Category Archives: Photos and Video

Ellwood City Tip-Off Hoop Shoot tournament

The Lincoln High School Boys Basketball team kicks off its season Friday and Saturday at home as part of the 5th Annual Tip-Off Hoop Shoot.

Last year, the Wolverines won the Ellwood City Tip-Off Tournament behind the stellar performance of freshman guard Nick Aloi, who rounded off the weekend with 50 points.  Unfortunately, the team dropped twelve consecutive games after that, and finished the season 3-18, and 0-14 in Section 2-AAA.

Aloi averaged over 15 points-per-game last season, but a season-ending injury puts tremendous pressure on the Wolverines in 2013/14.

Four teams participate in the tournament: Beaver Falls, Laurel, Union, and Ellwood City.

Beaver Falls finished 2012/13 as the state champions in AA with a remarkable 28-3 record.

The games begin on Dec. 6 at 6PM as Union faces off against Beaver Falls.  Then, Ellwood City battles the Laurel Spartans at 8PM.

On Dec. 7, Union takes on Laurel at 6PM, and Ellwood City plays host to Beaver Falls at 8PM.

Tickets for the event with be sold at the door.

Adults: $8 for weekend pass, or $5 per night
Students: $3 for weekend pass, or $2 per night.

Click here for full information on Ellwood City’s 2013/14 basketball schedule, rosters, and team pictures.

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Rotary Club notes from Nov. 21

Pictured from left to right: President Jim Mason and Therese McShae

Pictured from left to right: President Jim Mason and Therese McShae

The Rotary Club of Ellwood City met on Thursday, Nov. 21st, at the Connequenessing Country Club.  President Jim Mason presided.  Pete Kucan led the singing of “God bless America,” and Louise Carroll gave the blessing.  Also, Kucan was jokemaster.  The 50/50 drawing was administered by Ann Mason, and won by Dorothy Buquo.  Mason also collected Happy Bucks for contribution to the many international projects of the Rotary Foundation.

In a special ceremony, Frank Martz was awarded a Paul Harris Plus One recognition pin.  Members who contributed financial contributions exceeding $1000 to Rotary Club causes received the Paul Harris award.  When the contribution is doubled, the donor is honored with a Plus One.

Theresa McShae, a certified handwriting analyst, conducted a program on her specialty.  She analyzed the handwriting of a dozen Rotarians, and commended on their writing styles. Her analysis indicated each person’s determination, leadership, sense of humor efficiency, along with many other traits.  She spoke about an instance in which a change in handwriting style over a period of nine years revealed a deterioration in mental health, which led to a murder.

The next meeting will be held on Dec. 5th at the County Club.

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PHOTOS: Grand Paws Pet Salon’s “Photos with Santa”

grand paws 3Typically, people take their kids to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.  But, as most pet owners know, dogs and cats love to sit on laps as well.

Grand Paws Pet Salon invites pet owners to bring their furry friends to its second annual “Photos with Santa” event on Friday, Dec. 6 at 523 Lawrence Ave.

“We did this last year to benefit Relay for Life, but this year we wanted to help the local humane societies,” said Kelly Fennell, co-owner of the business.  “It is a lot of fun.”

On Tuesday, Fennell and her sister, co-owner Jessica Sommers, brought “Clark” into Danielle Morabito’s Sixth St. studio for test shots.  The three-year-old Blue Healer wore a Santa hat, just like the beloved movie character whom Fennell named him after.

Pictured: Jessica Sommers (left) looks on as Kelly Fennell (middle) prepares "Clark" for his photo shoot with Dani Morabito (right).

Pictured: Jessica Sommers (left) looks on as Kelly Fennell (middle) prepares “Clark” for his photo shoot with Dani Morabito (right).

“We did name him after Clark Griswald,” Fennell explained.  “I adopted him when he was six-months-old from the Butler County Humane Society.”

While the sisters plan to donate proceeds to local shelters, Morabito, the event photographer,  also plans to donate part of her earnings to the Lawrence County Humane Society.

“They desperately need our help right now,” Morabito said.  “The donations mean so much.”

Sommers and Fennell, both avid animal lovers, also encourage visitors to bring pet toys to their shop as part of a “Toys for Dogs” drive.  Similar to “Toys for Tots,” the donated toys go to homeless dogs within the area.

“The toys can be new or gently used,” Fennell added.  “Just as long as they are clean.”

While “Photos with Santa” benefits animals, children may also participate in the celebration.

“Any pet or child can come,” Sommers pointed out.  “We will also have refreshments, crafts, and pet supplies for sale.”

The event runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. during light-up night.  Photos cost $12 for 5X7 shots.

For more information regarding “Photos with Santa,” or “Toys for Dogs,” please visit the Grand Paws Pet Salon Facebook page.


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2013/14 LHS Wrestling team preview

Wrestling team Web

Pictured from left to right: Front – Zachary Power, J.T. Baldelli, Donnie Kerr, Bryan McCarthy, Jordan Lemanski, and Ryan Lewis; Middle – Andrew Short, Brad Grinnen , Carter Macmurdo, Joshua Stewart, and David McCarthy; Back – Zachary Powell, Jacob Mayle, Cameron McCowin, Adam Foreman, Christian Kerr, and Tyler Alberts.

After ten years without a wrestling program, the Ellwood City team enters its third season after reformation.

The team, led by second-year coach Craig Albert, advanced seven wrestlers to the WPIAL playoffs last season.  Also, Brad Grinnen, who finished the season at 31-9, took fourth place in the195lb weight class in playoff competition.  Overall, the team finished 10-12 in 2012/13.

With nine letter players returning to the team this season, Alberts hopes to make an even stronger showing in 2013/14.

“We would love a winning record.  We advanced seven kids from our section to the WPIAL playoff last years, [and] we would like to add a few more this year,” Alberts said.  “Hopefully, [we can] get a few kids to advance to the regional playoff, and maybe states.”

Grinnen, who enters his senior year, nearly made a run to the state playoffs last season.  This year, Alberts believes the ambitious star wrestler is poised to achieve that goal.

Wrestlng Seniors Web

Senior members of the LHS Wrestling squad

2013/14 LHS Wrestling Roster


2013/14 Schedule

Dec. 7 @ Hamptom “Dawg Duals” TBA
Dec. 11 @ Freedom 7PM
Dec. 16 v. Central Valley 7PM
Dec. 18 South Side 7PM
Dec. 27 & 28 @ Southmoreland Classic 9:30AM
Jan. 3 @ MAC Tournament 4:15PM
Jan. 4 @ MAC Tournament 10AM
Jan. 6 v. Beaver 7PM
Jan. 8 @ Burgettstown 7PM
Jan. 10 @ Slippery Rock Tournament 4PM
Jan. 11 @ Slippery Rock Tournament 9AM
Jan. 15 v. Laurel 7PM
Jan. 20 @ Blackhawk 7PM
Jan. 22 @ WPIAL Team Championships TBA
Jan. 27 v. Slippery Rock 7PM
Jan. 29 @ WPIAL Team Championships TBA
Jan. 30 v. West Middlesex
Feb. 6 v. Ambridge
Feb. 15 @ WPIAL Individual Finals TBA
Feb. 21 & 22 @ WPIAL Individual Championships TBA
Feb. 27 & 28 @ PIAA Southwest Regionals TBA

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Here come the judges!

judges wampum

Parade volunteer JoAnn McCready escorted Judges John Hodge, Dom Motto and Craig Cox at the 2012 Wampum Parade.

(Wampum, PA December 2, 2013) The Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas Board of Judges will step away from the gavel December 7th to judge entries in the 41ST Wampum Christmas Parade. Honorable Dominick Motto, President Judge and the Honorable Associate Judges Thomas Piccione and John W. Hodge will again take to the streets of Wampum Borough to help kick off the Christmas season as they compare the merits of nearly two-dozen homemade parade floats. Judge Craig Cox who helped out last year has another commitment that day. He commented, “I regret that I cannot attend this year. I enjoyed meeting and talking to so many people last year.”

Judge Motto commented that their experience last year judging the floats allowed them to meet the community they serve in a natural and relaxed setting. “It was good to be one on one with so many folks in a less formal setting than the Courthouse.”

Wampum Christmas Parade Chairperson Donna Kuiken is grateful for their contribution, “I know they are very busy men and I’m so touched that they take their personal time to help us . . . we truly enjoy having them, and I think they enjoy it too!”
If your organization would like to take part in the parade by entering a float, please call Ms. Kuiken at 724-535-8353 or Therese McShea at 724-758-5655.

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PHOTOS: Painting the town for the holidays

town paint 3

Sophomore Corey Hobbs; Juniors Dom Chapman and John Lubich; and, Freshmen Maria Frickanish and Sarah Johnston take part in window painting along Lawrence Ave. on Tuesday.

In a continued effort to “spruce” up the town for the holiday season, several Lincoln High School students took to the streets under the supervision of councilwoman Judy Dici to paint multiple storefront windows.

The students, who take Paul Fec’s art class, seized the opportunity to take part in the beautification of Lawrence Ave. Dici, a substitute teacher at LHS, described the students’ response to the project as “remarkable.”

Town paint 4

Freshman Jasmine Duncan and Sophomore Montana Servick paint a display on a storefront window

“This is the second year that we’ve done this.  We decided to paint the empty storefronts to get the town ready for the holiday season.  When I brought the idea to the students, they responded immediately,” Dici explained.  “It was truly remarkable that they were so eager to take part in it.”

Dici approached the Chamber of Commerce last year with the idea, and Executive Director Terri Stramba happily supported the plan.  In fact, the Chamber of Commerce sponsored lunch for the painters as a way to thank them for their time.  Stramba discussed the importance of such a splendid collaborative project to the community, and to the students.

Town paint 2

Sophomore Dylan Cambio paints storefront window

“It brings a sense of community pride, and it is a great civic lesson for the students because they get to interact with the business owners,” Stramba said.  “The kids’ parents and grandparents will want to come and see the job they did.  They can really take pride in their efforts.”

While some of the painting occurs on the windows of active businesses, most of the artwork appears on otherwise inconsequential storefront windows.  The vibrant colors should enhance the overall look and feel of the town for light-up night, and the entire holiday season.

Timothy Ruiz, sophomore at LHS, paints storefront window

Sophomore Timothy Ruiz paints storefront window

“Most of these buildings are empty, so we wanted to liven them up for the holidays,” Dici added.  “I really want to commend the kids for the job they’re doing.  I hope they all get the recognition they deserve.”

The painting project started at 8:30 a.m.Tuesday morning, and continues on until 2 p.m.

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PHOTOS: EC Municipal Women’s Club Holiday House Tour

Decorating for the holidays serves as one of the greatest annual traditions for hundreds upon thousands of families worldwide.  During the winter months in Ellwood City, residents cover their homes with multicolor lights and fluffed wreaths as a way to celebrate the joyous season.

Each year, the Ellwood City Municipal Women’s Club finds houses rich with history within the borough limits, and selects them as part of its annual Holiday House Tour.  The homeowners then decorate for the holiday season, and the club members conduct tours within the homes.

Four-year Municipal Club member and first year tour organizer Phyllis Conway explained how the group chose the best houses for the event, now in its 27th year of operation.

“First, we need to find people who are willing to show their homes.  We choose several homes from a list of people who are interested, then we contact them during the summer.  We then check the homes out, and if they seem interesting, we send a letter out to the homeowners asking if they’d like to be a part of the tour,” Conway said.  “The homes that we picked have so much history.  The people are so nice, and the homes are beautiful.  This year, we have one that used to be a stagecoach stop/tavern.”

Conway, along with Civic Chairman Nancy Walton and Co-chair Nancy Fenton, worked together to create this year’s tour, which initially included four homes.  But, due to extenuating circumstances, one recently backed out.  Conway talked about the difficulty of keeping houses for the tour.

“The hardest part is getting the home.  Some people need to back out for one reason or another.  And, in this case, we already had the tickets printed,” Conway added.  “We still have three amazing homes, which is great.”

A house might drop from the running one year, but may join the next year.  Homeowners and participants Jim and Ann Mason joined the 2013 tour after they unfortunately had to turn the club down two years ago.  This year, the couple recruited their daughter, Kelly Myers, to help decorate their Morningstar Drive home for the occasion.  Ann Mason voiced her excitement in regards to the tour.

“I am very excited about it.  I hope that everyone can come and enjoy the house,” Mason said.  “My daughter was the main decorator, and she did an amazing job.”

“It will be a lot of fun to share Christmas with the neighbors,” Jim Mason added.

Municipal Women’s Club member Valerie Custozzo, along with her husband Dean, prepared their house for display this year as well.  Custozzo, who joined the club three years ago, discussed her desire to participate.

“I always wanted to do this.  It doesn’t hurt that I decorate…a lot.  I have twelve trees,” Custozzo explained.  “It is going to be nice to see people that I haven’t seen in a while when they come to the house.”

Decorations for each home on the tour hold special meaning, as owners typically showcase family heirlooms and other historical artifacts within their houses.  The club members explain each piece’s significance during the presentations.

Ten local businesses also plan to participate in the house tour, as every one has an in-store special set for the day [list below].  National Grind coffee shop owner Bob Rivers talked about taking part in the festivities.

“We want to support the community, and this is a fun thing to do,” Rivers said.  “We can warm people up on their tour of houses.”

Along the way, the tourists also get to venture out to Stramba Farm in Wampum.  The 16-acre farm features 41 alpacas, along with several other animals for visitors to enjoy.

The one-day event occurs on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Tickets for the house tour are $8 in advance, and $10 on-tour.  The money collected goes to two funds: The Gazebo Fund, maintained by the Ellwood City Municipal Women’s Club; and, to a civic activities fund which gives money back the community.

Of note: The home of Ed and Denise Scala is no longer part of the tour.  A sign will be at the house to remind visitors.

Businesses participating in house tour specials:

National Grind – 15% off selected items; MarketPlace on Main – 20% off selected items; Heart’s Desire Floral and Gifts – a special drawing; Perpetual Childhood – 20% selected items; Kimpel’s Jewelry – several in-store specials; Posies by Patti – a special drawing; Red Hot – a family special; The Color Center – a candy bar and Lucky Loser lottery drawing; Into Antiques and Mezzanine Cafe – serving lunch; Blocher Jewelers – a special drawing and holiday open house; and, Dambach’s Nursery – a cut-your-own-tree event from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.  Dambach’s Nursery also donated a Christmas tree to the Gazebo.

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FIRE: Overnight fire fills My House Bar

my house 1 The investigation continues in reference to the overnight fire that engulfed a recently condemned bar.

According to reports, the fire started at approximately 4:45 a.m. at My House Bar at 403 Lawrence Ave.  Multiple fire departments received calls to put out the flames, which continued on for several hours.

Police and firefighters evacuated two residents in neighboring apartments, but no injuries were reported.

my house 2One unidentified North Sewickley firefighter received treatment at the Ellwood City Hospital for chest pains.

My House Bar, formerly known as the Oasis, was condemned in early October after a code inspection revealed the building as “uninhabitable,” citing a faulty electrical system as a potential fire hazard.  Though, no reports of an electrical fire exist at this time.

No further information is available pertaining to the cause of the fire.

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EC girls softball league donates to ECPD K9 fund

Mayor Anthony J. Court was most appreciative today when team members the Ellwood City Girls Slow Pitch Softball League and the Commissioner of the League; Gene Coccia donated $100 to the ECPD K9 Fund.

The donation from the Concession Stand fund was a “thank you” to our K9 and Police Officers for their dedication of serving and protecting the residents of Ellwood City.

Girls who participate in the league range in ages from 4 to 18, playing at Steifel Park as a home field. Mr. Coccia thanks all those who volunteer their time working the concession stand along with the dedicated players and parents who are the backbone of this league.

Pictured from left to right: Front - Jolene Smith; sponsored by Hearts Desire of the Little Angels, Taylor Kaufman; sponsored by Barkey Construction for the Youth Division, Alex Johnston; sponsored by Sportswear Graphics of Little Angels. Back - Mayor Anthony J. Court, Susie Blyth; sponsored by R.W. Welsh, Mikki Beall; sponsored by Dolter Chiropractic, and Sarah Johnston also sponsored by R.W. Welsh, all (3) participate in the Youth Division

Pictured from left to right: Front – Jolene Smith; sponsored by Hearts Desire of the Little Angels, Taylor Kaufman; sponsored by Barkey Construction for the Youth Division, Alex Johnston; sponsored by Sportswear Graphics of Little Angels. Back – Mayor Anthony J. Court, Susie Blyth; sponsored by R.W. Welsh, Mikki Beall; sponsored by Dolter Chiropractic, and Sarah Johnston also sponsored by R.W. Welsh, all (3) participate in the Youth Division

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Farmers holding Toys for Tots collection

Tots (2)Ellwood City experienced the first big snow of the season last night, thus the holiday season commenced.  This time of year, whether or not an individual celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza, the spirit of giving and community fills the crisp, cool air.

Perhaps the best part of the season occurs when the town’s children first see the sparkling lights around the Lawrence Ave. light poles, or in Ewing Park.  It almost seems as if they witnessed a breathtaking magic trick, which fills their imaginations with the scents delicious food, voices visiting of family members, and, of course, visions of those extra special toys.

While the season sparks joyous thoughts for most children, some never get to experience the thrill of opening gifts or spending time around a warm fire with their kin.  Those kids face the harsh realities that their families cannot afford to provide them with the same amenities their neighbors enjoy.  That’s where the owner of Farmers Insurance in Ellwood City, Michael Young, steps in to help.

For years, Young worked for the private prison industry.  He spent time in places such as Mississippi and Tennessee, and found that many families endured great financial hardship, especially during the holidays.  Large corporations that employed Young always participated in the Toys for Tots program, which gets the community to provide toys to less fortunate children.  Now, the Lawrence County native aims to do the same  in the town where his father came from.

“In a prior career, I worked for the largest employer in the area no matter where I lived.  They were always involved with the Marine Reserve, which conducts Toys for Tots.  We always wanted to help out.  During Halloween, we even held Trunk-or-Treat events in which we’d park trucks in a parking lot and kids came to us for candy,” Young explained.  “In some of those towns, a lot of families had nothing.  There is never a reason for kids [who celebrate] not to have Christmas.”

Young began his career with Farmers Insurance two years ago, and recently opened up shop in Ellwood City.  He added that families in need, though not quite as apparent in Ellwood City compared to other towns he worked in, exist everywhere.  Young entered this holiday season with his own need: To provide Christmas for every child.

“I was so used to this overwhelming need.  So many families needed our help in those places.  We helped a lot of unfortunate people,” Young said.  “No matter where you go, there are always those families.”

Farmers Insurance offers support for families at the toughest times, which makes it the perfect company for Young.  Even on his relatively new career path at his small Ellwood City business, he continues to think in terms of those big corporations he worked for in the past.  Though, he believes that his new company shares that mentality.

“Farmers always protects families,” Young added.  “So, giving at this time of year is the spirit of the company.”

To help Young support Toys for Tots, take any new or unwrapped toy to his business at 502 Lawrence Ave.  Farmers Insurance remains open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.  The foundation also accepts monetary donations on its website via credit or debit card at

For any questions, please contact Michael Young at 724-201-0216.

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