November 20, 2014

11 Facts About Loyalhanna Creek in Southwestern PA



Bridge spans Loyalhanna Creek in Latrobe, PA

Bridge spans Loyalhanna Creek in Latrobe, PA

Loyalhanna Creek is nominated for 2015 River of the Year.

You can make it happen by voting before December 15, 2014.

Vote here.

Help Loyalhanna Creek beat out the Ohio River, the Neshaminy Creek and Watershed,

Conewango Creek, and the Lackawanna River.

Winner receives a $10,000 grant to promote the creek

through various programs and events throughout the coming year.

For more information contact Angela Vitkoski at

Westmoreland County’s Loyalhanna Creek isn’t the nearest trout stream to metropolitan Pittsburgh, but the volume, breadth, minimal overhang, variety of water types and abundance of stocked trout through the Loyalhanna Gorge has made it a invaluable classroom for countless Southwestern Pennsylvania anglers. The natural beauty of Westmoreland County and the water flowing gracefully down Loyalhanna Creek attract people from near and far.^^^^

As one would expect, the Loyalhanna Creek does hold some secrets. There’s one particular boulder — I won’t tell you where — that for decades has remained undercut by the current. Even in the summer when Loyalhanna Creek is low and the water warms, big trout find comfort at the edge of the current a yard or more under the protection of the rock, picking off any Wooly Bugger that passes.^

Below is a quiz to test your knowledge of the Loyalhanna Creek.

Sam Sherry of Wilpen, PA with Bigfeet

Sam Sherry of Wilpen, PA with Bigfeet


  1. What was the original 18th century name of Loyalhanna Creek and what did it mean?
  2. What is the Loyalhanna Creek?
  3. Where is the Loyalhanna Creek located and where does it originate?
  4. The Kiskiminetas River results from the confluence of the Loyalhanna creek and what other waterway? Where does this confluence occur?
  5. What unique siting was made along Loyalhanna Creek on May 17, 1987, and who made it?
  6. What part of the Loyalhanna Creek is stocked with fish each spring?
  7. What is the elevation of the mouth of the Loyalhanna Creek?
  8. When is the Loyalhanna Creek classified as a river?
  9. The Loyalhanna Creek Watershed encompasses how many square miles and how many miles of miles of stream?
  10. Why was the Conemaugh River green, and the Loyalhanna Creek usually orange?


Name the 6 sections of the Loyalhanna Creek, and the mileage of each.

To check (or learn) the answers click on MORE


November 1, 2014

Descending Laurel Mountain in Ligonier, PA





Below:along the Lincoln Highway en route to the crest of Laurel Mountain

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The WordPress photo challenge for October 31, 2014 is descent—experiment with your point of view and angle, or go even deeper with the theme.

I decided to play descent straight, having just taken another set of pictures while descending Laurel Mountain. The pictures were taken by me through the car window as my husband drove  along the steep descent

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June 5, 2014

Zider Store History Progresses



Ligonier Valley residents, especially those in Laughlintown, want to know.

So do many others traveling along the Lincoln Highway—Rt. 30—through Laughlintown.

All have watched the building, known by locals as the Zider Store, morph from red-trimmed blue to dark-green trimmed country green. Other changes, both inside and out, are bringing the long-abandoned structure into code, enabling it to once again become a hub of activity at the corner of the Highway and Nature Run Road.

140509 IMG_4723E

And still, everyone wants to know What will be done with Zider’s Store? Will it be an office building? An antique store? Many community residents stress they don’t want another antique store…

Kathy and Chuck Moore, who’ve owned The Country Cupboard in Ligonier for 12 years, have known the answer since Easter. In early July they will open a country store, The Country Cupboard and Nature Run Wood Work, an extension of their Ligonier store (which will remain in business) but with a more varied inventory.

Contributed photo

Contributed photo

“We want a nostalgic feel, like the country stores I see in Vermont,” Kathy said. “I like the look and feel of old wooden floors and ceilings.”

In addition to the jams, jellies, candles, and other items she stocks in the Ligonier store, the Laughlintown store will carry a few antiques and handcrafted furniture made by Chuck. It will also sell textiles, made on old looms by Family Heirloom Weavers in Red Lion, Pennsylvania. Eventually the couple expects to sell candy and pop cooled in a vintage refrigerator. The Moore’s expect their new location to attract tourists and Lincoln Highway travelers. She views its inventory “from local and tourist eyes.”

The Moores are leasing Zider Store from (more…)

May 22, 2014

French Artist Houel Featured in Ligonier Art Walk



Cecile made it through raindrops to Conte's Gallery

Cecile made it through raindrops to Conte’s Gallery

The on and off inclement weather couldn’t cloud the enthusiasm that greeted portraiture artist Cecile Houel during her May 10, 2014 visited to Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

Rain poured down as I arrived at the last minute at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, located at One Boucher Lane on Rt. 711 south of Ligonier. The buffet brunch I attended featured Cecile copying a painting of an intriguing woman. The painting will be auctioned on May 31 at SAMA’s 13th Annual Spring Garden Party, The Thrill of the Hunt for Art. Proceeds will benefit SAMA.

Cecile (left) with Gretchen Griffith, co- chair of the SAMA Garden Party

Cecile (left) with Gretchen Griffith, co- chair of the SAMA Garden Party

Cecile, an international portrait artist, currently exhibits her work throughout France and the United States. She says

  • “I paint more portraits because I’m fascinated by humanity, in a spirit of tolerance, respect and love for the other. If I can express those feelings in my paintings, I will consider I have accomplished an important act as an artist.”
  • “…there is two processes in my proposition, one is esthetic and the other is ethical. It forces me to think deeply my choices, and be very demanding when I paint. But most of all, I listen to my heart simply and faithfully and the beat that I hear gives me all the inspiration I need.”

Before she started painting she explained that she used varying types of Pastels and rough paper. “…Pastel, is very subtle, and needs a light hand most of the time, fewer strong strokes rarely.”

Those attending the event watched in awe as the woman’s picture emerged with strokes of Cecile’s skilled fingers: first in black lines, then in with color.

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“It was amazing how fast she worked, two hours…,” said Sommer Toffle, SAMA coordinator.

IMG_4801While Cecile completed her painting, being titled The Portrait, her husband, artist David Garrison, was on the Ligonier Diamond competing with the weather in a attempt to (more…)

May 17, 2014

Photographic Reflections of Ligonier



May 16, 2014  WP Photo Challenge: Work of Art

 The WP Photo Challenge for May 16, 2014, is Work of Art: share a photo of something that’s art to you.

The following photographs depict (artistically, I hope) Reflections of Ligonier (PA)…the photographic reflection presented in automobiles (most at a car show). Look carefully to see views of the center of town, known as The Diamond.





April 6, 2014

11 Facts About Earth Day






APRIL 22, 2014

Ligonier Recycling Center, Ligonier PA.

Ligonier Recycling Center, Ligonier PA.

IMG_3361EThe first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970 and 20 million Americans participated. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson wanted to move environmental issues to the forefront of policy. Wanting to emulate the huge protests that occurred over the Vietnam War, he recruited eco-activist Dennis Hayes to help him organize Earth Day, calling it a nationwide “teach-in”.**


  1. What percentage of the Earth’s surface is covered with water?
  2. What was the top fashion of 1970, the year of the first Earth Day?
  3. How long does it take to manufacture, fill, sell, recycle, and then remanufacture an aluminum beverage can?
  4. Measuring at the Equator, what is the circumference of the Earth? The diameter?
  5. What percentage of the Earth’s water is salt water?
  6. What percent of the Earth’s life species does the water support?
  7. The average depth of the ocean floor is 12,080.7 feet (3,682.2 m). At what depth is the “deep sea” said to begin?
  8. The top three elements the Earth is made of are Oxygen (47%), Silicon (28%) and ____________?
  9. Many Earth scientists, astronomers and astronauts call Earth the Blue Planet. Why?
  10. Anything made from organic materials needs 6 months to break down; paper and cotton also require 6 months. How long does it take to break down plastic items?


From the highest mountain peak to the deepest ocean trench, the surface of the Earth spans a vertical distance totaling ____________ (miles, kilometers) of vertical distance. The highest point, atop Mount Everest, is _______________ (feet, kilometers) above sea level. The deepest point, the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean, is ____________ (feet, kilometers) below sea level.

To learn the answers click on MORE:


January 7, 2014

Pittsburgh’s 1/7/2014 Cold Snap is Vostok’s Heat Wave

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONSMovicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for Sandy, Jordan and Alexis




NOTE: Perhaps I should have titled this post as LAUGHLINTOWN’S 1/7/2014 Cold Snap. From the Tribune-Review 1/8/2014 front page:

  • …before Tuesday morning was over, Laughlintown would realize its 15 minutes of fame when the National Weather Service proclaimed it the coldest spot in Southwestern Pennsylvania during a blast of frigid weather that sent temperatures across the nation plunging to levels not seen in two decades.
  • 39 degrees with the wind chill, according to the weather service,…Other places in Southwestern Pennsylvania were cold…but none were as frosty as Laughlintown, the sleepy, unincorporated village in Ligonier Township about 20 miles southeast of Greensburg and perched at the base of Laurel Mountain.

And, it must be noted, the sleepier borough of Laurel Mountain, our home site, is but a mile from the iconic Original Pie Shoppe, where the Trib reported a pre-dawn…ice, snow and minus-17 temperatures.

  • “It was so cold you felt like your eyeballs were going to freeze,” said (Sherry) Davis, a cashier at the shop (where) About 3:30 a.m., the temperature inside was just 46 degrees and, though the heat was on overnight, some pipes froze.

Although Some hardy souls just made the trip to stop at the post office for their mail my husband, Monte, who looks forward to doing that  each day, decided it was too cold (although he did take a short walk through the Borough). But going to the Laughlintown Post Office wasn’t easy. It was so cold the post office door was frozen solid. (Read more and view photos in the Trib report )


The media warned us for days about record-breaking chilly weather—Be prepared: Brief yet brutal cold arrives in Western PennsylvaniaThe National Weather Service in Moon issued a wind chill warning from 1 p.m. Monday through 10 a.m. Wednesday. Temperatures could drop as low as 8 to 15 degrees below zero Monday night, the coldest Pittsburgh has experienced in at least five years. Combined with wind gusts of up to 20 mph, the air could feel as cold as 25 to 40 degrees below zero. *

Perhaps any person living at Russia’s Vostok research base or in one of the many pockets within the heart of Antarctica would consider the coming weather a heat wave. At Vostok the official planetary record low temperature, minus 128.6o Fahrenheit (F) occurred on July 21, 1983. That record was broken on August 10, 2010, when, In the pockets of Antarctica, the temperature plunged to minus 135.8o F.

I watched the weather yesterday, Monday January 6, 2014.  My husband Monte noted that at 1:00 a. m. the temperature was 47o F. At 9:00 a. m it reached 28o F, and pretty much remained there until early evening when it slowly slid lower. Still, it remained in the 20s when I last looked at 11:00 p. m.

The wind didn’t seem two bad here except for two gusts around midnight. A cat curled up on my lap arose and looked out the window when it heard the gusts throoshing along our driveway.

  • It was so cold the dogs were wearing cats and the rats were bribing the alley cats for a snuggle.**

My friend Fred and my sister Lee called before I went to bed. It was 20o F. in Huntsville, Alabama. “The heat pump doesn’t work well in this cold,” he said. Later I wondered: But was it snowing? I hadn’t thought to ask Fred. Below is an undated picture he sent me:

Yes, it does indeed snow in Huntsville, Al. (Pix sent to me from Fred)

Yes, it does indeed snow in Huntsville, Al. (Pix sent to me from Fred)

My sister said two feet of snow had fallen in a very few hours. She planned on staying inside during the cold blast.

She called again this morning.

“There’s a (more…)

December 21, 2013

Zider Store (Laughlintown, PA) Reroofed



This autumn the Progress Fund purchased the Laughlintown, Pennsylvania, structure known as the Old Zider Store.


The first major task they accomplished was replacing the roof, gutters, and downspouts. Zider’s Store is located on the Lincoln Highway (Rt. 30) east of Ligonier in the Ligonier Valley.

Below are photos of the reroofing in progress.

Oct. 28, 2013

Oct. 28, 2013

Oct. 28, 2013

Oct. 28, 2013


November 26, 2013


CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for everyone who believes in Santa


November 24, 2013


Fourteen brave souls wearing Santa Hats began the Laurel Mountain Borough Santa Hat Event with a chilly walk along seven of the Borough’s eleven roads.

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park's shelter house

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park’s shelter house

The Santa Hat Walk went as planned except for me—I couldn’t participate. The day before I slid on my stairs and pulled some stuff in my knees. Walking was out.

The walkers, including a preschooler and an octogenarian, were led by Borough homeowner Alice Grasso and her daughter Rachel, a resident.

Half way to the end...

Half way to the end…

The walk ended, as planned, at my house, necessary because we needed to be in reach of a Wi-Fi source in order to connect with the Santa Hat Challenge in Brocton, Massachusetts. The schedule called for a brief program about Santa Clause, with a welcome message, singing, and storytelling.

The Santa Hat Event was sponsored by the Laurel Mountain Park Association backed by the Beanery Writers Group. It was timed simultaneously with the 5th Annual Santa Hat Challenge held in Brocton, Massachusetts. Its purpose of the challenge was to set an intercontinental record for most persons gathering and wearing Santa Hats in recognition of Brocton native James Edgar, the first department store Santa 1890. The original Brocton event was organized by John Merian, a Brocton community businessman.

At 2:00 p. m. Wi-Fi was to enable us to electronically connect with Brocton’s event. I received a call from John’s electronics person Rich, and we walked through connecting through Skype. At that point the connection worked perfectly, and we agreed to reconnect at 1:00p. m.


On Saturday the Laurel Mountain Park plan for the day was changing. The weather was bitter cold, giving us two options: having our post-walk program out in the cold front yard, or moving it into my living room. The shelter house was not an option due to the need for Wi-Fi. At this point we had no idea how many persons would attend.

At mid-morning Sunday Rich, Merian’s electronics advisor, and I connected by Skype. He walked down the street in Brocton to where John had a stage set up. John and I spoke briefly and all was well for our 2:00 p. m scheduled connection.

Brocton, Mass.

Brocton, Mass.

John Merian, initiator of the Santa Hat Challenge

John Merian, initiator of the Santa Hat Challenge

As it turned out, attendance wasn’t (more…)

November 25, 2013

Santa Hat Walk 2013 in Laurel Mountain Borough



November 24, 2013


A mid-20s cold chilled by strong breezes and enhanced by tiny sultry snowflakes drifting through the air didn’t discourage 14 persons from walking almost one mile in Laurel Mountain Borough. The Santa Hats they wore created not only a unique group, but reminded observers that the holiday season is upon us.

Signing in for the Santa Hat Walk.

Signing in for the Santa Hat Walk.

The November 24, 2013, walk was sponsored by the Laurel Mountain Park Association backed by the Beanery Writers Group and was timed simultaneously with the 5th Annual Santa Hat Challenge held which was held in Brocton, Massachusetts. The purpose of the challenge, initiated by Brocton businessman James Merian, is to set a world record for most persons gathering and wearing Santa Hats in recognition of Brocton native James Edgar, the first department store Santa, 1890. The Laurel Mountain Borough event was sponsored by the Laurel Mountain Park Association backed by the Beanery Writers Group (Latrobe, Pennsylvania).

Waiting to start walking

Waiting to start walking

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park's shelter house

Leaving Laurel Mountain Park’s shelter house


A straggler, on time but walkers left early. He must catch up

A straggler, on time but walkers left early. He must catch up


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