’BURGH
VETSROLL VIA FACEBOOK
a town's salute

Carnegie citizens line streets to greet veterans

Hundreds of WWII, Korean-era vets welcomed on trip to Washington D.C.

BY ALEXANDER POPICHAK

In an era so politically divisive and with communities so disconnected from one another, it's heartwarming to see a community rally around those who served — and that's exactly what happened Monday morning in Carnegie.

VetsRoll, an organization dedicated to taking WWII and Korean-era vets to see their monuments in Washington D.C. for free, stopped for lunch in the quiet suburb en route from Wisconsin. As about 260 veterans rolled into town, hundreds of citizens lined the streets — ranging in age from elementary students to veterans — to greet them with cheers and chants of "U-S-A."

According to Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek, as many as 400 people came out to greet the vets as they made their way on the quarter-mile stretch from the Parkway West to a luncheon at Cefalo's Banquet and Event Center.

"I talked to Lenny (Cefalo), and I said, 'Lenny, we need to really give them a nice welcome when they come off that Parkway,' " Kobistek said via phone Tuesday. "We have a perfect set up for it, so logistically they come down this long corridor right into Lenny's parking lot, couldn't ask for a better opportunity to welcome some of our vets."

The plan they devised was simple: reach out to as many people as they could to get a good showing on short notice. According to Kobistek, four grades from Carnegie's elementary school came, as well as the local VFW post, the American Legion, the Legion Riders (a motorcycle group related to the Legion), a contingent from the Knights of Columbus, business owners and residents.

"I sent out an e-mail blast, and I talked to a number of organizations in the community, and every one of them stepped up," he said. "It turned out to be a nice and poignant greeting for these vets that really changed the world."

The effort paid off. The veterans were caught by surprise with a police escort and the town's reception. The organization posted the following video of the welcome to their Facebook page, with the caption "This is what America is all about!":

Kobistek attended the luncheon and said that the vets loved their greeting.

"I heard over and over again that this was the best welcome they've received anywhere, including when they came back from the war," Kobistek said. "So many of them told me that they cried, their eyes teared up. It was really an exceptional experience on their end, and I believe they will have fond memories of the love that Carnegie showed them for the rest of their lives."

More images are available on the website of VetsRoll's traveling photographer and on the VetsRoll Facebook album.

NATION

Hey, our veterans' flags are missing! Blame the woodchucks

Authorities say furry critters, not vandals, are likely to blame for American flags that disappeared from veterans' graves in Massachusetts.

The flags at Bellevue Cemetery, in Adams, were first reported missing earlier this month. Residents volunteered to replace the flags by hand, but then those went missing, too.

Police were called to investigate, and Chief Richard Tarsa told The Boston Globe on Monday that officers found evidence that a woodchuck is likely using the flags in its burrow.

Tarsa says a similar incident happened in New York in 2012, where police linked a woodchuck to about 75 flags that disappeared from Cedar Park Cemetery.

He says about 12 to 18 flags were damaged in Adams.

Police say they still plan to keep an eye on the cemetery.

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A Kentucky student wanted to leave his classmates with some thoughtful words so he looked to the president, or rather a former president.

"This is the part of my speech where I share some inspirational quotes I found on Google," Ben Bowling said in his speech, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. "'Don't just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.' — Donald J. Trump."

The crowd burst into applause.

"Just kidding," Bowling said. "That was Barack Obama."

The crowd went quiet.

According to the report, Bowling said he thought it was a really good quote, but knew that if he just attributed it to Obama, the crowd wouldn't appreciate it as much, so he said it was Trump and got a strong reaction.

Bell County High School is located in southeastern Kentucky, a state that went for Trump in the 2016 Presidential election.




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’BURGH
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New Primanti’s sandwich swaps fries for pierogies

If you're going to remove the fries from a Primanti's sandwich, you'd better replace it with something Pittsburghers know and love.

How about kielbasa and Mrs. T's pierogies?

That's the recipe for Primanti's latest limited-edition offering, "The Polish Hill." It will be available from June 8 through mid-August in all Primanti Bros. locations except its restaurants in Indiana, where Mrs. T's pierogies are not available, a company spokeswoman said.

The sandwich unites Pennsylvania culinary institutions from either side of the state, pairing South Side-based Primanti Bros. with Schuylkill-County-based Mrs. T's Pierogies.

The sandwich will also include provolone cheese, hot grilled slaw, beer mustard and tomato, jammed between two slices of Italian bread.

"I don't let them make changes to our sandwiches like this unless they're good," said Toni Haggerty, manager of Primanti's original location in Pittsburgh's Strip District, in a news release. "Everybody in Pittsburgh knows Mrs. T's Pierogies, and now they'll know them on 'The Polish Hill' sandwich."

"If polka music was a flavor — I'm pretty sure this would be it," Haggerty said.

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Son finds wrong man with father's name buried aside his mother

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During a trip to his mother's gravesite at a Milwaukee cemetery, R.C. Smith saw a fresh mound of dirt covering the adjacent plot.

Plot twist: the space was reserved for his 90-year-old father whom WISN News describes as "very much alive."

The station spoke with R.C. Smith about his reaction to the wrong Otha L. Smith being buried beside his mother.



Smith made it clear Wednesday that "Someone's in the grave that shouldn't be in the grave."

Union cemetery manager said his staff is working to find out how the mistake happened.

Despite the acknowledgment, Smith made declared he is unhappy with the confusion.

"If I had not come to the cemetery like I do, I would never have been aware of this Mr. Otha is not the Otha that should be here," he told the station. "I'm not pleased with the gentleman laying next to my mom."

It remained unclear Wednesday how the situation would be resolved. Attempts to find the family of Otha L. Smith buried in the grave were unsuccessful. Cemetery officials said they're working to contact family members.