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Anticipation of New Year stirs many Valley memories

| Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Residents of this mid-Monongahela Valley will ring in the New Year in a variety of ways next week.

Many of course will be reflecting on the past year as they welcome 2014.

With that thought in mind, let's take a familiar backward glance at This Day In History with another journey through the archives of The Valley Independent and its predecessors, The Charleroi Mail and The Monessen Daily Independent.

70 YEARS AGOMonday, Dec. 27, 1943

(December 26 was a Sunday.)

A strike by 134,000 steelworkers curtailed vital production of war materials in six states as President Roosevelt cut short his Hyde Park Christmas holiday to return to Washington, D.C. to deal with the greatest labor crisis the United States has faced during World War II.

The work stoppage impacted the Page Plant of American Chain and Cable Company in Monessen, where 1,050 union members were off the job, plant manager Harvey W. Seymour announced.

Meanwhile, operations continued at the Monessen and Allenport plants of Pittsburgh Steel Company, where contracts do not expire until Jan. 6, and at Monessen Foundry and Machine Company, where the current pact runs through February.

60 YEARS AGOSaturday, Dec. 26, 1953

Monessen City Council took action Thursday to assess local real estate on a basis of 75 percent, an increase of 50 percent. Acting as the Board for the Revision and Assessment of Taxes, council members instructed city assessor Albert Marchlone to go ahead with plans to use the new assessing figures. Council anticipates numerous appeals by property owners.

Donora Sons of Italy will present a festive Polka Party tomorrow night with music by the Silvertones.

Meanwhile, Lewanna Manor in Carroll Township is still taking reservations for a gala New Year's Eve bash. Those interested are encouraged to call Monongahela 9979 for more information.

Nurses of Memorial Hospital of Monongahela in New Eagle and their guests enjoyed a delightful Christmas dinner party at Celapino's on Route 51. Miss Ann C. Caldwell, superintendent of the hospital, offered invocation, and group singing was led by Mary Ann Paterson at the piano. Santa Claus was a surprise visitor for the event coordinated by a committee comprising chairman Marjorie Ellenberger, Elizabeth Brady, Elsie Huffman and Della Lorenzi.

Sports Editor Allen Kline of The Monessen Daily Independent noted that in the past 10 years Donora High School's football teams have lost fewer games than any other school in the WPIAL. The Dragons have won 71 games while losing only 21 and gaining six ties in the past decade. Duquesne had the best percentage with a record of 72-25-0.

50 YEARS AGOThursday, Dec. 25, 1963

A gift exchange highlighted the regular meeting of the Executive Committee of the California Area Junior-Senior High Parent-Teacher Association. The event was held as a Christmas party at the home of Mrs. John Peteritis. Mrs. Harold Hodge, president, was in charge.

Joe Greskovich is setting a hot pace in the men's Mon Valley Duckpin Bowling League's individual high average race. Rolling for Paddy's Lounge of Belle Vernon, Greskovich blistered the boards with a sizzling 708 series this week to raise his average to 196.6, 11 points better than runnerup Mike Planey. Greskovich, who posted single games of 259, 251 and 198 in the series, is fifth in single game competition with a 270. Mickey Petrovic's 285 is high in that category.

Area teens will get a double treat Friday when they attend the popular record hop at the new Belle Vernon Fire Hall. In addition to disc jockey Jerry Moffit, the dance will feature a live performance by the Tommy Charles Quartet (Tommy George, John Gallice, Arnie Lindquist, Robby Dosier). Meanwhile, national recording star Gary “U.S.” Bonds will be featured Saturday night at the teen dance at the Stockdale Fire Hall.

The Harold B. Cramer Men's Store, 523 Donner Ave., Monessen, is having a Going Out Of Business (Must vacate the premises) Sale. Among the bargains are suits for $15, $25 and $35; slacks, $2, and dress and sports shirts, $1.

40 YEARS AGOWednesday, Dec. 26, 1973

A traditional Year In Review feature recalled that the new $100,000 Blue Flame restaurant opened Monday, July 16 in the two-story brick building located across the street from Mon Valley Community Health Center in Monessen's Eastgate district. The restaurant is owned and operated by brothers Al and Les George, who also own and operate the Blue Flame restaurant and Yorkshire Inn on Route 51 in Jefferson Borough.

The Monessen building, which has professional offices on the second floor, was constructed by Frank Irey Contracting of Monongahela.

The year-end review also noted that the Monessen Pony Baseball All-Stars chosen for post-season tournament play last summer comprised Doug Indof, Tom Indof, David Lewis, Charles Miller, Paul Novakovich, Larry Snyder, Cy Chovan, Tim Post, John Moskola, Barry Bergstedt, Jim Drizos, Dan Naylor, Lev Cieply, John Gaudio and John Persico. Charles Breckenridge was the manager, Lewis Indof the coach, John Barton the business manager and Angelo Leone a member of the Decisions Committee.

30 YEARS AGOMonday, Dec. 27, 1983

(Dec. 26 was a Sunday.)

Sub-zero temperatures put a severe chill on Christmas celebrations over the long holiday weekend. The thermometer dipped to 12 below zero and minus-15 in most areas, causing numerous problems for motorists including fender-bender caused by icy roads, broken water lines and power outages.

Twin brothers Bernie and Scott Johnson, 15, of Belle Vernon have earned Eagle Scout honors, the highest rank awarded by Boy Scouts of America. They are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Johnson and the grandsons of Mrs. Anna Klasmeyer.

Frazier, Monongahela Valley Catholic and Charleroi posted opening round victories in the Charleroi Cougar Booster Club Holiday Basketball Tournament. Frazier topped Ringgold 64-53; MVC turned back Monessen 67-58, and Charleroi stopped Belle Vernon Area 89-56. Leading scorers were Joe Lafko, Frazier, 24; Brian Anselmino, Ringgold, 27; Jim Wunderlich, 24, and Tim Kostolansky, 22, Mon Valley Catholic; Dave Sarra, 26, and Darrin Whitlock, 24, Monessen; Andrei Costantino, 20, and Kevin Lee, 20, Charleroi, and Paul Dolfi, 17, and Scott Zolak, 16, Belle Vernon Area.

20 YEARS AGOMonday, Dec. 27, 1993

(Dec. 26 was a Sunday.)

Two area women have been named winners in the annual Kodak Individual Newspapers Snapshot Award (KINSA) competition sponsored locally by The Valley Independent. Laura M. Magone of Monongahela and Terri Wheatley of Bentleyville each received $50 and a merit certificate.

Gearing up for New Year's Eve celebrations are these venues:

Row Galley, Finleyville, gourmet dining and live entertainment; Marina One, East Monongahela, All You Can Eat and Drink, $25 a person; Alpine Club, Monessen; Washington Township Fire Hall, DJ Bob Kopanic and the Mirage band; Lock Four Fire Hall, Double Impact band; Stockdale Fire Hall, DJ Jim Dudas, BYOB, $35.

10 YEARS AGOFriday, Dec. 26, 2003

Sewage rates should go down for Carroll Township residents by roughly 8 percent, but Monongahela residents will face a rate hike of 22 percent year. Rates are based on sewage flow and number of customers, said MACM manager Ed White. The Municipal Authority of Monongahela provides services for both communities.

Five area football players will be playing in post-college bowl games. Linebacker Scott McClintock, a Belle Vernon Area High product playing at Michigan, will face Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl; West Virginia University punter Todd James of Ringgold will be in the Gator Bowl against Maryland, and University of Pittsburgh players Dan LaCarte (offensive lineman) of Charleroi, Erik Gill (tight end) of Belle Vernon, and Jon Fowler (kicker) are set for the Continental Tire Bowl against Virginia.

Ron Paglia is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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