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Evanne / By EVANNE GAREIS L-V Staff Writer 

REDBANK VALLEY’S CLASS of 2019 was met with high fives and signs of congratulatory messages and best wishes from students and staff in both elementary schools last Tuesday as the graduating seniors, in caps and gowns, took one final stroll down the familiar hallways where many started their educational careers 13 years earlier. The seniors entered into the next phase of their lives with the June 5 graduation ceremony at Redbank Valley High School.

Widnoon festival to benefit fire victims

WIDNOON – A festival over the next two weekends in Widnoon will benefit a local family that lost nearly everything in a recent house fire.

Lynda Pozzuto, owner of Widnoon Soft Serve, said that mechanical carnival rides, inflatables, games and, of course, ice cream will be featured at the June 14-16 and 20-23 festival at the ice cream shop to benefit the Kennedy/Leightley family whose house burned on May 27.

“After the fire, we knew we wanted help that family out,” Pozzuto said, noting that Gary Lightly, Elizabeth Kennedy and daughter, Desiree, lived next door to the ice cream shop and were great customers. “We’re their neighbor and wanted to do something.”

Pozzuto said that she reached out to a relative of the family to begin organizing the fundraiser. She said that since they lost their rental home, and they did not have rental insurance, the family is now staying with other family members until they can find a place of their own.

While many items of clothing have been donated to the family so far, Pozzuto said the family will be in need of household items once they get their own house. In the meantime, she said, the benefit will help the family out with something they can use.

“You can’t go wrong with cash,” she said, noting that a portion of the proceeds from the Trowver Ride Company ticket sales, as well as from ice cream sales, will benefit the Kennedy/Leightley family. Donation cans will also be on site to help out the family

“We’d like to raise a couple thousand dollars,” Pozzuto said. “We hope we get a good turnout.”

The festival will be held this weekend, Friday through Sunday, June 14-16, from noon to 9 p.m. daily, and again next weekend, Thursday through Sunday, June 20-23, from noon to 9 p.m.

Widnoon Soft Service is located at 911 Mahoning Road, Templeton.

Josh W / By JOSH WALZAK L-V Editor 

AFTER BEING POSTPONED a week due to high water conditions on Red Bank Creek, Sunday’s Hawthorn Area Fire Dept. Kayak/Canoe Poker Run was greeted with beautiful summer weather. Nearly 200 people took part in the fundraising event, which started in Summerville and ended in Hawthorn. Pictured is one of the first groups coming down the creek below the Mayport bridge.

Judicial nominee reflects on recent election

CLARION – During her months-long run for the major party nominations for judge of the Clarion County Court of Common Pleas, Sara Seidle-Patton said she was well aware that history could be made with her election, but she didn’t want to make gender the main focus of her campaign.

“It’s exciting,” Seidle-Patton said recently while reflecting on winning both the Republican and Democratic nominations for the 10-year judicial position.

While she was the first woman to run for judge in Clarion County’s history, and will likely be the first to wear the robe in the new year, Seidle-Patton said she tried to keep the campaign focused on the issues and not gender.

“I didn’t want people to vote for me just because I was a woman,” she said, noting that she did get a few comments from voters while on the campaign trail.

“I had some people say I didn’t look like a judge,” she recalled, telling them politely, “Maybe judges look different now.”

With a nine-year-old daughter, Seidle-Patton said it was fun to see Samantha and her friends get excited about the judicial race and, whether they realized it or not at the time, the doors that were being opened for them and future generations of women.

With seven months to go until she can take office, Seidle-Patton said her focus now is on wrapping up her private practice, while at the same time not taking anything for granted in the November election.

“Right now I’m still a candidate,” she said.

She said she tried to stay upbeat during the campaign, and said that while she felt positive about her chances all along, the fact that she captured both party nominations in the primary “turned out better than I thought.”

Seidle-Patton said that even though the campaign against current District Attorney Mark Aaron and county public defender Erich Spessard was hotly contested and featured many big signs and billboards, the real work came down to getting out to meet voters door-to-door. She said that in visiting thousands of people, it became clear that Clarion County voters were eager for information, and had a lot of questions and feedback for the candidates.

She also learned she had a great team backing her with “very passionate support.”

“I was overwhelmed by the help and support I got,” she said, pointing to her husband, Michael, family members, her campaign chairperson, Sue Patton, and her treasurer, Rose Logue.

Now, with the race nearly sealed up, Seidle-Patton said she will be working with her law firm’s clients and beginning to transition the practice to attorneys Ashley Yurik and Christy Logue.

“We need good lawyers around here,” she said, noting that the face of the legal community in Clarion is changing rapidly with retirements of longtime attorneys and the addition of new ones.

“My main focus will be on wrapping up my law office,” she said, noting there is not much else she can do until she is officially elected in November.

Seidle-Patton said she had already reached out to current Clarion County President Judge James Arner, who will retire at the end of the year, and said she will be looking to him for guidance through the process.

If she is formally elected in November, Seidle-Patton said she will then attend school for new judges in January before taking her seat on the bench.

“There is a transition period,” she said.

With the campaign’s long days and nights now in the past, Seidle-Patton said she is looking forward to spending some time at home with her family before embarking on the new phase of her career.

“I’m excited Clarion County has put its faith in me,” she said.

Sign O' the Times?

SLIGO – Should Sligo continue the tag line of “Touch o’ Ireland” and a leprechaun to welcome people to the town?

Sligo Borough Council did not have a quorum for its regular monthly meeting in June, but it did hear a presentation about community signs by Rick Smerkar, a civil engineer from Licking Township.

Smerkar said communities have different types of signs that often project a community identity. Many are professionally produced on different material all of the way from the original Sligo wooden painted sign to colorful molded plastic. Costs could range from $500 to $5,000 and beyond.

“I wanted to thank you guys for giving me the opportunity and I also wanted to thank you for past efforts because I know there has been work on signs in the past,” said Smerkar. “For those that can remember, the first sign in Sligo was a bear. I didn’t remember that until [borough secretary Janey Corle] told me there was one down in the basement [of the recreation center].”

Smerkar’s assessment of the aging Sligo signs is that they are on wood, green, non-illuminated, in three locations, crowded with a jumbled message, and tough to maintain. He also presented other community signs and said design consideration would include size, locations, costs, lifespan, materials, installation methods and maintenance.

The local town of Sligo was named after County Sligo in Ireland.

Some on the borough council and the small audience seemed receptive to the idea of some type of new sign while still using the “Touch O’ Ireland” slogan, but were not sold on keeping the leprechaun. The leprechaun on the current sign shares more in common with the mascot of Lucky Charms than with any historical connection to the community.

As far as Sligo’s Irish theme, the borough’s street signs do feature shamrocks and the Sligo fire trucks are green.

Body cameras now in use at NBPD

EAST BRADY – Officers with the New Bethlehem Police Department are now equipped with body cameras.

“All officers are now wearing body cameras,” New Bethlehem Police Chief Robert Malnofsky Jr. told East Brady Borough Council members in his report during their June 4 meeting. “We have them and they are in use for any interactions with the public.”

Although municipal and state police departments are allowed to use audio and visual recording devices such as body cameras per Pennsylvania Act 22 of 2017, “public disclosure of this footage is exempt from the state’s Right-to-Know law,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

This means, Malnofsky explained, that anyone from the public wanting to view footage captured on the cameras must follow the protocol outlined by the state.

“The main thing is that an individual must be directly involved in the incident to get the body camera footage,” he said, noting that more information on the guidelines for the release of video footage can be obtained through the NBPD or the state’s website. “That’s a state requirement.”

The state requirement also holds that “if a recording contains criminal evidence or information that relates to a current investigation, a victim or is confidential, and that information cannot be reasonably redacted, then the default is to deny release. The judge or prosecutor with jurisdiction may allow release in those cases only if it is in the public interest to do so.”

“[Someone] just can’t get it [the recording] because their buddy got arrested and they want to see what he did,” Malnofsky added.

In other business at last Tuesday’s meeting, the council passed a resolution regarding the disposition of audio recordings from borough council meetings.

Council president Barb Mortimer reported that East Brady Borough secretary Susan Buechele recently attended a seminar for municipal secretaries. One item discussed at the class was the fate of audio recordings often used by borough secretaries to create the minutes following council meetings.

“Once the minutes are approved it’s recommended that you destroy the recording,” Buechele said, noting that from the moment of approval, the written minutes serve as the meeting record.

Explaining that the borough records the minutes of each meeting, Mortimer presented council members with a resolution that states the borough’s intent to use an audio device to create audio recordings of council meetings “strictly and solely for the purpose of assisting the municipal or agency secretary with the creation of public meeting minutes.” As soon as the minutes are approved, the recording will be destroyed “and will not become part of the municipality’s permanent record.”

Resolution 2019-01 passed unanimously by the four council members present at the meeting — councilmen Bill John, Kenny Crawford and Joe Hillwig were absent.

Leisurely Visits

Maybe he helped you learn to ride a bike, or walked you down the aisle with a proud tear in his eye. Or maybe he was more the kind of person who let you sink or swim on your own to help you develop character. Maybe he fit all the stereotypes of telling bad jokes, hogging the remote control and obsessing over backyard grilling perfection. Or maybe he marched to his own drummer and taught you valuable lessons along the way.

Regardless of who your father is, we hope you can spend some time this weekend with Dear Old Dad in celebration of Father’s Day.

And from those of us at The L-V, we wish all the dads out there a great day and thank them all for everything they have done to support their families and make our communities a great place.

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The local American Legion post will conduct its annual flag retirement ceremony on Flag Day, June 14, at the Gumtown Park. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m.

Spokesmen for the Walter Craig Post 354 said any area homes or businesses having American flags that are tattered, faded or otherwise beyond good condition can bring those flags to Gumtown Park, where the replicas of Old Glory will be removed from service through a traditional ceremony that reflects on the history and significance of the nation’s symbol.

Simultaneously with the announcement about the flag retirement ceremony, the sponsoring organization’s spokesmen also encouraged the public to examine the condition of the flags they display at their homes or places of business, and replace flags they are beyond continued effective use and replace such national symbols. There are several business locations in the New Bethlehem area that cooperate with the Legion and have flags available for purchase.

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Each week, The Leader-Vindicator selects a lucky Subscriber of The Week, with the winners announced on Page A2 or A3 of every paper. From those weekly winners, one subscriber is then chosen as our Subscriber of The Month, who then receives one free month added to their newspaper subscription.

The Subscriber of the Month for May was David R. Anthony of Pittsburgh. Congratulations!

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The Pennsylvania Great Outdoors Visitors Bureau has announced its new Outdoor Adventure Photo Contest which runs June 1 through Aug. 31.

To enter, complete the entry form and upload your photos at The only requirements are that the photo meet the contest theme and must be taken in Jefferson, Elk, Clarion, Forest or Cameron counties.

Finalists will be posted on with the four entries with the most votes receiving $100 for first place, $75 for second place, $50 for third place and $25 for fourth place.

Online voting will take place in September.

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The summer festival season is here and moves into high gear this weekend as the annual Brookville Laurel Festival gets underway on Saturday, June 15.

The weeklong event runs through June 23, and includes music, vendors, a car show, art displays and much more.

For a list of events and more, visit the Brookville Laurel Festival’s Facebook page.

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Kittanning’s Riverfront Park will offer a great summer evening event this Friday, June 14, as the Movie in the Park series continues with a showing of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” starting at 9 p.m.

Admission to the movie is free, and concessions will be available. Donations are welcome.

The event is hosted by Downtown Kittanning Inc.

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This weekend also marks the return of the Bigfoot BBQ UFO Festival at the Milton Loop Campground near Dayton.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., stop by the lakeside campground for great food and to hear from some of the top Bigfoot researchers. The event will also feature vendors and music.

For more, visit Gearhart’s Milton Loop Campground site on Facebook.