Sunday, November 29, 2015


Saturday, January 31, 2015
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Weatherly historian Jack Koehler, who'll turn 89 in April, talks about the 1887 conductor's box owned by Frank Casler, son of a Lehigh Valley Railroad engineer.

A gift isn't necessarily something new.

And it's often not even a thing at all, but a person.

That's the situation in one Carbon County town, where a resident's mere presence is cherished like a gift because of the way he gives back.

Weatherly native Jack Koehler, 88, began collecting historical artifacts of the Lehigh Valley Railroad decades ago. They're showcased in a repository at the center of town.

Saturday, January 24, 2015
A tufted titmouse lands on a feeder at the CCEEC.

Every spring students from schools across the area flock to the Carbon County Environmental Education Center in Summit Hill.

In the winter it's a different group that flocks to the center. Birds.

Not only are there birds in enclosures, but wild birds also flock to the feeders that the staff at the center fill daily during the winter.

"This time of year their food is often under snow," naturalist Franklin Klock said, "but it's important to let them find their own food the rest of the year."

Saturday, January 3, 2015
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Wanda Miller of Effort builds and decorates dollhouses like this Victorian. No detail is too small to re-create to make it look as complete as possible.

Wanda Miller has a fascination for small things and all kinds of crafts. Her mind and hands are never idle.

She simply loves to create.

One of her favorite hobbies is making dollhouses.

"I like to decorate. When we bought our house here in Effort, I just wanted to keep decorating it. Finally, I decided to try a dollhouse. I figured I could decorate a whole house any way I wanted," she says.

She has a fondness for the Victorian era, and her creations reflect that period in house design and decor. The miniature people inside wear Victorian dress.

Saturday, December 6, 2014
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  The decorated Fabrizio house in Brockton, six miles west of Tamaqua, includes 65,000 lights and an LED display capable of an estimated 20 million color and design variations.

Frank Fabrizio never married and has no children.

But that doesn't mean he can't relate.

In fact, it's quite possible the 51-year-old Brockton man knows how to talk to kids better than most parents.

He can speak to them without saying a word.

Fabrizio talks to youngsters through the music and lights of his holiday display, the largest private Christmas exhibit in Schuylkill County. It's an endless dialogue of holiday cheer and has been drawing rave reviews for decades.

Saturday, November 29, 2014
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  Collector Bernie Krebs displays his 1868 Lehigh Valley Railroad stock certificate signed by Asa Packer.

Local history aficionado Bernie Krebs never stepped foot inside the fabled Hotel Wahnetah.

Truth is, the breathtaking Glen Onoko attraction burned down more than 100 years ago.

But the Jim Thorpe man who lives at Onoko Lane can tell you all about the place, such as when it was built, how it was celebrated, and what the room keys looked like. He can even show you a Wahnetah souvenir coin purse, a piece of china and signed flatware from the hotel table settings.

Saturday, November 8, 2014
LISA PRICE/TIMES NEWS Tara Stauffenberg looks at a dusty plaque from the former Coaldale High School trophy case.

The SS Leopoldville, a Belgian passenger ship pressed into service during WWII, carried 2,500 United States soldiers from the 66th Division, Army Infantry, through the rough waters of the English Channel. The men had ridden in crowded trains across England the previous day and were headed to combat in France.

Saturday, November 8, 2014
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  Coaldale High School on Phillips Street.

1923 Coaldale High School opens, the first school in town to offer a four-year program.

Fall 1964 CHS joins the Panther Valley Jointure. The former high school building is used for junior high school and elementary grades.

June 1973 With the opening of the new Panther Valley High School building, CHS is closed.

June 1974 CHS is deeded to the Borough of Coaldale.

June 1975 A group of Coaldale residents headed by Mayor Ronald P. Plocinik appeals to all graduates to galvanize efforts to "Save the Tiger!" and turn the former school into a community center.

Saturday, October 18, 2014
Special to the Times News and file photos THE FIRST TWO PICTURES SHOULD GO TOGETHER BECAUSE THEY COMPARE THE OLD AND NEW This 1910 postcard is of a gristmill in Wickford, Rhode Island. The history of the mill is not known in the records of The Society for the Preservation Of Old Mills. European settlers arrived in Wickford as early as 1637. The mill has the appearance of early Greek and Roman mills 2,000 years ago.

Not all old mills are old, according to Jeff Donat, member of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills, as he recently shared his interest in grist mills with the Palmerton Area Historical Society.

Donat went to see an old mill in Sudbury, Massachusetts, only to find it was built to look old in 1929 by Henry Ford as his method of preserving Americana.

Pepperidge Farms used the mill to grind its flour until it outgrew the building. Oldsmobile used it as a background for an advertising picture, unaware that Ford had built it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Neil Ahner's life changed forever when he received the gift of a donor heart 22 years ago.

There are 123,276people who are waiting for an organ.

Eight people die each day waiting for an organ.

Just one organ donor can save up to eight lives.

In 2013, 28,953people received organ transplants.

In 2010, (the most recent data) there were almost 2.5 million deaths in the U.S. Imagine if every one of those people had donated.

Saturday, October 11, 2014
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Neil Ahner II graduates from Pleasant Valley High School in 1995 after receiving a new heart. His mother and father, Sandie and Neil Ahner, are proud.

(Editor's note: This is the second part in the story of Neil Ahner II's journey of the heart. Having received a heart transplant 22 years ago, Neil celebrated by throwing a huge party.)

Neil Ahner II, now of Jonas, celebrated his 39th birthday on July 18. But 22 years ago, he was given another chance at life, sort of a rebirth. It was the day of his heart transplant.

Neil wanted to share this anniversary with all his family, friends and supporters as his gift to all of them.