Friday, October 28, 2016


Monday, September 28, 2015

The sweet gum tree in front of my neighbor’s home is now as tall as a three-story building.

“It was just a twig when we bought it for $1 from the forest service,” says my neighbor Tom. “Look at it now. Its growth is nothing short of amazing.”

His wife, Gini, says in lots of ways the tree is symbolic of their marriage. Like that tree, their long-term marriage grows stronger each year.

As their 67th wedding anniversary neared, neighbor Bob Thomson asked how they were planning to celebrate.

Monday, September 28, 2015

I’m stuck in a musical time warp, but I’m fighting to get out.

The mid- to late-’60s is where I have been trapped, still listening to everything from the Rolling Stones to Creedence Clearwater Revival to Bob Seger to Three Dog Night.

I know all the words to all the songs, and if you happen to pull up alongside my car at a red light, you just might hear me bellowing the words of a rock classic out the car window.

Speaking of words to songs, my baby boomer friends often complain about the lyrics of the music kids listen to today.

Monday, September 28, 2015

During the past month we’ve told some difficult stories on the Lifestyle page to bring awareness to childhood cancer. Stories I bet a lot of you may not have wanted to read, and I bet many of you just skipped right over them.

I bet it was a lot easier to turn the page than it was to read about children living and dying with cancer.

And I’m sure this was especially true for parents.

“Did you read our story this week about pediatric cancer?” I asked one of my daughters. “Stacey did an amazing job.”

“I saw it,” she answered, “but I just couldn’t read it. I can’t.”

Friday, September 25, 2015
Abigail Kingston tries on a wedding dress that has been passed down in her family for over 100 years and will be the 11th bride to wear it on Tuesday in Bethlehem. Kingston will don the dress on her wedding day on Oct. 17. Kelly McEwan/The Express-Times via AP

BETHLEHEM — The moment Bethlehem native Abigail Kingston got engaged, she knew she wanted to wear her mother’s wedding gown.

But trying it on wasn’t as simple as going to her mother’s closet. She had to track it down first.

The 120-year-old family heirloom dress has been worn by 10 brides on her mother’s side of the family, the last in 1991. Her mother Leslie Kingston knew where to start.

“The mother-of-the-last-bride has always been the keeper of the dress,” Leslie Kingston said.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A picture is worth a thousand comments.

And even more comments when people don’t like it.

Every day at the Times News we make decisions about one of the most important components of our news report: photos.

What would a newspaper be without photos? Black, white and dull all over.

Sure, some are no-brainers. The photo of the quarterback throwing a pass, or the volleyball player who is grimacing as she serves are sure winners.

We know people will love those photos as much as we do.

With news photos, though, it’s anyone’s guess.

Friday, September 25, 2015
Dr. Eugene E. Laigon Jr., grandson of rescued miner Joseph Laigon, stands at his kitchen table and sifts through original news stories and memorabilia from the 1915 Foster’s Tunnel Mine Cave-In. DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS

Dr. Eugene E. Laigon Jr. of Coaldale is the grandson of Joseph Laigon, the final survivor of the mine collapse.

“He talked about it, about the despair, and how cold it was,” says Laigon, who speaks of hardships few can imagine. But for those entombed, it was all about survival.

“They had to drink the yellow sulfur water. They tried to drink minimal amounts of it. Some would throw up,” he says.

When the miners were finally rescued after nearly a week underground, they were caked with mud and their hands bloodied from digging.

Friday, September 25, 2015
Mr. and Mrs. John T. Foster

Grace Community Church in Lansford was the setting for the July 18 wedding of Sandra Virginia Labenburg, daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Harry T. Labenburg Sr., formerly of Lehighton, and John Thomas Foster, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Foster of Camden, New Jersey. The Rev. Jeremy Benack officiated the double ring ceremony.

Friday, September 25, 2015
Marian Catholic marching band member Abby Haas plays the piccolo during a performance at a recent football game. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Friday, September 25, 2015
Anthracite mining historian and photographer Michael Havrischak of Coaldale stands at the sealed mine head and explains the dynamics of the 1915 Foster’s Mine Tunnel Cave-In, an event that trapped 11 miners for days, all of whom survived. DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS

“They’re alive. They’re all alive!”

First there was the shock.


Then, a day later, there was the apprehension.


And, finally, the jubilation, the joy that only a miracle can bring.