Article #119  - March 31, 2002 


by Glenn Tunney 

Brownsville Time Capsule looks back over the years
through the archives of the Brownsville Telegraph


25 Years Ago - March 1977

* In the words of Brownsville Area School District Superintendent George Alberts, it was an “illegal coup.”  That is how Alberts described what happened this week at the monthly meeting of the district’s board of school directors, as five members seized control of a disputed special meeting at Redstone Middle School in Republic.
         Board president Phillip Giannetti and three others sat disbelieving, refusing even to be considered present at the session.  In rapid-fire succession, Dr. Samuel Francis, Dr. Ralph Garofalo, Robert Bakewell, James Lent and Norman Davis made seven decisions without the participation of the other four members.  They voted to extend each school day by 70 minutes, beginning immediately, to make up for time lost due to the energy crisis and the teachers’ strike.  This would end the school term on or about June 19.  They named Frank Lucostic principal of Brownsville Area High School, replacing recently retired principal Alex Barantovich.
        They increased the salary of high school vice principal Tony Tassone and authorized Tassone to contact substitute teachers for the high school; changed the day of the regular board meetings from the third Monday of the month to the fourth Tuesday of the month; scheduled public planning sessions a week before each regular meeting; and voted to send William Garofalo and Joseph Daniero to a school administration convention in Las Vegas.
         The meeting was punctuated with heated debates among Alberts, Assistant Superintendent John Knox Hall and the five board members. When Alberts directed secretary Barbara Colage not to record the minutes or call the roll, Bakewell took over those duties. 
        Giannetti and Vice President Susan Peshko refused to participate in the meeting, so the five board members named Garofalo chairman.  Giannetti, Mrs. Peshko, Stephen Kosick and Tony Leon declined to respond to roll call, prompting board secretary Bakewell to mark them as abstaining from voting.
         Alberts repeatedly interrupted proceedings to claim that the meeting violated the Pennsylvania sunshine law.
         “This was a meeting to fire George Alberts,” claimed the superintendent.
         “You’re full of baloney!” responded Norman Davis. 
         Francis tallied the number of times Alberts spoke during that evening, in an apparent attempt to show how Alberts dominates meetings.  Francis counted 40 times.
         “You’re darn right I’ll speak up,” Alberts began.
         “41,” Francis said.
         The school board will meet again next Monday night.

45 Years Ago - March 1957

* The community has suffered a shocking loss with the tragic death of Ralph L. Campbell, 51, sales manager for the Wright Poster advertising company.  Campbell suffered fatal injuries in an automobile-truck crash on Route 981, two miles north of the Pleasant Valley Country Club.  He was returning home from Harrisburg, where he had gone on a business trip after serving as toastmaster at a luncheon meeting for the Business-Industry-Education day observance in the Elks home in Brownsville.
         Campbell was very active in community affairs in Brownsville.  He was a director and past president of the Chamber of Commerce, vice president of the Greater Brownsville Industrial Development Corporation, past president of the Kiwanis, and was active in the formation of the Little and Pony leagues in Brownsville. He was serving his second term as president of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Pennsylvania.  Campbell is survived by his wife, Mrs. Virginia Wright Campbell; three children, Nancy, Scott and Ginger; and his mother, Mrs. L. G. Campbell of Brownsville.
* Political maneuvering in upcoming local elections continues as William J. (Billy) Long has withdrawn from the Democratic race for burgess of Brownsville, just at the 4 p.m. deadline.  This leave three candidates in the Democratic race – William C. Westcoat, who is being backed by Long’s regular Democratic organization; Burgess Paul Thomas Jr., who is seeking re-election to a third four-year term; and John Raven.  Marion Klingensmith is the lone Republican candidate in the race.

* Brownsville’s first BIE (Business-Industry-Education) Day was held yesterday under the sponsorship of the Chamber of Commerce.  One hundred teachers from the Brownsville school system and St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s parochial schools visited local business and industrial establishments to learn at first hand what makes them tick.
         Starting at 9:15 a.m. with a general assembly in the junior high school library, the BIE program operated with precision and dispatch.  Sponsors provided transportation from the junior high school to the various establishments.  The program was divided into morning and afternoon sessions, with a luncheon program staged at noon in the Elks home.  Police escort was provided for the various tours, and sponsors pronounced the program an unqualified success.

* Want a flat-top haircut?  If you do, it is going to cost you more.  The Fayette County Barbers Association has announced that the price of a flat-top haircut will increase from $1.50 to $1.75 next month.  In making the announcement, Gregory Bokosh, association secretary, explained that it takes barbers twice as long to give flat-top haircuts as it does to give regular ones.

* In sports, the Brownsville High School thin clads launched the 1957 track season with an impressive victory over Redstone High School and South Union High School in a triangular meet at Brownsville Stadium.  Coach Jack Henck’s Blue and White trackers captured nine first places and amassed 76 ½ points to Redstone’s 37 ½ and South Union’s 16.  Andy Davis led the Brownie scoring by copping the 880-yard run, mile run and participating on the winning mile relay team.  Other Brownsville winners were Grover Ferguson, low and high hurdles; Sam Sullivan, pole vault; Fred Wilkes, high jump; Buddy Sheets, discus; and Jerry Slugger, javelin.  The winning mile relay team consisted of Joe Durant, Bobby Hart, Charley Smith and Andy Davis.  Copping first place honors for Redstone were Lou DeSimone, 100-yard dash; Guy Marbury, 440-yard run; Jim Jones, 220-yard dash; and Joe Novsek, shot put.

60 Years Ago - March 1942

* Believe it or not, tolls collected by the once prosperous Monongahela Bridge Company, operator of the old covered bridge that once spanned the Monongahela River, still make up a sizeable amount of the unclaimed funds in the old Monongahela National Bank.  The wooden bridge, which connected Brownsville and West Brownsville at the same location where its steel replacement now stands, was torn down in 1910.
        Donald W. Edwards is the appointed receiver of the Monongahela National Bank, which unexpectedly closed its doors in April 1931.  Edwards stated that the largest account yet unclaimed is in the name of the bridge company.  It amounts to several thousand dollars of the $28,000 still awaiting claimants at the closed bank.  It is believed that the original owners of the bridge are deceased, but their heirs can claim the amount.  If the sum is not claimed within the next two or three weeks, Edwards explained that the money will be divided among other depositors.


These articles appear weekly in the Sunday Uniontown HERALD-STANDARD.  If you enjoy reading them, please let the editors know.  You may e-mail your comments to Pete Skirchak (Editor - Brownsville edition) at  

Readers may contact Glenn Tunney at 724-785-3201, or 6068 National Pike East, Grindstone, PA   15442.  

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