Indiana Gazette from ,  on February 19, 1999 · Page 9
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The Indiana Gazette Thursday, Februarys, 1983—Page9 Civic leaders honored at Groundhog Banquet By DAVE PUTNAM Gazelle Staff Writer PUNXSUTAWNEY — A businesswoman with a reputation for generosity and a school teacher with an intense interest in the historical aspects of the community were honored Wednesday night as the 1983 Punxsutawney Man and Woman of the Year. Ruth Dennison McKenzie, owner of Ruth and Harry's Restaurant, and S. Thomas Curry, a Punxsutawney Area High School teacher and a leader in the Punxsutawney Area Historical Society, were singled out for the top honors at the 97th annual Groundhog Banquet. More than 300 persons attended the fete at the DeFelice Restaurant. McKenzie was a popular choice for the Woman of the Year honor, which was announced by Mary Maruca, last year's winner. She is well-known for her acts of generosity to the needy and for her support of any project in the Punxsutawney area. A recent example was her response in providing food and coffee for the firemen and homeless during the Thanksgiving morning fire at the Findley Hotel. In accepting the award, McKenzie thanked her sister and her niece for their work with her. "The people of Punxsutawney are so nice," she said. "It has been a pleasure to help. God bless you all." The selection of Tom Curry as Man of the Year was also well-received. A native of Punxsutawney and a local teacher for 23 years, he is well know for community art projects. He served three terms as a borough councilman and is now,an officer in the historical society. Among the recent projects he has spearheaded are the restoration of the bandstand in the Barclay Square Park and the cleanup of the historic North Findley Street Cemetery. In accepting the award from Groundhog Club president Jim Means, Curry said, "Punxsutawney is my town. I feel we have so many good people here that I'm really surprised by this honor." Another banquet highlight was the announcement of the 1983 Punxsutawney Ambassador Awards by Daniel Anderson, president of the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Inner Circle. Named this year were Lisa Irvin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Irvin of Big Run, now a resident of Pittsburgh; Cindy Crummy Miller, McKeesport, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Crummy; Charles (Doug) Morris, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Morris, now living in Heidelberg, West Germany; and Jean (Lotito) Kennedy, New Mexico, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Lotito. In another special award, the Inner Circle presented a permanent honorary membership to "Scoops" Sample, a former member of the Inner Circle and one-time publisher of the Punxsutawney Spirit. The groundhog king and queen, named earlier in the day at the school assembly, were introduced by guest emcee Bill Hillgrove of WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. To reign over all Groundhog Club activities this summer will be King Jeff Carlson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Carlson of Punxsutawney RD 3 and Queen Sharon Riddle, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clayton Riddle of Rossiter. Both are PAHS seniors. Hillgrove devoting a big portion of his time behind the podium to interviewing about 25 American Foreign Service exchange students from the Western Pennsylvania area who were special guests at the fete. Among the other special guests present were state Sen. and Mrs. Pat Stapleton, Rep. and Mrs. Eugene (Snuffy) Smith, Judge Edwin L. Snyder, County Commissioners John R. Caldwell, Andrew Laska and David Black, County Treasurer Dale Corbin, Register and Recorder Bob Lyle, District Attorney A. Ted Hudock, Mayor James C. Nelles and borough manager Fred Lewis. Also present were several of former Men and Women of the Year. Former Groundhog Club president and Man of the Year Charles M. Erhard Jr., now residing in Florida, was unable to attend, but sent a telgram of congratulations. Ruth Dennison McKenzie and S. Thomas Curry were honored Wednesday as the 1983 Man and Woman of the Year in Punxsutawney. (Gazette photo by Bonadio) RAIC approves pay hikes After a 19-month freeze on wages, the Redevelopment Authority of Indiana County this week approved salary adjustments for its staff. At its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, the authority's executive board approved pay increases averaging 10.6 percent for its 12 full-time employees. According to board chairman Richard Michael, the pay hikes were the first since June 1981. The board reviews salaries each June, but put a hold on wages last year following a request by the county commissioners. Meanwhile, Michael said a restructuring was necessary because of inequities in the pay scale. He said authority salaries are now commensurate with the job positions. ! "We wanted to get the salaries back in line with the flow chart," Michael said. "For example, we once had an employee making more than the executive director, who is responsible for overseeing the entire operation." - The pay hikes range from 3.5 percent to 25 percent for the individual employees. Michael listed the adjustments as follows: — Top level. Executive director Marjorie Pilgram received a 13 percent increase from $20,368 a year to $23,000. • "That's not as high as some redevelopment directors in other counties," Michael said, "but it corresponds with directors of some of the county-level agencies in Indiana County." r — Second level. The relocation, rehabilitation and reimbursement officers, whose salaries had ranged Trom §17,000 to $19,000, now earn $20,000 apiece. The three increases range from 3.7 percent to 13 percent. ; — Support staff. These five employees, who had made between $12,800 and $14,500, now earn between $14,000 and $16,000 — increases of between 3.5 percent and 12 percent. — Clerical staff. The three secretaries' salaries increased from be- .tween $8,000 and $10,700 to between $10,000 and $12,000 — representing hikes ranging from 9.5 percent to 25 percent. '. All adjustments are retroactive to Jan. 1. "Now, when we review salary increases in the future, we can give across-the-board increases with some accuracy," Michael said of the adjustments. i He added that the board established a base pay scale that eliminates the chance of any future discrepancies. MARTY i IESLIE A! LEtt i UGGAMS PAUL ANKA JOAN RIVERS The sights and sounds of Las Vegas are captured on the city's famous Strip. Gazette tour / Take a 'gamble/ visit Las Vegas for five days, April 30-May 4 High-stepping showgirls surround top stars whiie gamblers play the games and hope to strike it rich. The sights and sounds of Las Vegas — "America's Mecca of Pleasure" — are calling to Indiana Gazette readers now. Through a Gazette- sponsored tour, you can escape the chilly winds of Pennsylvania for the glitter of Nevada for five days, April 30 through May 4. Leaving Pittsburgh by jet Saturday, April 30, after a coach ride from Indiana, participants will arrive in Las Vegas and check into the Imperial Palace, a luxury hotel centered in the city's famous Strip, for a four-night stay. The Imperial Palace features a Far East rnot- if and offers six restaurants, including a 24-hour coffee shop, lounge, the Imperial Theatre and the Court of a Thousand Treasures — a four-sto- ry shopping atrium. Also included at the imperial Palace is the Shangri-la Pool and tennis courts. Sunday through Wednesday, May 1-4, will be spent at the Imperial Palace. Included in the stay are two continental breakfasts, a cocktail in the Sake Lounge and admission to the Imperial Palace Auto Collection — one of the largest privately owned collections in the world. You will have three days to live it up in Las Vegas — see the sights, try the games, enjoy topflight entertainment, browse the shops and enjoy the facilities of the Imperial Palace. The return flight to Pittsburgh is May 4, but not until you have another chance to take a dip in the pool or tackle those one-armed bandits one last time. The rates for this Gazette tour are as follows: twin, $491 per person; triple, $473 per person; single, $571 per person. Through that one price, you receive four nights lodging at the Imperial Palace, including tax and baggage handling; bus ride to and from Greater Pitt Airport; coach-class air travel between Pittsburgh and Las Vegas and return flight, including baggage handling and any in- flight meals; two continental breakfasts; cocktail; admission to the Antique Auto Collection; admission to Gaming School; free tennis at the hotel; and services of a tour conductor to ensure a pleasant and carefree tour. The Shaffer Travel Agency of Vandcrgrift is conducting the tour. For more information, see the coupon on Page 5 of today's Gazette or call the Gazette Travel Desk at (412) 465-5555. Area jobl meet By FREDA R. SAVANA Gazette Staff Assistant \. With concern mounting everyday, over the needs of the unemployed: across the country, some of Indiana; County's jobless are organizing in an attempt to alleviate a number of their pressing problems. ~ ••; Two representatives of the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee of Homestead addressed the second meeting of area unemployed Tuesday night at the Chevy Chase Community Center in Indiana. They advocated a strong need for public pressure on elected officials and the necessity of speaking with a unified voice about the urgent problems of the jobless. Approximately 30 people listened to Joe Jurich, a worker for Westinghouse Air brake Co. and u member of the Mon Valley organization, encourage citizens to help themselves by organizing and asserting their demands. "You have to let them know that you won't let them take your homes and cars or turn off your utilities," he said. "They will listen, but you have to tell them." "We went to the banks to stop foreclosures," said Jurich, who was on strike at WABCO for seven months. "We went to the hospitals for medical care, we went to our churches. All we want is a decent way of life. "There is no shame in asking for help," Jurich said, "the only shame is in going hungry or freezing to death." • The need for direct action was affirmed by another spokesman for the committee, Barney Ousler, an unemployed steel worker. "We've learned a lot," he said cff the organization that has been together for three years. "We learned that you have to get in there facc'tb face with the politicians and the bankers." After organizing food banks, hotlines and other services, the Mon Valley Unemployed Committee branched out, . :• . • "We got political," Ousler said. "You've got to go to the streets where the media will hear you, where the politicians will feel the pressure." It was this strategy that brought success to the group's efforts to halt mortgage foreclosures in the Pittsburgh area, he said. Today the Mon Valley cpmrhit; tee's work includes organizing (.he northeastern area of the country for a massive lobbying day in Washington, D.C., on March 15. "The issues that have unified us the most," said Ousler, "arc unemployment compensation, mortgage foreclosures and, of course, jobs. Nothing is more important than creating an economy that will provide jobs." Indiana's jobless are struggling with what action wili best help the unemployed here. Ousler and Jurich suggested setting priorities and outlining a task, .u "Whether it's a food bank or worki ing on your government officials; make people feel like they're partTof something,"he said. ''•£! Following a discussion of variou^ ways that the group can have an irri j pact on the problem, a local steering committee was formed to begin work on a long-term food bank fo£ the area's jobless. »' While several churches and the Salvation Army have food and cloth*} ing banks, those are intended prima-; rily for emergency use, said Iris Holtz, coordinator of the Chevy! Chase Community Center, and there; is a need for a more permanent foo£ supply. ,* Furthermore, the organization intends to plan a lobbying effort of itt own that will press local and state, officials to recognize immediate and long-range needs of the unemployed. .; The group will meet the first Tuesj- day of each month at the community! center at 7 p.m. Anyone seeking! more information can call 463-067f' between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m Monday : through Thursday. Kerr won't seek Armstrong re-election SPINA BIFIDA ASSOCIATION The Indiana Region of the Spina Bifida Association of Western Pennsylvania will hold a meeting at 7 tonight in Calvary Free Church, Ben Franklin Road, Indiana. Everyone welcome. CENTRAL LABOR COUNCIL The Indiana County Central Labor Council will hold its regularly-scheduled monthly meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8 in the union hall above Larry's Shoes at 632 Philadelphia St. Local union delegates to the council are reminded to attend. KITTANNING — Armstrong County Commissioner William Kerr issued the first surprise of the 1983 campaign Wednesday by announcing he would not seek a second four- year term. The 31-year-old Kerr, a former mayor of Apollo Borough, did not close the door on future political office, but said this week's deqi- sion was based on family considerations and "basic economics" with respect to his teaching career. Kerr is on a leave of absence as a teacher in the Kiski Area School District and has lOVfe years of teaching seniority. "I think it's only fair to let everyone ''-" .< my decision now," said Kerr, "so the i^emo- cratic Party and any other potential candidates can take the fact into consideration in plenty of time to make their own decisions about the primary. My decision is final and irrevocable." Elected in 1980, Kerr defeated both Democratic and Republican party chairmen in the primary and general elections. He plans to continue his career in public service as he heads a transition team for completing a study of the Rainbow Control communications system, which serves 15 municipalities in Armstrong and Westmoreland counties. The team will study, evaluate and recommend improved methods for administration of the system, including administrative structure, budget, standard operating procedures and personnel policies. Kerr's announcement may not be the only surprise in Armstrong. Political watchers in the county state Democrat Grover Myers, a long-time commissioner and one of the party's top vote-getters, may step down this year. Whiie Myers had made no announcement on the matter as of last week, party chairman Carl Culp believed he would eventually run. Kerr called his service as a commissioner "challenging and rewarding" and said that despite the recession, the county had made progress in economic and industrial development. He said broadening the industrial base of the county and attracting new jobs has been the highest priority of the bipartisan board of commissioners. '• A graduate of Apollo High School, Slippery Rock State College and Duquesne University!, Kerr is attending night school at Duquesne jj$ he continues post-graduate work. ;j Kerr is a member of the NBA, PSEA andjh* Kiski Area Education Association. He is ""a member of the First Lutheran Church of Apolld and serves on its council. He is also a member of the Apollo Area Community Center, the Historical Society, the BPOE and Adelphoi Village, rj

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