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Eight friends get creative with 'Brews and Brooms' Curling Tournament at Treasure Lake

DuBOIS — One day, eight DuBois men home from college over Christmas break wanted to take advantage of how close they live to a lake and their passions for curling — and beer. But since not every one in their friend group has hockey equipment, they had to get creative.

That’s when the 2018 Brews and Brooms Curling Tournament was born, said Matt Fassnacht, noting that their friend Jon Mohney suggested it.

“For the most part, we all go to different schools and don’t get to see each other often anymore,” said Fassnacht.

But they all share a love for curling and beer so it seemed only natural to center their activity around those two things, he said.

Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles.

“Thankfully, Dom Goldbach’s grandparents, Sylvia and David Aiello, have a lovely house right on the lake, that we often take advantage of in the summer, so we figured why not the winter, too,” Fassnacht said.

The tournament took place Jan. 3. In addition to Fassnacht, Mohney and Goldbach, Jack Garred, Dane Aucker, Ayden Hanes, Danny Sayers and Duncan Park participated.

There were two teams of three players, a referee and a photographer/videographer.

“As far as we know, curling is not popular in the area, but we would now call ourselves connoisseurs of the sport as we all studied up on the rules and watched countless videos on how to play beforehand,” Fassnacht said.

He said the stones were made out of Quikrete and PVC pipe and the brooms were purchased at Lowe’s in DuBois.

“We made the Sheet — what the ice rink is called in curling — ourselves by shoveling the fresh snow and spray painting the proper scoring lines and boundaries,” Fassnacht said.

Needless to say, they enjoyed their time together with lots of laughs. No report on how much beer was consumed.

Sayers, Garred and Aucker were the winning team.

Fassnacht said they hope to hold the tournament again next year and are looking for sponsors.

A video of the tournament can be seen here:

Fifth grade move:
DASD parents, teachers: Why the rush to move fifth grade to middle school?

DuBOIS — At Thursday’s meeting of the DuBois Area School Board, directors may be asked to vote on a proposal to move fifth-graders from the four elementary schools to the middle school for the 2018-19 school year. But parents and teachers had one common question at last week’s work session: What’s the rush?

The district is facing the difficult task of how to deal with the two elementary schools that are in the most desperate need of repair — Wasson and Oklahoma.

Financially, Superintendent Luke Lansberry and Mike Kelly of KCBA Architects have stated that it would make more sense to build a new larger Wasson, one that is more well equipped and more energy efficient, than to repair both of those schools.

KCBA has estimated that the cost to build a bigger Wasson is between $25 and $33 million, depending on which plan is chosen.

Lansberry stated that the board needs to explore possible solutions sooner rather than later.

But parents and teachers believe more time is needed before the middle school, currently grades 6-8, becomes a 5-8 building.

C.G. Johnson Elementary PTA President Deb Hoyt, Reynoldsville, said, “Our biggest concerns are the rush. Why the rush? As Ms. (Wendy) Benton (assistant superintendent) said, there’s a lot of work ahead of us. As Mr. Kelly pointed out, there’s a lot of things to discuss and plan out in the next couple of years if we are going to build a new Wasson. Do we have to move fifth grade next year? Is it really that important to do it that quickly?”

Hoyt urged the board to allow time to prepare the students and to figure out transportation.

“Why rush it in the next six to eight months, when we really could have a year to do it in,” Hoyt said.

Tracy Chewning, DuBois, also asked why it’s happening so quickly.

“These kids have already been affected by school closures and now to throw this on top of that, I do believe that just hinders their security and well being also,” Chewning said.

Julie Baun, middle school librarian, said she has a personal opinion about whether she believes fifth grade should be moved up.

“But as a professional, as a member of this district, my job is to take whatever situation I am given and to make the best of it,” Baun said. “And I know all my colleagues do. I listen to Mrs. Benton say about misinformation, and then I just heard of a lot of misinformation (from the public). The things that happen at our school are amazing. I think people are cutting all of our teachers very short of their capabilities. Our Beyond The Bell program is open to any student who wants to attend. We have a Step-Up program that runs and is very active and works with kids.”

Baun said she understands parents’ concerns.

“But, the bad things that happen seem to be the only things that we are talking about. What about all the good things that my colleagues do?” Baun said. “I work with some pretty great people who will take care of your kids to the best of their ability, whether they’re 5, whether they’re 10 or whether they’re 18.”

Marji Montana, third grade teacher at Oklahoma, said whatever she is asked to do she will give it her all.

“I just think we need to slow down and take some time and not rush this. Let’s let kids be kids. Why are we rushing?” Montana said.

“I’m not going to tell you that you can’t do this,” said high school teacher Linda Rankus. “I am going to tell you that you can’t do it correctly for next year. You just cannot do it. If you want it to be done right, you want it to be done well, you can’t do it now.”

The board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Administrative Center on Liberty Boulevard, DuBois. Visit the district’s website for more information on possible reconfiguration plans and their costs.

File photo by Chris Wechtenhiser 

DuBois' Kolby Ho, right, tries to trip Philipsburg-Osceola's Matt Johnson back down to the mat during a bout earlier this month. Ho went 5-0 Saturday to help lead the Beavers to the title at Clearfield's Bison Duals Tournament. Ho captured his 100th victory with his first win of the day, becoming just the 11th DuBois wrestler to reach the milestone.

Put a freeze on winter fires

DuBOIS — With freezing temperatures this time of year, DuBois Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Ben Blakley reminds the community about safe heating with space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces.

Blakley said that although there are not more fires during the winter months, there is the chance for more fatal fires. There was one fatal fire in DuBois last year, but it was not weather-related, he said.

The threat of winter fires is real. Statistics to help understand how severe these fires can be are as follows, according to the U.S. Fire Administration website:

  • 890 people die in winter home fires each year.
  • $2 billion in property loss occurs each year from winter home fires.
  • Winter home fires account for only 8 percent of the total number of fires in the U.S., but result in 30 percent of all fire deaths.
  • Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires.
  • A heat source too close to combustibles is the leading factor contributing to the start of a winter home fire (15 percent).
  • 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. is the most common time for winter home fires.

Blakley urges residents to maintain their wood burners.

“Wood burners are the biggest cause of home fires,” Blakley said. “There’s not many wood burners in the city. The city is natural gas, but we have had a wood burner structure fire already once this year in the city. We’ve been out of town twice, I think, this year so far for mutual aid for fires started by a wood burner.”

Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from any heat source life fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or space heaters, Blakley said.

“Make sure the space heaters have automatic shut offs for if it tips over,” Blakley said.

Blakley said individuals should not use extension cords with space heaters. If people must use an extension cord, the cord shouldn’t be placed under a carpet or twisted or kinked.

In 2016, just before Christmas, Blakley said there was a fire in which a man got severely burned and the cause was an extension cord.

“It was wrapped around a vent post and underneath the carpet and there was stuff on top of it,” Blakley said. “He’s lucky to be alive. He got burned pretty bad.”

Carbon monoxide poisoning is another concern in the winter especially.

Blakley said if people lose power or have to use a portable generator, they should make sure the generator is outside and vented and not near any windows or doors.

“Some people, especially older people for some reason, put their generator in the garage or in a room that they’re not going to be using, but the carbon monoxide goes anywhere it wants.”

Blakley estimated that the DuBois Fire Department responded to approximately 30 carbon monoxide calls last year.

The fire chief also stated it is important for people not to park too close to fire hydrants — vehicles should park 15 feet away, according to state law.

“I always notice in the city just driving around looking, people park way too close to the fire hydrants,” Blakley said. “The last thing we want to do is break their window to run a hose through there.”