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Friday Feature

Friday, November 30, 2012
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/DONALD R. SERFASS  A group of Tamaqua men apparently organized Hibernian Hook & Ladder Co. in the 1870s.

It was a group civic-minded men.

They lived in the 1870s and most or all were likely Irish Catholic. They were either immigrants or sons of immigrants.

They likely worked in the mines or performed manual labor.

They joined together and called themselves Hibernian Hook & Ladder Co. of Tamaqua. And they blazed a trail.

But they also left a trail of questions.

Three early units

To understand Hibernian H&L, one must first look at the earliest days of firefighting in Tamaqua.

Friday, November 23, 2012
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS After completing months of planning, volunteers of the Tamaqua Spirit of Christmas Festival grabbed a holiday wreath and, in a moment of fun, framed their hardworking chairwoman, Jean Ann Towle, center. Others, clockwise from bottom left: Leona Rega, George Taylor, Kathy Schock, Linda Heigele, Judy Hoppes, Linda Yulanavage, Gary Wayne Price, Karen Davison and Jason Boris.

The17th Annual Tamaqua Spirit of Christmas Festival will kick off next Friday, launching three days of attractions and events geared to all ages. The event sends a message that the special magic of the holidays is part of all of us, and it's right here at home, according to organizers.

A showcase of community spirit, the annual Tamaqua holiday festival brings together clubs, churches and organizations to stage one of the largest holiday festivals in Schuylkill County.

Friday, November 16, 2012
Dorothy Baclawski discussed details about some of the Gilbert Cemetery burials.

The October tour at the Gilbert cemetery sponsored by the Chestnuthill Township Historical Society was a tremendous success with 175 people attending. It was organized by Nancy Christman.

The tour began at the Conrad Kresge monument and ended at the Kresge Mausoleum with 25 stops in between including the story told by a woman whose home is next to the cemetery.

It began in the old section and continued in the cemetery's new section, ending at a table offering refreshments.

Friday, November 16, 2012
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Dianna Russell decided her purple chapeau would be ideal to meet the cemetery tour people. She stood on the porch as she told people of the visitors from the past.

Dianna Russell moved into the former Church Schoolhouse next door to the Gilbert Cemetery in 1998. Since they were there she, her mother Janet and a daughter have enjoyed the company of people from the past. A son has not seen or talked to them.

"When we moved in we had an Episcopal priest bless the house," said Russell.

Her daughter began seeing things when she was young, said Janet of her granddaughter.

Friday, November 9, 2012
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua native R. Thomas Berner, retired PSU journalism professor, shares early career memories and provides advice to budding journalists of the Tamaqua Area High School Blue and White magazine.

Retired journalism professor R. Thomas Berner returned to his alma mater last Friday after an absence of 51 years and offered youngsters sage advice about a secret to success.

"Fall in love," he said. "Love your work. It's a labor of love," explained the former Pennsylvania State University instructor to fifteen staffers of the up-and-coming Tamaqua Area High School Blue and White magazine.

Friday, October 26, 2012
TN PHOTO ILLUSTRATION/DONALD R. SERFASS Friendly and trusting peddler Jost Folhaber hiked to the top of Locust Mountain, 15 miles northwest of Tamaqua, unaware he was being followed by sheer evil just one step behind. The peddler is represented here by Tommy Symons, village of Black Heath.

His name was Jost Folhaber.

He was a traveling salesman on his way to peddle wares.

He stopped for a short break at a tavern 15 miles northwest of Tamaqua, and continued on his way. Within an hour or two, he was ambushed and savagely butchered. Why? Not for revenge or hatred. But for simple greed.

The cruel homicide is recognized as Schuylkill County's first murder. And the victim is called The Immortal Peddler.

True to the name, the shocking story of the brutal death along the old Catawissa Trail will survive until the end of time.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Put four gallons of cider in a large copper kettle, add cut-up apples to within two inches of the top, cook, and 5-1/2 hours later there is apple butter. This is only one of the many exhibits at the annual Pioneer Day, an event sponsored by the Lynn-Heidelberg Historical Society and held in New Tripoli on October 6.

This year the stirring was made easier when it was found a rocking chair matched the motion required for the constant stirring.

Friday, October 12, 2012
Goddaughter Brenda and wife Diane pose with a giant pumpkin in the garden.

"It was a poor year for pumpkins," said Maynard Serfass. But his pumpkin patch was good enough to earn the backyard gardener first place at the Allentown Fair.

He said he has a cousin who grows big pumpkins but those were eaten by a groundhog.

Serfass said he had trouble with cucumber beetles on his pumpkin patch. They should have been sprayed with fungicide and insecticide as soon as he moved them to the garden - he starts his plants indoors.

Serfass always had a garden at his Towamensing home and in 2003-2004 he saw some Martha Stewart Big Max seeds at Walmart.

Friday, October 5, 2012
Joan Deering looks at the dolls in a cabinet. She especially like a three-wheeled doll carriage.

It was the fourth year the Monroe County Historical Association held an education day and open house in conjunction with Stroud Fest. The home of the association is in the Stroud Mansion at Ninth and Main streets in Stroudsburg.

Friday, September 28, 2012
Artist Donna Bieren speaks to a group of 40 women during a recent presentation in Barnesville.

Don't ask artist Donna Bieren which medium she likes best.

She'll tell you she likes everything.

And don't ask if she considers herself an illustrator in perhaps the realist style or abstract style.

She'll tell you that she doesn't go for labels.

Labels are for canned vegetables, not artists.

"My thing is not the style, it's the medium and how I can make it work," she explains.

And with that perspective, Bieren has established herself over the past decade as ambassador of the visual arts in the Carbon-Schuylkill region.