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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Thursday, March 28 2002

Dominick Gelotte

As lent is the season of repentance, it's appropriate for me to repent of my former attitude toward a Nanty Glo historical figure and longtime leader in the Valley's development, Dominick Gelotte. And because he was so important in the borough's and valley's history, it's appropriate too to rectify the fact that there's been till now virtually no information about him on the Home Page. I was reminded of him on Wednesday by an excellent letter from Paul Ceria, responding to our "Leaves of grass" thoughts on young people whose lives were cut short. Paul relates that there was a Dominick Gelotte, Jr., who also was one of those, one who died in childhood from a blood clot in his brain thought to have been caused by being hit by a baseball. I hadn't heard before now of this tragedy, which Paul says profoundly affected the elder Mr. Gelotte for the rest of his life, a fact I don't doubt.

I didn't encounter Mr. Gelotte until I came to the editorial post at the Journal, and as a major part of that job description I had to attend and report on Nanty Glo Borough Council meetings. Dominick was the burgess of the borough (the same office that is now officially known as mayor) and had been in office for perhaps 30 years; at least that was my impression. I suspect that I was influenced in my opinion by things said by my predecessor at the Journal, but my take on Mr. Gelotte was that he was an obstructionist who threw himself in the way of any progress for the borough and I couldn't fathom why the voters continued to re-elect him.

The first inkling I had for understanding his popularity was reading, only several years ago, in Denise Weber's history of Vintondale (Delano's Domain), that Dominick Gelotte was a hero in the valley in the years (1920's) when real battles were being waged to organize the coalminers into the United Mine Workers Union, a distinction in which fight his local leadership was second only to that of John Brophy, a Nanty Glo man who became a national labor figure.

At such a green age I thought I not only had to have opinions about everything impinging the valley's public life, but that I was being paid (in the editorial writing aspect of the job) to share and promote them. And in retrospect I have no way of knowing whether Dominick in his official capacity was an asset or a liability to the town in 1962-64, but I know I should have had kinder instincts and attitudes, and more appreciation for his elder status, experience, dues paying, and wisdom.

For such a long career in the public eye and office, there must be many stories and anecdotes to be told. If you have some, I hope you'll pass them on here.

Postscript, Ben Zanin: A followup on yesterday's remarks about Ben Zanin. A friend of the page talked to George Zanin, Ben's brother, who still lives in Blacklick Township. He related that Ben was a student at the University of Minnesota when he developed kidney disease. The family returned him to the farm on Redmill Road, where complete kidney failure led to his untimely death.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Another good question

A mother was showing her son how to zip up his coat. "The secret," she said, "is to get the left part of the zipper to fit in the other side before you try to zip it up."

The boy looked at her quizzically.... "Why does it have to be a secret?"

—Sent by Sallie Covolo

Lenten thought for the day

Let us not be afraid of the Holy Spirit — He will show us more of God in a moment than we can learn in a lifetime without Him. He will not throw out what we have learned if it is the truth — He will set it on fire, that's all! He will add fire to the altar.

The blessed Holy Spirit waits to be honored. He will honor Christ as we honor Christ. He waits — and if we will throw open our hearts to Him, a new sun will rise on us!

—Oswald Chambers
Sent by Judy Martin

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