot Day Remembrance Service at 7 p.m. tonight at the First United Methodist Church in downtown DuBois, according to Pastor John Emigh. The service, he said, will be a time when DuBois and surrounding areas will remember those who served, those who lost their lives and those who serve their community as first responders every day so that Americans may live free and safe.

Prior to the service at 5:30 p.m., a Patriot Day blessing of first responders and their vehicles will take place, said the Rev. Corben Russell of the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church.

This is the fourth year that emergency vehicles and first responders have been invited for a blessing, said Russell, noting he started it along with Lance Tucker, the former pastor of the FUMC in DuBois.

In past years, it has included only the City of DuBois and Sandy Township police and fire departments, as well as other first responders. This year, Russell said organizers decided to expand the blessings to include other areas outside those two municipalities.

“First responders from more than 16 townships have been invited to the blessings,” said Russell. “Normally, we get 30 vehicles. I’m expecting it to be more like 100 this year.”

Russell said more than a dozen pastors will participate this year, so it should still only take approximately 30 minutes to finish all of the blessings.

Shortly after the blessings, the Remembrance Service will begin at the DuBois FUMC located at 100 W. Long Ave. Emigh said the speaker for the service is to be a member of the National Guard based in Punxsutawney.

The service will also include music from several area church choirs. In addition to the DuBois FUMC, the remembrance service includes organizers from The First United Presbyterian Church, and The United Methodist Churches of Mt. Zion, Lakeside, Reynoldsville and Luthersburg.

In addition to helping present the colors, the Brockway American Legion Honor Guard will perform a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps,” said Emigh.

An offering will also be taken and donations will go toward the Wounded Warriors Project.

“This is my second year participating,” said Emigh. “I’m just very glad to see that our town and surrounding areas still remember 9/11 and we still honor Patriot Day.”