INSIDE INDIANA: Ed, Fourth, George, Michael, etc.
To whom it may concern —
Our next-door neighbors in Jefferson County will be celebrating next week with the 48th annual Groundhog Festival in Punxsutawney, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Sunday with live Christian music all day at Barclay Square in the center of town.
The fun continues through July 5.
Highlights include two shows of live music each night. Monday, Beatlemania Magic will perform at 7:30 and 9 p.m. On Tuesday, the oldies band The New Individuals are set for 7 and 9 p.m.
Mega Stars of Country will perform at 7:30 and 9 p.m. Wednesday, and Sapphire will bring ’80s music Thursday at 7 and 9 p.m.
On the Fourth of July, the musical guest is Steve Augeri & Band. You may recognize Augeri as lead vocalist for the band Journey from 1998 to 2006.
Nowadays, Augeri performs new songs and touts “a unique take on the genre of melodic rock.”
Many other activities and events also are in store for the weeklong festival, which offers fun for the whole family with food, puppet shows, games and other performers.
Fireworks are set for 9:30 p.m. Friday, and the festival ends with Rick Larrimore, a Rod Stewart tribute performer, at 7:30 and 9 p.m. Saturday.
Ed Bouchette, who began covering Pittsburgh Steelers home games as an Indiana Gazette sports editor in 1974, will be recognized later this summer for his decades-long coverage of the NFL team.
Bouchette has been chosen as the 2014 Dick McCann Award winner by the Professional Football Writers of America. He will be honored in August during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in Canton, Ohio.
A native of Lynn, Mass., Bouchette and his family moved to Pennsylvania when he was a boy. He earned a business management degree in 1973 from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he got journalism experience writing press releases and magazine articles for the university’s public relations office, while covering sports and taking journalism and English electives.
In addition to The Indiana Gazette, he has worked for the Greensburg Tribune-Review, McKeesport Daily News, York Dispatch and the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer.
He was hired by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1983 and became the paper’s Steelers beat writer in 1985, making the coming season his 30th. He also has covered 30 Super Bowls in that time, five of them with the Steelers.
Bouchette has written two books about the team, and his work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Sports Illustrated. He is a longtime member of the Hall of Fame’s Selection Committee.
The McCann Award is named after the first director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, who was a longtime reporter in New York. Past recipients include Peter King of Sports Illustrated, Joel Buchsbaum of Pro Football Weekly, Len Shapiro of The Washington Post and Pat Livingston of the Pittsburgh Press.
Closer to home, Indiana Lions Club members are busy planning the annual celebration at Mack Park, with all-day events at the Indiana County fairgrounds on the holiday including the demolition derby, and fireworks by Starfire capping the evening between 9:30 and 10 p.m.
And in Coral, a celebration touting “Indiana County’s largest and longest fireworks display” is set for 9:45 p.m., after events that begin at 3 p.m. and include games, live music, food and more.
THE REST OF THE STORY
He broke the record. His own record, that is.
Indiana native George E. Hood Jr., who was in China last week at the International Plank Cup Challenge in an attempt to break his Guinness World Record for the plank position, emerged victorious against himself with a time of 4 hours and 1 minute. His previous record was 3 hours, 7 minutes and 15 seconds.
At one point, he was planking with about 33 pounds of rice in sacks on his back.
The position is similar to a pushup and involves the participant remaining in a balanced, motionless position with steady elbows and a straight back and legs.
Participants support themselves on tippy toes and forearms, and the body’s contour must be horizontal.
Hood, 56, now a resident of Carlsbad, Calif., used this event to get him closer to his next Guinness-sanctioned event, an attempt for the 40-pound weighted plank later this year.
Evan Strittmatter, a 2013 graduate of Marion Center Area High School, will mark his second anniversary as the proprietor of Indiana Vac in the 1800 block of Philadelphia St. in Indiana on Thursday.
Our obituaries this week included Michael Drawl, 29, of Indiana, who passed away Saturday after battling a long illness.
Michael, who was strong in his faith and a member of Faith Temple Church, had many special friends in the Indiana community, including at the YMCA of Indiana County and Lifesteps, according to his obituary.
He loved music, swimming and watching Steelers football, basketball and the Olympics.
His funeral was being held today at 11 a.m. at Faith Temple Church in Indiana.
YOUR WEEKEND CALENDAR
Sunday is Indiana County Day at the Altoona Curve game, where the Indi-Anna Sweet Adelines will sing the national anthem at the 6 p.m. game against the Binghamton Mets.
Post-game fireworks will also add to the fun.
o o o
Basket donations have been pouring in for the Marsh/Novak benefit scheduled for Sunday at Luckenbach Lunch.
According to organizers of the event, more than 50 baskets have been donated for the auction, which will be held at approximately 6 p.m.
Included among the basket donations that will be auctioned are a Phoenix Spa package, floor seats for Impact Wrestling at the KCAC, a Hampton Inn gift that will include either a night’s lodging or rounds of golf at Chestnut Ridge, a package from Windgate Winery, gift cards from Rayne Drop Inn, Eat & Park, Whitey’s Peetza and much more.
Proceeds from the event will go to an account set up on behalf of Shawn Jr. and Eva, children of Nickole Novak and Shawn Marsh Sr., who perished in a fire May 17 along with their sister, Gabby.
Other events include a benefit bike ride at 11 a.m. and a cornhole tourney at 1:30 p.m. Food will be served from noon until 6 p.m.
Also this weekend, a car cruise will be held Saturday on Philadelphia Street from 5 to 9 p.m.
And with Saturday’s forecast for sunny, warm weather, it should be a good evening to stroll along Philadelphia Street to view the classic automobiles.
There will be music by Jerry B, door prizes, a 50/50 raffle and more.
SHOP TALK AT SIX
Gas prices in the Indiana area were running around $3.89 a gallon today, compared to $3.77 statewide and $3.69 nationally, according to pennsylvaniagasprices.com. … During the recent run of wet weather, Willie, our ex-shoeshine boy, took the advice of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”