Writer, Photographer, and Artist

Nemacolin, PA, USA

My name is Danielle and I'm a writer/artist/photographer/social media-er. I grew up in a small southwestern Pennsylvania coal mining town, in an area rich with history due, in part, to its place as an early frontier wilderness.

My interests are numerous, but I have a deep love for all things dark and scary. I love both Poe and Lovecraft, can - and do - watch almost any horror movie that is available, and celebrate Halloween all year around. I am fascinated by many aspects of history, with a specific interest in medieval times, Vlad Tepes, serial killers through the ages, and both World Wars. Locally, i have an interest in coal mining and its history.

I have a bachelor's from Bellevue University in Graphic Design and an associate's in Web Publishing. I'm employed as a managing editor/social media manager for a local community magazine that is delivered to every home in our county, free of charge. I love that I get to meet people and help the community so many ways. I serve on the board for our local library as secretary, and assist on committees/with events for a local arts festival, sheep & fiber festival, car cruise and a downtown holiday open house.

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Relax Along the Greene River Trail

Sep 05, 2019 4 years ago

If you're looking for a scenic, relaxing place to take a walk, ride your bike, or go for a run, look no further than the tranquil Greene River Trail running along the Monongahela River, from Millsboro to Crucible. Soon, you'll be able to enjoy the trail all the way tp the outskirts of Carmichaels, with the addition of 2.2 miles of trail from Crucible to Jessop Boat Club. The current trail is 5.1 miles long and once the addition is completed will stretch for 7.3 miles along the river, following the lines of an abandoned railroad bed. The trail expansion will include spaces for benches and picnic areas along its path. The extension project hopes to provide benefits to the local communities. Citizens will have an even better route for walking, biking, and jogging. Public access to new sections of the Monongahela River will be available and it will attract visitors as a destination for outdoor activities. The added visitors will be a boost to local economy, and should create a bigger demand for eating establishments, convenience stores, bicycle shops, and possibly lodging in towns near the trail. The plans for the extension have been in the works for a long time. It took 6 years to acquire all the land needed along the route and then extensive clearing had to be completed to begin work on the trail itself. “No one's been on this land for 60 years,” says Jake Blaker, Director of Greene County's Department of Recreation. “There's a lot of brush growth, slips and slides. We've done a lot clearing and grubbing for the extension.” Drainage, creating culverts and other environmental issues had to be addressed in the early stages of the project. A bonus in converting rails to trails is that the rail bed aids in the creation of the trail by providing a well-built and stable foundation. The surface is relatively flat, though there is often deterioration in older abandoned railways that is reconstructed. The former railroad that ran along the river was in service from 1901 to 1961 and carried coal along the track from four mines: Gateway, the original Dilworth mine, Crucible, and Nemacolin. It no longer carried coal the last ten years that it functioned, but instead carried supplies for the mines. The coal mines it serviced, much like the railroad ,are no longer there - though remnants of Gateway, Dilworth, and Crucible can be seen along the trail route and further down the river, two buildings still stand from what is left of the Nemacolin mine. The Crucible mine has been reclaimed, the steel recycled and the cement ground up and reused for the Ambridge Walmart near Rt. 65. Still standing as historical markers are the dynamite shack and cap shack. The new extension will also pass remnants of Isabella mine's tipple across the river. With the trail's extension, visitors from throughout the region will be able to appreciate the trail's scenic views of the Monongahela River, countryside, and coal industry remnants. Along the trail, visitors can stop at Pumpkin Run for additional hiking or use of its gazebos, launch watercraft from the improved boat ramp area, watch barges travel up the river, and visit Rices Landing's historic district, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. The trail extension project will help preserve and enhance the scenic and historic resources of the area. The Rices Landing historic district includes a National Historic Landmark, the 110-year-old W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop, as well as the remains of Monongahela River Lock 6, a brick jail built in the 1850s., and other early 1900s structures. A museum, located in one of the houses from Lock 6, features history to the river and its towns. Future extension plans hope to take the Greene River Trail approximately another 7 miles along the river to Nemacolin Mine and end near the former Hatfield's Ferry power station. Farther in the future, plans for the trail will have it running along the shoulder of Rt. 21, across the Masontown Bridge and eventually connecting to the Sheepskin Trail at Point Marion - a hub on the 48-mile West Virginia Mon River Trail system and the 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage. Parking for the trail is currently available at two of the trailheads, Greene Cove Yacht Club and Rices Landing Borough, across from Pumpkin Run Park. Another parking area will be completed at the future trailhead at Jessop Boat Club. Recently added to the existing trail, a new stone bench in honor of Ralph K. Bell has been placed near the Walking Man statue. The Walking Man statue was Hans T. Lubich's Eagle Scout Project completed in 2007. The finished trail will be available to the public in the upcoming months. A dedication ceremony will be held for the opening of the trail, as well as for the addition of new plaques recognizing the historic significance of the trail.


Charles “Pye” Plasko has transformed from high school teacher to local celebrity. In 2013, at the urging of a former student, Pye took his love of weather to Facebook and started the page "Pye's Greene County Weather". Four years later, his local forecasts have a following of over 10K, with followers checking the forecast in Greene County from as far away as Grove City and Oklahoma. Even the local township supervisors are known to give Pye a call about the weather to plan their work week! No one was more surprised then Pye himself in the ever-expanding popularity of his page. “It's definitely changed my life a little,” he confesses. Trips to the post office, the store, even on a walk at the park, usually include an interaction with a fan. Pye recounts with a smile, “I was walking my dog at the park. A lady stopped me and asked, ‘Are you Pye?' I said I was, and she got excited and said, ‘I can't believe I met you!'” He laughs. Pye's love of weather started in grade school. Like most children, he waited anxiously during winter to hear that magical phrase – snow day. One year the weatherman's forecast pretty much guaranteed a snow day, so young Pye went to bed happy in the knowledge that he wouldn't have school the following day. When he woke up the next morning, he excitedly ran to the window to see all the marvelous snow, only to discover...nothing. Not one flake. How could the weatherman be so wrong? From that moment on, Pye was hooked. He began charting the weather himself daily. He later earned a bachelor's and master's degree in Earth Science from California University, with classes focusing on meteorology and astronomy; he had thoughts of possibly working for the Weather Channel. Instead of the Weather Channel, Pye took his education to Carmichaels Area High School, where he taught for 32 years. While he worked at the school, he was always the go-to guy for the weather; if you wondered about the weather, you went to see Pye. After retiring in June 2007, Pye became a realtor. He's also spent time with both Nemacolin and Carmichaels VFD; he still runs with Carmichaels as an engineer/driver. But it's the weather that he looks forward to every day. Pye gets up early, around 6/6:30am daily, to check the graphs and make sure he has something available for his followers. “I'm excited to get up every day to see what's going on,” Pye shares. “Especially if something big is coming, like a snowstorm.” On those big weather event days, he gets up around 4:30am to better prepare. Pye uses a combination of information sources to create his forecasts. He looks at the information provided by European Centre for Medium-Range Weather (ECMW), the Global Forecast System (GFS), and NWS Pittsburgh to create the foundation of his forecast. He then uses his general knowledge of similar past weather conditions and knowledge of the area for a more localized prediction. It takes about an hour and a half to 2 hours to go over all of his sources and compile the information into a forecast that he can share with his followers. Pye acknowledges there are challenges in predicting Greene County weather, especially when trying to go more than a day or two out. The remote areas of Greene County, especially the valleys often see different weather than the rest of the county, especially in severe cold. There's also the task of making sure that people understand the graphic models are not a guaranteed prediction because of the many factors. But the rewards balance out those challenges. “I like being right,” Pye admits, “Especially when everyone else is wrong!” He laughs, then says, “I also like that people learn a little bit about the weather when I do this. It's like I'm still teaching a little.” “He takes it so seriously,” his wife, Kathy, says. “But it's sparked a good thing in him. It gives him something to do and keeps him active. He even works on it when we're on vacation!” She adds, “Everyone asks me at work what Pye says the weather will be like. I'm proud of what he's done.”

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