Dec
10

Laube Hall Rededicated, Lighted for Holiday Season

Approximately 300 local residents are thought to have attended the dedication of Laube Hall and the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Freeport Community Park December 2.

Approximately 300 local residents are thought to have attended the dedication of Laube Hall and the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Freeport Community Park December 2.

 

by Jonathan Weaver

Amid a brisk wind and freezing rain, hundreds of Freeport Borough and South Buffalo Township residents stood outside Laube Hall in Freeport Community Park last weekend to witness the first lights of the holiday season.

And the first Christmas tree lit in the park this century.

Under the direction of a new board of directors in the Freeport Community Park Corporation, the 45-foot-tall green Christmas tree shined for approximately 300 children and families December 2 – a day before Freeport Borough’s annual parade.

Board President Dave Montgomery praised Freeport Developer Ron Mailki – of Malki Mechanical – for bringing back the lights.

“(Ron and brother Eric, lead custodian at Freeport Area School District) spent long hours – longer than people will ever know,” Dave said. “They’ve been incredible – a huge help.”

Ron confirmed it was indeed weeks that he and his crew worked and “rebuilt everything.”

“Countless hours,” Ron said. “A lot of my guys donated their time. Everything was antiquated and worn out, obsolete.”

After the Christmas tree is taken down January 7 – during the celebration of the Greek orthodox Christmas -, Mailki will prepare to raise the cross again Ash Wednesday.

Ron said the cross of white lights during Easter used to cost about $1,800, but will only cost board members about $400 in 2017.

“With the upside to LED lights, pay back is one season for the lamps,” Ron said. “It’s more cost-effective.”

Dave said a new five-person board of directors took over park operations in April following retirement by Francis “Dutch” Laube, III, and the rest of board directors. He was first approached about the possibility in Spring 2015 after being a board member since 2008.

“He asked me to take over and find a board. The smartest thing I did was find four guys smarter than me (brother Dennis, John Bird, Chris Lentz and Patrick Huth),” Dave said. “I found some very intelligent guys. The last thing I wanted was to hire ‘yes’ men.

“I don’t think it’s ever going to be like it was – we don’t have the resources like they did in the 70’s – but we have an opportunity to bring back a lot. And that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Board Vice-President Dennis – Dave’s identical twin brother and a fellow Freeport graduate of 1981 – said he appreciates that Francis “Dutch” Laube III trusted him and his brother to “continue the tradition they started many years ago.”

“Dutch,” III’s daughter, Kim, who now lives in Wexford, called it “thrilling” to be back and see the lights lit for the holiday season.

“To come here tonight and see all the people, it’s amazing. I didn’t know what to expect – to see the community come together for the lighting of the tree (was) spectacular,” Kim said.

Kim graduated at Laube Hall, had her graduation party at Laube Hall and attended monthly Rainbow Girls meetings at the facility.

“It’s always going to be a special place,” Kim said.

The new Freeport Community Park Corporation board of directors include (front, left to right) President Dave Montgomery, Board Member Karen Schultz, Vice-President Dennis Montgomery, (back, left to right) John Bird, Patrick Huth and, Chris Lentz.

The new Freeport Community Park Corporation board of directors include (front, left to right) President Dave Montgomery, Board Member Karen Schultz, Vice-President Dennis Montgomery, (back, left to right) John Bird, Patrick Huth and, Chris Lentz.

With the first board of directors in 1961 under the direction of brothers Richard “Dick” Laube and Francis “Dutch” Laube. Jr., Laube Hall – which just received a new roof from the new board of directors – has become the spot for large banquets, weddings and graduation parties of up to 100 people

Dave called Ron “a genius” for his work on the roof as well.

“We rely on Ron Mailki incredibly. He’s a great guy,” Dave said. “As five computer geeks, we couldn’t put a roof on a dog house.”

Board Director Huth brought his wife and four children – seven-year-old Mary, two-year-old Patrick, four-year-old Claire and 11-year-old Katie – to attend the tree lighting and to see Santa Claus.

“The board of directors was really amazed at the number of people that showed up,” Huth said. “It was a nice community event.

“It took a lot of work to get the tree lit again,” Huth said. “We’re so glad it’s up”

Last weekend’s dedication and tree lighting also included the music of local singer Jamie Phillips.

For those that were unable to attend the tree lighting ceremony, or for those that want to remember it always, limited copies of the dedication are available on DVD for a $30 tax-free donation to the Freeport Park Community Corporation.

To inquire, contact Bird at john.w.bird@hotmail.com

Dec
10

Former Kittanning Firemen’s Band Director Dies at Age 92

Enrico Colonna is shown here in this KP File Photo from July 9, 2011 directing the Kittanning Firemen’s Band at a special concert held at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Colonna was the original director when the band was formed in 1949.

Enrico Colonna is shown here in this KP File Photo from July 9, 2011 directing the Kittanning Firemen’s Band at a special concert held at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Colonna was the original director when the band was formed in 1949.

The first director of the Kittanning Firemen’s Band was laid to rest following a Mass of Christian Burial that was celebrated at St. Bernard’s Church on Tuesday, December 6.

Enrico Vincent “Rick” Colonna, 92, died on Friday, December 2, 2016 at Bethany Place in Indiana.

His passion was music. In 1949, he organized and served as the first director of the Kittanning Firemen’s Band with a donation of $30 from three of the Kittanning fire departments. He visited surplus stores to find uniforms left over from the war.

He later organized and directed the Indiana Pops Concert Band until his retirement in 2011.

In July 2011, he traveled with the Kittanning Firemen’s Band along with 62 World War II veterans to Washington, DC for a special concert at the World War II Memorial. Colonna took center stage one last time as he directed the Band during a portion of the concert.

He was a baritone horn soloist and trombone player with various combos and big bands in the area, as well as director of several other bands throughout his lifetime.

His life’s avocation in music will be honored for years to come. He will be missed by family, friends, and fellow musicians.

Dec
10

Netflix Series Seeking Local Background Actors

 

by Jonathan Weaver

In just six weeks, the streets of Kittanning will be back in the spotlight for television’s newest drama, “Mindhunter.”

Assistant Location Manager Kevin Foster told Kittanning Borough Council members in November that Executive Producer David Fincher wants Kittanning to be re-made into the city of Altoona.

Assistant Location Manager Kevin Foster relays brainstorms for upcoming

Assistant Location Manager Kevin Foster relays brainstorms for upcoming “Mindhunter” filming in Kittanning for mid-January. (KP November file photo)

“(The television series) is based on true stories behind FBI agents in the 1970’s who pioneer behavioral profiling – how the FBI developed skills to capture serial killers, murders and solve crimes,” Foster said.

And developers need local help in the way of background actors during that weekend of January 20-21.

Interested applicants should send two recent photos, contact info, and sizes to mindhuntercasting@gmail.com.

Producers are also seeking Pre-1979 Cars, Flatbed Trucks, and Pickup Trucks. To consider your vehicle, send us a current photo and the make, year, and model of your vehicle to mindhuntervehicles@gmail.com.

Scenes will include the Armstrong County Courthouse, along Market Street and vehicles driving along the Kittanning Citizens Bridge. Producers also hope to make PJ Greco’s scrap yard into a garbage dump.

“We would love to work closely with (borough council), PennDOT and local businesses to ensure that it’s a positive film experience,” Foster concluded. “We’re here to do anything that needs to be done to make that happen.”