The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 24, 2012

Laurels and barbs

— Laurel: The people of western Pennsylvania are using the publicity surrounding a tragedy to benefit a good cause. The Trucks for Maddox collection is being held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at The Galleria in Richland Township. Toy vehicles dropped off in the lower level parking lot near the Sears entrance or inside the mall near Boscov’s will be donated to needy children in the name of Maddox Derkosh, the 2-year-old boy who was killed after falling into the African painted dogs exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The local effort is being coordinated by volunteers from Bedford Speedway, Thunder Valley Raceway, Cruisin’ for Courtney Charities and Heather’s Haven.

Laurel: Another local charity benefiting needy children held an event that was a rousing success last weekend. The second annual Santa Fund Soccer Classic raised about $10,000 for The Tribune-Democrat’s Santa Fund. The volunteers and sponsors made it a great outing for the soccer community at Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium and, more importantly, a great benefit for area children.

Barb: It doesn’t get much lower this: A Northern Cambria couple face drug charges after authorities say they enticed three children to deliver drugs for them. The Cambria County Drug Task Force charged Stacey Wholaver, 30, and Lawrence Wholaver, 46, with endangering the welfare of children and multiple drug-related offenses. The couple allegedly used Stacey Wholaver’s children – ages 5, 6 and 12 – to peddle prescription pills.

Laurel: Jerry Weber has the kind of story about which every collector dreams. The Pittsburgh record-store owner bought several boxes of old albums and, upon closer inspection, found what he calls “the holy grail of 78s.” He discovered a copy of the second song ever recorded by Robert Johnson, “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom.” Weber said its value is somewhere between $6,000 and $12,000, but he doesn’t plan to sell it unless he gets a much higher offer for it. Unlike Johnson, who, according to legend, sold his soul to the devil for his musical talents, Weber needed just $50 to acquire the blues legend’s sound.

Laurel: A local labor council and the United Way of the Laurel Highlands recently teamed up to gather more than 1,300 items – ranging from soap and toothbrushes to coats and sheets – and $1,800 for an area veterans facility. The Johnstown/Somerset Labor Council and United Way came together for the AFL-CIO community service project called Pennsylvania Wants to Work Day of Action. The items were to be dropped off at Tomorrows Hope, an 88-bed facility in Coalport that offers transitional housing, counseling and transportation for veterans.

Barb: The Jerry Sandusky scandal is no laughing matter. Boston College women’s soccer player Stephanie McCaffrey found that out the hard way. She was suspended for the Eagles’ NCAA tournament loss at Penn State last week. McCaffrey, who sent out numerous tweets mocking the Sandusky sex scandal and Penn State, later apologized, but the team’s second-leading scorer still had to sit out B.C.’s season-ending loss.

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