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Fourth of July holiday weekend sparks memories |

Fourth of July holiday weekend sparks memories

Ron Paglia
| Thursday, June 30, 2011 12:00 a.m

Another long Fourth of July weekend is upon us and a variety of activities will keep area residents busy.

With that thought in mind, let’s take a look at headlines and newsmakers of past preparations for Independence Day celebrations from the archives of The Valley Independent, The Charleroi Mail and The Monessen Daily Independent.


Monday, June 30, 1941

• Before he left with Charleroi District soldiers Saturday, Jack Gaskill, of Speers, was honored at a surprise party held in his honor by the Speers Athletic Association. The affair took place at the newly purchased grounds of the association abutting the river bank in Speers and was a delight-filled event with many surprises. There were 125 present. C. King Chalfant, of the SAA, presented Gaskill with a commemorative ring as a going-away gift.

• The Belle Vernon Rotary Club installed new officers for 1941-42. They are Dr. Harold Underwood, president; Joseph Vizza, vice president; Thomas Malpass, treasurer, and Albert Catrino, secretary. Also comprising the board of directors are John R. Hendlin, Edward Melenyzer and John Steen.

• Demand for reserved seats for the free Legion fireworks show at Charleroi Stadium is soaring, according to treasurer W. Ross Allen. Each $1 donation goes to the fireworks purchase fund and entitles the donor to sit in Section C., where he or she won’t be caught in the rush or trampled when the doors open at 7 p.m.

• Monessen SWOC Steelers edged Grindstone, 11-10, in a 12-inning slugfest yesterday at Ninth Street Park in Monessen. Manager Oscar Carlton’s team had 20 hits. Ralph Nicksich led the attack with two home runs and a triple and also did well on the mound as he struck out 12 in seven innings of relief pitching. Also having a hot hand for the Steelers were Alex Cowan, who had a homer, double and two singles; Pete America, homer and two singles, and John Fedarko, three singles.


Saturday, June 30, 1951

• Joe Bafile’s Trio will entertain tonight at a dance at the Ravens Club in Monessen.

• The formal opening of the Dubois H. Carter Funeral Home, 645 McMahon Ave., Monessen, will take place Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Noted journalist Malvin (Mal) Good, of The Pittsburgh Courier, will speak.

• The Fayette City Merchants defeated Allenport CIO, 5-2, in a Mon Valley League game at Fayette City to increase its lead over Finleyville to 2.5 games. Hal Livingston and Eddie Schwab had two hits apiece for manager Dickie Barker’s club. Tucker Celaschi belted a double for the CIOers.

• The Hilltop Drive-in Theater in Carroll Township is encouraging area residents to come there to watch the fireworks in Charleroi on the Fourth of July. Children will receive free bubble gum and kids under 12 will be admitted free if accompanied by their parents.


Friday, June 30, 1961

• The Donora School Board last night adopted a budget of $729,260 for the coming year and increased the real estate tax two mills above the 39-mill rate of last year. To the average home owner whose property is assessed at $3,000, this means an increase in school taxes of $6 per year.

• Formal organization of a United Fund in the Mid Mon Valley is expected to be accomplished at a meeting July 12 at Charleroi Elks Club. Co-chairmen Donald C. Duvall and Eugene Maurice of the planning committee will be in charge. Areas to be included extend from New Eagle to Roscoe, with Monongahela, Donora, Monessen and Charleroi the largest towns in the area.

• The Ladies Bowling League held its annual banquet at the fire hall in Eldora. The team championship trophy was presented to Captain Mae Wilson, Elvira Crynick, Ann Wagner, Esther Sherlock, Dorothy Vayansky and Bertha Kline.

• Stringhill’s Pizzeria on Fayette Street in Lynnwood has curb service and these specials: Pizza, 50 cents to $1; Big Joe double-decker hamburgers, 50 cents; homemade Italian sauce, 50 cents.

• The Rainbow Hotel in Monessen, “The Downtown-Uptown Spot, Where You Will Be Proud To Bring Your Friends,” announces that its chief cook, Mrs. Carolyn Mosley, is just back from vacationing in Montgomery, Ala., where she specialized in the Southern Bar-B-Q, which she will start serving locally on July 1.


Wednesday, June 30, 1971

• The Ringgold School Board last night adopted a $6,196,228 budget for 1971-72 that increases real estate taxes by three mills and provides for salary increase for all employees. The property tax rate goes from 52 to 55 mills.

• Belle Vernon ran its winning streak to 19 games in the Mon Valley Slow Pitch Softball League by defeating Dunlevy, 14-5. Joe Livingston and Dave Igoe led the 20-hit barrage with three hits each as the winners raised their record to 19-1.

• Yensick’s Red and White Market (just off Interstate 70 in Belle Vernon) had these holiday specials: Ground beef, three pounds or more, 55 cents per pound; chicken legs, 49 cents per pound; hot dog and hamburger buns, four packages for $1, and new California potatoes, 89 cents for a 10-pound bag.

• Alexis Stefansky and Jon Smoke were the recipients of the American Legion Awards for ninth graders at Monessen Junior High School. Making the presentations were Arthur Trilli, of Thomas McKee Post 28 of The American Legion, and Mrs. Lavern Elyanich, of the Post 22 Auxiliary.


Tuesday, June 30, 1981

• State Police fire marshal Dennis Smith is continuing his probe into yesterday’s early-morning fire that destroyed Toth Brothers’ Self-Service market in downtown Belle Vernon, Meanwhile, authorities continue to investigate a $20,000 fire that damaged a vacant house in Monongahela and a blaze that gutted Louie’s Bakery at 237 Fallowfield Ave., Charleroi, early Sunday morning.

• The Board of Trustees of Monongahela Valley Hospital Inc. re-elected retired educator Dr. Joseph J. Pallone as president .Other officers for 1981-82 will be Joseph U. Frye, first vice president; Michale J. Skirpan Jr., second vice president; Wilburg James, secretary, and John G. Schaeffer, treasurer.

• The Bentworth School District has a new budget of $4,186,631 and two fewer administrators. The school board last night adopted the 1981-82 budget that increases property taxes by nine mills and accepted the resignations of Dr. William Torlidas as superintendent and Michael A. Troyan as assistant superintendent. No action was taken on naming new administrators.

• Newell outlasted Fairhope, 12-11, to move a game ahead of the losers in the Belle Vernon-Rostraver Softball League yesterday. Fred Todaro drove in five runs with two homers and Bruce Brandt had three singles and four RBI to lead Newell (13-2). Jim Trenk looked best for Fairhope (12-3) with a home run and two singles, and teammate Steve Poknis had three singles.


Saturday, June 29, 1991

(June 30 was a Sunday)

• Sponsors of The Valley Independent’s monthly Dining Out Contest, which offers a $15 gift certificate, are Charleroi Elks Club, Randall’s in Perryopolis, Costas in Donora, Belle Vernon Holiday Inn, Coal Baron in Uniontown and El Monte in Large. Arlene Ratica is this month’s winner.

• Dr. Byron “Bucky” Phillips, 41, of Monongahela, is now ranked as the No. 1 tennis player in the 35-and-Over Division by the Allegheny Mountain Association. Phillips, superintendent of West Greene School District and tennis instructor at South Park Tennis Club, enhanced his status with back-to-back championships in the Greater Pittsburgh Open at Monroeville Racquet Club and the Greensburg Super Senior event.

• State officials have declared a drought warning for Washington, Westmoreland and Greene counties, where rainfall levels are running two to three inches below normal this year. Area residents are urged to cut water usage by five percent. The weather forecast calls for hot and humid conditions today with temperatures above 90 and tonight’s low in the 70s.


Saturday, June 30, 2001

• State Rep.Timothy J. Solobay presented Clyde Henry, of Ginger Hill Grange, with a commendation from the House of Representatives in Harrisburg acknowledging the grange’s many years of services benefitting the community. The recognition took place as a highlight of National Grange Week.

• Voters in Washington County will not see a county real estate tax hike in 2002, chairman John Bevec of the board of commissioners said today. The budget, he said, is near completion and calls for no tax increase but has a deficit, at this point, of $234,000. The current tax rate is 17.5 mills and each mill generates about $1.1 million.

• Inducted into the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame at ceremonies last night in Gallagher Hall at California University of Pennsylvania were Gene Belczyk, Dale Hamer, Joe Sarra, the late Jack Scarvel, George Zuraw, Tom Ballaban, Henry “Heinie” Adams and Bill Robinson.

• The Holy Name Society of the Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church of Monessen honored Paul Ciccarelli as Father of the Year and Matthew Mattko as Senior Boy of the Year. Presenting the awards were Pat Martucci, HNS president, and the Rev. Paul Lisik, pastor and spiritual advisor.

(If you have story ideas or memories to share, contact Ron Paglia at or c/o The Valley Independent, Eastgate 19, Monessen, PA 15062.)

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