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Twist in format puts new spin on backward glance

| Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Responding to countless requests from thoughtful readers, today's journey to Yesteryear takes on a different chronological order.

As usual, these views of the past are from the archives of The Valley Independent and its predecessors, The Charleroi Mail and the Monessen Daily Independent.

65 years ago

Saturday, Jan. 8, 1949

(Jan. 9 was a Sunday)

The federal government announced it has augmented its staff of investigators and medical examiners to make a clinical study of air pollution in Donora and this entire section of the Monongahela Valley. The job begins next Monday morning and will extend into next Spring, probably into the Summer.

Smog, the “blue mass killer,” which might occur again in this protected Valley of heavy industry, “must be evaluated before another tragedy like that of October 30,1948 can be repeated,” the government said.

Uncle Sam intends to make Donora and its environs a testing laboratory for the entire United States in determining causes, effects and results of industrial pollution of the air.

Meanwhile, Page One classified ads touted the following:

• Thelma and Prenda Beauty Shop, featuring Eugene Randar Permanent Wave, Permanents $4 and up, 313 McKean Ave., Charleroi.

• Permanent Waves, Matchless, $2.05 and up, at Ruth's Beauty Salon in Roscoe. Cold waves $5.25 and up.

• Polka Night at Connie's in Belle Vernon, featuring Karl Bieneck's Velveteers.

Brownsville rolled over Redstone 84-9 in scholastic basketball action last night. Led by freshman Ace Groom, who peppered the nets for 28 points, Brownsville unofficially set an all-time high team scoring mark in Upper Mon Valley circles.

55 years ago

Friday, Jan. 9, 1959

December winners for employee suggestion awards at Corning Glass Works were announced by plant manager H. Marvin Hosier as follows: James Rotheram Jr., Charleroi R.D. 2; Harry Marek, North Charleroi; Jennings Gilotty, Monongahela; Marie Antolik, Monongahela; John Robson, Coal Center.

Jack Ward has been appointed assistant advertising manager for Pittsburgh Steel Company. Ward, 39, has been assistant city editor of the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph the past four years.

Three members of California State Teachers College's undefeated 1958 football received national recognition. End Adam Vlanich of North Charleroi, center Pete Petroff of California and halfback Phil Clifford of Clairton were given honorable mention in William's Little All-America selections; Head coach Ted Nemeth made the announcement at a testimonial for the Vulcans last night in the college dining room sponsored by the Rotary, Lions and Hungry clubs of California.

Club BeBe Bell on Route 31 in East Monongahela will present a gala floor show Saturday night featuring an orchestra, comedian Billy Sloan and Delsay McKay, the human pretzel, and your singing hostess, BeBe Bell.

45 years ago

Thursday, Jan. 9, 1969

Charleroi Borough councilman Rudy Buchta last night urged the municipal body to “get the ball rolling” for a new structure to replace the 60-year-old Charleroi-Monessen Bridge.

“I think council should send a letter to the state Department of Highways to begin planning for a new bridge now,” Buchta told his colleagues. “I can't see the state wasting time and spending a lot of money making studies as they did for the new Donora-Monessen Bridge.”

He called the Charleroi-Monessen span “obsolete and dangerous.”

In Harrisburg, state Rep. James J. Manderino (D-Monessen), one of six Democrats sponsoring legislation to create a State Lottery, said this method of raising revenue for the commonwealth “would at least give someone a chance to hit the jackpot while he is helping to pay the cost of state government.”

Two Monongahela businessmen have been appointed to the Pittsburgh Advisory Council of the federal Small Business Administration. Named to the panel were Joseph U. Frye, head of Frye Lumber Company, and Frank Pizzica, owner of Pizzica Motors. They join Mayor Frank Jones of Allenport, president of the Mon Valley Mayors Association, on the council.

Leroy Youngblood, the only professional boxer fighting out of the Charleroi Athletic Club, is training for a six-round feature against Bobby Parnell of Akron, Ohio on Monday night at The Palisades in McKeesport. In his last start at the McKeesport venue Youngblood pounded out a four-round decision over Terry Reed.

35 years ago

Tuesday, Jan. 9, 1979

Winter's grip on the Mon Valley continued and a major snow and ice storm is expected to continue for the next 48 hours. The National Weather Service said no relief from the artic-freezing temperatures is expected until Friday or the weekend. A survey of area schools showed that 45 percent of students were forced to stay home because of icy roadways, which caused traffic to move at a snail's pace.

Former Rostraver High School football and basketball star John Pakish has been named Coach of the Year in the Mission Trail Athletic League in California. Pakish led his Gonzales High School Spartans to a 7-3-0 record and a first place tie with Pacific Gerard and Hollister in his first season as head coach.

Richard D. Gray was named last night to fill a vacancy on Roscoe Borough Council caused by the death of Dr. John Bitonti Jr. on Dec. 9. Council held its annual reorganization, with Harold (John) Donaldson retained as president and Julius J. Klein Jr. as vice president. Ruth Chester was re-elected as borough secretary-treasurer, John Costello as solicitor, Sarah Solomon as Act 511 tax collector and Equibank as depository.

25 years ago

Monday, Jan. 9, 1989

Firefighters from six local companies responded to a multi-alarm blaze at an abandoned structure at 211 Tyrol Boulevard in Rostraver Township on Saturday. The flames could be seen from blocks away in any direction in the entire area.” Volunteer firefighters from Rostraver Central, Webster, Monessen units 1 and 2, Collinsburg and North Belle Vernon battled the fire. Monessen Ambulance Service and Rostraver Emergency Medical Services personnel also were on the scene.

G.A.P. Services Inc., located on Route 88 next to Campy's Pizza in Speers, announced that its operations now include sales of a water purification system “that's not to be confused with more expensive water treatment units.” Regina Pesi Menseh, manager of the firm, said G.A.P. is a distributor for National Safety Associates (NSA), which manufactures a water system “that removes impurities but leaves the natural minerals in the water as Nature intended.”

Cal U's men's basketball extended its two-year winning streak to 21 games with an 87-74 win over West Liberty Saturday night. Joe Miller led the Vulcans, 11-1 this season, with 38 points and 16 rebounds. The Cal U women upped their record to 9-1 by winning their holiday tournament with a 73-68 victory over Millersville in the championship game. Sandy Stodlosky paced the Lady Vulcans with 22 points.

15 years ago

Saturday, Jan. 9, 1999

Fayette City native Joe Sarra was honored by the All-American Football Foundation as one of the top five assistant coaches in the country at the 14th annual Banquet of Champions at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Princeton, N.J. Sarra, a college coach for 28 years, served as defensive line coach for Joe Paterno at Penn State.

Ringgold High graduate Ashley Totedo equaled her career high of 30 points in Shippensburg University's 72-62 loss at Indiana University of Pa. Totedo hit on 10 of 16 field goal attempts and was 10 for 14 at the foul line and also had five rebounds, one assist, five blocked shots and one steal. She is averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds for the 11-2 Lady Raiders this season.

The Ladies Guild of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in California held its annual Christmas party at Peasant Village in Rostraver Township. Holiday crafts created by Julie Swaim were awarded to Mary Scaccia, Polly Smith and Marian Saeli, and a birthday cake was presented to Evelyn Alfano.

Ron Paglia is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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