Tuesday, August 4, 2015
     

Spotlight

Saturday, March 14, 2015
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS "I stabbed myself seven times," says Barbara Heigele Banditelli, describing what was the lowest day of her life.

Barbara Banditelli remembers the day she wrote her farewell note to family.

On Sept. 11, eight years ago, depression and prescription drug addiction had smothered her last ounce of mental strength. She felt she simply couldn't go on.

"I wrote a note to my husband, family and friends, stating I was ending my life," said the Tamaqua mother of two.

Nobody saw it coming, not even medical professionals.

Banditelli recalls telling her psychologist everything was going just fine.

But it wasn't.

Saturday, March 7, 2015
The Molly Maguire Meander walking tour ended in Tamaqua's East End with a visit to the 1801 Burkhardt Moser log home, the first house built in Tamaqua. Shown are tour guide "Porcupine Pat" McKinney and Schuylkill County Judge John Domalakes.

"Tamaqua has done so much historically to preserve its history," said Schuylkill County Judge John Domalakes, a local historian.

"There are blue historical markers all over town," said tour guide "Porcupine Pat" McKinney.

The Schuylkill County town, the largest borough in the county, is rich in railroad and coal history, and, particularly, Molly Maguire connections.

Tamaqua was the geographic hub from which the legendary Molly Maguires violence radiated, from the Pottsville area to Mauch Chunk, now Jim Thorpe.

Saturday, March 7, 2015
DONALD R. SERFASS/TIMES NEWS  "They brought the bodies here," says "Porcupine Pat" McKinney at the Tamaqua train depot. McKinney served as facilitator of The Molly Maguire Meander, an information-oriented, 3-mile hike through Tamaqua on Feb. 22.

The remarkable legend hasn't been forgotten.

After 137 years, the macabre role of the Tamaqua train station remains seared in the minds of local residents.

"They brought the bodies here," said "Porcupine Pat" McKinney, standing in front of the 1874 Tamaqua train depot.

McKinney, education coordinator for the Schuylkill Conservation District, led a group of the curious on "The Molly Maguire Meander," a 3-mile hike to some of 15 Molly Maguire-related sites in the Tamaqua area.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Making boilo starts with wholesome ingredients such as raisins, honey, lemons, oranges and lots of spices of your choice.

If hot and spicy is your idea of a good time, then a sip of boilo and spoonful of chili might just be a trip to heaven and back.

The two savory favorites were combined into an event last weekend, "Coming Together for a Cause," to support the Tamaqua-Carbon Unit of the American Cancer Society.

The Third Annual Boilo and Chili Cook-Off, sponsored by American Hose Company and East End Fire Company of Tamaqua, took place at the latter's handicapped-accessible location, 533 East Broad St., attracting throngs of enthusiasts despite a snow storm.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

2 medium-large oranges

2 lemons

1 small box raisins (about 1 ounce)

8 oz. honey

12 oz. whiskey. Use a whiskey that is at least 80 proof (40 percent alcohol).

Two 1 teaspoon each of any or all of these spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, caraway seed, anise.

Perhaps it's easiest to use a slow cooker.

Peel the oranges and lemons. Cut up the fruit and squeeze them into the crock pot. Put the remaining fruit pulp into the crock pot.

Add the raisins, honey, and spices. Stir.

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.