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The 2021 Derry Township Playground Program staff of Justin Huss, Dom DeLuca, Jason Geary, Onreey Stewart, Riley Watson, Olexei Nuttal, Kamryn Kelly, Sarah Ackerman and Kylie Sliva at St. Anthony’s Playground in Bradenville, are ready for the summer season. The annual program, which kicked off on Monday, June 7, runs through Friday, Aug. 6. Locations and corresponding times of availability include: New Derry, John’s Field, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; Derry Community Park, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; New Alexandria, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., and Brenizer, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. All four locations will offer the program each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Dates and locations are subject to change due to weather and participation. The free program is for children ages 5 to 13, and offers crafts, coloring, sports, games and tournaments. For more information, call 724-694-8835.

Frontier Court Days at Historic Hanna’s Town June 19-20

Frontier Court Days, a special weekend of court reenactments and more, will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 19, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, June 20, at Historic Hanna’s Town, 809 Forbes Trail Road, Hempfield Township.

Scheduled events include reenactments of court cases heard at Hanna’s Town between 1773-86 along with living history presentations, military encampments and demonstrations, activities for children, live music and more.

Frontier Court Days admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children and free for ages 5 and under (usual discounts do not apply for this event).

Historic Hanna’s Town described Frontier Court Days as experiencing “the excitement that people of the 18th century felt when they gathered in town for court. See how those who were accused and convicted of crimes paid their debt to society on the Pennsylvania frontier.” Reenactments will take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; the 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. sessions will feature their own court cases.

The event will also feature encampments, drills and artillery demonstrations by Westmoreland County’s Proctor’s Militia (I.B.W.C.P.), 8th Pennsylvania Regiment, Fort McIntosh Garrison, 60th Royal Americans and Rangers of the Ohio Company.

Other attractions include demonstrations of blacksmithing in the new blacksmith shop, gunsmithing, woodworking, spinning, weaving, gardening, herbal medicine and midwifery, Native American history and culture, Revolutionary War surgeon’s medicine (Saturday only), and traditional Scots-Irish and Celtic music by Dee and Paddy’s.

At noon both days, there will also be a book talk by Gail Curtis, author of “Woman on Fire: Based on the Life of Elizabeth Guthrie Brownlee Guthrie,” a fictionalized story based on the life of a real survivor of the attack on Hanna’s Town.

On Sunday morning, guests may attend an 18th century church service featuring traditional readings, sermon, prayer and music.

“We are excited to welcome the community back to Frontier Court Days this year,” said Pam Curtin, education and interpretation manager at Westmoreland Historical Society. “Our volunteers and reenactors have dedicated a lot of time and care to make this event a fun and educational experience.”

The full Frontier Court Days schedule is as follows:

SATURDAY, JUNE 199 a.m. — Gates open

10 a.m. — Flag raising ceremony

11 a.m. — Frontier court reenactment

Noon — Book talk by Gail Curtis

1 p.m. — Militia and artillery demonstration (approximate time)

2 p.m. — Frontier court reenactment

5 p.m. — Event closes

SUNDAY, JUNE 209 a.m. — Gates open

9:15 a.m. — 18th century religious service

11 a.m. — Frontier Court reenactment

Noon — Book talk by Gail Curtis

1 p.m. — Militia and artillery demonstration (approximate time)

2 p.m. — Frontier Court reenactment

3 p.m. — Event closes

For event updates and more information, visit https://westmorelandhistory.org/events/frontier-court-days-2021

NEW EXHIBIT TO OPENThe Westmoreland Historical Society will unveil a new exhibit at the Westmoreland History Education Center at Historic Hanna’s Town the weekend of Frontier Court Days. “Penn’s Woods: Plenty for the Use of Man” highlights the local and regional history of woodworking and carpentry.

While promoting his new colony, William Penn proclaimed the forests had “plenty for the use of man.” From the forests emerged building techniques, tools, trades, and crafts that helped make Westmoreland County what it is today. Explore this history through displays of historic woodworking tools, furnishings, photographs, documents, and stories across centuries.

The exhibit features objects from the private collections of Bob Kendra and John Mickinak, board members of the Westmoreland Historical Society. Museum collections and archives featured include the Westmoreland Historical Society, Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, St. Vincent Archabbey and College Archives, IUP Department of Archaeology, Forest History Society, and the American Chestnut Foundation.

The exhibit also features prints by artists including Robert Griffing, John Buxton and Eric Sloane, and handcrafted furnishings by local woodworkers Paul Sirofchuck and Matt Stein. The Westmoreland Historical Society worked with Blue Sky Sign Company in Greensburg to receive graphic design and printing services for the exhibit’s text and images.

Also at the education center is an exhibit of photography by the Westmoreland Photographers Society highlighting the beauty and richness of Pennsylvania trees and forests.

“Trees were Pennsylvania’s first and most abundant natural resource,” Curtin said. “This exhibit explores how Westmoreland County can trace its roots back to use of the forests. We delve into a variety of interesting stories, including how Indigenous People and early European settlers constructed their homes, the woodworking trades that built local communities, efforts to conserve the forests that were almost lost, and modern woodworkers who keep the craft alive in the present day.”

The Penn’s Woods exhibit will debut Saturday, June 19, and will be open during Westmoreland Historical Society’s open hours, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

For more details on upcoming activities and events, visit www.westmorelandhistory.org or the organization’s social media accounts. For information about Historic Hanna’s Town and the Westmoreland County Historical Society, call 724-836-1800.

Antiques & Collectibles Market set at Historic Hanna’s Town

The next Antiques & Collectibles Sale at Historic Hanna’s Town, Hempfield Township, is slated for Sunday, June 13. The event will feature more than 100 vendors in a quaint and historic setting.

Lisa Hays, executive director of the sponsoring organization, the Westmoreland Historical Society, noted that the “Hanna’s Town show continues to be popular with collectors who enjoy ‘the hunt’ and people looking for good deals on unique and vintage items. Because of the rain in May, many dealers postponed their first appearance of the season until June. So buyers will have their first chance to see what dealers have been accumulating during the off-season.”

The market opens 7:30 a.m. Sunday and continues through early afternoon. There is parking on-site; admission is $3 per car. Parking revenues are divided equally between the Salem Township Volunteer Fire Department No. 2 Forbes Road and the Westmoreland County Historical Society.

The vendor fee benefits the Historical Society’s education and preservation projects, including Historic Hanna’s Town, a Revolutionary War period settlement and site of the first English courts west of the Allegheny Mountains. Vendors of antiques and collectibles are welcome to set up for the day or weekend at a cost of $35.

For additional information, call 724-836-1800 or visit www.westmorelandhistory.org.

Historic Hanna’s Town is located at 809 Forbes Trail Road near its intersection with Route 119, three miles north of Greensburg.

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Leslie Rossi sworn-in as House representative of 59th District

Surrounded by her family, Leslie Rossi on Monday afternoon became the first-ever woman to be sworn-in to represent the 59th District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“Today was an honor to be sworn in as a representative of the people of District 59,” she said to the Bulletin. “As I was surrounded by my loving family, I could not help but think of the people, and what they mean to me and I’m going to work hard to help them with their needs and do all that I can for the area we love and call home.”

Rossi (R-Unity) won the May 18 special election for the House seat in the 59th District left vacant by the death of Mike Reese, who passed away Jan. 2 of an apparent brain aneurysm. He was elected for a seventh-term in the state House of Representatives, running unopposed as a Republican in the November 2020 election.

On Monday, Abby Major (R-Ford City) was also sworn-in after winning a special election last month. Major also became the first woman to represent Pennsylvania’s 60th legislative district.

House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) presided over the livestreamed ceremony held inside the Chamber of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

“The people of your district have placed extraordinary confidence in you,” he said. “I hope that as you begin these new roles as elected officials you will always remember that the most important people are not the ones that occupy this beautiful Chamber, they are all of your friends and family neighbors and citizens back home.”

Cutler added that Rossi and Major should work to serve those groups to build “for the next generation of learners, workers and families.”

State Rep. Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) welcomed Rossi and Major as the House’s newest representatives. She noted that their addition marked the “largest amount of women that have ever served the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.”

Holding the Bible, Rossi was sworn-in by state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor.

Rossi, 50, is a proud wife, mother of eight and lifelong resident of Westmoreland County. Rossi lives in Unity Township with her husband Mike and their family. She created the red-white-and-blue “Trump House” on Route 982 in Unity Township amid the former president’s 2016 campaign. She helped hundreds register to vote or change their party affiliation up through the 2020 election for which she was a GOP delegate for Trump.

In a press release, Rossi said her other top legislative priorities include enacting landmark election integrity reform, eliminating wasteful spending, and reducing taxes for families, seniors, farmers and job creators to restore a prosperous economy and bring home more well-paying jobs to the 59th District.

The 59th Legislative District encompasses part of Somerset County consisting of the townships of Conemaugh and Jenner, and the boroughs of Boswell and Jennerstown.

In Westmoreland County, the district includes the townships of Cook, Donegal, Fairfield, Hempfield (part of districts Todd, University and West Point), Ligonier, Mount Pleasant, St. Clair and Unity (part of districts Baggaley, Beatty, Crabtree, Dennison, Kuhns, Marguerite, Mutual and Pleasant Unity) and the boroughs of Bolivar, Donegal, Laurel Mountain, Ligonier, New Florence and Seward.

Latrobe Kinder-Schull welcomes Sen. Kim Ward for discussion on pre-k, COVID-19 challenges

Latrobe Kinder-Schull welcomed state Sen. Kim Ward (R-Hempfield) and local leaders last week for a virtual tour and conversation on the challenges of providing pre-k during the COVID-19 pandemic. Local leaders spoke to Ward about the continued need to serve the more than 2,195 eligible children across Westmoreland County who still lack access to this once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity.

“You don’t have to sell me on the importance of early education, I’m already sold on that,” Ward said. “I think if we are not taking care of our young kids, we are derelict in our duty, if we’re not giving them the best start that we can.”

Eva Wood, director at Latrobe Kinder-Schull offered a glimpse into life at an early learning center during COVID — describing both visually and verbally how providers have been supporting our children, families and businesses during this unique year.

Joining her in the discussion were Briana Tomack, president and CEO at Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce; Shirley Hough, director at Our Buddy’s Place; Mary Anna Pitner, director at SPHS Child Learning Center, and Lindsey Ramsey and Cristina Codario of Trying Together.

“We need to help childcare and preschool programs reach high quality, and in order to do that there are financial burdens that have to be hurdled,” said Wood. “I think with providing that financial support, facilities will be able to reach those standards.

Speakers made it clear that despite the challenges associated with COVID-19, early care and education is working and is supported by the Latrobe community. Tomack, who participated in the discussion, offered her unique business perspective, and agreed that high quality early learning promotes not just the hard skills like math, reading, writing and science — but the increasingly important soft skills — communication, collaboration and critical thinking.

“Kids that attend high quality early learning are more likely to succeed, stay on track academically, graduate from high school, pursue higher education career training and become productive workers,” Tomack said. “This is why many business leaders across Pennsylvania are supportive of early learning initiatives.”

A new study by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill confirmed that the commonwealth’s investment in pre-k is paying dividends for the children fortunate enough to access pre-k through Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts program. In language and math skills, the study showed that these kids outperformed their kindergarten peers who did not enjoy access — an advantage that equated to four to five months of learning gains, which is a substantial difference in development at that age.

Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2021-22 state budget includes a $25 million increase for Pre-K Counts and $5 million increase for the Head Start State Supplemental Assistance Program, which continues the tradition of expanding access to high quality pre-k. This new funding will allow 3,271 additional children to enroll in these high-quality early learning programs.