Note: Bulletin staff writer Nick Cammuso is filling in for Lifestyles editor Louise Fritz and wrote this week’s column.
In this season of giving, community volunteers in the Latrobe and Derry areas are going the extra mile to make the Christmas holiday a little brighter.
Sharky’s Café in Unity Township on Wednesday delivered 250 hot meals to local families in need for Christmas, with plans to distribute an equal number of dinners next week.
Donations from the community helped the restaurant raise enough money to provide 500 meals during the holiday period.
Sharky’s plans to cook the next batch of 250 hot meals in the days prior to distributing them from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 30.
Additionally, Derry Area School Board member Sean Kemmerer and Taps N’at restaurant, through the newly formed Derry Area Philanthropy Committee (DAPC), have organized a Derry Area Community Christmas Dinner for area families in need.
Dinners will be individually packaged and available for pickup from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, at Taps N’at along Route 217 in Derry Township. Delivery will also be available for families who need meals dropped off.
Dinners include ham, lasagna, pasta salad, corn, salad, rolls and dessert.
Kemmerer said volunteers expect to serve upwards of 150 meals on Thursday.
More information on the Derry Area Community Christmas Dinner is available on Facebook.
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Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Lycippus Calvary United Methodist Church has canceled its scheduled Christmas Eve candlelight service.
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In case you missed this message from Pastor Sam Scheiderer of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Trauger:
“If you are looking for a safe church service this year, check out my church, St. Paul Lutheran Church in Trauger. (The) GPS address is 108 Dutch Hill Road, Latrobe. Our services will be at 7 and 9 p.m. This is a drive-in service. Broadcast of the service will be on FM 88.3.
“We will have candlelight hymns. You will receive a service booklet, battery-operated candle, and a small flashlight for use in your car and to keep as a small gift. Please dress warm and maybe bring some blankets, Christmas cookies and hot cocoa to enjoy from your car during the service. This is about family, warmth and community prayer as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and pray for guidance and prosperity as we close out the unforgettable year that was shrouded in the darkness of virus and look forward to a brighter year ahead in the light of Jesus.
“Pastor will be visible from a window. We will have a large lighted Nativity near the church. We will be having communion for all who take communion in their home church. Being up on the hill, over-looking Mammoth Park, with our parking lot lined by luminaries, will provide a beautiful setting for a meaningful service. Please join us! As always, we have a stocked emergency food pantry for anyone needing help during the holiday season with food insecurity.”
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Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling reminds everyone to recycle their real Christmas trees. After the festivities are finished, give a gift to Mother Nature by taking your tree to one of the many drop-off sites located throughout Westmoreland County.
Proper disposal of a real tree is beneficial to the environment. When dropping off a tree, locations require that trees are completely bare of all decorations and lights when dropped off. This includes any tree bags or wrappings used to transport the tree to the drop-off site.
Locally, Christmas trees can be dropped off for recycling at the following locations:
Derry Borough — East 1st Avenue at the borough garage, next to the salt shed, open drop-off from Dec. 26 through Jan. 31;
Derry Township — 5321 Route 982 at the municipal building, open drop-off from Dec. 26 through Jan. 31;
Hempfield Township — Route 136 at Middleton Road in the Hempfield Area High School auxiliary parking lot, open drop-off from Dec. 26 through Jan. 26;
Ligonier — Ligonier Country Market Field, Lower Watershed Farm at the corner of West Main Street and Springer Road, hosted by Loyalhanna Watershed Association, open drop-off from Dec. 26 through Jan. 31;
Mount Pleasant Borough —Municipal compost site between Kennedy Avenue and N. Depot Street, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday from Dec. 30 through Jan. 31, closed weekends;
Unity Township — Municipal building, 154 Beatty County Road, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, Jan. 2-31.
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The Loyalhanna Creek has been selected as one of five nominees for the 2021 Pennsylvania River of the Year Award. This is the third time the Loyalhanna has been nominated.
The public is invited to vote now through Jan. 22 by visiting www.pariveroftheyear.org and selecting the Loyalhanna. One vote can be cast for each email address that is entered.
If selected as the winner, the Loyalhanna Watershed Association will be awarded a $10,000 leadership grant from DCNR to help fund several activities planned for next year to celebrate the Loyalhanna and the 50th anniversary of the LWA. For additional details and to cast your vote, visit www.pariveroftheyear.org.
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The Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward Program in Westmoreland, Indiana and Armstrong counties will be training a new class of volunteers this spring.
The program, which serves as a model for counties across the state, provides 40 hours of water and natural resource training for citizens.
After training, volunteers can engage in several projects in the region to help protect streams, rivers and wildlife habitat. Examples include designing and installing demonstration rain gardens or streamside plantings and organizing educational workshops that address topics such as backyard conservation or homeowner stormwater management.
The new training program will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays starting March 3, 2021, and continuing through June 2. Sessions will be held online via Zoom webinars. The curriculum also features three field trips.
For more information about the Master Watershed Steward Program, costs and volunteer commitment, or to request an application for the 2021 training program, contact Justin Mansberger at 724-858-4213 or email@example.com.
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The Diamond Theatre of Ligonier has postponed its Christmas production of “Christmas Eve Diner Dilemma.”
It has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 15, 3 and 6 p.m. Jan. 16, and 3 p.m. Jan. 17.
Tickets will go on sale at the door 30 minutes prior to each show.
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Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Pittsburgh, will hold a Winter Flower Show Virtual Video Tour through Jan. 3. The tour includes a 25-minute video walkthrough of every room in this year’s show accompanied by festive background music.
The video is available for an introductory two-week price of $4.99 for Phipps members and $9.99 for non-members, allowing guests access to stream and rewatch with their iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast devices. To order the video as a gift, visit phipps.conservatory.org/GiftVideo.
Winter Flower Show hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Phipps will be closed Friday, Dec. 25, and will close at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24. Tickets must be reserved in advance. For more information and to reserve tickets, visit phipps.conservatory.org/Tickets.
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Johnstown Symphony Chorus Director Jeffrey L. Webb will present an online musical celebration of the holidays in the form of a virtual version of one of their most popular offerings at the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra’s annual Christmas concerts. The virtual performance is now available for viewing.
The performance, conducted by Webb and organist Bryan Lohr, with the vocalists of the Johnstown Symphony Chorus, will be available by visiting the johstownsymphony.org website or on the chorus’s Facebook page.
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Here’s another reminder from Derry Area School District’s David McCleary:
“Looking for a unique and special gift for the person that is so difficult to buy for? We have a great gift idea for you! Give them the gift that continues giving, to children!
“A unique opportunity to enrich the lives of the youngest amongst us with the gift of learning is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, now available to the children of Derry Area School District! This program, established in 1995, provides quality, age appropriate books once a month to children from birth until their fifth birthday. The books are selected by a committee of education and child development experts. The books are free to the children and mailed directly to them each month.
“Thanks to grants from Latrobe Elks Lodge No. 907 and the Derry Area School District Foundation, we are able to register our first group of recipients. However, our goal is not to register some of our children. Our goal is to register every eligible child in Derry Area for this program.
“We’re hoping to fund a large number of our recipients through sponsorships. It costs just $25 to sponsor a child for a full year of membership in the Imagination Library. That’s less than $2.10 a month for a child to have a high-quality book mailed directly to his or her home! Anyone wishing to give the gift of books can send their donation to: Derry Area School District Foundation, Attn. Brenda Bitz, 982 North Chestnut Street Ext., Derry, PA 15627.
“Please memo your check ‘Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library’ or ‘DPIL.’ Also, please include your email address so you can receive updates on the books that children receive each month and other facts about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, early literacy and events for Derry Area’s Pre-K population. For questions concerning donations, please contact David McCleary at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 724-694-2780, ext. 3312.
“This is a unique and special way to impact the lives of our very youngest Trojans and help them improve their quality of life and chances for success in school and beyond. We hope everyone will find it in their hearts to give the gift of books to the youngest children of Derry Area.
“If anyone has any questions concerning registration, please contact Mrs. Barbie Jones at email@example.com or call 724-694-1400, ext 1377. Please also watch for information and articles on the project in the Bulletin Board and on social media. May you and yours have a blessed and happy holiday season!”
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Email Bulletin Board items to
Lifestyles Editor Louise F. Fritz
Deadline is 9:30 a.m. Thursday