Russell-Akeley Life

Angove’s Farm

The name “Angove” has been an institution in Pine Grove Township since at least 1924 when Leo and Edna Angove purchased their farm in Akeley. Leo was Jack Angove’s grandfather. Between 12 and 21 thousand years ago the land which is now Angove’s farm had been covered with ice of the Wisconsin glacier. While the glacier made three advances in northwestern Pennsylvania, the “hill” pushed up by the leading edge of the first glacial advance (at Russell school) was its farthest advance. Glaciation broke up a buried layer of calcium and magnesium-rich rock which produced the Chenango and Pope soils now found there and supported crops of corn, string beans, and alfalfa, as well as sugar maple trees, growing on the farm today.

Before World War II, Leo Angove had a dairy farm and a milk business. He also raised poultry, which he sold live at a market, as well as pigs and beef cattle. He also produced maple syrup from the abundant sugar maple trees on the property. Leo Angove died in 1949, the year Jack Angove was born.

Jack grew up on the farm, learning the art and science of farming. After college and military service, Jack returned to the farm. Jack and his Dad, Jeral Angove, had become interested in boarding dogs. Together, they repurposed the old chicken coop and built a facility for raising and boarding dogs, which opened in 1972. When Jack’s Dad passed away in 1978, the boarding kennel passed to Jack. Jack says he can tell how many dogs to expect at the kennel by consulting the school vacation calendar; school vacations equal more dogs.

Over time, the Angoves have raised some cattle and hogs, but the mainstay of the farm in recent years has been Maple sugaring. The rich soils on the property support fine sugar maple trees. Intermittent sugar maple seed crops have resulted in numerous young sugar maple trees in the understory of the forested portions of the farm. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Jack would literally pull up these young trees, prune the roots and branches and replant the trees along a stream on the property. These trees will become the future of the Angove’s maple sugaring. Beginning in 1981, Jack started to collect sugar maple sap in buckets hung on about 400 sugar maple trees. Later on, the tubing was attached to the tap on each tree, so the sap could be collected at a central location. Jack built a sugar house in 1981, where he boiled down the collected sap to the right consistency. He says that on average, he gets about 100 quarts of syrup from 400 taps. After the syrup has cooled, it is bottled in pint and quart containers. The label on the bottle says that the maple syrup is good on pancakes, French toast, cereals, warm biscuits, steamed rice, ice cream, apple pie and home fried potatoes. You might say that Jack Angove has a sweet business going there!

ROAR Meeting March 5

The ROAR Committee met at 6:30 p.m. in the Russell United Methodist Church for a short business meeting. The Committee received an update on its 501c3 application. Recently, the application was sent to the Pennsylvania Department of State in Harrisburg for Articles of Incorporation. The group will be known as, ROAR Inc. When returned, the attorney will meet with the officers to inform the Committee of the next procedure and complete the application.

To date, there has not been a response from property owners for an easement on sidewalk repair. The project was tabled until approval has been received and funding is available or it will be moved to ROAR Phase II.

ROARs first fundraiser of the year will be Breakfast with the Easter Bunny to be held Saturday, April 6, 2019, at Russell United Methodist Church from 9 to 11 a.m. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, and juice will be $8.00 per person. Some activities and pictures with the Easter Bunny are included. Purchase tickets at Ter-Lins Reflections or by e-mailing roar16345@gmail.com. The ticket purchase deadline is March 29.

Pine Grove Days Kick-off Meeting followed at 7 p.m. The community was invited to present ideas and sign-up for assistance with the Celebration Committee. There was a good turn out with about 15 questions. The Russell United Methodist Church youth group has volunteered to help. The events will take place on Saturday, May 25, and will include a parade, 5K run, fireworks, vendors, a street dance, Kids Korner, Corn Hole Tournament, Chicken BBQ, bloodmobile visit, Little Miss ROAR pageant and demonstrations like Civil War Medical Triage, Knot-tying, etc. Sunday, May 26 has been reserved for an all-church gathering at Larimer Park. Details and contacts for all events will be made public when they are available.

Supervisors Report

As spring approaches, the priorities for road maintenance are becoming clearer. As it stands now, the priorities are Cider Mill Road, Egypt Hollow Road, Stanton Hill Road, East Street, Pine Street, and Gouldtown Road. However, a more thorough evaluation of all township roads will occur in April, which will result in the final schedule for the summer maintenance season. In the meantime, residents are asked to report potholes or break-ups to the township office. Every effort will be made to address the issues quickly. The township office number is 757-8112 or email at pinegrovetwp@verizon.net. The Egypt Hollow bridge will be replaced with construction likely to start next month. This will delay maintenance of the road until the bridge is replaced. To improve efficiency in road maintenance, the township has purchased a used mini-excavator. This piece of equipment will make ditching and trenching a lot easier and quicker than the use of a backhoe. Also related to road improvement maintenance, the township is entering into an Agility Agreement with PennDOT, whereby the township and PennDOT can exchange services with one another based upon the terms of the agreement.

After evaluation of the initial installation of 24 LED street lights, it is likely that additional LED lights will be installed among the remaining street lights in the township. The LED lights are much brighter than the traditional street lights and are especially helpful at dimly-lit intersections. As reported earlier, the Pine Grove Municipal Authority has awarded a construction contract to complete upgrades to the water system. This project will eliminate all iron pipe in the system and reduce the number of dead ends, which often result in sediment issues. Construction is scheduled to begin in June and should take a few weeks to complete.

The township is dealing with a significant problem at the mouth of Johnny Run. Someone has cut a very large tree upstream of the mouth, and the tree has floated down the Conewango Creek and jammed the mouth of Johnny Run. The tree has redirected the stream, causing considerable erosion of a protective dike at the mouth of the run. The dilemma is removing the large tree without equipment entering waterways. Nevertheless, the tree will have to be removed and repairs to the dike undertaken at some point to eliminate the flood risk to adjacent property.

The township has been asked to participate in a new tax relief program being proposed by Commissioner Jeff Eggleston. The program allows for property tax relief for a period of 10 years for new construction and for the redevelopment of the deteriorated property. The tax relief apparently applies to the increased assessed valuation of the actual cost of new construction or renovations. They do have some questions about the program but are favoring adoption of a necessary ordinance for participation in the program once their questions are satisfactorily answered. The program will be on the agenda of the next township supervisors meeting. Details of the program are being widely publicized by Commissioner Eggleston and information on the program also is available at the township office.

Fire Department statistics for February are not available, but it is clear that after a very busy 2018, there are no signs the demands for emergency services on the Russell Volunteer Fire Department are slowing. We are very fortunate in the township to have the dedication of several individuals who are well-trained and willing to respond, day or night, to the calls for help. However, there is always a need for volunteers. While the training to become a firefighter is very demanding, there are many other ways volunteers can help. If you are interested in becoming a firefighter or just volunteering your time to help in other ways, call the Department at 757-8211.


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