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Parker woman chosen for Mother’s Day Makeover package
'Children do not come with instructions'

BROOKVILLE — “I have always wanted to be a mother,” said Kelly Yarbrough, of Parker, the winner of last week’s Mother’s Day Makeover package winner with several local businesses.

As sometimes as happens in life, expectations and reality do not always match. “It was nothing like I expected it to be. I had my first child at 21 and was completely unprepared. I was too young and not financially stable. I never imagined all of the struggles that comes with being a parent,” she said.

Yarbrough says that “as a single parent the biggest struggles were financial stability, juggling children and work, and making sure they always had what they needed.”

Her children recognized those years of struggles and how hard their mother worked to give them a stable home life. “Now that I’m older l realize why she was at work all the time. She was a single parent. She always made sure my brother, sister, and I were taken care of. We weren’t the best of kids to raise. I’m sure there were days where she just wanted to give up. Nope, she kept on going. Between three jobs, she made sure we were taken care of. Roof over our head, food in our stomach, and clothes to go to school,” wrote Nicole Peterson, Yarbrough’s daughter about her mom when she entered her for a Mother’s Day contest.

“As a single parent I had to learn to depend on myself but my mother was always there when I needed a helping hand,” Yarbrough says. Her mother, according to her daughter’s entry letter, would watch the children while Yarbrough was at work.

It is her mother who Yarbrough credits as being a role model for her. “I learned to be a great mom from my mother, Judith Mellott. She was the best role model any child could ask for. She always made sure I had what I needed.”

Yarbrough’s three children are grown now at ages 17, 20 and 24. So what does she hope her children have learned over the years, watching their mother work so hard to provide for her family?

“I have hoped that my children have learned to have children at an older age and to make sure that they are financially stable first. I also hope they have learned to be good people. How to be loving kind adults,” she said.

Looking back over those years of struggles, is there anything she would do differently? Yarbrough says the only thing she’d have done differently is to “have children later in life.”

She has this advice for others who may be looking at motherhood for the first time, “Children do not come with instructions. Do the best you can with what you have. Always teach them good morals, respect and how to make good decisions.”

Looking back over the years, Yarbrough says that the best part has been “watching them grow into becoming adults. They all have different personalities and views. There was never a dull moment!”

When she read what her daughter had written about her in last week’s Tri-County Sunday, Yarbrough says, “My first thought was I didn’t realize I was a good mother. I sometimes felt like a failure but according to the letter I did a great job. I think all parents feel like they fail at something while raising children. We are not perfect and will make mistakes.”

So what is her definition of a mother?

“My definition of a mother is someone that is caring, compassionate, loving, and also the person that is the maid, nurse, chef, and caretaker. A mother has a good heart and teaches their children everything she knows,” Yarbrough says.

According to her daughter, Yarbrough is still fulfilling the role of mother to its fullest as she continues to watch over her children, ready to offer a hand when needed just as her mother helped her. And what better words can a mother hear from her child than “My mom is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” as her daughter Nicole so aptly summed up her mother.


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Wine Walk and Brew HaHa to be held in Philipsburg Friday

PHILIPSBURG — For the sixth consecutive year, the Philipsburg Revitalization Corporation will host the annual wine walk in downtown Philipsburg Friday. This year, it’s been renamed the “Wine Walk and Brew HaHa,” as there will be more craft breweries and distilleries than in previous years.

Event organizer Faith Maguire, of the PRC, said this year’s event will be on Front Street Friday from 5-9 p.m. This year, however, will have a theme to it.

“It’s an 80s theme and we encourage those (participating) to dress up,” Maguire said. “There will be prizes awarded for best costume.”

The theme coincides with the Rowland Theatre’s event the following night, as they are bringing in 80s tribute band Rubix Cube for a show.

Maguire said they originally printed 600 tickets and they were quickly sold out. Another 600 have been printed and are located at the borough building and various businesses. However, Maguire said they will print more tickets if the second batch sells out.

Tickets cost $10 per person, with Maguire saying the first 500 people that show up will receive a free glass courtesy of CNB Bank.

Front Street will be decorated a bit for the event and Maguire said they will be putting out bistro, card tables and tents for those attending to enjoy.

“We’re going to make it have a very homey feel,” Maguire said of the event.

Wineries are part of the main attraction, obviously. There are currently eight different wineries scheduled to take part as of press time, including locals Bee Kind Winery, Twisted Vine Winery and Two Birch Winery.

This year, Clearfield’s Race Street Brew Works will be on hand, as well as VooDoo Brewing Company out of State College and Meadville. As far as distilleries, there will be three of them, as well as a separate place selling “shine smoothies.”

Food vendors will also be on hand with a mix of items, ranging from plenty of BBQ foods, pierogies, hot dogs and more.

Maguire said the event will also host other vendors with various items. Representatives from the new dog park in Philipsburg will be selling dog bones made from the used grain from Race Street Brew Works, with all proceeds benefitting the park.

While the event takes place, Maguire said DJ Gigi will play from 5-7 p.m. and from 7-9 p.m., the band Zero Tolerance will take the stage.

Tickets can be bought at the Philipsburg Borough office Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. You can also pick up tickets at the following businesses: Painting Broad, Cameron Bakery, Ricotta Jewelry, Thieves Market, Twisted Vine Winery, Diva Bling, Nails by Nicci, Rock & Ruthless and Hi-Way Pizza.

Maguire said she’s excited to see people flock to the downtown area.

“It’ll be nice to see the community spirit coming alive again,” Maguire said.


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Keeping the Dream Alive: DuBois Dream needs votes to compete in 2019 The Basketball Tournament

DuBOIS — Since it’s inception and inaugural run in the 2016 ESPN affiliated The Basketball Tournament, Albert Varacallo III and the DuBois Dream have been dreaming big. This year is no different as Varacallo and the DuBois Dream have even bigger dreams to help out the community while playing on a national stage in the 2019 The Basketball Tournament.

“This year, like every other year, we are playing for my dad’s foundation, The Dr. Albert Varacallo Foundation,” Varacallo said. “We still continue to play in his honor and in his memory and it is always that much more special to help spread the word about my dad on a national stage knowing how much he tried to give his all and help the community.”

Dr. Albert Varacallo was a prominent and well-loved family practice physician from DuBois, says www.docvfoundation.com, the website dedicated to The Dr. Albert Varacallo Foundation and his Memorial Event and Annual Bike Race.

It states, “He was known for his selfless work and spirit of giving to his fellow man. Dr. Varacallo had a passion for his big family, golden retrievers, his patients, and cycling. On the morning of July 8, 2010, he was out riding his bicycle before work, when he was hit head-on by a car.”

After his tragic accident and death in 2010, the Varacallo family really wanted to turn that negative into a positive by giving back to the community since he loved the area so much and loved helping people out.

Dr. Varacallo’s family and friends created the Dr. Albert Varacallo Memorial Event, which helps fund high school and medical school scholarships as well as help families who have gone through sudden tragedies like their own.

The second cause the DuBois Dream will be playing for in The Basketball Tournament is something near and dear to Varacallo’s heart – a special needs/sensory gym and event center in DuBois.

In 2016 and 2017, the DuBois Dream entered The Basketball Tournament and played for the Challenger League field, a project spearheaded by the City of DuBois to provide specialized athletic opportunities for those with special physical and mental needs. Today, the new state-of-the-art Rose and Dennis Heindl Memorial Field is primarily for use by the Challenger League but is also a multi-use field for girls softball.

“Now seeing it built and how amazing it is, I want to take it up a notch and provide something like that indoors for our community,” Varacallo said. “I have been talking about trying to bring a sports complex or event center to the area for quite some time now, but I do not think I was dreaming big enough. I think if we can tie in an event center with a sensory gym and make it all handicapped-accessible and all-inclusive I think that benefits our community so much more.”

After teaming up with The Arc of Jefferson and Clearfield Counties and partnering and attending the Special Olympics, practicing with the DuBois/Jefferson Special Olympics Basketball Team, making guest appearances at Camp Confidence, and being on the DuBois Area School Board and seeing the direction the school district is heading, Varacallo said he believes it is important to get something like this in place.

“I love attending and cheering on my friends in their Challenger League games,” he said. “I think it would be amazing to have something that mirrors the Challenger League indoors that incorporates indoor sports during the rough winter months, especially basketball. I just think it would be a win for everyone and take this Tri-County Area and our school district to new levels.”

Varacallo said the DuBois Dream will also be playing for and helping to spread the word about a new non-profit in the community called Square One Community, which is being led by Michael Clement, of DuBois.

Seeing a need to create the connections to help all go from surviving to thriving, Square One Community is a collective of people passionately committed to connecting others with the resources needed to get a fresh start.

“Their motto and what they are about, taking people from ‘surviving to thriving’ is definitely a way to dream big in our community,” Varacallo said.

The Basketball Tournament” is a 5-on-5, single elimination basketball tournament worth a grand prize of $2 million, with a total of 64 teams entering the tournament.

Before the DuBois Dream team has a chance to compete in the tournament, it needs votes.

“To get in to The Basketball Tournament and play on a national stage on ESPN, we are going to need as much support from the community as possible,” he said.

To vote for the DuBois Dream and help them enter TBT, fans need to go to www.thetournament.com/teams/dubois-dream.

“It takes about a minute to sign up and support and it is free to vote so I hope everyone can support our team and causes,” he said.

Although the winner of TBT receives $2 million, this year the tournament is also awarding the winner of the regional rounds (three games) a portion of the ticket sales from the regional rounds and in some regions that total could be more than $50,000.

“We continue to improve each year on and off the court and I cannot thank the community enough for all of their support because this Dream would not be possible without them,” Varacallo said. “I feel so lucky to be a part of this community and I am going to continue to do everything I can to help it in any way that I can. God is so good and continues to bless me and the team and I know with continued hard work and faith all things are possible including all of our big dreams.”


Elaine Haskins / Elaine Haskins  

DuBois Dream

Albert Varacallo III, owner/player of the DuBois Dream basketball team, is shown at Heindl Field in DuBois, where the Challenger League plays. One of the causes the DuBois Dream will play for if they get enough votes to play in the ESPN-affiliated 2019 The Basketball Tournament is a special needs/sensory gym and event center in DuBois.


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Msgr. Charles Kaza removed from active ministry pending further investigation

Local priest Msgr. Charles Kaza has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General forwarded the allegation against Kaza, the pastor of St. Tobias Parish in Brockway and president of the DuBois Central Catholic school board, to the Diocese of Erie, according to a press release received by the diocese Saturday.

K&L Gates, the diocese’s law firm, has conducted a preliminary investigation.

The diocese placed Kaza on administrative leave, restricting him from active ministry, effective May 13, while further investigation is underway. During the investigation, Kaza will not be in residence at St. Tobias Parish; he will be living at a private home with family.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place while Kaza was serving at St. John the Baptist Parish, Erie, in the 1980s.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information related to this case is asked to contact the Pennsylvania Attorney General at 1-888-538-8541 and K&L Gates at ErieRCD@klgates.com.

Father Leo Gallina was named temporary administrator of St. Tobias Parish, effective May 20. Gallina will be in residence at the parish beginning May 28.

To report abuse

The diocese of Erie encourages anyone who has experienced sexual abuse or misconduct by a member of the clergy or any employee or volunteer of the church, to contact law enforcement. To report abuse to the independent investigators retained by the Diocese of Erie, email ErieRCD@KLGates.com. In addition, victims or concerned individuals can report abuse to ChildLine, an outreach of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, by calling 800-932-0313. The line is open 24/7, and callers may choose to remain anonymous. Victims also are welcome to contact the diocese directly to report abuse at 814-451-1543. Counseling assistance is available for victims and/or their families through the diocesan victim assistance coordinator, Dr. Robert Nelsen, who can be reached at 814-451-1521.


Josh W / Susan L. Kerr 

Maxine Himes works on a project at the Redbank Valley Community Center’s knitting group.