Community Connection
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By Ginny Tonkin staff blogger
Ginny Tonkin loves traveling off the beaten path, learning about new cultures through food, and everything outdoors. She recently spent eight months teaching English in Vietnam, and loves swapping travel stories.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-464-5589


Posts tagged "crawford county"
Posted: March 16th, 2012

Unseasonably warm weather gets me thinking about ice cream, and Susie’s Ice Cream Factory is back in the business. The 16-year-old Titusville institution now operates as a “factory,” selling sizes pint and larger from their location and distributing to area vendors for that traditional scoop-on-cone experience.

For vendors and future customers, the creamery has an invitation only Open House this Saturday.

“It’s to thank the people who served Susie’s this past year,” said Kim Dickson, a Susie’s worker, “and to invite other customers to buy our product–to help the grow, too.”

Their regular hours are 12-6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and Fridays 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. at their Titusville location.

Can’t visit the factory or one of their Titusville-area vendor locations? Order directly online at Their flavor list is drool-worthy with flavors like Mocha Almond Fudge, Chocolate Carmel Truffle, and Black Gold–Susie’s version of Death by Chocolate.

Check out their Facebook page for more information on their hours and operations.

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: October 2nd, 2011

Dreams came true for the two royalties crowned Saturday evening at the 57th Miss Crawford County Pageant.

“This really is a lifetime dream. I’ve wanted to be Miss Crawford County since I was six years old and saw the pageant,” said Hillary Baughman, moments after she was crowned Miss Crawford County 2011.

“I’m still a little jittery, I don’t really believe it actually happened,” said Ashlyn Devore, standing next to Baughman, newly crowned as Outstanding Teen.

“It’s really a dream, because my sister was Miss Crawford County, and just following her footsteps just really makes me excited.”

The MASH auditorium buzzed with activity that day for “An Enchanted Evening.” Starting at 10am, Dixie Shaffer emceed the morning’s show, including the Little Miss, Junior Miss, and Baby Miss pageant competitions.

All were back in action to crown the 2011 Miss Crawford County and Outstanding Teen that evening with emcee Joe Galbo.

“Enjoy every event, little kids will want their picture with you and your autograph,” said Miss Crawford County 2010 Jacklyn Schnauber, offering advice to the next queen. “Meet lots of new people… bring a camera and take lots of pictures.”

A final farewell slideshows captured the year’s highlights for both outgoing Outstanding Teen 2010 Miranda Robison and for an emotional Schnauber as Miss Crawford County.

Miss Crawford County's Outstanding Teen 2011: Ashlyn Devore

Miss Crawford County's Outstanding Teen 2011: Ashlyn Devore

The Miss Crawford County Pageants recognizes its contestants for a variety of special awards. From the Outstanding Teen constants, Michaela Morrel took home the Miss Congeniality, Community Choice, and Essay awards, while Teen constant Libby Hornstein took home the Lifestyle/Physical Fitness and Talent awards. Lexi Abplanalp received top marks to win the Interview award.

From the Miss Crawford County contestants, Alyssa Messet won Miss Congeniality, while Stephanie Owens won the sponsorship award, the Taleant award, as well as for her platform basket, which highlighted Music Education for Children. Hillary Baughman won the Essay award, while Lacey Weaver took home the Lifestyle/Physical Fitness award. Victoria Coleman received top marks to win the Interview award.

Watch videos of contestants Anne Grill and Brooke Cozzens during the all-important on-stage interview, and moments-after reactions from Baughman and Devore on Click through pictures in the Miss Crawford County 2011 photo gallery to see images from the evening pageant.

If you have photos you want to share, click on “Submit photos” to post your own.


Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: September 30th, 2011

Ghost Lake facts to know before you go:

Where: Conneaut Lake Park, 12382 Center Street, Conneaut Lake

When: Weekends until October 31. Friday-Saturday 7-midnight. Sunday 11pm.

Price: $20 adults. $15 kids 11 and under.

Tips: It takes about 90 minutes to get through all nine levels. As Halloween grows closer, the park gets busy and lines wind out doors, so factor in wait time as well when you plan your trip.

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: September 30th, 2011

I don’t like horror movies. And I normally only go along on haunted house tours unless friends are dragging me.

But I would gladly return to this haunted attraction right in our back yard: Ghost Lake at Conneaut Lake Park.

I couldn’t face Ghost Lake alone; when I visited Conneaut Lake Park during its first open event weekend, I brought my best friend and her boyfriend along for the journey.

Mild-mannered amusement park by summer, haunted attraction by fall.

Purchasing tickets to Ghost Lake allow patrons entry to the “Nine Levels of Terror.” Different iconic park buildings, such as Hotel Conneaut or the Beach Club, turn into haunted houses and mazes guarded and guided by costumed spooks.

Ghost Lake grows bigger and more popular by the year—but the 200-acre park is literally quite large. In it’s forth year, this haunted attraction, put on by the Ohio-based group Mid-America Events, is seeking approval from the Guinness Book of World Records to be the largest in square footage.

We were unimpressed with the first two levels; the spooks weren’t scary and it just felt like we were wandering in an old house with the lights off. But we realized they were just warming us up for the main event—the Haunted Hotel Conneaut—and what came after it.

Annie Rosenthal, Manager of the Haunted Hotel Conneaut, provided the real story: “The great thing about this house is that it’s the only house in the park that’s actually haunted. Elizabeth is the ghost of this house; she died in a fire when the hotel burnt down in the 1800s. She supposedly walks the halls and haunts people. Guests supposedly have seen apparitions.”

If that isn’t scary enough, they’ve added their own crew of monsters committed to scaring the bejesus out of you.

After we departed the hotel, each attraction was better and scarier than the one before. From wobbling through spinning canisters to shuffling along sandy floors, it felt like we were living a horror movie—but we got to exit the park with our heads still attached.

Your visit is not complete without a ride on the Ghoster Coaster, more commonly known as the Blue Streak. Plunging through the darkness on the park’s historic wooden rollercoaster amplifies this penultimate ride’s scare factor.

Although I saw folks carting around children as young as two, I wouldn’t bring anyone under 12. It’s no fun having to wait on the sidelines with an upset child when others are roaming through the houses without you.

As Ghost Lake’s reputation grows, people trek as far as Pittsburgh, despite its Crawford County haunt, to experience the Nine Levels of Terror. I may not have wandered to and through Ghost Lake alone, but with a group, it’s well worth the admission and gas money.

Read this modified post in my column of today’s print issue of

Posted in: Crawford County
Posted: September 9th, 2011

Julie Scott’s mother survived breast cancer–three times. That’s one of the many reasons why she’s been involved with the Pink Ribbon Charity Classic Horse Show for the past three years. This show, running this weekend at the Crawford County Fairgrounds, is in its 4th year of partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and donates its proceeds to this fund for breast cancer research.

“It’s a labor of love for all of us,” said Scott, who is the event secretary and lives near Pittsburgh. “It’s a really important cause for us, and we care about what we’re doing.”

Supporting the fight against breast cancer is one great reason to attend says Scott, but the show itself is a huge draw for the people who show their horses.

“Why do I drive three and a half hours from Ohio?” said Mike Cunningham, owner of Jam Stables in Medina County, Ohio, who shows at the Classic, “It’s a really well put on show. I’ve been coming since the first.”

Cunningham’s father was born and raised in Meadville, and brings his dad, who now resides in State College, to the show. For the big classes tomorrow evening, he intends to wear a tuxedo–and muck boots if it’s raining.

“It’s a horse show, you get a whole mix of everything,” said Cunningham.

Event President Amy Haller is especially excited for the evening events. “We’re pinking out the fairgrounds,” she said. People come to the event, either decked to the nines or covered in pink, all to support the cause. To raise additional funds, and to keep the event fun, they’re raffling off prizes, including Steelers tickets and a golf cart.

The Crawford County Fair grandstand has been transformed into a grand show ring, complete with a landscaped center with a gazebo for the announcer and photographer. Behind the ring run tents, covering tables with pink table clothes for the sponsors who donated to support the show–and the cure. Event organizers are accepting sponsor applications for next year.

What can you do to help? According to Scott, filling the grandstands is the best way.

“For the performers, it just makes for a spectacular show,” she said.

Check back throughout the weekend for more photos from the Classic!

Posted in: Crawford County

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