Laurelmountainboro's Weblog

February 2, 2008


Filed under: OUT & ABOUT — laurelmountainboro @ 11:29 pm

APRIL 26: While out for a doctor’s appointment on April 26, Anne Chitester fell. Due to injuries, including severe eye damage, she was life-flighted to a Pittsburgh hospital, and may need surgery. The new LMB resident lives at 13 Hemlock Rd. and is the mother of Amy O’Brien.
APRIL 24: A “FOR SALE” sign is posted at 16 Beechwood Rd., owned by Jay Springer lives. I hear he and his wife are expecting a child in July.
APRIL 24: As seen in the Ligonier Echo—Tom and Judith Fyock became grandparents when their son and his wife, Mark and Adrienne (Schober) Fyock gave birth to a son, Mason Dale, on March 17. The young family lives in Pittsburgh.
—Patrick and Shannon Mectalfe also became grandparents when their son and his wife, Michael and Susan (Restly) gave birth to a daughter, Amelia Vera, on March 20. The young family lives in Somerset.
APRIL 20, 2007: A Ligonier Valley Realty Company “FOR SALE” sign was posted within the week at 6 Maple Road, the David and Heather Young residence. The house they describe as a five-bedroom cape cod with a deck, screened in porch and integral garage is priced at $172,500. For further information contact the Youngs at 724 238 6606.
The Youngs have purchased a house on Washington Street in Ligonier Borough. They are making the change for the convenience of being in Ligonier, and the nicety of living within two blocks of Heather’s mother.
APRIL 20, 2007: Former resident Bob Woodall celebrated his 77th birthday at the Bethlen Communities with a small party thrown by his wife, Anne, and his son, Larry. The Woodalls lived at 12 and 9 Hemlock Road during their 35-plus years in LMB. In honor of his birthday, a poem he composed, Toward Harboring at Evening, is posted on The Beanery Online Literary Journal, (filed in the BW Visitors Writings category).
APRIL 18, 2007: The Beanery Online Literary Journal at , a publication of the Beanery Writers Group headed by Carolyn Holland, accumulated 25,000 hits since its inception in late August, 2006. It is the top blog at the ProBlogs host site.
The group meets the 2nd and 4th Fridays at the Beanery Cafe on Rt. 30 in Latrobe. Persons interested in contributing to the publication or joining the group can contact Carolyn at 724-238-3493.

MAY 31: It’s unbelievable that this is the last day in May…the weather is beautiful and residents have been clearing out the winter mess and working to shape up their yards for summer use…While out walking around the boro a couple of weeks ago I noticed irresponsible persons had tossed bottles and food packaging along some boro roads. The litter is unappealing and detracts from the boro’s beauty. When walking yesterday I noticed the lack of litter. I can only assume that the women who use their walking time to pick up litter along the local roads were responsible. Those of us who have lived here a while know who they are and that we owe them many thanks for keeping our area—inside and outside the boro—beautiful and litter free…Watch for June’s OUT & ABOUT!
MAY 16: This notice was posted in the newsletter late today: FOUND on the side of the road in front of 33 Walnut Road: a car charger for something electronic. It’s a Verizonwireless car  charger that plugs into a cigarette lighter. The part that inserts into the electronics equipment is about 1/2 inch. It was found Monday, May 16 in midday. Call Carolyn to claim. I took the item to the Borough Council meeting tonight, where the owner was found.
MAY 8: The ground rumbled and dust clouds rose as road machinery continued their work today. Click on the photo album (scenery) for a peek.
MAY 7: Roadwork in the borough has begun! Watch for improvements over the next few days.
MAY 4: Westmoreland History, the magazine of the Westmoreland Historical Society, published an article on Robert Mendler, a holocaust survivor from Latrobe. Carolyn C. Holland is the author. Copies, $5, are available from WCHS by calling 724/836-1800.
MAY 3: WARNING: The bears are back. Protect your property by taking your bird feeders inside at night.
Early this morning Craig Miller, 10 Hemlock Rd., was adjusting his bird feeder. He thought a squirrel had “rearranged” it until he noticed muddy paw prints on his yellow siding and bay windows. “The bear is back,” he said. (See Photo Album, Who’s Who for a pix of the bear paw.)
Just after the noon bell rang Dan O’Brien approached me as I was digging dandelions from my front yard. He wanted to warn me that a bear was on the loose—two of his birdfeeder poles (13 Hemlock Rd.) were flattened to the ground this morning!
Does anyone else have a “bear story?” If so, E-mail me:
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June 28, 2007: It’s official—the Laurel Mountain Borough population is shrinking! According to a Tribune-Review article this morning, the population of the entire Pittsburgh region, except for a few isolated pockets, is decreasing. The Trib labels it a “population drain.” While Luzerne in Fayette County had a dramatic increase (37.1%) in population, increases in the Westmoreland County towns of New Stanton (+9.3%) and Manor (+4.8%) and Fayette County towns of Stewart (+7.9%) and Seven Springs (+4.1%) were less dramatic.
These growth estimates for the July 1, 2006 population of the Pittsburgh region are based on building permits.
Laurel Mountain Borough is the biggest loser among the 70% of communities that lost at least 2% of their population since the July 2000 estimate. It is estimated that the Borough lost 5.9% of its population. The next four losers are all Westmoreland County communities—Vandergrift and East Vandergrift (-5.7% each), Smithton and Southwest Greensburg (-5/6% each). To read the complete story, see Population shifts a drain and a strain to region (search for Tribweb and search for this article title).
While out running about today, I ran into Tom Mizikar at Home Depot and Christen Mizikar at Westmoreland Mall where she works. Seems I often see people more away from the Borough than in the Borough! Check out their post on the New York City tour group trip they are planning.
June 25, 2007: Kevin and Beth Hickey were seen walking through the borough with their daughters Shannon, 6 and Kathleen, 11. They are visiting through Thursday, staying at the Hickey family cottage on Locust street. Greet them warmly if you see them—they visit once a year!
Daneen visited me for a short while so I could question her about the $10,000 grant Laurel Mountain Borough received for doing road work. Watch for the post with the information on the new project.
June 20, 2007: REAL HARD ROCK…BOROUGH?The intersection of White Oak and Locust Roads was busy this morning during my early-day walk. A Sears truck, a garbage truck and a Junk for Joy truck had to maneuver around a parked West Penn Power truck. See photos:
The power company truck was preparing a hole to replace a power pole, a job that has taken extra days to complete because ROCKS held up the task, which required a hole dug six feet deep, according to the worker, Dave.
“Around the four foot mark we started to hit a real hard rock,” he said. The men used a special bit to remove the rock but the bit didn’t take it out. All the bit did was “chewed it a little bit. We finally had to use a jackhammer to drill holes in the rock.” Their next step was to return to the jackhammer to grind the rock. Before approaching the job of replacing the pole, an inspector tested it out, discovering it was time to install a new pole. If there are no weather stoppages, Dave’s job is to dig the hole for the pole. Other workers will return to set the pole and transfer the wires, probably within two weeks, barring weather interruptions, Dave said. It is unlikely there will be a power outage for boro residents during the transfer of the wires. In the unlikely case there is a power outage for some boro residents during the transfer of wires, it will be brief.
JUNE 20, 2007: Laurel Mountain Borough council meeting, 7:30 p.m., at the Laurel Mountain Park shelter house on Walnut Rd. All residents are welcome to attend. Come and learn about your community.
June 17, 2007: Last week “the” bear left evidence of its presence in the boro. A pile was discovered in a Walnut Rd. yard, near White Oak Rd. The family dog rolled in it, spreading the sweet perfume even further than the yard.—Hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day.
JUNE 16, 2007: The Pisano family moved from their Maple Rd. home to Ligonier this weekend. Their contribution to this community will be missed. Jim said their home here will be on the market in a couple of weeks.—The “For Sale” sign is off the stone house on Beechwood Rd…Beechwood Rd. still has one “For Sale” sign, while Maple Rd. has two…The weather couldn’t be nicer than it’s been the last couple of days. Cool nights, warm enough for daytime swimming but not HOT… I just read about the “summer of 1816 and froze to death.” Although the article referenced Down East Maine, the “cold summer was known throughout the United States and Europe as the coldest ever experienced by any person then living…” from a journal quoting a Fryeburg, Maine diarist. The diary stated: January, so mild…February not cold…June had frost, 7-10 inches of snow through New England, below freezing temperatures…July 4th had ice thick as window glass here, New York and parts of Pennsylvania…August had frost…in direct contrast, with 1816 was 1827-1828, when there was no winter…Though the description was of New England, the diarist noted that the weather extended down into parts of Pennsylvania. It makes one appreciate this summer. Aren’t we fortunate?

JULY 31, 2007  As you pass by the stone house at 18 Beechwood Rd., pause to welcome Sharyn, who bought the house and moved in three weeks ago. She hales from Waterford, and is enjoying the natural environment, friendly people and improving the house that once belonged to “Spike” Weimer, a stonemason who lived here full time with his wife and child…it was a wonderful day to close out the month of July. Will begin the August page tomorrow!
JULY 29, 2007   On July 24, 2007 at 6:00 p.m., LMB council members met with Don Snyder, Ligonier Municipal Authority representative, to discuss the sewage agreement with the Ligonier Municipal Authority.
JULY 28, 2007:   When Monte and I looked at houses in LMB in September 2000, we were shown four of five homes being sold on Maple Rd. Since we purchased our Hemlock Rd. home at the end of October that year, eleven Maple Rd. houses have sold. Only five houses on Maple Rd. haven’t been on the market in this time frame. Two of these are rentals, which have changed tenants at least once. Currently, four Maple Rd. houses are on the market.
JULY 27, 2007:   Just about noon today there was a terrific downpour that stopped almost as soon as it began. Click on to view photos.
JULY 26, 2007:  According to Harold K., Monarda (a.k.a. bergamot, Oswego tea, horsemint and bee balm), with its red, pink or white blossoms, is in bloom in the gardens (at the old tennis court). For more info click on websites:
JULY 26, 2007:   Click on to view a photo of a cat living on Locust Rd. Louis (des Isles, though not spelled that way) is the feline mascot of the novel I’m writing, since he was named after one of the characters. The two year old, which only recently caught his first mouse, is a.k.a. Faust (French for “devil,” which is appropriate since my novel character is French). He is a docile, indoor cat who enjoys the outdoors at the end of a leash. His only drawback is that he doesn’t purr, although his owner said he is a happy cat who “kneads” her belly.
JULY 24, 2007:   Jason R. Reed, arborist rep, spent several hours touring LMB seeking and evaluating the presence of the hemlock woolly adelgid invasion of the borough’s eastern hemlock trees. He also pointed out the spider mite and weather damage to the trees. Watch for the future article the several residents gleaned from touring the community with Jason…As if invasive insects weren’t enough of a concern, worriers should be concerned over the knotweed invasion…and a future invasion of KUDZU, which is a climbing vine with purple flowers (under the leaves, hard to see—ask me—I collected a jarful of the blossoms while living in Stone Mountain, GA.). It was added to Pa’s noxious weed list in 1989 and the state has 23 sites enrolled in its kudzu eradication program. (Click on KUDZU IN PENNSYLVANIA? NO WAY!  and KUDZU BLACKOUTS  to read more about kudzu.)
JULY 23, 2007:   People passing the little white cottage at 16 Maple Rd. will notice a car with New York state license plates parked in the driveway. Renter Jim Glose, from Hamburg, N. Y., just moved here from Phoenix, Arizona. He is employed at Speedgoat, the bike shop in Laughlintown…Click on to view photos of hemlock woolly adelgid taken today at John Miller’s on Maple Rd. Also posted on the photo site are pictures of the front entrance to LMB.
July 20, 2007:   Amy across the street told me to post the fact that Monte took me to the emergency room at 4:00 a.m. this morning. Well, you can read all about it by clicking on A BUG (MOTH) IN HER EAR
July 19, 2007:   On Tuesday morning John Miller will be taking an “authority” from the appropriate agency through LMB to inspect for the hemlock woolly adelgid. If you spot a problem on your trees, call John or E-mail with the information. It looks like small white pockmarks at the base of the needles. Click on ADELGES TSUGAE INFESTS EASTERN HEMLOCK TREES  to read an article on the insect, and click on for further information.
July 18, 2007: LMB Council met tonight. Watch for a report. It will include a discussion on the hemlock wooly adelgid, an insect attacking the eastern hemlock tree, which has been spotted in LMB.
July 17, 2007:   Ann of 13 Hemlock Rd. is recuperating after a fall that injured her eye. Her sight in that eye is improving after two surgeries and therapy.
July 16, 2007:   “I was thrilled to tell everyone I had a bear on the front stoop,” said Ann (13 Hemlock Rd.).She didn’t see the bear when she stayed up until 2:00 a.m. one night after one attacked her bird feeders, according to Dan, her son-in-law (with whom she lives). It happened last Monday, July 9, while Monte and I were on vacation.
At about 8:45 p.m., when Dan was in his living room, he happened to look out the front door.
“I saw a bear looking in,” he said.
His wife, Amy, said at first he thought it was a dog.
“I yelled for Ann and the girls to go to the window in Ann’s room, because the bear (was now) standing in the driveway,” Dan said.
Amy’s mother, Ann, saw the bear run toward the bird feeder. Emma took note of its black ears sticking up. They were brown in the middle. Molly and Dan watched it as it sauntered up the road toward Phil’s house.
“I guess he was one of the cubs searching for a route he learned from his mother,” said Dan. “I’m guessing it was an adolescent. Both its ears were tagged, so he’d been trapped before. He didn’t seem the least bit concerned.”
Any more bear stories? Call me or E-mail me at:
JULY 3, 2007: PENNDOT workers planned to spend a day resolving the water drainage problem at the Rt. 30 entrance to LMB. A worker said the Boro is getting washout from water coming down Laurel Mountain, and pointed out bad ditching and a plugged drain. See the article in the ROADS AND DRAINAGE category. To see photos click on .
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OUT & ABOUT August 31, 2007
August 31, 2007: The upgrading of the White Oak Road ditch is complete, the machinery is gone. All that’s left to do is repair the damage to LMP’s property, where the stone was piled and the machinery stored in the evenings. The grant moneys will cover the costs of the materials to complete the work…The end of August is here, students have been in school since Monday the 27th…fall leaf colors have begun…Have a safe, nice holiday weekend…SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER!
AUGUST 29, 2007: On August 7, George Shuman’s sequel to “18 Seconds” was released. “Last Breath” is available in bookstores and online. George went to the International Thriller Writers Association in New York in mid-July, which nominated him as one of the top five best novels by a newbie writer. Although he missed out on the prize, he enjoyed meeting and talking with other famous authors, including Nick Stone, author of who beat him out. On September 26 he will go to Anchorage, Alaska where he is nominated as one of five Best First Novels. Read about George by clicking on  GEORGE D. SHUMAN: Author of “18 SECONDS” & “LAST BREATH” Part 1 of 2  and  GEORGE D. SHUMAN: Author of “18 SECONDS” & “LAST BREATH” Part 2 of 2
AUGUST 25, 2007: Have you visited the radio station Tom Mizikar and his partner have started? You can hear us on your AM radio around town at AM 1620 and in crystal clear stereo on your computer. We play your favorite hits from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. The Valley” plays a mix of hit songs you know from artists you love … from Elvis, Chuck Berry, and the Beach Boys to Blondie, the Who and the Eagles … you’ll tune in to find the music that’s missing on most stations. Plus, “The Valley” features news and information focused on life in the historic Western Pennsylvania town of Ligonier … if you’ve never visited our town, listen for a while and you’ll discover the magic of small town American life and radio in “The Valley.”…to listen online or read more about the station, click on…according to Tom, the site accumulated 2800 hits since the radio station began August 10…another landmark came August 23, when the Beanery Online Literary Magazine, sponsored by the Beanery Writers Group, became a year old. Since its inception its had over 55,555 hits, and for over half the year it’s held the #1 position on the host site. To read stories written by local writers, long-distance members and visitors of the group click on A new posting member, Geoff, submitted an interesting piece TIME TO GO. Geoff is the brother of LMB resident John Miller and lives in Waterford.
AUGUST 24, 2007: Part-time resident Mike Hickey is enjoying a week of fun with some friends at the Beechwood Rd. cottage he and his brother own. They spend their evenings playing horseshoes (click on to see his expert toss). His family has owned this cottage since 1964, but his great-aunt, Katherine Hickey, owned a cottage on Hemlock Rd. (the cottage the Woodalls recently sold) in the 1930s and 1940s.
AUGUST 21, 2007: To view the website set up by John Miller (Maple Rd.) re a DVD on sound effects click on the following:  His work has rave reviews by Daneen….The rains keep coming a tumbling down…guess work on the pool is delayed, but who would swim in these rains anyway?…If any photographers have neat photos of LMB they are willing to share, let me know. I can scan those that are not digital…Also, anyone who would like to submit items, please E-mail them to (type “Submission” in the title space). Now that I know how to deal with the site it will be easy to post items. I’d love to hear the historical background from those who have been connected with the park, whether they are current or past residents. We also have an Op-Ed/Commentary category for residents to share their opinions…Don’t forget to view the photos by clicking on
AUGUST 20, 2007: Tom Mizikar is now involved in a radio station heard only in Ligonier locally but it can be picked up on the Internet. E-mail him at for the web site. I’ll post it when I get it (I h ad it but misplaced the paper it was written on!). Perhaps some of you caught the article in the Ligonier Echo two weeks ago.
AUGUST 17, 2007: What a wonderful day…It’s been a disappointment that the pool isn’t in use due to a breakdown of its pump. A non-resident member, David Patterson, discovered the situation when he brought his children to LMB to swim over a week ago. After speaking to three men at the pool, he said he would donate a pump. One of LMB’s residents drove to Carrolton, Ohio to pick up the pump. Tonight, Joe, Chip, Harold, Dan and Monte spent the evening attaching and refitting new piping for the pump. The next step is having an electrician test the pump to see if the motor works and if it will pump adequately, according to Dan. The men also have to check for leaks. Thanks are due to the residents who are working so diligently towards making the pool functional.
AUGUST 16, 2007—Wednesday evening—is LMB council meeting. Residents are welcome to attend. Come and learn what your local government is doing. 7:30 p.m. at the LMP shelter house.
AUGUST 15, 2007: Former LMB resident Marilyn Sheets is visiting the area. To greet her call the home of former residents Ann and Bob W. —The cooler weather was welcome today…I noticed a “SOLD” sign on Dave and Heather Young’s Maple Rd. house.
AUGUST 10, 2007: Tired of the heat? Cool down by viewing the photos posted tonight. Click on
AUGUST 10, 2007: LMB extends sympathy to Heather Couch Young and her husband, David Young, on the death of her father, the Rev. Thomas Emmet “Tim” Couch, Ligonier, who died at his Ligonier home on August 8. Friends will be received on Sunday from noon to 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel, Inc. (144 E. Mains St, Ligonier). The family will celebrate the Rev. Couch’s life at St. Michael of the Valley Church in Rector on Monday at 11:00 a.m. To read the full obituary click on
AUGUST 9, 2007: The weather has been perfect for those persons who enjoy showers and the sauna. I, for one, am ready for drier air. Didn’t get out for a walk today, but it might be better tomorrow! Maybe the temperature will dip below 90 degrees!
AUGUST 7, 2007:  More new photos were added tonight at…of puddles, puddles and more puddles…LMB photographers (or others with photos of LMB) send photos, past or present, to post…When new resident Cathy isn’t working she takes the opportunity to know the community by walking her dogs. Rosie, a mix of golden retriever, basset hound and other, is 4 years old. Vick, a black lab, is 8. They are quite well behaved pooches.
AUGUST 6, 2007: Take a moment to check out the new photos posted at…The heat wave is continuing, only now it’s more intense with the high humidity. The all day rain and couple of downpours have soaked our lawn, but the water in Washington Furnace Run was pretty low tonight.  According to Monte’s very unscientific water gauge the borough accumulated just over two inches of rain last night, and a total of three inches for the month. As I walked about the borough, the humidity was so high my glasses steamed up and I couldn’t wear them. Take care and stay cool!
AUGUST 3, 2007: While the area is in the midst of a heat wave, 90 degrees and just above 90, we in LMB can consider ourselves lucky to enjoy a park-like atmosphere with trees and greenery that cools the temperature slightly lower. A rocking chair on the porch, a fan and a good book make the days quite enjoyable. Best of all is the snooze during the mid-afternoon heat.
AUGUST 1, 2007: The youngest resident of LMB is Mackenzie, born May 23, 2007. Her proud parents are Krista and Jeremy…Krista and Jeremy have their house on the market because they want to upsize to accommodate their increased family. They’d like to remain in LMB, though. Their 2-floor house, located at 16 Beechwood Rd., has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, and a main floor mud/laundry room. Its list price is $99,500. To see pictures of both Mackenzie and the house, click on

OUT & ABOUT September 8, 2007
SEPTEMBER 8, 2007: New LMB resident Jess joined the Kennedy Clan in the opening march for the Scottish Games at Idlewild today. See her picture at…also posted are photos of the various toadstools growing in LMB this past week.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2007: School is out—remember, it takes a village to keep our children safe!…On Labor Day Monte and I celebrated our 41st anniversary with a ride around LMB roads in a 1930s vintage car, then dinner at a Chinese buffet with Sandy and Jordan…check out the newly posted photos at
SEPTEMBER 5, 2007: The weather graciously held for the holiday weekend. Hope all had a good time…The work on upgrading the ditch on White Oak Rd. is complete, and work has started on repairing the damage to the grass from the stone piles and machinery…Thanks to the individuals in the community who hand-shoveled gravel into some of the potholes in the community…You’re your eye on the LMBoroLMPark photo site as new photos are added regularly:  …click on websites managed by LMB residents:  … (Tom Mizikar)… (John Miller)   … (George D. Shuman) … (Carolyn C. Holland) …to list your web site E-mail (type it in or it goes to an obscure server E-mail instead of this one) or call Carolyn at 724/238-3493 …to submit an article or item contact Carolyn for Boro items and Amy for Park items.
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