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Tuesday, April 16 2002

Joe Yobaggy

In the same vein as my consideration a couple of weeks ago of Domenick Gelotte, a major political figure in Nanty Glo's first half century, the name of Joe Yobaggy, a major figure in Blacklick Township public life, comes to mind. Though I knew him much better than Gelotte and came to consider him a valued friend—probably the best personal friend I had in my youth from the "older generation"—I regret not knowing many particulars about his public service. But like Nanty Glo's Lloyd McMullen, Joe seemed to be the "secretary" of every important entity in Blacklick Township, or at least over time he seemed to play that role, perhaps for one board after another. I definitely remember him as the secretary of the Blacklick Township School Board, and it's my impression that he kept that post for many years, perhaps into the "jointure" with Nanty Glo-Vintondale when it became known as the Blacklick Valley School District. His brother, Paul, became that district's chief executive when the Junior-Senior High School was still new.

Joe was the husband of my sixth grade homeroom teacher, Helen Yobaggy, and I may have first come to recognize him in that role, though I don't remember that specifically. He was always one of the "bigwigs" of the township, and my Dad's attitudes about all the bigwigs tended to rub onto me so that, despite my great admiration of Mrs. Yobaggy, I was suspicious and inclined to think the worst of her husband. He wasn't an "American" as my parents reckoned that, and as a political figure he was considerd to be an opportunist. I came to change that opinion entirely in my young adulthood, but it was a lesson learned with difficulty.

Mrs. Yobaggy considered me one of her favorites, and I won awards at both eighth grade and high school graduation. I wrote and co-directed several high school variety shows during my tenure as a student, so I was known by everyone in the township, even apart from my teen column in the Journal every week. I also organized the Young Democrats Club in the high school and someone, quite likely Joe Yobaggy, got the club's officers invited to $100-a-plate fundraisers with speeches from U.S. Senators, and candidates for governor and other statewide offices. Despite all this, I was inclined to keep Joe Yobaggy at arm's length.

After I was editor of the Journal for a while I received what I immediately thought was proof of my suspicions. It was a press release from some government agency reporting that Joe Yobaggy had been charged with extortion at a public works job. I ran the press release as written, without first calling Mr. Yobaggy...that was wrong in a number of ways. But it was the catalyst to my really getting to know Joe Yobaggy. And with that we'll continue tomorrow....

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Notes to God

A nun asked her class to write notes to God. Here are some of the notes the children handed in:

Dear God: I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. That was cool.

Dear God: Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't You just keep the ones You have?

—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Thought for the day

Most of us in moments of stress have wished that we had lived so that prayer would not be so unnatural to us and have regretted that we had not cultivated prayer to the point where it would be as easy and as natural as breathing.

No Christian wants to live his whole life on an emergency level. As we go on into God we shall see excellency of the life of constant communion where all thoughts and acts are prayers, and the entire life becomes one holy sacrifice of prayer and worship!

To pray effectively it is required of us that there be no unblessed areas in our lives, no parts of the mind or soul that are not inhabited by the Spirit, no impure desires allowed to live within us, no disparity between our prayers and our conduct!

—Oswald Chambers
Sent by Judy Martin

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