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Features

Friday, January 21, 2011
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  "Nothing goes to waste ... it helps to feed the poor," says Dot Eberts.

To local residents, Dorothy 'Dot' Eberts is the caring, friendly, maternal clerk who handles duties at a small post office along Route 895 in the village of Andreas.

But in the rolling savannah grasslands of the Limpopo province of South Africa, she's the Great White Hunter - the woman from America with the eye of an eagle.

In fact, Eberts may have rightfully earned the title of 'Annie Oakley of Schuylkill County' after bagging five trophy game during a recent solo hunt safari she describes as "the thrill of a lifetime."

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Big Five is a term commonly associated with African safaris.

The term refers to the African lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape Buffalo.

It doesn't include the hippo, gorilla or giraffe, nor the cheetah.

The term came about when big game hunters rated the difficulty in taking down large, fierce animals.

(The Cape Buffalo is arguably considered the most dangerous of the Big Five).

Today, the term is used by tour operators when marketing safaris.

Similarly the old-time term of "white hunter" has been replaced by "professional hunter."

Friday, January 14, 2011
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  Cathy Riotto, Barnesville, displays the fisherman's sweater she created from scratch, a garment that launched the Holly Road Fiber Farm.

Cathy Riotto and husband Frank are the tag team of textiles.

She works as a part-time secretary at St. Richard's Church in Barnesville and he works as a mechanical-electrical engineer. But when they're not at those jobs, the Holly Road couple wears a surprising variety of hats.

Their additional titles include goat tender, shearer, spinner, and knitter, in which they use all-natural wool yarn generated from livestock that roams their 13-acre farm.

Friday, January 14, 2011
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS An Angora buck nibbles evergreen branches at the Holly Road Fiber Farm, Barnesville.

According to Wikipedia, the Angora goat originated in Asia Minor, in what is now modern Turkey, and has always been prized for its soft and lustrous fiber.

The goats are finely-built and fairly small, the does weigh well under 100 pounds and the bucks up to 120. Both male and female have horns. The horns on bucks, shown here, can be quite large and impressive, curving up and away from the head and face. The does have nearly straight horns that curve back slightly.

Saturday, January 8, 2011
Brandon Taylor at Happy Valley Amusement Park just outside Beijing is a nice moderate level theme park - it doesn't have the tallest or fastest or best roller coasters, but they are still scream-worthy.

Summers back home meant three things: a week at the beach with my family; tennis in the morning and afternoon with friends; and at least one trip to a major amusement park. Summers in China have consisted of: week-long excursions to the country's interior; morning and afternoon trips to the Great Wall; and other thrilling experiences, but no thrill rides.

Friday, January 7, 2011
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Taste-testers line up to sample varieties of boilo during the Seventh Annual Tamaqua Boilo Competition held at the Tamaqua Elks and sponsored by Dave and Judy Johns and family.

Everyone loves a good, old-fashioned cook-off.

But a cook-off can mean different things to different people. On the prairies of Texas, it's all about chili.

But in the mountains of Pennsylvania, boilo cook-offs reign supreme, especially in the anthracite coal regions where boilo isn't merely a drink, but a legendary health tonic.

It's so revered that boilo cook-offs and boilo judging are time-honored traditions.

Friday, January 7, 2011
 Coal region boilo can be enjoyed year-round, but is especially popular in wintertime, and is often given as a gift. DONALD R. SERFASS/ TIMES NEWS

A basic, easy and almost fool-proof recipe for boilo utilizes a crockpot.

This recipe is presented courtesy of coalregion.com, where Jay Schutawie, webmaster, told the TIMES NEWS that it produces a more consistent result than what might accomplished on a stove top.

It's easier than cooking on the stove and much less likely to overcook or scorch.

Friday, December 31, 2010
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Annamarie and Shawn Bauer of Kunkletown pose around their majestic 15' Christmas tree with their triplets, Sarah, Jill and Amy.

Christmas is the time of celebrating the birth of Jesus. It is a time of rejoicing of the coming of the Son of God. Over the years, Christians have found many ways to observe Christmas and families develop traditions that are passed down from generation to generation.

Shawn and Annamarie Bauer of Kunkletown follow a Christmas tradition passed on from Shawn's parents. It is in the form of a towering Christmas tree. It fills their living room with all its splendor.

Friday, December 24, 2010
Santa's workshop

ike a busy elf, Joan Lech buzzes around the workshop nestled in the cellar of her Franklin Township bi-level home.

There, on Robrucel Drive, Joan designs and creates fanciful gifts that lift the spirits of grateful friends and relatives. Her dazzling creations brighten the lives of all who revel in the magic of nature and the colors of Christmas.

Joan isn't a typical elf. She doesn't actually take direction from Santa.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Nick Hawkey was sitting in the Palmerton Hotel 17 years ago with some members of the Marine Corps League - retired former Marines. The subject of sponsoring a dinner for residents of Palmerton and the surrounding area came up.

The hotel was willing and it became reality. Eventually, the event outgrew the hotel and moved to the Aquashicola Firehouse. It is held every December.

Hawkey is there not only in the role of Santa but as coordinator for the project, which became a fundraiser for Dream Come True. The Dream Kids come to entertain.