INSIDE INDIANA: Smathers, Donatelli, Williams, snow ...
February 22, 2013 3:00 PM

To whom it may concern —

CHANGES have been in the works at Renaissance Circle in White Township, where new businesses have opened in the last few months and a new restaurant is scheduled to open soon.

An authentic Thai restaurant, owned by Mike Smathers and his wife, is expected to open in early March at the site of the former Quizno’s sub shop, according to Tres Lawer, who owns the plaza.

In the former Teachers Edge location, Marcie Clay’s Miscellany store, which sells second-hand goods, has been open since October. And Northwest consumer discount has opened at the former Slowboy Racing location, where they offer consumer loans.

The Gymm, also in the plaza, will soon undergo a name change and change of ownership, Lawer said, and J.D.’s Speedy Lube, owned by Jason Dunlap, recently celebrated a five-year anniversary.


Add the following area residents to your growing list of good neighbors, the folks who plow out neighborhoods and shovel sidewalks following snowstorms: Salvatore Magori, White Township, and Gary Johnson, Creekside.


Michael W. Donatelli, 45, of Indiana, who died Feb. 10 as a result of injuries suffered in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles. Donatelli had a 23-year career in the U.S. Army as a Special Forces “Green Beret” and Army Ranger, according to his obituary. He was a retired master sergeant and highly decorated combat veteran.

In addition, Michael was a USA-certified boxing coach and worked as a boxing coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and with the local boxing club. He won a bronze medal in boxing at the Junior Olympics in 1984 at Lake Placid, N.Y.

Surviving relatives include his wife, Grisel “Gigi” Donatelli; children Fernando, Anthony, Amanda, Sofia and Domenic; and his parents, siblings, a granddaughter, nieces and a nephew.


In honor of Black History Month, Michael Williams, an author, historian and IUP graduate, will return this weekend for a book signing and a presentation, “Native Womb Unplugged,” at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Indiana County Historical Museum.

With a prose performance name of Ray Michaels, Williams is a “gifted historian and speaker,” according to organizers. He began his life as a foster child in New York City.

“In spite of insurmountable odds, Michael went on to become a Pennsylvania Board of Governor’s Scholarship recipient,” organizers said.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications media with minors in Pan-African and musical theater studies.

He also was the recipient of the Operation Crossroads Africa Award for research into alleviating poverty in areas of Africa through the African Community Housing Development.

In addition, a Celebration of Community will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the Chevy Chase Community Center, where participants are urged to bring an ethnic or family dish, labeled with a recipe, for all to enjoy.

Wear festive or ethnic clothing, and bring objects or old photos important to your family to display. There will be music, entertainment, food and fellowship.

won’t you help?

By now, most of us are dreaming about warmer weather. Organizers of the Indiana Lions Club annual Fourth of July celebration at the J.S. Mack Community Center are, too. They recently mailed letters to several businesses asking for donations to support the all-day festivities.

Volunteer Mary Ann McGee said that although most people think of the impressive fireworks display each year, there is a multitude of other activities, too, such as live entertainment and a pet parade. McGee estimated the fireworks cost the Lions Club about $10,000, about 80 percent of the total cost of the event.

A spaghetti dinner and raffle will be held 2 to 6 p.m. March 16 at the Iselin Volunteer Fire Department, 375 Red St., Saltsburg.

The event will benefit the Firek-Collier family, whose home was destroyed in a fatal fire Feb. 16. Donations will be accepted for Theresa Firek.

Admittance is $8 per adult; children 10 and under will be admitted free. Raffle tickets are to be sold during the event.

For more information or directions, please contact Vanessa Schirato at (724) 726-7014 or Amanda Apjok at (412) 289-1926.


Feel like the frequent precipitation has made for a particularly snowy winter? It has, compared to last year’s mild winter. At this time last February, we had registered 17.5 inches of snow for the winter season. This year? We’ve already accumulated 33.7 inches, according to information provided by the Two Lick Filtration plant of Pennsylvania-American Water Co.


Nonetheless, there are sure signs of spring: The Meadows frozen custard stand along Route 286 in White Township will open March 1. And Sterns II, the ice cream shop on the IUP campus, is already open. … Jim Bruner will celebrate the 35th anniversary of his White Township landscaping business on March 1. … The Kittanning Walmart will unveil changes Wednesday in a grand opening of the newly expanded store. The expansion will add 85 new jobs for the area and an additional 50,000 square feet. A ribbon-cutting is set for 8 a.m. The expanded store will now offer a grocery area, bakery and more. … Gas prices are remaining steady at $3.85 per gallon. … Willie, our ex-shoeshine boy, says all the Academy Award hype reminds him of an oldie but a goodie: “In Hollywood a marriage is a success if it outlasts milk.”

Good evening!

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