PITTSBURGH -- In 2017, when Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva stood near the tunnel to the Pittsburgh locker room with his hand over his heart while "The Star-Spangled Banner" played, the former Army Ranger was the only member of his team to do so.
Apropos of the moment, that game against the Chicago Bears was being ...Read more
JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania -- Ken Miller walked into one of the four storefronts on the right flank of the Richland Shopping Center, asked if this was where he could change his voter registration, sat down with a purpose and began to fill out the form.
"It is time to go," he said flatly as he checked his Pennsylvania driver's license number to ...Read more
BEDFORD, Pennsylvania -- The first time I saw Ryan Decker a few weeks ago, he was standing on the corner of the Lincoln Highway and South Richard Street holding an oversized homemade sign that read, "BEEF JERKY COSTS TOO MUCH." I thought to myself, "You know, he's not wrong."
His next sign was along the berm of U.S. 30, a four-lane highway. It ...Read more
Of all the riots that have gone unchecked in the country this summer, the one in Kenosha, Wisconsin, might matter most with regard to the November presidential election.
The vivid imagery in the days following the police shooting of Jacob Blake shows a town in devastation. Rioters blocked traffic. And they stole gasoline from a nearby gas ...Read more
PITHOLE CITY, Pennsylvania -- "Pap, I think you had better come see Pithole."
T.B. Whitacre penned those words to his grandfather on July 30, 1865. In January, just seven months earlier, an oil strike along Pithole Creek at Holmden Farm had drawn him and hundreds of people, mostly speculators, to the property where the oil was first discovered....Read more
WEST VIRGINIA -- Craig Hettlinger explains that he started drinking when he was about 16 years old. He escalated to stronger drugs three years later when he played Division I soccer at Marshall University. He started every game for a team that was then ranked in the top 20 in the country.
"My freshman year, we had just tied the No. 16 team in ...Read more
OAKMONT, Pennsylvania -- Long before you find yourself standing in front of the Smoke N' Guns shop, the delicate aroma of coffee beans and hand-rolled cigars beckons your senses as you walk along Allegheny River Boulevard.
Outside the shop, four black leather chairs spread a respectable 6 feet apart are waiting for either the overflow of ...Read more
ALTOONA, Pennsylvania -- As the scent of fresh-cut grass delicately fills the air, so do the aromas of hot dogs and hamburgers coming from the grill on the lower deck. Just past right field, there is an amusement park where you can hear the slow clink, clink, clink of the roller coaster as the carriage climbs its ancient wood scaffoldings. The ...Read more
PITTSBURGH -- Six months after a private staggered into the Fort Riley Army base infirmary in Kansas with a raging fever, chills and a sore throat, this city braced for the impact as the first wave of the 1918 flu pandemic made its way here.
It had already traveled from Kansas to Europe as troops shipped off to war and then headed back to the ...Read more
PROSPERITY, Pennsylvania -- How this little village earned its name is rooted in an old tale featuring a common last name, one-in-a-million odds and a likely exaggeration about how many settlers were attracted to the middle of the frontier.
"It was founded in 1848 by a gentleman named Robert Wallace," explains Clay Kilgore, executive director ...Read more
ENON, Pennsylvania -- Somewhere along the line, the little village of Enon was reclaimed by the land. For years, this was where the hopes and dreams of immigrants were realized, the dreams of many Welsh Baptists and Quakers who fled their homeland when the British government persecuted them for their dissent from the Church of England. That same...Read more
BEALLSVILLE, Pennsylvania -- If you are driving too fast, you'll miss her. It often happens at the pitch of the rolling Appalachian Mountain, where she has stood for nearly 100 years: the statue of a sturdy frontier woman holding a rifle in one arm and an infant in another, with another child clinging to her long skirt.
She is Madonna of the ...Read more