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Veterans Park dedicated in Sligo

SLIGO – The Sligo Veterans’ Memorial Park, a project several years in the making, was officially opened and dedicated in a ceremony held Saturday morning at the site at the corner of Bald Eagle and Colerain streets.

More than 100 local residents, veterans and dignitaries attended the program at the new park, which was built on the site of the former Korner Restaurant which was destroyed by fire several years ago.

“It once held the cornerstone of our community,” Sligo resident Rachel Kindel told the crowd. “This corner where our restaurant once sat was the gathering place.”

After the fire, Kindel said, the community mourned it’s loss.

“The town had lost its place to come together; the corner sat empty,” she said. “Out of the ashes of that fire, a community once again came together.”

With the development of the new park, she said, “this corner continued to be our corner.”

“It represents what happens when a town is more than a town — it’s a community.” she said.

Sligo resident Connie Graham said that the project can trace its roots back several years to when she came together with Nancy Shook, Brenda Kindel and Anna Marie Laughlin to form the Hometown Heroes Committee that worked to place banners throughout the town featuring the names and photos of area veterans.

The group then began to look at the front yard of the Sligo Recreation Center to create a new park to honor the veterans. But those plans changed when Linda and Bill Himes, owners of the Korner Restaurant which relocated to a new location in Rimersburg after the fire, offered to give the prominent corner lot to the borough if it would be used for a veterans park.

Graham said that in November 2017, the planning shifted to focus on the new location; and with donations from the the VFW Post in Rimersburg, a grant from the Clarion County Commissioners, and donations from other veterans groups, businesses and individuals, the park project moved forward rapidly.

The work, Graham explained, was aided by countless hours of volunteer labor from local craftsmen and others, including Connell Kindel and Jerry Shook.

She also thanked the local fire department, borough employees and many others for the roles they played in bringing the park to life.

The park features a large central monument, which states: “May this monument serve as a special tribute to all the men and women from the Sligo area who sacrificed themselves serving our country so that all Americans can live in the Land of the Free.”

Four matching black granite benches are situated in front of the monument, with a large flagpole directly behind the monument. Trees, bushes and a flower garden area were also added to the park.

“Anytime something like this happens in the county, it makes you feel good,” Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan told the crowd. He said the county contributed to the project because it is the duty of those around today to make sure future generations do not forget the sacrifices made by the veterans who came before them. “They and they alone are the reason we are free.”

“It was a community effort,” state Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion) said. “We rise from the ashes and we have our priorities straight. This is one more way we can share our rich legacy and history.”

The program, led by Sligo Mayor Jeremy Shumaker, also featured musical selections by the Union High School band, a song by local resident Madison Coy, and the raising of the flag by members of the Rimersburg-based VFW and American Legion posts. A luncheon hosted by the Sligo Presbyterian Church followed the program.

To complete the look of the park, committee members are now selling bricks that can be purchased to honor local veterans. The bricks will be placed along the main sidewalk leading to the monument.


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'Bears' sculpture is latest along Redbank Trail

NEW BETHLEHEM – Winding for more than 40 miles through most wooded areas, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that hikers and bikers might spot a bear along the Redbank Valley Trail.

But now, with last week’s installation of new artwork, trail users passing through New Bethlehem are guaranteed to spot at least three bears.

“Mama Bear and Cubs,” a three-dimensional metal sculpture display by Massachusetts artist Dale Rogers was installed last week in the old railroad yard in front of the New Bethlehem Town Center along Arch Street.

Local resident and trail volunteer Terry Mateer, who commissioned the three-piece sculpture, said he and his wife, trail president Sandy Mateer, met Rogers a number of years ago at the Pittsburgh Arts Festival and fell in love with his work.

In the past several years, Mateer has purchased and installed three other sculptures from the Dale Rogers Studio along the trail, including ones tiled “Bird in Hand,” “Believe” and “Hoot.” A sculpture of an Easter Island head also can be spotted in the Mateers’ yard.

“I love his stuff, it keeps improving and becoming more imaginative,” Terry Mateer said, noting that he plans to continue to add new sculptures along the trail over time. “Art is a thing that attracts people to a trail.”

“We have a spectacularly beautiful trail, but to attract more people, more interest, we want to add the art along the trail,” Sandy Mateer added.

She encouraged other artists to reach out to the trail about displaying their art.

Rogers, who delivered the three bears sculpture last week to the New Bethlehem site, said he travels around much of the country to art shows and festivals with his works.

His process, he said, begins with creating a computer model of the work using geometric patterns. The Cor-Ten steel, which is made to be exposed to the weather without painting, is then laser cut. The pieces are then welded together to bring the design to life.

“When you’re building them, it’s just so exciting,” Rogers said while setting up Mama Bear and Cubs.

The new sculpture took about six to seven days to weld Mama Bear, and another four to five days apiece for each of the cubs.

Rogers said the designs can take 100 hours to complete.


Rich Rhoades / Photo by Rich Rhoades 

CLASS OF 2019 — The Redbank Valley Sports Boosters honored its second Hall of Fame class last Saturday night at Trinity Hall in Alcola. In the front row, from left, are Dan Shaffer, accepting for his son Dave Shaffer; Angie Shirey; Dennis “Sarge” Hinderliter; Mike Maslar; Michelle Johnston Drzal; and Jen (Black) Close, accepting for her late father Ernie Black. In the back row are Erin (Ruth) Shaffer, Kim (Wilson) Songer, Megan (Rupp) Harmon, Rebecca Edmonds, Becky (Bish) Doversike and Michelle (Aikens) Lingenfelter. For more from the Hall of Fame event, see the story in today’s Sports Section.


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Manhunt ends with attempted murder suspect in custody

RINGGOLD – A 39-year-old Mayport man, accused of attempted murder, is in custody following a manhunt that started the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 11 and lasted until late afternoon Thursday, Sept. 12 according to state police in Punxsutawney.

Early last Thursday morning, state police reported they were actively seeking the whereabouts of Ryan Dennis Snyder, who has been charged with attempted homicide as a result of an incident which occurred last Wednesday evening in Ringgold Township near the village of Mayport in Jefferson County.

Snyder was reportedly fleeing from a domestic incident on Sept. 11 and was believed to have fired a gun into an occupied structure. The incident occurred along Sandy Hill Road.

During the search, Snyder was believed to still be in the area hiding within surrounding woods near the Jefferson/Armstrong County lines. He was considered armed and dangerous.

Several patrol members, as well as the State Police Special Emergency Response Team, searched the area for Snyder until he was caught shortly after 3 p.m. on Sept 12. Initial reports did not provide additional specifics related to the apprehension.

According to a criminal complaint, Snyder has been charged with criminal attempt — murder of the second degree, homicide 2; felony counts of aggravated assault, burglary — overnight accommodations; person present, bodily injury crime; possession of firearm prohibited; strangulation, applying pressure to throat or neck; aggravated assault; criminal trespass; discharge of a firearm into occupied structure (five counts); misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another (four counts); possession of instrument of crime with intent; simple assault (two counts); and recklessly endangering another person (four counts).

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed at the office of District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock, Punxsutawney, state police were called to a residence at 4:47 p.m. on Sept. 11 on Sandy Hill Road in response to a report of a domestic-related altercation with gunfire. In an interview, one of the victims said her boyfriend, Snyder, was reportedly highly intoxicated and had been consuming whisky. She said he allegedly tried to get her into his black sedan but she refused and a verbal argument began. Eventually, she reportedly did get into the vehicle in fear of being physically harmed if she did not comply.

While seated on the passenger side of Snyder’s vehicle, the woman said she reached over to the driver’s seat, pulled the keys from the ignition and threw them out the window in an effort to prevent Snyder from driving while intoxicated with her inside the vehicle, the affidavit said. She then tried to get out of the vehicle through the passenger side door and Snyder reportedly jumped over the center console and exited the vehicle following her.

Snyder allegedly then pinned the woman to the ground and, while on top of her, began choking her with both hands around her neck to the extent the woman could not breathe, the affidavit said. He then let the woman up off the ground and made suicidal statements to her which included, “I’ll just go kill myself then.”

The woman reportedly ran along Sandy Hill Road to a neighbor’s home and the man and woman living there allowed her to use their home to seek asylum from Snyder, the affidavit said. A short time later, Snyder reportedly entered the residence carrying a firearm, possibly a rifle or a shotgun. He allegedly forced himself into the residence through a rear entrance and then physically assaulted the homeowner. The woman said Snyder pointed the firearm at the homeowner and fired a round at him, causing him to fall to the floor.

Snyder reportedly then immediately left the residence and while passing his girlfriend in the doorway, told her to “check on him to see if I just shot him,” the affidavit said. As he left the residence, the girlfriend said she could hear more gunshots striking the residence. The woman reportedly briefly checked on the homeowner before barricading herself in the restroom until state police arrived and said she was in fear of her life.

In an interview with police, the man who was shot and the woman who lives with him told police Snyder shot the man. The homeowner reportedly explained that he heard a loud pounding at the back door of his home and discovered the first victim, Snyder’s girlfriend, who appeared to be frightened. He said he allowed her inside, and a short time later Snyder came to the house.

Snyder allegedly punched the homeowner in the mouth, causing him to bleed. The homeowner reported that Snyder was carrying a long black firearm at the time, police said.

Snyder reportedly pointed the firearm at the homeowner and fired. Reports state that the homeowner dove to the ground and Snyder left through the back door.

Police said the homeowner never gave Snyder permission to enter his home.

Once outside, Snyder allegedly fired multiple rounds at the home. A projectile hole was discovered to the left of the front door, reports state. The hole appeared to be fired through the siding and did not penetrate the walls of the residence.

The woman who also lived at the home reportedly added that she believed the homeowner had been shot and saw him fall to the floor. She then ran to her bedroom and locked the door in fear that she was going to be shot. She also called 911 to report the situation.

Following a separate incident July 28, Snyder has been charged with misdemeanor counts of terroristic threats, simple assault, and a summary count of harassment.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 24 with District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock presiding.


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Leisurely Visits

The wait is finally over and it’s time for New Bethlehem to shine as the annual Peanut Butter Festival returns to town this weekend.

We have a special third section added to today’s newspaper with stories, schedules, photos and more to help get you ready for the three-day festival, which opens this Friday, Sept. 20, in Gumtown Park.

The festival has continued to grow and evolve over its 24 years, and has turned into a great family event for those in our community as well as the many folks from out of the area who attend every year.

We hope you’ll find time to visit the Peanut Butter Festival this year, and be on the lookout for The Leader-Vindicator’s float in Saturday’s parade, which begins at 3 p.m.

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The Peanut Butter Festival is one of the many reasons why we love our local hometowns, and now we want to hear from you, our readers, as to why you love your hometown.

The L-V will publish a special “I Love My Hometown” section in early October, and this week is the deadline to submit your writing to tell us all the great things about your hometown, share a special memory from your hometown, and to submit a great old photo or two of days gone by in your hometown.

Just send in your brief writing and/or photo to us at news@tlv.comcastbiz.net by this Friday, Sept. 20, and you will be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift card or a Family Four Pack of tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo.

We hope that all of the hometowns in our area are well represented in this special section, so don’t delay and send in your submission today.

* * *

With the first full day of autumn starting on Monday, Sept. 23, this is also the last call for anyone to submit a photo for our annual “Take The L-V With You” vacation photo pages.

Photos should be sent to us by noon this Friday, Sept. 20, at news@tlv.comcastbiz.net.

We will run the vacation photo pages in next week’s issue of The L-V, and one lucky person who submitted a photo will win a four-pack of tickets to the Pittsburgh Zoo.

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The second and final Clarion County Recycling Day for 2019 will be held this Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Clarion County Park near Shippenville.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. you can drop off most paper, plastic, metal and glass items to be recycled, along with batteries (automotive and rechargeable only), greetings cards (covers only), white goods such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, stoves, etc. (no freon), and any scrap metal items.

Car and light truck tires can be dropped off at a cost of $4.50 each, and truck and trailer tires for $12.

Electronic items will also be recycled for a fee, including 60 cents per pound for all tube/CRT televisions and monitors, and 40 cents a pound for other electronics.

Many other items can also be dropped off for a fee, including paid, household hazardous waste and more. For full details and to pre-register electronics and more, call 1-866-815-0016 or visit www.ecsr.net/recycling-events/.

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The Clarion County Marching Band Festival will be held next Wednesday, Sept. 25, at Union High School.

Starting at 7:30 p.m. at Vidunas Stadium behind the high school in Rimersburg, the event will feature performances by marching bands from Union, A-C Valley, Redbank Valley, Clarion-Limestone, Clarion Area and Keystone.

Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for students.

Come out and support these bands and the many hours of hard work they put into their half-time shows.