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Features

Friday, February 8, 2013
The Rev. Mindy Heppe navigates the sidewalks of Shenandoah aided by her white cane.

The Reverend Mindy Heppe was born different from the rest of the population.

She stands out in a crowd simply by being there.

But what makes her special is the same unique quality that gives her special vision

Heppe is albino.

And she doesn't mind being different. For her, it's not a big deal.

In fact, she considers it simply one of many different characteristics of her general make up, the same as everyone else.

"At some point you realize that everybody is different," says the Shenandoah woman.

Saturday, February 2, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  Tamaqua Historical Society volunteer Jim Barron, left, and photographer Scott Herring pause Tuesday after hanging the first in a series of classic street scene images of 1987 Tamaqua.

A special collection of iconic Tamaqua scenes caught in color will be unveiled in the coming days, heralding the local arrival of 'The Hardcoal Chronicles,' the work of Tamaqua native Scott Herring.

The photos are expected to be in place at gallery space inside the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce office, West Broad Street, within the next two weeks.

Friday, February 1, 2013
"Turquoise Tenerife" off loom weave with fiber and stone embellishment by Claudia Hill.

Take an object...any object. Give it to an artist or craftsman and they will transform it into a work of art.

Gourds have become blank slates for some artists, like Susan Pekala of Kunkletown and Claudia Hill of Saylorsburg.

They recently had a showing of their gourd-tastic art at the Monroe County Conservation District Center in Stroudsburg. It was gourds of all shapes and sizes. Gourds cut and carved. Gourds painted and decorated. It was a treasure trove of their creativity.

Many of their gourds that were showcased had a Native American theme.

Saturday, January 26, 2013
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Model, actress, singer Toni Reid of Jim Thorpe is revitalizing her singing career with the hopes of producing a jazz album

If any woman could be called a chick in the 1960s, it would have been Toni Reid. Although she never smoked a cigar, Toni was the White Owl girl - the face and voice for the White Owl cigar campaign.

Dressed in a costume with a headdress, tunic and wristlet cuffs covered with white chicken feathers, in 1967 and 1968, Toni represented the company in personal appearances, magazine and newspaper advertising, and a dozen television commercials.

Friday, January 25, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Among the restoration team, from left: Joe Kielbasa, Dave Shott, the Rev. Boguslaw Janiec, Trish Kroh and Bob Kroh.

Many sets of hands are busy at work inside a McAdoo church.

With loving care, they manipulate precious crystal prisms, crystal beads and delicate wire fasteners. They experiment with pipe cleaners and liquids and polishing techniques.

But don't be mistaken, their every move is precise and exacting. They tenderly brush gold filigree and line up rows of paper cups to organize prisms and beads removed one-by-one from gradient strands. Some large. Some tiny. Each diameter measured to the millimeter using a caliper.

Friday, January 18, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Harry Miller, president, Summit Hill Historical Society, points out a framed image in the town's borough building that depicts extensive workings geared toward extinguishing an underground fire at what was called the "$3,000,000 Burning Mine."

Archival files at the No. 9 Mine and Museum in Lansford contain an 1884 newspaper story about a deep mine fire in Lansford that might have implications for the Burning Mine in Summit Hill.

The story, discovered by Dave Kuchta, president, Panther Creek Valley Foundation, casts light on what was an extensive 1850s mine fire in Lansford. After reading about it, Kuchta, feels certain that it continued to smolder and was the beginning of the "Infamous Summit Hill Burning Mine Fire" of 1859.

Saturday, January 12, 2013
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Janet Hermann, president of the Friends of the Dimmick Memorial Library (right) talks with Veronika Sostak, a visitor on a getaway from New York City. "I saw the sign 'Book Sale Today'. I love books so I came in. We go to different places to look for book sales. I'm looking to find things I can't find at home."

"I like to work the book sale. I like to be around books. I like to see that we are doing something to support the library."

"I would like to find a way to attract more local people. That's why I'm here on Thursdays," said Janet Hermann, president of the Friends of the Dimmick Memorial Library.

Every Saturday, and on Sundays on festival weekends, from noon to 4 p.m., the Friends Annex of the Dimmick Memorial Library, two doors over at 58 Broadway displays its "Book Sale Today" sign on the porch of its quaint Victorian homestead.

Friday, January 11, 2013
History enthusiast Dale Freudenberger, Tamaqua, sorts through his private collection of posters from Lakeside Park in preparation for a potential museum display in tribute to the legendary Barnesville site.

From ice-skating in the winter to picnicking in summer, Lakeside Park was a year-round get-away to forget your troubles.

It was the workingman's park, attracting coal miners and their families from places like Lansford, Tamaqua, Shenandoah, Coaldale and Mahanoy City.

And although it was later eclipsed by the larger, star-studded Lakewood Park a mile away, Lakeside never gave up its hold as an entertainment venue. But its complete history was never fully documented.

Saturday, January 5, 2013
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Grace Wilson (right) and Connie DiJohn kick their heels line dancing at the Jim Thorpe/Penn Kidder Senior Center where Wilson teaches line dancing on Mondays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., except for holidays and bad weather. Classes are free and the public is invited.

Grace Wilson of Albrightsville is not only looking to dance in all the right places, she's taken up the proverbial baton, or whatever is its equivalent in dancing, and teaches line dancing at the Jim Thorpe/Penn Kidder Senior Center.

Not bad for a 79-year-old who didn't know the first thing about line dancing when her friend introduced her to it in 1999. "A group used to meet at the Albrightsville firehouse," Wilson said. "My friend loved line dancing and talked me into trying it with her."

Friday, January 4, 2013
Linda Yulanavage of the Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce discusses the photography of Owl Creek's Joe Matukonis, whose creative work is part of a business incubator pilot program.

The Tamaqua Area Chamber of Commerce is embarking on a new journey to provide a boost for a segment of the economy often overlooked.

Using available space inside its 114 West Broad Street headquarters, the Chamber will launch in January, 2013, a business incubator opportunity. The incubator is touted as a place for budding entrepreneurs who dabble in original products and other goods on a small scale or perhaps some existing businesses with a desire to venture into new products or enterprises.