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Sweetheart deals shared spotlights on Valentine's Day

| Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011

Here's a timely reminder to procrastinators: You still have time to buy a Valentine's Day card, flowers or candy for the love of your life or make reservations for dinner at your favorite restaurant.

The Valley Independent and its predecessor newspapers, The Charleroi Mail and The Monessen Daily Independent, have offered similar messages throughout their history.

For instance, the Feb. 12, 1911, editions of those earlier publications proclaimed the arrival of the romantic holiday this way:

• Johnson & Walker's News Depot at 436 Donner Ave., Monessen, offered the "largest selection of up-to-date selections" of Valentine cards in the city at prices ranging "from the penny grade to the $4 value." The store also sold pipes, tobacco, sporting goods, magazines, stationery and periodicals.

• Might's Book Store in Charleroi touted "Valentines of all kinds ... at any price" and suggested that books also made for great Valentine gifts.

• Boggs and Buhl, the popular department store on Pittsburgh's North Side, advertised in both newspapers to call attention to Valentine Hearts, 60 cents per 100; old-fashioned lace Valentines, one cent to 12 cents, dainty card Valentines, one cent to 25 cents, and larger Valentines suitable for framing by such American artists as Clarence Underwood, John Rae, Henry Hutt and Will Grefe.

With those recollections in mind, let's take a familiar journey down Memory Lane to look at Valentine's Day activities and other headlines during this week over the years.


Feb. 10, 1941

• Two steamboats were standing by as power pumps were laid to the submerged Clairton and the big job of pumping out the craft began. The boat was turned over on its back Saturday with straps two days after it collided with the Allegheny in a heavy smoke and pall which covered the Monongahela River near the Donora Zinc Works and sank.

• The Modern Grill at 417 Fallowfield Ave., Charleroi, offered creamed chicken on biscuits as its Thursday special.

• Peter Pan Cleaners, 613 Fallowfield Ave., Charleroi, drew customers with these offers: All Plain Garments, 29 cents, beautifully cleaned and pressed; Men's Shirts, lab laundered and hand pressed, 10 cents.

• Paul "Buck" Sutton, of Brownsville High School, was leading the Section 4 individual scoring race with 86 points. Teammate Earl Johnson was second with 84 and Bill Hall, of Washington, had 83.

• New car sales rose dramatically in Monessen in 1940, according to a report by Pennsylvania vehicle registration records. Last year's mark was 529, compared to 371 in 1939 and only 180 in 1938.

• A clever headline, "God Bless Americo,: accompanied a story about Monessen High's 36-18 basketball victory over Monongahela. Pete Americo paced the Greyhounds with 10 points, while Nello DiBiaso added 8 and Earl "Buzzy" Stevenson seven for the winners. George Konton looked best for Monongahela with seven.

• The Junior American Legion Auxiliary held a Valentine Party at the Legion Home at Fourth St. and Schoonmaker Ave. The festivities included a covered dish dinner, games, dancing and entertainment. Elizabeth Bucci celebrated her birthday at the event and received a special gift.


Feb. 12, 1951

• Sales manager G.E. Chorba announced that Belle Vernon's newest industry, formerly Liberty Homes Co., has been re-titled Lincoln Homes Co. The firm recently received a contract for 30 new homes and will fabricate them at the factory that is the former plant of American Window Glass Co.

• Johnston the Florist in Charleroi offered Valentine corsages - orchids, gardenias, roses and carnations - for $3 each, while Greenberg's in Monessen presented Van Heusen white shirts "for your sweetheart"at $3.50, $3.95 and $4.95.

• Monongahela went all out in its first test air raid alert. All traffic except buses was halted and streets were cleared of pedestrians. Shoppers who were inside stores were kept there while a sound truck zoomed about shrilling "Air Raid Alert Now On." Normal activities resumed when the "All Clear" was sounded.

• In the Girls Division of the Charleroi City Basketball League, the Mohawks topped the Basketeens, 17-9; the Bobcasts defeated the Wildcats, 12-7, and the Giants outlasted the Hoopshots, 28-22. Leading scorers were Patty Gregory, 10; Bernice Moaksham, 9; Gloria Schoener, 8; Barbara Caruso, 5; Valeria Adderson, 20, and Marna Roberts, 12.

• Roscoe bowed to Mollenauer, 6-1, in a West Penn Cup soccer game. Elgie Grant had the lone goal for Roscoe. Meanwhile was a 4-0 winner over Ellsworth in a Washington County Soccer League game. Reliable Dom DiBernardi led the Redbirds with two goals and Lavern Mahon and manager Ralph "Beef" Rossi had one each.


Feb. 11, 1961

• The Troop Committee of Fairhope Boy Scouts met for a Board of Review in which six scouts passed the First Class test. Boys earning that rank were Bob Grazzini, Richard Jones, Tom Banjor, John Zadrozny, John Pabis and Sam Zabu. Adults on the Board were James Patterson, John Glotfelty, William Trenk, scoutmaster Jack Hanes, assistant scoutmaster Norman Russell and Howard Jones.

• Sylvia Volk, chaplain, opened the meeting of the Ladies Auxiliary of Carroll Township Volunteer Fire Department with a prayer at the social hall in Eldora. President Rosalie Blangger conducted the session and reports were given by Mary Kifer, Dorothy Kovach, Gladys Williams and Vi Brovey.

• Rostraver upset Monessen, 68-52, in scholastic basketball action. The Leopards' Willie Ross, limited to seven points in the first half, exploded in the second half to finish with a game high 34 to extend his Section 5-A lead over Daryle Ruby, of Bellmar, to 279 to 259. Ben Jones, of Monessen, also extended a prolific point effort with 26. Denny Sukel and Jay Mohney had 14 and 10, respectively, for Rostraver.

• A Valentine gift exchange highlighted the regular meeting of the Garibaldi Ladies Auxiliary in Dunlevy. President Inez Donaldson was in charge, chaplain Eleanor Bucchianeri offered the opening prayer, the prize was won by Alba Mahon, and February birthday celebrants were Ann Nash, Mrs. Mahon, Ida Pineiro and Dena Zanardelli.

• Clover Farm stores offered such Valentine values as these: Brach's chocolate covered cherries, 12 ounce box, 49 cents; Duncan Hines cherry cake mix, 19 ounce box, 25 cents; My-T-Fine cherry pie filling, two No. 2 cans, 59 cents, and Lux Regular, "the soap of Hollywood stars," four bars for 43 cents.


Feb. 10, 1971

• Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. said it will not be a member of the Steel Companies Coordinating Committee preparing for negotiations later this year with the United Steelworkers of America. By breaking away from the so-called Big 10, Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel will negotiate on its own. About 18,000 of W-P's employees are represented by the USW.

• The Intermediate School Unit Board for Washington, Greene and Fayette counties has a new executive director, its second in as many weeks. Harry J. Brownfield, superintendent of Fayette County Schools, was elected to replace Dr. John A. Griffith, of Monongahela, superintendent of Ringgold School District. Griffith resigned after accepting the job two weeks ago and will remain at Ringgold. He reportedly stepped down after the IU Board declined to reconsider its salary offer of $24,500.

• The new district magistrate system lost money during its first year of operation in the Mid-Mon Valley. The three-county area of Washington, Fayette and Westmoreland reported a combined loss of $137,568.24 in 1970. Washington County topped the deficits with $55,447, followed by Westmoreland, $38,256.79, and Fayette, $32,864.45. District magistrates in the area were William T. Overand, John Chatlak, Paul Anderson, Clyde Tempest, Matthew L. Cowell, John Rebarick, Louis Quail, Mrs. Daryl Azorsky, John M. Richardson and Andrw Turick..

* Edward Verosko was named to a vacancy on Ellsworth Borough Council. He replaces Paul Kurilla, who resigned because he was moving out of the borough. Verosko resigned as borough auditor and James Daniloff was appointed to that vacancy.

• Longtime businessman Ralph V. Greco was re-elected as president of the Donora Chamber of Commerce.


Feb. 12, 1981

• Plunging temperatures combined with steady snow showers caused driving nightmares yesterday afternoon, turning roadways into virtual skating rinks that still remained frozen this morning. Roadways were snarled and jammed with traffic nearly everywhere as temperatures dropped dramatically from a high of 54 at 10 a.m. to 26 degrees at 4 p.m. A man who works in the Eastgate district of Monessen reported that it took him over an hour to drive to his home in Charleroi. State and local police were kept busy with dozens of accidents throughout the area.

• Flyers and rumors were circulating in the Mon Valley concerning potential development of a new 4-unit shopping mall on Finley Road in Rostraver Township. Frank M. Mihalik, president of Commercial Realty Marketing, of Monroeville, exclusive leasing agent for Magna Development Corp., confirmed to The Valley Independent this morning that plans are under way to develop a 200,000- to 250,000-square foot mall on 20 acres of land between K-Mart and Fox Grocery Company. Township secretary-manager Henry Sciortino said "a different perspective on the situation is necessary." Sciortino said Rostraver officials notified the alleged developers and requested they come meet with us because they have been floating flyers that Mon Valley Mall is ready to secure leases without ever contacting the township about rules and procedures, a process which must be followed for development in Rostraver.

• Holiday week entertainment in the area included: Ladies Mud Wrestling featuring the Steel City Knockers at Tony's Lounge in Monessen; a Valentine's Day sock hop with Golden Oldies at the North Belle Vernon Fire Department's social hall; The Stantons at the Alpine Club, Monessen; Echos of the Hills at Norma's Place in Stockdale; Las Vegas Night events at Mon Valley Catholic High School, Monongahela Fire Hall and both Monessen fire departments; Bobby Reed, Danny Connor and The Continentals at Inn America, New Stanton; Deep Country at the Commodore Lounge in Perryopolis; Breakaway and a popular disc jockey at the Night Express in Charleroi; Magic Moments at the Bentleyville Eagles Club; Cindy Lee and the Midnight Ramblers at Molnar's Lounge, Route 51, Elizabeth; a polka dance with Ray Jay and the Casinos at the Roscoe Slovak Club, and Buddy Williams and His Smilin' Buddies at the Valley Inn Lounge.


Feb. 10, 1991

• Sewage rates will increase by 100 percent this year for California Borough residents, local businesses and California University of Pennsylvania. The increases were unanimously approved by borough council. According to Councilman John Difilippo, chairman of public health, the average sewage bill will rise from $15 to $30 for residents and $18.40 to $36.80 for businesses. He said hikes for Cal U will be applied to a formula designed by borough and state officials.

• Charleroi native Major General William C. "Gus" Pagonis was promoted to Lieutenant General by the Army. A 1960 graduate of Charleroi High School, Pagonis was nominated for advancement to the three-star rank by President Bush. Pagonis is serving as logistics officer for troops in the Persian Gulf and as commanding general of the 22nd Theatre Army Area Support Command in Saudi Arabia.

• Monessen High basketball standout Kelly Carroto was named Athlete of the Week by The Valley Independent in recognition of a sizzling three-game performance for the Lady Greyhounds. Carroto, a 5-8 senior and a four-year starter, scored 37 points against Frazier to go over 1,000 points for her career; had 14 points and 10 assists against West Greene, and tallied 21 points against Mapletown in leading Monessen to three victories in four nights.

• Among the Valentine's Day celebration choices for sweethearts were these: Washington Township Fire Hall, oldies show and dance featuring The Memories; Allenport Fire Hall, The Amber Band and DJ Donn Henderson; Phase III, Rostraver Township, The Nation (formerly Modern Man) and Total Recall (all oldies); North Belle Vernon Fire Hall, bingo; food and dining specials at Sweeney's restaurant, Carroll Township Social Center, Deli Express in Speers, Comer's Place on Craven Hill; White Barn Supper Club in Dunlevy, Anthony's Italiano in Donora, and Marlane's Family Restaurant in Monessen.


Feb. 12, 2001

• Keystone Bakery venues in the Mid-Mon Valley are offering these Valentine specials: Heart sugar cookies, $2.39 a dozen; little heart cheese cakes; sweetheart cookie assortment, $6.99; decorated heart cakes; whipped cream heart cakes with cherries or strawberries; cupcakes, six for $2.29.

• Among the :Major Markdown" bargains at Rotolo's Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep in North Charleroi was a 2000 Concordia LXI reduced from $30,100 to $23,101.

• Michael Yartin, a four-year starter at Monessen High School, signed to continue his education and football career at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. The 6-2, 245-pound center received a scholarship to attend the Division I school.

• Ringgold High's hockey team bowed to Trinity, 4-3, in a hard-fought game at the Southpointe rink. Captain Nick Piscitelli led coach Chris Vaccaro's Rams with two goals and Allen Faukner added the other. Goalie Mike Williams turned in an excellent game for Ringgold, stopping 36 of Trinity's shots.

• Tri-County Giant Eagle in Rostraver Township is sailing on the "Bermuda Triangle of Love" with a sale on holiday flowers, free pizza for "all lovers," and entertainment by DJ Jerry Rehanek.

• Elected to lead the Donora Public Library board of directors for this year were John Lignelli, president; Ruth Walton, vice president; Kathy D'Emidio, secretary, and Celeste Magash, treasurer.

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

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