RIMERSBURG — When their government called, Rimersburg area men and women stepped up to serve. Now, local veterans in the small Clarion County community are hoping the area will come through to return the favor.
The Donald R. Lobaugh Military Museum along Main Street in Rimersburg has been closed since late last summer when sewer problems created a mess in the museum area. Although none of the museum’s military artifacts were damaged, the carpeting, floor, portions of walls and more need to be replaced before the museum can once again open its doors to the public.
Terry George, president of the Rimersburg Veterans Memorial Park and Museum, said this week that the group is still awaiting word on whether or not insurance will pay for some or all of the needed repairs. Damages are estimated at around $13,000, he said, noting that the carpet needs replaced and decontamination work must be performed.
The culprit appears to have been old, deteriorated drains running under the floor of the main museum area.
“Some of the old drains were crushed,” he said.
When the pipes spilled out, George said all the exhibits were moved to one side of the building away from the mess. The floor on the opposite side was cut open, the lines repaired, and the floor replaced. All throughout, George said, the artifacts were covered with plastic to protect them from dust and debris.
But months later, everything remains grouped on one side of the museum, as the group awaits word on insurance or additional funding.
“We want to get it back open,” George said, noting that he has plans to reposition a number of the displays to remake the look of the museum. “We hope to have it back open by April.”
In the meantime, the group is looking into possible fundraisers, and is open to donations from local individuals who would like to see the museum reopened.
“We could always use the money,” he said.
And not only for the museum, George said that a number of the monuments in the adjacent Veterans Memorial Park are also showing signs of deterioration and need work. He said plastic tarps were placed atop some of the monuments this winter to help protect them from water getting down inside and freezing.
“We’re going to have to fix those eventually too,” he said.
The park and museum group operates with 11 volunteer board members, each tasked with different duties, George said.
“Things work well and everyone is dedicated to keeping the history of the veterans alive and we try hard to present the history of the wars that have been fought for our freedom,” he said. “As soon as the problems that we have encountered with our drainage system are fixed, we will again be offering tours of the museum.”
Anyone wishing to contribute to the cause can make donations to the Rimersburg Veterans Memorial Park and Museum, P.O. Box 705, Rimersburg, PA 16248.
CLEARFIELD — The Lawrence Township Fire Company No. 1 found and rescued its first fire truck from a junkyard in Oklahoma and are hoping to restore it.
The fire truck is a 1936 American Lefrance that was built in Elmira, N.Y.
It was originally used by the Oceola Mills Fire Company and the newly formed Lawrence Township Fire Company purchased it from Oceola Mills in 1955, according to Rick Hummel, vice-president of Lawrence Township Fire Company No. 1.
Hummel is a firefighter and said he drove and operated the truck many times over the years.
The fire engine had a small 150-gallon tank but had a strong reliable pump.
“The night of the Trinity Church Fire, that truck sat at the river and pumped all night continually,” Hummel said.
The Trinity Church Fire was on Dec. 21, 1968.
The truck also had a special vertically primed pump that allowed it to pump extremely fast, he noted.
“The guys loved to take it to pumping contests,” Hummel said.
It was also popular with the firefighers because it was small, about 22 feet long, and was reliable and easy to operate and was built like a tank. And in its later years it was a great brush truck, Hummel said.
Once the truck was en route to a fire in the winter in East End and slid on some ice and T-boned two cars but was able to continue on to the fire.
The fire company had the fire truck until the late 1970s when it sold the truck to a collector in New York state. The fire company has pictures of the fire truck being displayed as a show truck by the buyer and his family, Hummel said.
In 2017 one of the fire company’s members, Bill Armstrong, was on the internet and happened to search “1936 Lefrance” and found a picture of a fire truck in a field in Oklahoma at a salvage yard owned by Buck Wilson in McCallister, Oklahoma.
When he zoomed in on the picture he saw “Lawrence” written across the hood and thought “Oh my gosh that’s our truck.”
“We don’t know how it went from a show truck in New York to a field in Oklahoma,” Hummel said.
The salvage yard agreed to sell the truck to the fire company for $4,000 in cash, and wanted to know the history of the truck and some T-shirts with the fire company’s logo.
Four members of the fire company borrowed a Dually pickup and a trailer and drove to Oklahama and towed it back to Clearfield.
The fire company wants to restore the truck but hasn’t started yet. Hummel said the company doesn’t have a good estimate on how much it is going to cost to restore it yet. He said the fire company is willing to take donations for its restoration.
They are also looking for someplace to store the truck and get it out of the weather. If anyone has any suggestions they should contact the fire company, according to Hummel.
PUNXSUTAWNEY — Jim Rouse is a man of many talents and hobbies, and can be found in his workshop creating all types of custom creations with his many tools and machines.
Rouse remodels houses by trade, but has found more and more opportunity to incorporate his custom work into remodeling. Once his clients learn he can do it, they often have requests for him. His current project was a custom bathroom cabinet and vanity sitting off to the side of his workshop, but his creations can get much more ornate.
“I do like doing the one-of-a-kind custom stuff. My Facebook page, I don’t put any personal stuff on there, I just put stuff that I make on there,” Rouse said.
When he first began making custom works, he used a Craftsman CompuCarve, which is a miniature computer numerical control machine, or CNC machine, which automates the control of tools through computer programming. He had already wanted a CNC machine, so this was a good test of what he could do with one.
Rouse decided to do what anyone would – learn how to build his own CNC laser cutter in his workshop. Rouse said he watched hours of YouTube videos, learning how the machine worked, and how he needed to build it.
“I built one out of wood, and it worked. I had to learn all that stuff, YouTube was great for that, but I had to figure out a lot of it on my own too. Because it was made out of wood, it rapped too much as it was cutting, so it wasn’t as accurate,” Rouse said.
He left that project for a couple of years, then a friend gave him some metal rails, which would hold tight better than the wood had. This is one of the machines he uses today for laser cutting.
Rouse designs the pieces he wants cut in the computer program, and the machine cuts them out. It can move on three axes while cutting, and always knows where it is on the piece of wood. He said it took him about two weeks to build the machine.
“But it’s a lot of tweaking before you get it to where it’s actually running,” Rouse said.
He uses these cutout pieces to make intricate wooden clocks as his main focus. Some of the smallest pieces have to be cut out on his second machine to ensure the small details aren’t accidentally broken off. He makes joints in the pieces so they can be locked together, and built into the clocks.
He picks different animals and themes to give the clocks. He had groundhog clocks made for Groundhog Weekend, which his friend included on her table at one of the vendor shows that weekend. He also has eagle and elk clocks, and will take personal requests as well. Rouse has also begun experimenting with steampunk style creations recently.
Rouse said he can’t work forever, and would like to start taking the clocks and his other creations around to vendor fairs in the future.
He also recently started working with a 3-D printer as well. Another skill he turned to YouTube to learn. He likes 3-D objects because they are hollow on the inside, giving him more possibilities with them. He also saw this as a way to print the inlays to carvings that he does for custom details in houses.
“That was my initial thought when I got into 3-D printing, but then I realized theres so much more. There’s files all over the place that you can download cool stuff and then print it out. Of course that was another trial and error,” Rouse said.
Today, Rouse makes custom creations with his two laser printers and a 3-D printer in his workshop. He still considers his custom creations to be a hobby, but is hoping it can become more than that when he’s ready to leave the remodeling business.
He also shared that he is a cake decorator by trade, and used to DJ on the weekends. He has also made other creations like faux stone walls out of foam board, and some decorations for his own house. He has many talents and interests when it comes to making unique creations.
DuBOIS — Lifelong DuBois resident and former Mayor John “Herm” Suplizio, who currently serves as the city manager, has announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for state Senator in the 25th Senatorial District. The post is currently held by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, who announced last week that he will not seek re-election at the end of his term on Nov. 30.
“In my time as city manager of DuBois, I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” Suplizio said. “We have made government more efficient, invested in downtown revitalization, brought tourism dollars to support small businesses and we’ve done all of it without a tax increase. I understand how crucial small businesses are to Central Pennsylvania and our families. As state senator, that’s what I’ll fight for – lower taxes, safe streets, small business and smaller government.”
A 1978 graduate of DuBois Central Catholic, Suplizio has spent his entire adult life around public service. Rising from volunteer firefighter to chief of the DuBois Fire Department and executive director of the local United Way since 1993, Suplizio’s impact on DuBois is far-reaching.
As city manager, Suplizio has helped leverage millions of dollars in state grants and private dollars to improve downtown DuBois and incentivize job growth to employers like Danone, a company which just created almost 100 new jobs in Clearfield County.
“We’re doing a lot of great things in DuBois,” Suplizio said. “Stores are opening doors, not closing them. Employers are hiring workers, not laying them off. We’re seeing multimillion-dollar investments into our workforce and a lot of that is due to the fact that DuBois is a great, safe place to raise your family. Just last year, we extended our deal to host the Small College World Series because they recognize the time and investment that our community has put into facilities like Showers Field and our town as a whole. This year, we will also be hosting the 2020 USA Softball Women’s National Team at DuBois’ Heindl Field as part of the “Stand Beside Her” tour presented by Major League Baseball. That’s the experience I want to bring to the Senate – helping to bring more family-sustaining 21st Century jobs and revitalization to communities across the 25th District.”
While excited for the opportunity, Suplizio was quick to acknowledge the fact that the 25th District will be losing a powerful leader in Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati.
“Senator Scarnati has been an outstanding leader and conservative champion in the Senate for two decades,” he said. “I realize that his successor will have tremendous shoes to fill. While I certainly did not anticipate the chance to serve my hometown and the people here that I love, I am committed to advocating for common sense conservative principles in Harrisburg.”
A pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment conservative, Suplizio noted that the freedoms we take for granted are under attack from liberal Democrats and socialist candidates.
“Rural Pennsylvania is under attack from the far left,” he said. “From liberals who look at the 2nd Amendment and right to life as a joke to socialists who want to put a tax on everything in sight, we need a proven leader who isn’t afraid of a fight in Harrisburg. I pledge to you from day one that I will never waver from my conservative principles or our district’s values.”
Suplizio attends St. Catherine’s Catholic Church in DuBois and is a supporter of the Catholic Charities. He also serves as executive director for United Way of DuBois. In addition to the number of local organizations he supports, Suplizio has served as a co-chairman of DuBois Community Days, which brings an influx of tourism and business to the city.
Suplizio is a father of two grown children, Meghan and Timothy.
Also announcing his run for Scarnati’s seat is current state Rep. Cris Dush. Thinking that Scarnati would be running for another term, Dush had started gathering petitions to run for state Auditor General. With Scarnati’s announcement, Dush has told several media outlets that he is dropping his bid for auditor general and will be running for the 25th District Senate seat.
Others seeking the seat include St. Marys resident Margie Brown, a Democrat, and Brockway resident Dr. Jim Brown, a Republican, according to the Bradford Era.