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Features

Friday, December 20, 2013
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION This illustration depicts what the 1928 Lansford wake observance may have looked like when rosary beads placed in the deceased's hands slowly began to bloom. The man pictured here is not Kusko. It is unknown if photos exist of the actual miracle of the rosary.

Thousands stormed into the small town of Lansford.

The eyes of the world looked to Carbon County in awe.

Extra police were summoned to handle traffic.

Dumbfounded witnesses stared in disbelief.

"It's a miracle!" they cried.

Crowds observed a spectacle that never had happened before in the history of the world and has not happened since.

It began on July 12, 1928, and lasted for three spellbinding days.

People everywhere were left speechless over the miracle of the rosary.

Here's what happened.

Friday, December 13, 2013
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS David Dion, a talented artisan, loves working with his hands in his Saylorsburg workshop. These frames are a sample of the rustic natural look he loves to create.

While the elves are busy in Santa's workshop making toys at the North Pole, David Dion is busy in his Saylorsburg workshop.

Dion can make toys, but he creates for people of all ages by carving signs and making custom furniture.

He sings while he works and music is as much a part of the ambience of the wood shop as his beloved tools.

A sign that hangs in his wood shop reads, "Don't Touch My Tools-Beware-Don't Even Think About It!"

Friday, December 6, 2013
Tim Stahl readies a birdhouse for placement in the display window at M&S Hardware, Tamaqua. The creation will be chanced off to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

The handiwork of Timothy D. Stahl is a cut above.

Stahl knows how to combine wood scraps, thrown-away items and yard sale "junque" to create birdhouse masterpieces for the home or backyard.

But they're not for sale.

Instead, Stahl's unusual creations are chanced off by a local charity. Each year, resulting ticket sales raise hundreds of dollars for the Carbon-Tamaqua Unit of the American Cancer Society.

Saturday, November 30, 2013
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Adult Education Site Supervisor Francine Garenty-Kluck sits in CCTI's Nurse Aide classroom where she organized the Fall class which is completing their certification program.

After curtailing many of its Adult Ed programs over the past two years due to recession-driven funding cuts, adult education has returned to the Carbon County Career & Technical Institute.

For those who have been patiently wondering about CCTI's Adult Ed's status, fearing that it may not return, perhaps a quote from Mark Twain is in order, "The report of my death was an exaggeration," he said.

Friday, November 29, 2013
SOUTH WARD FIRE CO ARCHIVES Members of the 1935 marching unit prepare for a six-county fireman's convention at SWFC's mountaintop home. They wore red, white and blue uniforms in honor of the centennial of the town's incorporation.

At the heart of every community is a group of firefighters.

They serve and protect and give of themselves selflessly.

At this time of Thanksgiving, we express appreciation to first responders and give heartfelt thanks to fearless men and women, those brave-hearted volunteers who take a pledge to protect our lives and property.

At one such firehouse, that pledge is marking a special anniversary.

Exactly 100 years ago, high atop a hill in a local neighborhood, an idea of benevolence took hold among 20 men.

Friday, November 22, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Diane Kenesky Derr, Tamaqua, cherishes a collection of 1960s-era magazines and periodicals on the Kennedy family, the assassination and what some call the era of Camelot.

Those baby boomers who remember say it was a special moment in time.

Presidential nominee John F. Kennedy campaigned in Schuylkill County.

In Tamaqua, he was a Democrat visiting a Republican-controlled town.

But political differences didn't deter enthusiastic Tamaquans from turning out to greet the future commander-in-chief. On Oct. 28, 1960, he slowly proceeded along two major highways that bisect the community. He was en route to Hazleton after having offered remarks in Pottsville.

Friday, November 15, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS "I was scared at first."

Ashley D'Amico sensed something was wrong.

"It was painful to slouch over or to stretch my back."

At the time, she was only in grade school.

Finally, in sixth grade, she discovered the reason for her discomfort when a nurse in the Lehighton Area School District diagnosed Ashley with curvature of the spine.

Two years later, Ashley, the daughter of Mike D'Amico and Paula Warner, Lehighton, traveled to Philadelphia where she underwent a serious surgical procedure - posterior spine fusion for scoliosis.

Saturday, November 2, 2013
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS The school was donated by Susan Zapagansky and Lana Kuehner. The land is under a 99-year lease.

The Towamensing Township Historical Commission recently acquired the one-room Greenzweig schoolhouse on Church Road., Towamensing Township. On Oct. 13 an open house was held.

Many of the people who attended had been former students. Jim Shaffer, one of those students, brought a framed collection of pictures from 1948. Arlene Kresge, also a former student, attended with Bob Costenbader.

It quickly became a day for storytelling as students recalled their days at the school.

Leonard and Grace Borger came to visit his old schoolhouse.

Friday, November 1, 2013
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Jim Hillestad began collecting toy soldiers at the age of 10. This display case in his Toy Soldier Museum in Cresco, houses the first 600 pieces he collected by the time he graduated from high school.

Because he was such a good boy when his mother took him for his eye doctor appointment in Manhattan, young Jim Hillestad was allowed to select any toy he wanted at F.A.O. Schwarz, on Fifth Ave., New York City.

A troop of miniature Britains Ltd. Arabs of the Desert on horses held his heart hostage and they went home with him. A great love affair began which has spanned almost 70 years.

"This was before the heyday of television. Nothing interested me on the radio. I had much rather play with my toy soldiers."

Friday, October 25, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Bob Vybrenner responds to questions about Victorian mourning.

Fifty adults took the challenge.

It was a night devoted to the reality that human life has a 100% mortality rate, and our patterns of mourning evolve.

The public was invited, and 50 inquisitive, brave-hearted souls accepted on an eve when a foreboding feeling was in the air.

Silent fog rolled in. Darkness fell and a heavy mist turned to drizzle, eventually rain.

Similar to Agatha Christie's 'Ten Little Indians,' guests meandered one by one into the former Christian church.