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Student designs logo for Pouches of Positivity

Clearfield County Career and Technology Center’s (CCCTC) Digital Media Arts (DMA) student Dominic Kovach, recently designed a logo for the non-profit organization Pouches of Positivity, which helps brighten the days of Cystic Fibrosis patients.

Pouches of Positivity is the brainchild of Stephanie Errigo and her fiancé, James Tarbay, who has Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.

Errigo, who is a school counselor at Juniata Elementary School in DuBois, wanted to come up with an idea to give back to those who may be feeling “down” or need something to help keep them from being bored while in the hospital. Patients with CF typically find themselves in the hospital for a “tune-up” of antibiotics when necessary.

“I was thinking about some way to give back, or to do something, because I feel like oftentimes there’s a lot of projects out there for kids, but there’s not really something for adults,” Errigo said.

Tarbay knows what it is like to be hospitalized and have nothing to do with one’s time but watch television and play on their phone.

It seemed as if a lot of the care package ideas were geared to younger patients, and Errigo felt the need to help those who are young at heart.

Right now, care packages are being sent to UPMC Presbyterian where local CF patients go for hospitalization.

Pouches of Positivity has delivered more than 100 pouches since the project started in June of 2018.

The pouches contain adult coloring books, crossword puzzle and other word game books, notepads, crayons, pencils, snacks, cards, gum, lip gloss, games, hand sanitizer, etc.

The organization accepts donations whether monetary or items.

“I’m definitely proud of her,” said Tarbay, who explained that CF is a disease people are born with when both parents are carriers of the CF gene.

According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Patient Registry, in the United States:

  • More than 30,000 people are living with cystic fibrosis (more than 70,000 worldwide).
  • Approximately 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year.
  • More than 75 percent of people with CF are diagnosed by age 2.
  • More than half of the CF population is age 18 or older.

The type and severity of CF symptoms can differ widely from person to person. Many different factors, such as age of diagnosis, can affect an individual’s health and the course of the disease.

Tarbay said he is doing really well on his current medication.

There have been a lot of advancements and people with CF are living a lot longer, Errigo said.

Pouches of Positivity is in the process of filing for 501c3 status to become a tax-exempt non-profit organization.

For more information about Pouches of Positivity, visit the Facebook page and use #PouchesOfPositivity.


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Family Bicycle and Poker Run a success

BROOKVILLE — Families and bicyclists turned out Sunday for the Jefferson County Historical Society’s annual Family Bicycle and Poker Run.

The ride began at the Redbank Valley Trailhead in Brookville, and took riders down the trail to Summerville. Along the way, there were five stops where riders were given a playing card.

Once all the riders made it to Summerville, they had received a full poker hand and the goal was to have the best hand by the end of the ride. There was also a prize given for the worst hand, and children’s prizes.

The event is a fundraiser for the history center. Board Member Amy Salsgiver explained the center recently switched from charging an admission fee to just asking for a donation if visitors can afford it.

“You’ve got to do something to get money to pay the bills,” Salsgiver said.

The Historical Society was pleased with the turn out, she said. Forty-nine adults and 18 children signed up for the ride this year.

The ride was originally a function of the Brookville Chamber of Commerce with the help of the Historical Society, but the chamber recently decided to step back from the event. The Historical Society had an opportunity to take over, and was able to get a grant to assist with the event.

The grant was from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, DCNR, and Pennsylvania Environment Council for them to host an event on the Rails to Trails. September is Trails Month in Pennsylvania, so these organizations were seeking ways to encourage use of the trails.

“Trails not only take us from point A to B, they open us to new experiences and help to reaffirm our sense of place in the world,” Frank Maguire said on his environmental council blog. He is the trails and recreation program director.

Most of the grant money was used for marketing the run.

The prize for the best poker hand was a cycling computer, a gift certificate for a tune up, a history center membership, and new bike lights. The worst hand won all of these same things, but instead of the cycling computer, they got a Scripture Rocks Park water bottle. Children also won new bike bells.

The day ended with a free picnic at the finish in Summerville, and a shuttle service to take those back to Brookville who didn’t want to make the ride back.


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Family Day held for Domtar employees, families at Johnsonburg Mill Saturday

JOHNSONBURG — Domtar Johnsonburg Mill employees and their families enjoyed an afternoon of activities during a Saturday event planned for them.

Greg Linscott, general manager of the Johnsonburg Mill, said the plant has 360 employees.

Family Day included tours of the mill, food and games, many of which were made by Domtar employees, including golf and a bean-bag toss. There was also a display with samples of how the paper mill works, going from just a wood chip to a sheet of paper.

The Johnsonburg Borough Police Department offered photos with an officer, while Johnsonburg Fire Department Assistant Chief Chris Kreckel showed youth how to safely extinguish a fire. He also gave away smoke detectors.

Family Day was something the Johnsonburg Mill used to do, Linscott said. It was started again last year.

“A lot of our employees were asking to bring Family Day back,” Linscott said. “We’re trying to reestablish it.”

There were also bouncy houses, door prizes, face painting, outdoor crafts and balloon making.

“It’s really an appreciation day centered around our employees and their families,” Linscott said.


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Planet Fitness opening delayed until year-end

The opening of a proposed Planet Fitness gym in DuBois, originally planned for the fall, has been delayed, according to Senior Public Relations Manager Becky Zirlen.

Zirlen told the Courier Express Monday that there have been delays but the club is expected to open by the end of the year.

Renovations for the DuBois Planet Fitness, to be located in the Sandy Shopping Center at 5740 Shaffer Road, were expected to begin in mid-July. The 19,000-square-foot fitness center is expected to be housed in a portion of the former Kmart building.

The DuBois club will offer state-of-the art cardio and strength equipment, free fitness training, and a Black Card Spa which will include HydroMassage beds, massage chairs, and tanning beds/booths for PF Black Card members.

The average Planet Fitness employs between 10 and 15 full-and part-time employees, Zirlen said.

“If you are not familiar with Planet Fitness, we cater to first-time and casual gym goers who may have never belonged to a gym before,” said Zirlen. “We always strive for a non-intimidating, judgement-free atmosphere where our members can feel comfortable working out at their own pace.”

Zirlen said membership always starts at $10 a month, or $21.99 a month for the PF Black Card.

She said The Black Card offers the above amenities, the ability to bring a guest for free, and use of any of the 1,800-plus Planet Fitness locations nationwide in all 50 states.