I would like to start this week’s column off with a huge shoutout to everyone who was involved with the Derry Railroad Days celebration held last weekend.

Great job, Derry Borough! The 31st annual event was simply fantastic from top to bottom!

The parade was excellent, the entertainment was fabulous, the vendors and food booths were great, and the weather was absolutely amazing.

The parade included a large variety of fantastic participants and performances from all over the area. The crowd was amazing and everyone I had talked to really enjoyed themselves, including myself.

This, my friends, is exactly what the doctor had ordered in a time where we now need more than ever some positive events such as this one to lift up our spirits in times that appear very dark and gloomy.

Thanks so much to everyone who helped last weekend to be a huge success.

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Patti Levay writes into to remind everyone that Pugfest in PA 2020, normally held the last Saturday in September at the Kingston Veterans and Sportsmen’s Club, has been canceled because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic limitations and regulations.

She mentioned that they’re working to possibly hold two events in 2021, one in the spring and one in the fall. So, keep an eye out on their Facebook page, Guardian Angels Pug Rescue, for updates.

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Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the annual Walk for the Animals has gone virtual. Action For Animals (AFA) has been forced to cancel many fundraisers this year because of the pandemic. As a 501©3 nonprofit organization, AFA relies on generous donations to care for 150 animals. It takes $2,000 every day of the year to keep the shelter and medical clinic open.

Please consider joining this fun event to help raise much needed funds for Westmoreland County’s oldest no-kill shelter. You can participate from any location, in any of the following ways:

To register for the walk, sign up as an individual walker or register or join a team with your company, family or friends at https://p2p.onecause.com/afawalk/. The registration fee is $15 per person, which includes a walk T-shirt. You must register by Oct. 7 to have a T-shirt for day of event. If you register after Oct. 7, you will receive your T-shirt after the event.

You’ll receive your own fundraising page after you register. Share the link of your page with your friends and family, asking for donations to help the homeless animals.

On the day of the walk, Saturday, Oct. 31, take a walk around your yard, through your neighborhood or at a favorite park or trail between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Go alone, take your pets, stroll with friends or family members or while you’re trick or treating. Walk as little or as much as you want.

Take a photo during your virtual walk and share it on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram with hashtag #AFAWalk, so everyone can see your support for AFA and all the fun you’re having.

Additionally, as a bonus prize, one photo will be selected from social media using the hashtag #AFAWalk.

Prizes include: First-place individual walker: $150 Visa gift card, and first-place team: $250 restaurant gift card.

One person who posts a photo on social media with the hashtag #AFAWalk will be selected to win a prize.

If you’d like to become an event sponsor or promote your business as an event sponsor, there are many affordable sponsorship levels available. Visit: https://p2p.onecause.com/afawalk/event/Become-a-sponsor

You may also be a T-shirt sponsor. Feature your business or a dedication on the back of our walk t-shirts. Sign up at https://p2p.onecause.com/afawalk/event/t-shirt-sponsor

You may join as a virtual vendor. You can make the walk feel more like an actual event while promoting your business or product! Join now at: https://p2p.onecause.com/afawalk/event/virtual-vendor

A list of virtual vendors can be found online: https://p2p.onecause.com/afawalk/page/virtual-vendor

Don’t forget to donate. Support a walker, team or the event. Every dollar raised helps the animals at our shelter. Donate online at https://p2p.onecause.com/afawalk/search

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Lucy Byers writes in to mention that the Derry Area High School Class of 1970 will not be having its class reunion until the fall 2022. She said that hopefully by then, we will have returned to some type of normalcy. Additionally, she added that the committee is planning on moving the reunion from DeNunzio’s to Rizzo’s. Stay tuned for more details in future columns.

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It’s hard to imagine that this year marks the 21st season of the Latrobe-Derry Old Timers baseball league.

The L-DOT league was formed as a brain child of Gib Stemmler in the late spring of 2000.

Gib had watched an “over 50” softball game that his brother played in Florida and that, along with some local events, spawned the idea of our current over 40 baseball league.

After talking with several area friends and playing some “Old Timers” games between the old Hostetter and New Derry teams from the Derry-Unity league, Gib brought up the feasibility of the league and an informational meeting was scheduled for New Derry field.

Approximately 40 men attended the first meeting and the thought of playing ”one more time” took hold. Ideas were discussed and in early July 2000, the Latrobe-Derry Teener League was asked if the old timers could use their facility, Rosa-Oglietti Field, to play for eight weeks that fall. The Teener League graciously accepted and within a month, the league was formed.

The league’s “opening game” was advertised in the Latrobe Bulletin, and approximately 400 spectators showed up for the contest between Heat Siphon and Libby’s on Aug. 11, 2000. Opening remarks were made by Gib Stemmler. Terry Giannini then introduced former Pittsburgh Pirates great Dick Groat, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The national anthem was sung by local legend Red Polo.

After some exciting offensive and defensive plays by both teams, the game was called after nine innings and ended in a tie because of a curfew at Rosa-Oglietti Field. Harshall’s Karate claimed the first league championship in 2000 with an 8-0 record, including a win over Palombo’s in the playoffs.

Every year since the creation of the league, it has grown in size. It has been estimated that over a thousand players have participated in the league.

This year’s league is currently in full operation and fields 12 teams. The league officers include: president, Terry Giannini; vice president, Bob Nolan; secretary and treasurer, Tim Donaldson, and player rep, Rick Laick.

The league would like to thank one of its major sponsors, Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

On a side note, I actually had the honor of umpiring the very first game with JeffJoe Regula. It was a great time, and a memory that I’ll never forget.

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On Monday, Sept. 14, the Derry Area School District began serving breakfast and lunches to all children/students in the community free of charge.

This is because of the extension of the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waiver that will run until Dec. 31 (or based on available funding). Students who purchased meals from Sept. 1-14 will have a full reimbursement for those meals.

The district asks that you please complete your application for free or reduced priced meals if you have not already. Please note this is available to ALL children/students in the community.

The district’s promise is to do its best to keep your child safe and healthy. Rest assured that all the extra steps are being taken in disinfecting the serving areas and kitchen. The hope is that in the near future, the district will be able to incorporate more choices in the meals for its students. For now, it is all about safety and providing a healthy meal under the current circumstances.

Students not attending school in-person and participating through remote instruction may pick-up breakfast and/or lunch at the middle school entrance between 11 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

For any questions or concerns, contact Gwen Kozar with the Derry Area food service department at gkozar@dasd.us or 724-694-1401, Ext. 1442.

* * *

Derry Borough Council meetings will hold its work sessions and regular monthly meetings for the remainder of 2020 at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at A.V. Germano Hall, located at 100 W. Second St., Derry Borough.

Work sessions are scheduled for Oct. 6, Nov. 20 and Dec. 1. The regular monthly meetings are set for Oct. 13, Nov. 17 and Dec. 8.

* * *

Congratulations to Derry Area High School sophomore Hunter Jurica, who will represent the Trojans at Allegheny Country Club on Oct. 1, in the WPIAL individual finals.

Jurica fired an 84, one of five players to make the cut score (84) at Norvelt. Greensburg Central Catholic’s Ben Ritenour was the low-medalist with an 81. Southmoreland’s Clay Sipple and Mount Pleasant Area’s Jonathan Wagner came in at 82, while Jurica and Southmoreland’s Austin Georing took the final two spots with 84.

This is the second consecutive year that Derry Area will be represented at Allegheny CC, last year Aidan Bushey advanced and won the final spot to the Western Regional in a two-hole playoff.

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Lastly, congratulations to Derry Area head football coach Vince Skillings on his first victory last week against Deer Lakes. Here’s to wishing you many more.

The Trojans host Freeport Area at 7 p.m. today. You can catch all the action on the Westmoreland Sports Network.

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Have a great weekend and let’s go Trojans!

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Derry Diary items may be emailed to liberoni@aol.com.

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