Photo of the new principals at Mahanoy Area and Shenandoah Valley high schools.

Quiz Time for Two New Principals

By Joei Shaller and Myla Wall         COAL REGION–This year, Mahanoy Area and Shenandoah Valley high schools welcomed new principals into their school communities. We caught up with each principal to ask some questions about themselves and the year ahead. Coal Cracker: What was the biggest reason...   Read More

Photo of Gary Perna by David Lindenmuth.

Gary Perna Journalist

By David Lindenmuth         HAZLETON–For as long as he can remember, 2010 Mahanoy Area graduate Gary Perna has wanted to be a news reporter. “I grew up watching Nolan Johannes every night on WNEP and always wanted his job,” Perna said. In 2012, Perna earned an Associate’s...   Read More

Photo by Coal Cracker Reporter Emma Shaller of Seamstress Virginia Laurusevage and her assistant Armelle Metellus.

Meet Virginia Laurusevage

By Emma Shaller         Many people may know Virginia Laurusevage as a local seamstress with a shop at 439 East Mahanoy Street, but there are a lot of things you may not know she has done for our community. For example, she has made tons of beautiful...   Read More

Photo by Meredith Rhoades of Dan Wowak of Coalcracker Bushcraft.

Coalcracker Bushcraft

By Meredith Rhoades         When you think of Schuylkill County, do awesome hiking trails or spectacular views come to mind? For Dan Wowak (above), a Mahanoy City native, the local woods sparked his passion for the outdoors and led to a career in wilderness survival skills, which...   Read More

Photo of Coal Cracker Project Coordinator Leslie Richardson.

Leslie Richardson: Coal Cracker Project Coordinator

By Meredith Rhoades         The Coal Cracker Kids Board of Directors recently hired Leslie Richardson, of Mahanoy City, as the new Project Coordinator to lead development of Coal Cracker youth-led news. Here, we introduce our readers to Richardson with a quick question and answer session to help...   Read More

Photo of Sharon Smith who channels her inner honey badger when running ultramarathons.

Channel Your Inner Honey Badger

By Meredith Rhoades         Living your life like a honey badger may sound bizarre, but to Sharon Smith, it means that she is doing exactly what she is meant to do. Sharon is a Mahanoy City native who has recently discovered a love for ultramarathons — which...   Read More

Photo of Grier City PA resident Edie Messerschmidt.

Edie’s Grier City History Lesson

Know Your Neighbors By Serena Bennett       Edith “Edie” Messerschmidt, a local knowledgeable Grier City resident, has lived in Grier City since 1973 when she married her late husband, William Messerschmidt, whom she met at the White Birch Golf Course, in Barnesville. Coal Cracker talked to Edie about...   Read More

Photo of Mike Messerschmidt running in a marathon in Antarctica.

Running Across the Continents

Marathoner Michael Messerschmidt   By Meredith Rhoades         Michael Messerschmidt isn’t your typical eighth grade civics teacher; he’s an avid runner who has finished a total of 44 marathons. He has run a marathon on every continent and plans to run one in every US state (up...   Read More

Citizen of the Year: Peg Grigalonis

By Serena Bennett         The Mahanoy City Elks Lodge No. 695 recently named Margaret “Peg” (Guinan) Grigalonis, of Barnesville, as Citizen of the Year. “I was honored by one of the most esteemed organizations in Mahanoy City, the Elks, where my father and grandfather, Abe Hawkes, and...   Read More

Selfie photo of NBA's James Harden and Logan Rhoades.

James Harden Off the Court

By Meredith Rhoades Selfie by James Harden       At only 26, shooting guard James Harden of the Houston Rockets is already an elite basketball player. He grew up in Los Angeles and attended Arizona State University. He has been named NBA All-Star three times, All-NBA First Team two...   Read More

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