This feature is for those of us who don't otherwise have access to regular dispatches from Nanty Glo, and is not intended to discourage anyone from subscribing to the Journal. Residents of the Valley and/or those who do read the Journal will find these reports mostly old news, but those of us many miles away tend to miss items like these. And yes, it's a shameless parody of Garrison Keilor's "News from Lake Woebegone," based on the dual ideas that a folksy tone seems right for this purpose, and more and more the news from Nanty Glo seems to be about something being gone {groan}.

Column No. 1, October 10 1997              

Last black cow at Rinehart's News correspondent Trudy (Rummel) Myers reports that Rinehart's Drugstore is the latest-to-me institution to begone. This is sad to us expatriates who on returns to the Valley recognize fewer and fewer old landmarks, and may remember enjoying ice cream sodas in the once-fashionable soda fountain. Rinehart's had moved from its longtime site at the corner of Chestnut and First Street across from the old railway station to the former Acme/GeeBee Market building at the foot of Lloyd Street. RiteAid, the largest drugstore conglomerate in the nation, based in Harrisburg, bought out Rinehart's as it has Thrifty-Payless, K&B, Harco, and scores of Osco drugstores across the country.

So long St. Charles' Another venerable Valley institution to begone, Trudy reports, is the former St. Charles Roman Catholic Church in Twin Rocks. The church is still there and still part of the same diocese, but now it's Sts. Timothy and Mark's. Hmmmm; methinks there's a story here.

Factory facts A reliable source reports in answer to our question about the JoMar Plastic Factory in Nanty Glo that it was supported but not founded by former Mayor John Kupchella. "The original owners were John and Mary Lazeration." The Mayor told our reporter that "a young couple purchased it two years ago; he's going to (check on) their names. John Lazeration passed away and Mary sold the business." The factory makes plactic garbage bags.

Boom... I never put all the pieces together before to realize what a boom town our old hometown of Nanty Glo has been. Established out of the former Glenglade less than 100 years ago, it grew steadily through the Great Depression and peaked as the county's largest borough, in population, in the 1950's. My uncle moved here from the northern edge of the county to find work during the Great Depression, got a job at Heisley, and my father followed, finding work in Vintondale.

or bust... Since the end of the boom in coal mining (though much is still mined, mostly for "coaltricity" at a handful of "supermines" in Cambria and Indiana counties) along with the restructuring of the steel industry, all of the population centers in the area have been declining, and the projections for Greater Johnstown through 2020 are grim.

How green was my... Yet on many counts the Valley has never been a better place to visit. The greens are greener now that the dust has been washed away; the long-rust-colored Blacklick Creek is much clearer. I still wince everytime I see the lot formerly occupied by the Capitol Theater, but most lots in the Valley look better—better trimmed and kept. I get the impression Blacklick Township has actually gained population, there are so many attractive new houses, but that's probably an illusion, or at least undone by the fact that each house domiciles fewer people now than the average in 1960.

That's the first report from Nanty Glo-begone; send us your responses, questions, and most of all "news."

Harrison Pielor is the pen name of an erstwhile Blacklick Valley journal keeper.

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