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Pat Shingleton: "Donora Smog and Hard Corn on the Window!"

4 years 8 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, October 10 2019 Oct 10, 2019 October 10, 2019 9:00 AM October 10, 2019 in Pat Shingleton Column
By: Pat Shingleton:

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported recently on an event that happened this date in 1948 in Donora, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh was known as the Steel City and communities surrounding it contributed in the production of steel.  On this fateful day, plant emissions and a stagnant air mass allowed pollution levels to rapidly increase. The article noted responses from residents that included the inability to see a football field or not seeing a street curb or the end of your hand. Life magazine ran an article entitled, “Murder From the Mills” with experts noting that if the smog lasted another evening the number of deaths could have topped 1,000.  The smog killed 20 and the Donora Smog Museum, to this day, recognizes the event. On to another Pennsylvania story. Cold, rain or snow never stopped our Halloween preparations during my younger years. Gardens in the neighborhood had lingering stalks of corn still holding an ear or two.  Once shucked the kernels were as hard as gravel, easily twisted from the cob.  The kernels were separated into paper bags and that’s when the Halloween pranks began -  for some. My brother Denis and I didn’t participate in these activities. The Halloweener’s did include the Sudano boys, Dangerous Doug Kelly, Johnny Cornelius, Dumps Wiley, Skunk Tritt and my brothers Kevin and Mike.  As we did our homework at the kitchen table, assisting my mother in treat distribution, the rattle of hard corn on the windows sounded like a machine gun. Let's conclude with a few spooky weather items for Halloween. October 31, '91, a camper in Queensland, Australia was reading Steven King's "The Dead Zone." The cover of the book depicted a man being struck by lightning. A bolt of lightning struck the woman as the rubber mattress she was on may have saved her life. A twelve foot wall-of-water surged through Central Ave. in Belton Texas on Halloween, 1974. A pickup truck was washed from Killeen to Belton ending up in the courthouse. Put a coat on the kids under their costume tonight!

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