Paying tribute to Madera native

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Some general observations while bidding farewell to 2016 and welcoming the New Year.

n Saddened but honored to have attended the Celebration of Life Memorial for Madera native Ray Raffin, who passed away shortly before Christmas after a courageous battle against cancer. The Moshannon Valley graduate leaves behind a loving family and a legacy of excellence in his adopted home of Wyalusing.

Generations of football players paid tribute to their coach, who paced the sidelines for more than thirty years; that Wyalusing Valley High School gridiron now bears his name. Raffin is remembered fondly for his tough-but-fair style, and even more for his kindness.

When not on the football field, he loved to hunt and fish with his sons and grandsons; no doubt he is reeling in some big ones on some heavenly stream.

n Sports do not seem very important in the wake of the death of a local Pennsylvania State Trooper in the line of duty; sending thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Trooper Landon Weaver. And thank you to all law enforcement officers who serve our communities every day.

n  Mother Nature has not been kind to muzzleloader hunters this season. Two weekends of fog and rain have made it tough-going for flint-lock lovers.  Here’s hoping the next couple of weeks allow for clear days and maybe a little tracking snow.

n The Penn State women’s basketball team tips off 2017 tonight hosting Big Ten rival Iowa.

After an impressive non-conference start of 11-2, including a victory over perennial power Tennessee, the Lady Lions have dropped their first two conference outings, including a disappointing New Year’s Eve loss at Rutgers.

But there have been some bright spots to finish out 2016, including the hot-hand of Teniya Page, who is just the second Lady Lion with three career 30-point games through her freshmen and sophomore seasons. And if that isn’t enough to bring out the crowd, tonight’s half-time show is the K9 Crew Disc Dogs.

n NASCAR’s most sought-after bachelor is officially off the market. Dale Earnhardt Junior tied the knot on New Year’s Eve, marrying his longtime love, Amy Reimann, who is featured in one of his Nationwide insurance commercials.

While hearts of young women are breaking all over the nation, NASCAR’s largest contingent of fans is anxiously awaiting the return of their favorite driver next month. Earnhardt sat out much of the 2016 season with concussion symptoms, but has been cleared to return to the track.

Goodman Shaffer can be reached at kellie@bedfordcountychamber.org

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