Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bears need a boost

Clairton Needs You
Clairton and Oldies: Few things grab my attention more than Clairton and oldies. Sometimes the two combine in my mind. Such was the case with a spate of recent emails. The words of a Neil Diamond song rang in my head, “Startin' soft and slow like a small earthquake... And when he lets go half the valley shakes…” That is how this whole thing started. But let’s roll the picture back a few months and start with a flashback of the beginning of football season.

The previous season the Clairton Bears football team had had their most successful season in recent years, winning the WPIAL again and state championship for the first time ever. They were about to embark on their 2010 season. They knew they were good but were not sure just how good they would be nor how strong their opponents would be. They soon found out, rolling over team after team until they won an unprecedented second state championship.

Startin’ soft and low, like a small earthquake: I recently received an email from CHS alum Bob White. He included a letter from CHS alum and teacher Don Taylor. Later the same day I heard from classmate Adele Kunz and Valerie DeBellis. Then I heard from another alum and another, and so it went, all with the same theme; PLEASE HELP THE BEARS!

The gist of the letters was that CHS would like to purchase championship rings for the players and coaches but there was no money budgeted to do so. School Board member Sue Wessel spearheaded a movement to collect donations. Two years ago she was instrumental in creating a golf tournament to raise money for CHS athletics. This year the efforts have been expanded to help defray the cost of the rings. Each recipient has already paid a portion and the fundraising efforts will pay the balance. If the goal is exceeded, monies will be put toward the purchase of white game jerseys.

The fundraising goal for the rings is a little under $11,000. By my fuzzy math that would be about $1.00 for every living CHS alum, so the goal is doable. My plea is that each alum and Clairton resident past and present make a donation. Each ring costs about $200 and if you are able to purchase one or more, your donation will be graciously accepted. Otherwise, please send what you can. Send a check or money order to:

Clairton Athletic Champions Club
c/o Sue Wessel
512 N. Sixth Street
Clairton, PA 15025

Last year the school district was able to purchase orange game jerseys and the fundraising group purchased sideline capes for inclement weather protection. The club also pays for food for the team when it travels long distances.

An awards banquet will be on March 26, 2011 and the rings will be presented. That day a parade will begin to assemble about 11:30 and at 12:00 noon march from the stadium on Miller Avenue to the High School where an assembly for the team will be held. At 6:00 pm the awards banquet will be held at the Ascension Hall on Park Avenue.

A Clairton tale: A man in Topeka, Kansas decided to write a book about Churches around the country. He started by flying to San Francisco and began working east from there.

At one particular very large church, he began taking photographs and noticed a golden telephone on the vestibule wall with a sign which read "Calls: $10,000 a minute."

Seeking out the pastor he asked about the phone. The pastor answered that this golden phone is a direct line to heaven and if he pays the price he can talk directly to God.

The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way. He visited churches in Seattle, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, and throughout the United States and discovered more phones, with the same sign and got the same answer from each pastor. Golden phone. Calls $10,000 per minute, directly to God.

Finally, he arrived in Pennsylvania and went off the beaten path and somehow ended up at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Clairton where he saw the usual golden telephone. But THIS time, the sign read "Calls: $0.35 cents."

Curious, he asked to speak to the pastor, "Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I have found this golden telephone and have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to God, but in the other churches the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads only $0.35 cents a call. Why?"

The pastor smiled and replied, "Son, you're in Clairton, Pennsylvania now; home of the Clairton Bears; four straight WPIAL titles, two state championships, home of the Honeybears, top notch marching band, 20 churches to choose from… friendliest people in the world! We’ve been humbled but never broken. You're in the City of Prayer, God's Country. From here it's a local call."

Wonders of the net: While we are on the subject of CHS, many graduating classes have stayed in touch over the years. None has done so more than my own CHS class of 1960. A core group of class leaders has arranged a reunion every five years. In addition, Anna Marie Bochter has been diligent in maintaining our class web site and our class has taken an active role in helping with the annual multi-class reunion held each year at Clairton Park.

Comments and questions: At the bottom of each post is a place for comments. Each comment must first be moderated to see if it is legitimate, as many are inappropriate. Until I approve comments for publication they are seen only by me. However, the process for leaving comments is cumbersome and awkward and there is no mechanism for me to respond to questions in the comments section. Thus, if you have a particular question about one of the blog posts, be sure to leave an email address and I will respond. Several questions have been addressed about past posts, especially those about former Clairton resident Annabelle Bucar and other high interest topics. I respond to every email.

Oddz and enz: Catching up on several Clairton tidbits I offer you the following: The Pittsburgh Athletic Association on recently named Rushel Shell of Hopewell and Desimon Green of Clairton winners of its Mercury Award, given annually to the WPIAL's top football player… Clairton City middle and high school students might become eligible to get a private school education on the state's dime if a tuition voucher plan announced recently is signed into law… OSHA fined U.S. Steel and one of its contractors, Power Piping Co. of Etna, $143,000 for safety violations in connection with a July 14 explosion at the Clairton Coke Works that injured 20 workers… Clairton native and jazz musician Lee Robinson loves working with kids at an area museum, teaching them about the origin of sound and music making… CHS Grad Mike Super (Supernovich) was named Entertainer of the Year by the International Magicians Society. He was presented with the Merlin Award during a performance in South Carolina.

A little blogging music Maestro… “My Hometown” by Bruce Springsteen.

Dr. Forgot

Thanks to Jim Hartman for tech support

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