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Central graduate shines

Shining rays of sun on some good news:

Martinsburg native and Central High School graduate Danielle Maurer did herself and our area proud by winning two rounds of Jeopardy in programs that aired last week.

In her first appearance, Maurer, a 2008 graduate of Central High School, ended a historic streak of 23 straight games by Toronto’s Mattea Roach, who piled up $560,983 in winnings.

Maurer, a digital marketing manager and author who now resides in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, defeated Mattea by $1 and finished in first place with a total of $15,600.

Maurer, whose parents, grandparents and other relatives still reside in Blair County, won two games and had a two-day total of $27,999 before she was defeated.

Having success in Jeopardy is no fluke. Successful contestants need incredible knowledge, poise and very quick recall in handling an array of topics. Danielle Maurer displayed all three.

In line with being well read, it was nice to see the Altoona Public Library hold festivities marking its 95th anniversary.

Under the direction of Jennifer Knisely, the local library overcame serious flood damage due to a water main break in December of 2020 and was displaced for more than a year.

But thanks to its leadership, perseverance and wonderful community support, the library is now back in operation and thriving at its longstanding location on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 17th Street, right next to Altoona Area High School.

At its anniversary celebration, the library presented renowned local artist Joe Servello, who will be 90 years old next month, with its Novel Award.

The revitalization of downtown Altoona continued last month with the ribbon cutting for the impressive Curry Innovation Center, a program administered by Saint Francis University in the former Vipond building.

The Saint Francis outreach on the first floor of the three-story building will provide classes to engineering, environmental and business students who can do research that will help Curry, which is one of the largest commercial service vehicle manufacturers in the country.

The project cost about $7.5 million and expands Saint Francis’ presence in Altoona.

Penn State Altoona currently manages the Sheetz Entrepreneurial Center on the other end of the 11th Avenue block. Already, the view of downtown Altoona from 11th Avenue looks a lot better.

Hollidaysburg native Sam Lafferty has been participating on the U.S. men’s national hockey team that is competing in the 2022 International Ice Hockey Federation championships.

The competition runs through next week in Tampere and Helsinki.

Blair County’s first-ever professional hockey player, Lafferty, 27, recently ended his third season in the National Hockey League. He is a member of the Chicago Blackhawks after being traded by the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this season.

The first of area high school graduations, Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School, takes place tonight.

Congratulations to the graduates and their families: It’s only just begun.

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