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Irish Eyes may be smiling on familiar path of Yesteryear

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Another traditional celebration of St. Patrick's Day is only three days away.

With that festive thought in mind, let's take another Backward Glance at news that caught the attention of readers of The Monessen Daily Independent, The Charleroi Mail and The Valley Independent on this date in history.


Monday, March 15, 1943

(March 14 was Sunday)

The State Defense Council announced today that a statewide air raid drill be called “before April 1” without advance notice to Pennsylvanians of the time or whether it will be during the daylight or at night. The drill will involve complete mobilization of the Citizens Defense Corps and the manning of all control center. It will include simulated air raid incidents and messages to be processed by the control centers. Previous drills on February 17 and March 4 were deemed very successful.

Both Belle Vernon and North Belle Vernon volunteer fire companies were summoned yesterday afternoon at 3:15 to a large grass fire in East Belle Vernon. The fire was directly below the ball diamond and was dangerously near a row of houses. With the aid of both companies, however, the flames were quickly extinguished.

A St. Patrick's Day party will be held by the American Legion Auxiliary in Charleroi on Wednesday in the Legion Home. Auxiliary president Frances Test said Jane Daniels is chairman of the event.

The U.S. Department of War awarded the Air Medal to Army Air Force Sgt. Joseph Tokar of Ellsworth. He was honored for “meritorious achievement” while participating in anti-submarine flights off the Atlantic Coast in 1942.

Joe Bach began his duties today as athletic director, football coach and head of the Physical Education Department at Monessen High School. The former Notre Dame standout lineman and collegiate and professional football mentor succeeds Johnny Reed, who resigned to return to his hometown of North Braddock as athletic director and gridiron coach at Scott High School.


Saturday, March 14, 1953

Blood collection amounted to 117 points yesterday at a Red Cross Bloodmobile in California. Among the donors were many students of California State Teachers College. Dr. Isaac C. Keller was chairman of the program in California and was assisted by registered nurses Lennie Eckel, Mrs. Arthur Weinzel, Audria Edwards, Mrs. Earl Matheson and Frances Wargo.

Vernon Junior High School's bid for Junior WPIAL basketball championship honors ended last night when the Puppies lost to Port Vue 65-38 in the semifinals at the McKeesport Vocational School gymnasium. Tom Markovich led Port Vue, now 22-1 on the season, with 23 points, while Sam Sergi paced Vernon with 14. Port Vue will meet New Castle, a 59-46 winner over Carnegie, for the title.

Anticipation is growing for a St. Patrick's Day dance this evening presented by the Vorwaerts Beneficial Singing Society at the Dutch Club in Roscoe. Benny Wineland's orchestra will be featured from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.


Thursday, March 14, 1963

A festive St. Patrick's Day party will be held Saturday night at the Sugar Loaf Grill in Monessen. “Irish Don” will lead the entertainment.

Inoculation for children one to seven years of age will be given at Castner School in Donora on Tuesday, it was announced today by Andrew Sukel, superintendent of Donora Public Schools. Sukel said the inoculations will immunize children against diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus. Administering the shots will be school physician, Dr. M.H. Heatter. He will be assisted by school nurse Sue Svrcek and registered nurses Grace Hauser, Edith Innes and Louise Kowal.

The Carroll Township Band Parents Association is finalizing plans for a performance by the Carnegie Tech Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble on April 18 in the junior high auditorium. William Robson, band director, is chairman, and co-chairpersons are Mrs. Frank Nester and Mrs. Robert Connelly.

Area teenagers are gearing up for a big weekend of St. Patrick's record hops. Jimmy Beaumont and the Star Liners (a seven-piece band) will present a live show Friday night at Strickler's Barn near Fayette City to highlight a dance sponsored by the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department; “Miss Shamrock” will be crowned and The Satellites will appear in person Sunday evening at the Belle Vernon Fire Hall, and The Elgins, a national recording group, will be in the spotlight Saturday night at the Stockdale Fire Hall. The Stockdale dances were in their sixth year of operation.


Wednesday, March 14, 1973

Greg Cornish finished the 1972-73 basketball season as the third leading scorer in Monongahela Valley Catholic High School history. Cornish, who became a starter as a junior, completed his career with 883 points behind all-time leader Patsy DeBerardinis, a 1968 graduate, who scored 1,313, and Dan McVicker, who graduated in 1972 and tallied 982. DeBerardinis also hold the Spartans single game (44) and single season (530) records.

Inez Pipik, a Democrat, is unopposed for mayor of Dunlevy in the May 15 primary election, according to information at the Washington County Bureau of Elections. Other candidates who face no opposition are: Mary Johnson, Mario Cardinale and Georg Fretz, council; Mary Clement, tax collector, and Christopher T. Manos, constable.

Among the bargains at Yensick's Red and White Market in Belle Vernon are cube steak, $1.29 per pound; Kahn's bacon, 79 cents per pound; short ribs, 79 cents per pound; San Georgio spaghetti sauce, 59 cents; Ivory liquid detergent, 32-ounce bottle, 59 cents.

Cost-cutters at Kruell's Food Center in Fallowfield Township include: Semi-boneless hams, 99 cents per pound; Whole beef ribs, 89 cents per pound; 20-pound bag of potatoes, $1.39.

Olga O. Woodward, Washington County Recorder of Deeds, will be the featured speaker when the Tri-County Boroughs Association meets Tuesday at the Lock Four Fire Hall in North Charleroi. Woodward will talk about the various roles she has an agent for 60 school districts and political subdivisions in the county.


Monday, March 14, 1983

R. Mitchell Steen Jr., managing editor of The Valley Independent, received a special award at the annual banquet of the Monessen Veterans Council on Saturday night. Frederic Feldman, president of the organization, presented a plaque to Steen in recognition of his “many years of distinguished service to the community and veterans and as an active veteran of World War II, where he saw action in the South Pacific Theater of Operation.”

Julie Page, Miss Pennsylvania-USA, reigned over the Founders Day parade and celebration in North Belle Vernon. Page returned to her hometown to make her first official appearance as Miss Pennsylvania-USA and presided over a ribbon cutting marking the formation of the Belle Vernon Business Association.

Dunlevy blanked Monongahela 2-0 in a Keystone Soccer League game. Lew DiBernardi scored the first goal for the Redbirds on a pass from Jeff Heino and Mark Tuccelli completed the scoring with an unassisted goal. Chris Tonarelli, Tim Lowe and Keith Conte were cited as defensive standouts for the winners, now 6-3-6 on the season, as goalie Chip Smallwood posted his second successive shutout.

Dr. Chita M. Crudo has announced the opening of his new office for the practice of general surgery at 25 Fayette Street, Belle Vernon (formerly the State Police barracks).


Monday, March 15, 1993

(March 14 was Sunday)

The Mid-Mon Valley is digging out of a blizzard which paralyzed the area over the weekend. More than two feet of snow hit the region and snarled traffic, caused many accident and power outages, stranded motorists and throttled businesses. Wrestlers, coaches and parents at a scholastic wrestling tournament at Bethlehem-Center High School were forced to spend Saturday night in the school gymnasium because they were snowed in by Mother Nature's wrath.

The auxiliary of Mon-Vale Health Resources Inc. ended its Winter hiatus at a meeting in the Health and Education Conference at Monongahela Valley Hospital. Evalyne Ramsden, president of the volunteers, was in charge, and new members Vivian Beattie, Barbara Hooper, Kelly Katsuleris, Millie Kluchko, Paige Palfrey, Joan Shaffer, Charmaine Triscik and Sylvia Whiten were introduced by Martha Holesopple.

Dairy Queen Brazier stores in North Belle Vernon and Fallowfield Township were attracting customers with a coupon worth $2 off on the purchase of special St. Patrick's Day ice cream cakes.


Friday, March 14, 2003

Monongahela Valley Hospital announced plans to unveil the $10-million expansion at the Charles L. and Rose Sweeney Melenyzer Pavilion and Regional Cancer Center on March 22. A ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m. will include remarks by Anthony M. Lombardi, president and chief executive officer of the health system, and Dr. Julia Ann Ansill, chairman of the hospital's Board of Trustees. Tours of the enhanced facilities and light refreshments also will be offered.

Former Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Kordell Stewart signed a two-year, $5 million contract with the Chicago Bears, who said he would be the starter next season. Stewart was released by the Steelers after losing his starting job to Tommy Maddox last season.

Ron Paglia is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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