Get into the holiday spirit with Onie the Christmas Owl

This holiday season, consider putting this “Onie look alike” in your tree to carry on the story and the tradition of Onie.

In this column, I usually write about some aspect of the history of Russell and Akeley.

However, at this particular moment I think the primary thing on the minds of most residents is keeping ourselves and our family and friends safe and healthy. Despite this, the joy of the coming Christmas is on the minds of most Warren County residents. Many homes in Warren County are displaying outdoor lights and cars with Christmas trees tied on their roof or protruding from their trunk are becoming more common. And, “The Night Before Christmas” is the most popular book in local stores.

All of these things have been happening in our family. Last weekend, our grandson brought a 12-foot tree into his bedroom. It was a little too tall, but fit just fine when he cut it back to seven feet. And last night it looked great with lights and homemade ornaments. The family tree was brought into the living area last night. It, too, is a tall tree and required a very tall ladder to put the lights and ornaments on it.

My wife, Liz Horsley, an elementary school teacher, has gotten into the Christmas spirit and recently penned a story about the experience surrounding this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City. I think you will enjoy it. It would be a great read for children in your life. May Onie, the Christmas Owl, become a tradition in your family, too!

Happy reading!

Onie the Christmas Owl

By Liz Horsley

Hey there, I’m Onie from Oneonta, N.Y., my hometown. And boy do I have a story to tell you.

Shortly after I was born my parents said, “OK bud time to go out on your own. (You know that’s the sort of thing that birds do)! I replied, “I don’t know how to do this thing – be on my own”. With that I flew up to a nice full, well almost full, fir tree and nestled into the branches for a good place to think about what to do!

I was just beginning to make a plan when, Whoa, the next thing I knew my very secure fir tree was soon being cut down and bundled up in ropes in preparation for a trip, a long one!

There I was inside the very dark scary tree on a very scary truck ride to parts unknown.

There were very, very many stops and starts along the way. Curvy roads, straight roads, hilly roads, a lot of honking horns and traffic lights galore. After about the 100th traffic light, more or less, after all I’m only an owl, counting is not my specialty, we made our final stop. Bump, bump, swish, slide, the tree made it off the truck! As the workers untied and unwrapped the tree they discovered me, Onie, among the branches. Thank goodness!

Boy was it bright, noisy all day long and evening too! Exciting for my eyes and myself. Could not believe what I saw! Tall buildings, skyscrapers, so they are called, cars, trucks, bikes, lights flashing everywhere and nary a tree in sight! People, people, people everywhere, nice, helpful, smiling, some people sleeping on sidewalks and under bridges. People with face coverings on protecting them from the virus called COVID.

The workers were busy setting up my tree in Rockefeller Center, for it is the main attraction in downtown Manhattan for the entire Christmas season. The tree is adorned with many lights, bedazzling for all to enjoy.

Another group of workers could not believe what they saw, “ME the Owl!”, nestled in the tree. The kind workers rescued me and decided to call me Onie, since I came from Oneonta. Off they took me to an animal hospital. There, I was given some much-needed water and food. After a short stay and a good rest, the kind doctor said I was fit as a fiddle and I could return to Oneonta, N.Y.

Now I could resume my days in peace and quiet in a forest with lots of trees for my home! And do you know how I travelled back home to Oneonta — by limousine! Wow, what an adventure!

Merry Christmas!


DECEMBER 7, 2020

The regular monthly meeting of the ROAR Committee for December was cancelled due to consideration of COVID. The next scheduled ROAR meeting will be held on Jan. 11 at the Pine Grove Township town hall at 6:30 p.m. The agenda will include selection of officers for the 2021 year.


DECEMBER 9, 2020

The Board of Supervisors has finalized the 2021 budget for the township’s general fund. The budget was approved at the December 10 supervisors’ meeting. It does have a small surplus and will enable the township to meet its obligations, while keeping it financially healthy. There are no capital investments in the budget, but it does continue building a reserve fund for future capital needs. Anyone wishing to review the budget in detail can stop by the township office to do so.

In other business, the supervisors have approved a contract to remove several dead ash trees from Larimer Park. The trees pose a risk to park users, as the trees are dying and large limbs are periodically breaking off. The trees are a victim of insect infestation by the emerald ash borer affecting ash trees throughout the area.

The supervisors are planning on integrating the township’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Program with the county’s program. The LERTA program provides five years of real estate tax relief as an incentive to invest in commercial development or redevelopment of property laying within designated LERTA zones. Before the township’s LERTA program is approved, there will be a public hearing to review and explain its provisions along with soliciting public input.

Also, planning is continuing for next year’s maintenance season. Supervisors know the cost of asphalt paving and oil/sealing per mile, so are in the process of projecting costs for the roads that have already been set as priorities for next spring and summer. Most of the costs for road maintenance and improvements will come from the township’s liquid fuel tax allocation received from PennDOT.

The supervisors are looking at broadband availability in Pine Grove Township and are considering putting together a work group to identify possible options for expanding or increasing broadband. There are a few people in the township who are knowledgeable in this area and have expressed an interest in helping with the project, if it is implemented. The supervisors will be discussing the feasibility of moving forward on this project at upcoming meetings.

The supervisors and maintenance supervisor also have been upgrading and improving the township’s commercial radios. Some of the town’s trucks did not have radios. The town now has working radios in all the trucks, along with a base station at the township office. The radios improve communications in the event of an emergency, as well as improve daily operational efficiency. The township’s municipal services (water and sewage) are now able to meet their financial obligations of maintaining efficient services, servicing their loans and building a reserve for ongoing or emergency maintenance needs.

The Board of Supervisors reminds all residents to practice accepted safety practices during the pandemic, asking people to wear their masks when out in the public, maintain social distancing, avoid large crowds and wash their hands often. Doing those four things is the best defense against contracting COVID-19.

The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be its annual organization meeting. It will be held Monday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m. at the township office on East Street. The public is welcome to attend.

Also, as the winter season begins, residents are reminded to call the township office, if they have concerns with road conditions. Moreover, residents should periodically check the township’s website for information or announcements affecting them. Pine Grove Township supervisors and employees wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and above all, we wish all to be safe and healthy.


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