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Of all the intricate pieces of artwork throughout the 15th annual Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, one particular piece sitting on Court Street has stood out to many passersby throughout the week.
The carving masterpiece, created by Mark Bosworth of Massachusetts, features a young girl with angel's wings embracing the neck of a horse. It is a memoriam piece paying tribute the late Amanda Putney of Royalston, Mass., who died in a December 2012 car crash.
As a top female speed artist, chainsaw carver Dawna Ceriani of Brockport is quick to the saw as she is renowned for producing detailed and quality carvings in under 45 minutes.
Last year Ceriani brought in $7,000 in three days for her auction pieces during Block Bash in French Lick, Ind. The event was hosted by the Saw Dogs, a team of the world's top chainsaw carvers who are the feature of a behind the scenes television series. The previous year she placed third in the auction. In addition she also created a masterpiece carving.
On a bitterly cold and windy day in Ridgway, Cindy McMurray pours some gas in her chainsaw and prepares to continue working on a wood sculpture that breaks new ground in her carving career.
She normally enjoys carving human figures in dancersâ€™ and loversâ€™ poses, but today she is carving a tree-shaped birdhouse that stands about six feet high.
â€śIâ€™ve never done anything like this before, so weâ€™ll see how it turns out,â€ť she said with a laugh.
Rob Peterson of Louisville, Ky. is one of the many artists in town for this week's Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous.
Having worked in construction since 1974, Peterson developed an eye for design and form, according to his website, robpetersoncarving.com. Paying attention to intricate details has paid off in dividends for Peterson as his talents for wood carving have grown with time.
Sandra Prechtel, 51, of St. Marys pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion in 2012 but is now arguing that her sentence is unconstitutional.
Prechtel filed a motion on Jan. 31 to set aside, vacate or correct her sentence under auspices of the Supreme Court decision in Alleyne v. United States, according to court documents. In this decision, the Supreme Court took discretionary power from judges in imposing sentences. The Court ruled last June that any element that would increase the penalty for a crime must be submitted to a jury for consideration.
Lieutenant Esther Wilson, a Corps Officer for the Western Pennsylvania Branch of the Salvation Army, has recently announced that the Ridgway-based center would be available to offer transportation to surrounding Salvation Army adult rehabilitation centers for area residents seeking treatment.
"We're all one army," she said.
However, according to Wilson, Ridgway's Salvation Army is making an attempt at "bridging the gap" between their facility and those that offer the necessary services for those seeking help.
Despite no budget increase, Gov. Tom Corbett's proposed 2014-2015 state budget of $29.4 billion would hike spending by nearly $1 billion.
The proposal provides additional funding for Pre-K-12 education, but restricts funds in a way that will make it hard to restore cuts made to the classroom in recent years.
The most significant line items are funding for education (35 percent), medical assistance and long-term living (22.8 percent), other welfare (16 percent) and corrections (7.5 percent).
Michael Hager of Leo, Ind. is enjoying his second Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous.
Hager, whose carving station is located along Center Street behind the Elk County Prison, is a relative newcomer to the art form.
"I bought a book years ago, read it and thought Iâ€™d give this a try," he said. "It was probably four years ago and Iâ€™ve always been in the construction business."
Elk Company 6 (Wilcox Fire Department) was dispatched at 2:22 p.m. Wednesday afternoon to 128 Horner Rd. in Jones Township for a reported chimney fire. Firefighters set up a ladder alongside the house and cleared up the inside of the chimney.
The Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous, and the chainsaw carving art form itself has evolved over the years.
Many of the carvers convening in downtown Ridgway were once humble beginners, creating mushrooms and bears from random logs. The mantra of late, however, seems to be "Go big or go home," as carvers continuously try to get better and better, and take on projects of seemingly epic proportions.
A prime example is Scott Dow, owner of Animalistic Chainsaw Carving Studio along U.S. Route 6 in Corry.