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Clairton celebrates city unity

| Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, 12:46 p.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Jakob Clawson, 10, and Jarievan Washington, 11, grab snacks for a hungry camel and zebra at the CommUNITY Day petting zoo.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Clairton teacher Ted Ulmer guides Zach Snyder of Elizabeth Township and Mary Janetka of Clairton through the 'Penny Toss.'
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
The Maxxed Out Riders motorcycle club's Quienty Henley, Stuart Price and Ryan Norris grilled hot dogs for Saturday's crowds.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Trevor Miles and his CHANCE group from Clairton City School District perform for their neighbors.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Alyssa Brinson, 12, of Elizabeth Township and Alonna Morton, 4, of Clairton marvel at one of many performances during Clairton's eighth annual CommUNITY Day on Saturday.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Firearms safety mascot Eddie Eagle hitches a ride in the Bear Country train on Waddell Avenue with youngsters who attended Clairton CommUNITY Day on Sadurday.

Clairton residents gathered along Waddell Avenue Saturday to share in food, music and wholesome fun at the city's eighth annual CommUNITY Day.

Neighbors walked the practice field at Clairton Education Center throughout the afternoon, enjoying the free bounce houses, petting zoo, games, food and information tables.

Unity Group vice president Wayde Killmeyer, former Clairton schools superintendent, said the day promotes friendship and fellowship, a concept that has been successful for eight years.

“I'm glad to see continuity,” Killmeyer said. “Even with a change in leadership, it came off without a hitch. The weather cooperated, and everyone is smiling. That's what we're after.”

Deputy Mayor Kathy Tachoir, who chaired the first seven CommUNITY Days with help from Unity Group treasurer Kathy Ulmer, passed the baton to Rikell Ford, councilman Richard Ford's daughter. The event committee includes school director Jennifer Williams, Sister Mary Parks, Dorothy Ellis, Wilma Reaves, Mary Glover, city manager Howard Bednar and police Chief Rob Hoffman.

“I'm happy with the turnout and all of the performances,” Rikell Ford said. “I think God blessed us with a good day and how everything came together.”

Clairton High School senior JaLynn Sanders said togetherness keeps a community strong.

“When you have a day like this, everyone comes together to share ideas and have fun,” she said. “All of the neighbors come out, and people who lived here before come back. We're here. Our school is here. And we need to keep our spirits up.”

Mayor Richard Lattanzi commended the Unity Group for keeping the city's best interest at heart.

“This is a great benefit to the people of Clairton,” he said. “It's a great opportunity for people who live in different areas of town to come together as one community.”

Lattanzi joined the Maxxed Out Motorcycle Club in grilling free hot dogs and hamburgers. Ethnic foods and other treats were sold by Morning Star Baptist Church, kielbasa and sauerkraut; Pine Run Methodist Church, cabbage and noodles; Kingdom Come Ministries, funnel cakes; Ascension Church, pierogi; and Living Waters International Ministry, chicken and ribs.

Major sponsors were U.S. Steel, Jefferson Regional Medical Center and Koppers.

Other supporters were AARP of Clairton, Anglican Church of Transfiguration, Carl's Auto Repair, Chapman Corp., Clairton Fire Department, Clairton Library, Dr. David S. Shoaf, Eastman Chemical Co., Earl Bradley Jr., First Presbyterian Church, James F. Kemp Inc., John Lattanzi, KLH Engineers, KU Resources, Clairton Lions Club, Livingston Pharmacy, the Medicine Shoppe, Morning Star Baptist Church, NAACP Clairton Unit, Nickolich Towing and Sanitation, Peterson Machine Shop, Sons of Columbus, Tachoir Auto Body, Vangura Tool, Village Inn, state Sen. James R. Brewster, state Rep. Rick Saccone and U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1956, or