Local leaders, historians and residents gathered at the Bedford County Courthouse on Saturday to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the county they call home.
The event was considered the “grand opening” ceremony for the county’s ongoing sestercentennial celebrations, which have been organized by those involved with the Bedford County Historical Society.
“Is there any place any more beautiful than Bedford County, Pennsylvania, today?” Commissioner Barry Dallara asked the crowd, which gathered under a clear sky with temperatures in the mid-60s.
The speakers at the event commented on the natural scenery of the county, but said the residents here are what make it a truly special place to live.
“The natural beauty of our mountains, valleys, streams and woodlands speak for themselves,” Senior Judge Thomas Ling said. “… But I’ve always been more impressed with the commitment of the people in the county to those first principals of self-evident truths for free people.”
Historian Larry Smith, a leading organizer of the event, recounted an overview of the county’s past, from the construction of Fort Bedford through the formation of farmlands, churches and local governments over the subsequent years.
Smith was dressed in attire from the 1700s, a nod to his fifth-great-grandfather, William Proctor Jr., who served as the first sheriff in the county.
“I would like to think as he looks over my shoulder during the ceremony, my ancestor is pleased is with how the county has grown and thrived over two-and-a-half centuries,” Smith said.
Dallara said the county was much different place in 1771 than it is today.
“Life in this region was harsh and very challenging,” he said. “The average life span was 36 years of age. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, the only light after dark came from fireplaces and candles, and medical treatment was primitive at best.”
But Dallara said the first settlers in the county set the framework for future generations.
“Those settlers could never have imagined how their courage, their thirst for freedom, and their Christian faith became the foundation that nurtured the creation of the American spirit thereby spawning creativity, ingenuity, and inventions that has given us the highest quality of life in the world today,” he said.
Ling said the county’s commitment to the rule of law, the respect for the rights of others and duties of citizenship were evident in the community throughout his life.
“I learned these at home and in school, but I also learned them from the guy who ran the general store, the postmaster, my Scoutmaster and my Sunday school teacher,” he said. “Almost every adult I came in contact with growing up was supportive of these ideas of individual liberty and freedom. Of course, as the many monuments that stand around our town square show, love of country is a common emotion here in Bedford County.”
Historian Bill Mock spoke about the times the county’s residents helped defend the nation’s freedom during wartime.
“Very often in life, people have the tendency to take even the most important things for granted,” Mock said. “One of which is freedom. We must never forget the service and sacrifice of those individuals who have provided it to us.”
State representatives Jesse Topper and Carl Walker Metzgar both spoke about the importance of preserving the county’s history.
“There’s a movement to make sure we forget, that we lose that history, we don’t know who we are,” Metzgar said. “I tell you, we do that at great peril if we forget who we are and where we came from.”
Topper lauded the historical society for its efforts to showcase the county this year.
“It means a great deal to this son of a history teacher and I’m sure each one of you,” he said. “… As I thought about 250 years. Any time we celebrate longevity, a few words come to mind: endurance, patience, perseverance. Certainly things we’ve needed over this past year, where there haven’t been many reasons to celebrate.”
The ceremony included patriotic performances by a flute quartet featuring Ellen Espenshade, Shelby Kaiser, Hope Kaufman and Robyn McMakin. Dawn and Levi Custer of Bedford also performed a “Bedford County anthem” that they wrote at the request of the historical society for the sestercentennial.
Kay Dull and Deborah Bishop of the Bedford County Players performed a skit titled “Why We Talk This Way,” highlighting different expressions commonly used by county residents.
Dull cited the different immigrants moving into the county from various parts of Europe as a contributor to the use of words like “nebby,” “pop,” “slippy” and “yinz.”
“New neighbors soon understood they should help “redd up” after the church social,” she said. “When a German child asked for a “dippy egg,” his young friends began asking for the same. Everyone’s language evolved.”
Former commissioner Josh Lang added he hopes the county’s residents continue to embrace its history and continue to work hard to enrich its future.
“As a community, let’s continue to make history in a positive way and do our part to preserve it,” he said.
Bedford Borough officials are looking to scale back a proposed streetscape project after failing to receive grant funding the past two years.
Borough council at its meeting Monday evening discussed the proposed work that it hopes will be funded through a grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development Multimodal Transportation Fund.
The borough has applied for about $2.5 million the past two years to add streetlights to sections of Richard and Pitt streets, including the bridge carrying Richard Street over the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River, as well as various sidewalk and curb improvements.
But the state has not approved the grant in either round of awards.
“We may have went a little too big,” Council President Tim Weaverling said. “It might be time to drop back and narrow the scope of the project.”
Borough engineer Tim Cooper said none of the grant applications that have been approved were far above $1 million.
Council discussed a number of options it can consider to lower the overall price of its proposed work, ultimately deciding to recommend Cooper develop plans that would add lighting to East Pitt Street between Richard and Bedford streets, and along Richard Street between Central Way and Penn Street. Depending on funding, the project would also be expanded to including lighting going over the bridge, although that work could result in added sidewalk restoration costs, Cooper said.
Councilman Patrick Neff said he considered lighting on a bridge to be a top priority, calling it a “gateway” to the downtown area.
“It’s the entrance to town and had been neglected, historically,” he said. “To me, it’s a no-brainer.”
Councilwoman Sharon Turkovich agreed, noting the added foot traffic going over the bridge at night.
Borough Manager Barbara Diehl suggested finishing the initial work specified in the streetscape project, which included the aforementioned work to East Pitt and Richard streets, as well as lighting along West Pitt Street between Thomas and West streets.
Weaverling agreed with a portion of that plan, but said the area of West Pitt Street was less of a priority.
Cooper was instructed to propose updated cost estimates for the work. The deadline to apply for the state funding this year is in June. Cooper noted construction costs have increased significantly this year compared to the cost estimates prepared in 2019.
“We may be able to get half a street done,” Weaverling replied.
The proposed project would continue three previously completed phases of streetscape work that was done in 2011 and 2012 along Pitt, Juliana and Richard streets.
Council also discussed proposed changes to its ordinance regarding maintenance of curbing. Currently, property owners are responsible for maintaining curbing along streets, the same way they are responsible for sidewalks.
But Neff said he was concerned that the maintenance was only enforced when a property is sold.
“There may be one property that is sold multiple times in a decade, but if someone lives in a house for 40 years, it (the curb) never gets checked on,” he said.
Neff suggested the borough consider taking over the maintenance of curbs.
“That would obviously change our bottom line in terms of paving,” he said.
Diehl said recent estimations projected curbing would add about $60,000 in additional costs for a $200,000 street paving project on a street with curbing.
Neff said he believed taxpayers would take the tradeoff of not having to spend potentially thousands of dollars to repair curbing during property sales.
“I think may be it’s a worthwhile tradeoff,” he said.
Turkovich said she didn’t understand why property owners have been responsible for curbing.
“It makes no sense to me,” she said.
Councilman Jeff Rinscheid questioned the tax increase needed to cover the cost.
Diehl said it would increase the borough’s spending by about $50,000 during most paving years. Neff noted that the borough could keep the same paving budget and pave less each year.
Council’s ordinance committee will meet to discuss the proposal. The proposed changes would not change sidewalk maintenance responsibilities for property owners.
Olde Bedford Brewing Company joins 19 other veteran-owned breweries in Pennsylvania for a statewide Memorial Day beer release.
“Adapt and Overcome” will be a light drinking hazy IPA with a release scheduled for Memorial Day weekend at all of the participating breweries.
“The Pennsylvania Brewer Association every year does a veterans beer,” said Dave Heller of OBBC. “Any brewery that is veteran owned gets to contribute to it.”
According to Heller, the beer will be available in kegs and cans.
There are more than 350,000 veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard living in Pennsylvania.
The state has become a national leader in craft beer, with breweries ranging from small brewpubs, to expanding franchises to larger production breweries.
Within that list are a group of veteran-owned or operated breweries.
On Memorial Day weekend, 20 of those veteran-owned and operated breweries are coming together for a second time for a collaboration beer in support of military veterans.
The brew will also include ingredients from veteran-owned businesses in the state.
Grain and malt for the beer will come from Deer Creek Malthouse in Glen Mills, while some of the hops being used have been produced by GEMS Farms Hops in Carlisle.
To support the large volume of beer needed for the project, the beer was brewed at GearHouse Brewing in Chambersburg and 2nd Story Brewing in Philadelphia.
Proceeds from the beer will go to the Pennsylvania Veterans Foundation, which provides aid and support for veterans and their families.
Over the last eight years, the foundation has raised more than $2 million.
Other participating breweries include: Artifice Ales & Mead of Manheim, Black Forest Brewery of Ephrata, Cellar Works Brewing of Sarver, Cox Brewing of Elizabethtown, Downriver Brewing of Stroudsburg, Eclipse Brewing of Sunbury, Five Mountains Brewing of Shickshinny, Hemauer Brewing of Mechanicsburg, McAllister Brewing Co of North Wales, Root Down Brewing of Phoenixville, Seven Sirens Brewing of Bethlehem, Stonebridge Brewing of Johnstown, Tattered Flag Brewing of Middletown, Whitehorse Brewing of Berlin, and Willow Creek Brewing of West Reading.
ACM to host info sessions.
Allegany College of Maryland will host virtual information sessions at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on May 13 for area high school juniors and seniors interested in the college’s P-TECH Pennsylvania program. Preregistration for the info sessions is required and available at allegany.edu/ptechpa. P-TECH Pennsylvania offers students the chance to take technology courses at their own pace, or enroll in a two-year, 31-credit certificate in cybersecurity through the ACM Bedford County Campus. Funding through a donation by Everett Cash Mutual Insurance covers the cost of tuition, registration fees, and textbooks for the 2021-2022 academic year. Interested students may call 814-652-9528, ext. 6202, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, reach out to their guidance counselors or visit ACM’s P-TECH Pennsylvania website at allegany.edu/ptechpa.
Graduation deadline is May 6.
To be included in this year’s Graduation Edition, each homeschool and private school graduate will need to submit a graduation form and photo. Forms are available by sending an email to email@example.com. The deadline for submissions is May 6.
Veterans are invited to take part in parade.
Veterans are invited to participate in the Oscar Jordan VFW Post 7375 Memorial Day parade in Hyndman on May 31. Rides will be provided for veterans who would fee more comfortable riding. A service will follow at the HOPE for Hyndman Charter School. For more information or to sign up, send a letter by May 28 to Bob Willison, 3636 Hyndman Road, Hyndman, PA 15545. The parade will form at 9 a.m. along First Avenue and begin at 9:30 a.m.
Hyndman sets Bulky Waste Day.
Hyndman Borough Bulky Waste Spring Clean-up will be held on Saturday, May 15, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for borough residents only. Take all bulky waste to Hyndman wastewater treatment plant, 120 Shaffer Road, (at the end of Cunningham Drive, stay to the right on the paved road). No electronics, hazardous waste, or items containing freon. Used motor oil can be dropped off at Huffman’s Garage, 243 Fifth Ave.
Spaghetti dinners to be served.
Takeout spaghetti dinner will be served May 13, beginning at 3 p.m., at the Hornet’s Nest, Hyndman. The dinner will be served by the Wills Mountain veterans and Oscar Jordan VFW Post 7375. Advanced price is $8. Tickets are available at Hornet’s Nest or by calling 814-842-0003 or 814-310-1124. Take out spaghetti dinner will be served by the Knights of Columbus of St. John’s Parish in New Baltimore from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 16. Cost will be $9 for anyone ages 12 and older and $3 for children ages 3 to 11. Pre-order online by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 814-733-2210 by May 10. Provide name, phone number, preferred time of pick-up and the number of adult and child orders. Payment should be made at time of pick-up. Walk-ins will be accepted.
Classes begin May 11.
Freedom From Smoking classes will be held every Tuesday, May 11 through June 22, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bedford County Chamber of Commerce Building, 203 S. Juliana St., Bedford. An extra class will be held June 13, during “quit week.” The classes are offered free by the Lung Disease Foundation of Central PA. Free nicotine replacement therapy in the form of patches or gum and mints will be offered. Due to social distancing guidelines, class size is limited and wearing a mask is required. Registration is required. Call 814-977-4455 to register or for more information.
The Bedford Farmers Market will open its 2021 season on May 19 and will be open every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Sept. 29.
Customers will be able to reconnect with many of their favorite market vendors and meet others for the first time. The market will again take place in two of the quadrants on the public square in downtown Bedford. As in the past, it will feature locally grown produce, meat products, baked goods, honey, fresh and cut flowers, vegetable plants, eggs, soaps and more.
Entertainment will start on opening day with music by Eric Delozier from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the gazebo.
Returning vendors are Blackberry Bottom Farm, Deep Well Farm, Dn’d Family Farm, Dr. Jake’s Lemonade, Eliza’s Organics, Fresh AF Farms, Greenawalt’s Goodies, Harris Bakery & Greenhouse, Hen & Rooster Farm, Horn O Plenty, Lehman’s Farm, Original Recipes, OtisDawg Homemade Dog Treats, Standing Stone Coffee Co., Sylvan Glen Farm, The Posy Patch, and Twin Maples Greenhouse. New vendors attending this season’s market are Ashleigh’s Bakery, Bella Terra Vineyards, Mount Nitanee Kombucha, SunDreams Farm, Sunshine & Succulents, and Nature’s Reward.
With a grant through the Benjamin Bosler Fund of Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, Bedford County Endowments, the Hyndman/Bedford Family Health Centers, and Community LIFE, a voucher program will once again be available. Vouchers are for three groups of community members: children, senior citizens, and veterans. Veterans voucher market days are scheduled for June 2 and July 7. Children voucher market days will be on June 16 and Aug. 11. Senior citizen voucher market days will be on July 21 and Aug. 18.
The vouchers will be handed out at the market while supplies last.
CORLE, Donald K., 77, of Damascus, Md.
DIEHL, Kenneth C., 100, of Bedford.
FESSLER, Harry Edward “Eddie” Jr., 52, of Saxton.
HALL, George A., 68, Everett died Saturday at UPMC Altoona Hospital. Full obituary will be in Wednesday’s edition. Arrangements by Akers Funeral Home.
KIRKMAN, James W. “Jay,” 77, of New Enterprise.
PENSINGER, Suella P., 73, of Breezewood.
PUTT, Kristine E., 43, of Bedford.
RITCHEY, George F. Jr., 64, of Bakers Summit.
RITCHEY, William R. “Bill,” 71, of Altoona.
TEETER, Karry Joe, 77, of Martinsburg.
WEYANT, Catherine V. “Kate,” 80, of Ebensburg.