Fishing Season Opener on Hamlin Lake

April 12, 2014

Smethport Web – Nathan Muller

With the respite of winter weather, anglers of all ages swarmed the banks of Hamlin Lake on the opening day of fishing season. With the water still cold, the trout were ready to snap at pretty much anything cast their way.

As the day wore on, most folks seemed content with just enjoying a rare sunny day, and less concerned with snagging a trophy size trout.

But a whole season of fishing awaits Hamlin Lake and nearby rivers and streams. That means there’s a big story waiting to be told.

End of an Era - Patch Products to Close Smethport Toy Factory

January 30, 2014

Smethport Web - by Nathan Muller

Patch Products in Beloit, Wisconsin has announced that its toy factory in Smethport, Pennsylvania will close as of February 28, 2014.

The facility, known for producing the locally-invented, world-famous Wooly Willy magnetic toy, will impact 15 employees. Positions include both management and those working the assembly line.

“While the decision to close the Smethport, Pennsylvania facility was a difficult one, it is important for the long term health of the organization. As we evaluate the trends of the toy industry and the needs of the future, we felt it was important to consolidate our manufacturing facilities.” said Brian Maxwell, President of Patch.

“I want to thank our employees for their service and dedication to Patch. This is a difficult time, and we’re doing everything possible to provide support to those affected,” said Maxwell.

According to Patch, employees whose jobs have been eliminated have been provided a severance package and resources to assist them in their job search.

While Patch Products has been moving some toy production to China in recent years, a spokesperson for Patch Products said the company intends to produce the original Wooly Willy magnetic toy, invented in 1955 by Smethport’s Jim Herzog, at its plant in Beloit.

Herzog noted that Smethport had been an ideal location for a toy industry for many years. He said the community was central to the population of the United States, offering good resources in the form of supplies and talented employees.

“Obviously I find the firm’s demise a sad occasion for those still employed and for the community in general,” said Herzog. “I do hope a new industry can be found that will enjoy the same support given the firm when I was involved over 20 years ago.”

Reflecting on the current situation, Herzog said the toy industry thrives on new products, either evolutionary or revolutionary. “Even though Wooly Willy gave Patch a good base product, it was no longer capable of supporting the company on its own merits.”

Smethport Mayor Wayne Foltz had concerns that this day might come based on downsizing and the direction many manufacturing companies are going today.

“When I read it to be fact my heart sank,” said Foltz. “While I won’t pretend to know the heartache of the employees about to lose their livelihood, I do hope the best for them. There is sadness and shock within the community, but I know in the end our community and its citizens will get through this,” he said.

“Thank you to the Herzog family, especially Wooly Willy creator Jim Herzog, for giving Smethport such a great place for employment and Patch Products for continuing that for as long as possible,” said Foltz. “Best regards to all and remember that the Wooly Willy heritage will never disappear. ”

See related story in Bradford Era.


Bowl for Kids’ Sake - Sign Up Now!

January 15, 2014

Smethport Web — by Annie Wolfe

It’s time for Bowl For Kids’ Sake, the largest annual FUN-raising event that supports Big Brothers Big Sisters in McKean County. The event will be held Saturday, March 29th at Byllye Lanes in Bradford.

Help make 2014 the biggest event ever! Participants may choose to bowl at 2 p.m., 5:00 p.m. or at 8 p.m. You can register to bowl by calling Big Brothers Big Sisters at 1-877-776-1636 or by downloading and filling out our Bowler Packet.

Each bowler is asked to collect a minimum of $35 in sponsorships. Then join the fun: enjoy two FREE games of bowling, FREE food and a night full of fun activities, entertainment, and lots of great prize giveaways. It’s all for fun, no skill required! The best part is all of the money raised at Bowl For Kids’ Sake stays in McKean County to provide mentoring services for local youth.

Businesses are also encouraged to get involved as lane sponsors and prize donors. Our program’s success depends on support from you. To register a team, sponsor a lane or donate a prize, please call toll free 1-877-776-1636.

Smethport Begins Year with New Mayor

January 7, 2014

Smethport Web - by Nathan Muller

Wayne Foltz, with wife Lisa, sworn in as Smethport  Mayor by Judge Bill Todd.Wayne Foltz was sworn into office by Magisterial District Court Judge Bill Todd at last evening’s Borough Council meeting. The Mayor’s wife, Lisa, took part in the ceremony by holding the Bible upon which the Mayor took the oath. Foltz is captain in the Smethport Fire Department and a former Smethport Chamber of Commerce president. He is currently employed as district manager at Universal Well Services in Bradford.

Council members Greg Rounsville, Josh Costa, Kent Herzog and Jeff Tanner were sworn into office, having won reelection last year. Leo Church, the newest member of the Council, was also sworn in by Judge Todd.

By unanimous vote, the Council reelected Greg Rounsville as President and Brian Gustafson as Vice President.
Read more

American Red Cross Hosted Blood Drive in Memory of Alan Hamilton

December 17, 2013

Smethport Web - Melissa A. Riehle

Alan Hamilton Memorial Blood DriveThe Hamilton family and the American Red Cross held their first annual blood drive in memory of Alan Hamilton on Monday, December 16 at the Smethport Fire Hall.

Alan was an avid blood donor, who donated over six gallons of blood during his lifetime. Alan’s family co-sponsored the drive to increase community awareness about the need for blood.

Alan was initially admitted into the hospital on April 21, 2013 because he was having trouble breathing. It was at this visit that they diagnosed him with pneumonia. Alan was in and out of the hospital from April until June. On June 7, he was taken by ambulance to a larger hospital in Erie, Pa. He was there for 12 days and then transported to a facility in Pittsburgh on June 19.

It was on June 26 that Alan was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis, a rare disorder in which blood vessels become inflamed, making it hard for blood to flow. During his sickness, he received multiple blood transfusions that helped him stay alive. Sadly, on August 2, 2013 Alan passed away.

Approximately every two seconds a patient in the United States needs blood. That’s why your blood donation through the Red Cross is so important. Your blood donation can help save the life of a real person in our community.

Local blood donors are needed all year round to ensure the blood supply stays strong. Donors can schedule an appointment any time by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by visiting

Two-Day Sale - Unique Gift Items at the Old Jail Museum

December 5, 2013

Smethport Web - by Claudia Caminite

museum_editedIf you are looking for a unique and original gift, the McKean County Historical Society announces a pre-holiday sale of a variety of items at the Old Jail Museum Gift Shop, 502 West King Street, Smethport, PA.

There are many historical books and locally written books, hand-made jewelry, woven rugs, knitted hats and scarves, and wooden crafted shelves. There are unique gift items galore.

Pat Rogge, a volunteer for many years, who was a civil servant employed by the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., donated four signed, matted, and framed prints by Don Cannovaro, who is known for his drawings of our national monuments. Mrs. Rogge also donated a variety of prints she acquired at the Smithsonian Art Gallery. This wonderful collection is for sale.

An exciting new collection of paintings by local artist, Virginia Cherrington, is also available. Shoppers will also find matted, framed photos by Rocky Holland. Christopher Robbins’s print “Made in the USA” is available.

This is the first sale at Old Jail Museum Gift Shop, behind the McKean County Court House, Smethport. The two day sale will be 11:00 AM until 6:00 PM, Wednesday, December 11 and Thursday, December 12. Light refreshment s will be served.

Chef Specialties Company Honored by The Rehabilitation Center

November 19, 2013

Smethport Web — News Desk

Chef Specialties Company honored by The Rehabilitation Center of Olean, NY.Chef Specialties Company, Inc. of Smethport, Pennsylvania was honored at a business leaders luncheon by The Rehabilitation Center of Olean, New York for their support of the Center’s mission through the SubCon Industries division. During the luncheon, Chef Specialties Company received the 2013 “Business of the Year” Award.

The ceremony was held at the St. Bonaventure Country Club on Thursday, November 14, 2013. Jack and Mary Pierotti represented Chef Specialties Company.

SubCon Industries is a non-profit organization that provides employment-training opportunities for 200 adults with disabilities. The company is dedicated to developing their vocational skills, and good work habits, to help them achieve their individual goals. Chef Specialties Company has partnered with SubCon Industries for the last twenty-five years providing clients the opportunities to earn a living by filling and packing some of Chef’s pepper mill and salt mill products.

Chef Specialties Company was founded in Detroit in 1940. The company was moved to Smethport from Kane in 1974 when the Pierotti family purchased the assembly operation. The company had been making metal parts for the pepper mills before that time.

The company is the largest supplier of pepper mills to the Foodservice Industry. Chef Specialties Company sells through large food supply distributors such as US Foods, Edward Don Company, Sysco Corporation, Gordon Foods, US Foods, Wasserstrom, SEFA, and many others. In turn, these distributors then sell to individual restaurants and restaurant chains.

Chef Specialties Company mills will be found in TGI Fridays, Longhorn Steakhouse, Outback Steakhouse, and many more. The Professional Wood mills are also used in the White House kitchens.

On the retail market side the company supplies many small gourmet shops, grocery chains, and online sites such as Target, The Chef’s Catalog, The Wine Enthusiast Catalog, Woodcraft, and

Simply Healthy Herbalife Nutrition Club Opens in Smethport

November 19, 2013

Smethport Web — by Nathan Muller

Jessica Kindle at the new Simply Healthy Herbalife Nutrition Club in Smethport.Jessica and Akete Kindle have opened Simply Healthy, a Herbalife nutrition club in Smethport that serves weight-management, energy-fitness and targeted nutrition products intended to support a healthy lifestyle for people of all ages.

Jessica offers a personalized approach in that she can understand members’ specific needs and guides them in selecting the right products to achieve their goals. If weight loss is the goal, for example, a regimen of teas and shakes might be recommended, along with one regular meal per day.

One Smethport resident has shed 35 pounds in 30 days by following Jessica’s advice, and now fits into long-forgotten coats and jackets. Apparently there is one side effect with this kind of weight loss… The people who experience it feel so good that they can’t stop talking about it.

The club at 322 W. Main Street is open from 8 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 7 pm on weekdays and Saturday. Contact Jessica at 814-331-1714 or

Smethport’s Wayne Putnam and Jacob Amster Place in Youth Bowling Tournament

November 6, 2013

Smethport Web — by Theresa Putnam

Wayne Putnam and Jacob Amster of Smethport.The DuBois Lanes hosted the second District 4 Youth Gold Pin Youth Bowling Tournament Sunday afternoon with Wayne Putnam of Cyclone (series of 640) claiming the title.

Twenty-two bowlers bowled a three-game qualifying round with the top five bowlers matching up in the step ladder finals.

Ryan Mitskavich of DuBois was the No. 1 seed with a 662 series. Mitskavich and No. 3 seeded Jacob Amster of Smethport, with a series of 631 also tied for the high game of the day with a 258.

The day’s first match pitted DuBois’ Thomas Grecco, No. 5, against No. 4 Brandon Orsich of Clearfield. Orsich outscored Grecco 235-210. Orsich moved onto the second match against Amster and won by a score of 222-156.

Orsich’s run came to an end in match three as Wayne Putnam of Smethport put on a four-strike streak in the middle of the game to win by a score of 211-181. This set up the finals with Putnam building up a comfortable lead on Mitskavich early. Mitskavich fought back to force Putnam to make a good count in the final frame. Putnam left a split, but was able to pick up one pin to score the 185-183 first place win.

The Gold Pin Tournament was set up by Clearfield youth coach, Don Barr, with girls qualifying in their leagues by bowling a 550 series and boys a 600 series. Each district house was also afforded one non-qualifying position for this tournament. Barr is looking to expand on this tournament in the future, and possibly making this a scholarship earning tournament.

The next tournament will be held in the spring of 2014 at Clearfield Lanes. District 4 bowling centers include Bradford, Brookville, Clearfield, DuBois, Emporium, Kane, Philipsburg and St. Marys.

Darion Gregory Picks Up 1st Place Wheel Race Medallion

November 5, 2013

Smethport Web — by Nathan Muller

Darion Gregory receives 1st Place medallion.This year’s Wheel Around the Hub Cycling Races, held on September 14th, featured a new Junior Mountain Bike Class for cyclists aged 12-13, 14-15, and 16-17, who participated in the one-lap 7.5-mile race.

Following the event, awards were presented during an outdoor barbeque celebration hosted by the Smethport Fire Department. Everything went smoothly, except that one 1st Place medallion for the 12-13 age class remained behind, unclaimed.

The medallion was finally united with its owner today at the Smethport Junior High School where Mayor Ross Porter and school principal Bob Miller officially presented it to Darion Gregory, son of Holly and Kirk Gregory of Smethport.

Initially worried about why he was summoned to the principal’s office, Darion was surprised when told it was to receive an award. He said he expects to participate in next year’s Wheel Around the Hub Cycling Races.

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