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Friday Feature

Friday, March 22, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS The Rev. Joseph T. Whalen, pastor, St. Richard's Roman Catholic Church, performs a traditional blessing on items in an Easter food basket.

A rich Eastern European tradition centers on having a basket of food blessed on Holy Saturday. The food is then enjoyed on Easter Sunday, maybe for breakfast, or maybe saved and eaten for Easter dinner.

The ritual is especially prevalent in families with Slovak background - Polish, Ukrainian, Czech, Russian and others.

Friday, March 15, 2013
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS The Rev. Elizabeth Ann Melot of Zion Lutheran Church with her St. Bernard, Maisie, says her trip to the Holy Land was an incredible experience.

To walk where Jesus walked. To pray where Jesus prayed. This is what Elizabeth Ann Melot dreamed of doing some day.

The Rev. Elizabeth Ann Melot has read about the Holy Land all her life. She studied at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Ohio, graduating in 2000. She was ordained July 2000 and accepted the call to St. James Evangelical Church in Hobbie, Pa. She then accepted the call to Zion United Lutheran Church in Brodheadsville in 2004, where she now works and lives with Maisie, her St. Bernard, two cats and a pair of orange cheeked finches.

Friday, March 8, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Will Heffner, Andreas, created a Goth-style car for his son. The decorative skull in front is impaled by a spike to acknowledge the brain injuries that changed Heffner's life.

Will Heffner is somebody new.

He can't remember when it happened. It's a blank in his mind.

But the Andreas man realizes he is no longer the same person.

Sure, he has the same name and the same body. But he's altogether new.

The man he once was is gone.

"The Will Heffner that I was is dead," he says. That person disappeared in an accident at age 27.

Will was a strong, hard-working manual laborer who dug ditches for a firm under contract with a major utility.

But on May 20, 2004, a terrible event took place that would reshape his life.

Friday, March 1, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Washburn & Crosby's Gold Medal Flour, Lafayette Street.

They're called ghost signs and all towns have them.

We pass them every day, but barely take notice.

They're fading reminders of lifestyles long ago, and they speak in silence, these sentinels printed on the sides of brick buildings.

They loom overhead, beckoning to us and sending the same messages they sent to those who came before.

You'll spot them up as high as the top stories of dominant buildings but also down low, as low as the bottom of river walls.

And you'll find them out in the country, too.

Friday, February 22, 2013
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Sisters Betty Ann Flyte and Rose Reese love to talk about their encounter with angels and the miracle of Betty Ann's healing in Medjugorje.

Do you believe you can be touched by an angel?

Two sisters in Jim Thorpe do.

Betty Ann Flyte, 71, and Rose Reese, 60, believe they have been touched by angels many times in their lives. But one angel, a living woman named Susan Reynolds, touched their lives in such a way, that it led to making a pilgrimage to Europe in search of a miracle.

And they found it.

Friday, February 22, 2013
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS Susan Reynolds talks about her book, titled "The Angel Lady: A Journey with My Spiritual Companions" at a recent book signing at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Brodheadsville. Jim Thorpe sisters Betty Ann Flyte and Rose Reese were part of a panel there who spoke about their angel experience which is included in Reynolds' book.

Susan Reynolds, known to many in the Stroudsburg area as "The Angel Lady" and founder of the non-profit, 501c3 organization, the Follow Me Foundation, providing food, clothing and counseling to those in need in the community, wrote a book titled, "The Angel Lady: A Journey with My Spiritual Companions."

Friday, February 15, 2013
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS Dale Freudenberger, left, Tamaqua, and Bill Harleman, Hometown, set up the Tamaqua Historical Society display at the Schuylkill County History Fair held Saturday at Fairlane Village Mall, Norwegian Township.

For the tenth year, historical groups from all corners of Schuylkill County gathered to show off a small portion of their collections.

The 10th Annual Schuylkill County History Fair took place Saturday, February 10, at Fairlane Village Mall, Route 61, Norwegian Township. The event was held on the second day of winter storm Nemo, but the show went on as planned.

Representatives of twelve historical societies out of 16 registered drove over snow-covered roads in order to showcase some of their intriguing items. Four groups canceled due to the weather.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Albinism is a genetic condition where people are born without the usual pigment in their bodies.

Their bodies aren't able to make a normal amount of melanin, the chemical responsible for eye, skin, and hair color. So most people with albinism have very pale skin, hair, and eyes. Albinism can affect people of all races, and there are different kinds of albinism.

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.

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.