The 26th annual Rodney Awards

The year is nearly done. The long, cold, darkest months of the new year are descending upon us. The gloom and gray can only mean one thing it's time for the annual Rodney Awards.

The Rodney Awards honor those in Clarion County for excellence and folly.

This year's statuettes are formed from the pressed dirt dug out of the hill by the Clarion Mall where a seemingly never-ending road project continues into 2020.

It's the 26th year of the Rodney Awards. The Rodney Awards have been around longer than our reporter Brett Kriebel has been alive.

Let's dig in with the "It's All Because of Barry Louise" Rodney Award for the Emlenton Volunteer Fire Department. In a press release nearly a year ago regarding a tractor-trailer crash on the Interstate 80 bridge over Emlenton, Tpr. James Gezik reported "the fabulous" Emlenton volunteer firefighters assisted at the scene.

The "Can You Say That's Some Football" Rodney Award goes to all the football players on all of the varsity teams in Clarion County. Every kid who played this past season "made the play-offs" and all with winning, respectable records.

I spend a lot of time at Keystone School Board meetings and several awards are the result of that time spent.

The "I Had a Cassette Tape of That Bit" Rodney Award goes to Keystone School Board members Greg Barrett and John Slagle who one night did a near flawless rendition of Cheech and Chong's "Dave's Not Here" bit. I don't remember who did Cheech and who did Chong

The "Telling Family Secrets" award goes to Keystone School Board member Dustin Swartfager. During one recent meeting board member Ken Swartfager (Dustin's father) was offering a colorful opinion of the state Department of Education. Slagle and Barrett suggested Ken start a Twitter account and post his opinions across the entire state and suggested Dustin get his dad set up with a Twitter account. "No," Dustin replied flatly. "Do you have any idea how long it would take him to punch 280 letters into a flip-phone?"

And finally at Keystone, the "Yeah, That Was Our First Thought, Too" Rodney Award goes to board member Dwayne VanTassel. It was pointed out one night the nine board members have 123 years of combined service to the school district. When the total was pointed out, VanTassel said, "Obviously, the last five years with me here have been the best." This award was named by Barrett, who quipped, "Yeah, that was my first thought, too."

Speaking of places I often cover the "The Best Insight To Dogs' Minds" Rodney Award goes to Farmington Township Supervisor Matt Sherbine who one evening offered, "The happier my dog gets, the faster he wags his tail. The faster he wags his tail, the more his eyes get crossed"

Still at Farmington Township, the "The Truth is The Truth" award goes to Supervisor Dave Crise, who, when discussing the township's road repair equipment was asked by fellow supervisor Chuck Gilbert "Nothing broke this month?" Dave replied, "No, I didn't drive anything this month."

The "It's Always Nice to Have an Observant Reader" award goes to Parker-area reader Marty Smith who caught me in three mistakes this year. Thanks, Marty. You do my self-esteem wonders.

The "Constipation Alley" Rodney Award goes to the Route 68 project running from Interstate 80 towards Clarion. Yes, I know it's progress, it's improvement. And the contractors are doing the best they can with destruction, construction and traffic control but plugged up is plugged up.

The "Best PR Person" Rodney Award goes to Rob Gatesman who handles all information related to the Big Fourth of July celebration at St. Joseph Church in Lucinda. Rob's information is always on time, thorough, includes photos and makes my life easier.

The "It's OK, Kid, Things Change" award goes to the young man I encountered at a gas pump who couldn't find where to put the gas in the car he borrowed. The fill tube was behind the license plate. He had never seen that before.

The "But, If I Can't, eh, Never Mind" Rodney Award goes to a particular convenience store gas station where the pumps were out of order for nearly two weeks. The odd thing they posted price increases on their signs twice even though the pumps didn't work.

The "Sure You Did, That's Why They're Closing" award goes to all those folks who claimed they bought "all" of their meat at Comet Market.

The "Really Why Would You Wear Those There?" Rodney Award goes to the woman who wore two diamond rings to the state correctional facility in Marienville. The rings were stolen during visiting hours.

The "Thanks, Counselor, You Were a Scholar and a Gentleman" Rodney Award goes to the late Ralph L.S. Montana. An army veteran, a top-notch attorney, a story-teller and friend, I'll miss him very much.

Monroe Township Secretary Sherry Gilligan also passed away in 2019. Always helpful and always quick with a colorful comment, Sherry has the "Classy and Candid" Rodney Award.

The "Only If It Says That On Your Driver's License" Rodney Award goes to the fellow who stopped by the office one day and asked if when I reported his criminal case, I would refer to him in print as "Big Pimp Daddy" because that's what he had told his cell mates his street name was.

The "A Lot of People Feel That Way About A Lot of Things" Rodney Award goes to the fellow who called me a few weeks back and asked, "How's a guy go about gettin' his township supervisors impeached?" I said it doesn't work that way and he replied "Well @#*$," and hung up.

The "A Growing Boy Needs His Livestock" Rodney Award goes to Elk Township Supervisor Brian Miller who related while talking about his son, a plate of Christmas cookies and his son's drink of choice, "My little boy, geesh, we should just buy a cow."

The "You Might Be Defeating the Purpose" Rodney Award goes to the home owner along a busy street near Knox. The home owner has posted a sign next to the road that says something to the effect of "If you drive too fast and hit my children or my pets I'll" It goes on but there's so much to read and it takes my eyes off the road so long that I'm afraid of running over children and pets.

The "That's Putting a Lot of Trust in the Media" Rodney Award goes to the local school board member who, in an email to a fellow school board member, wrote: "Are you high or drunk? Make sure you have medical evidence to show you're not because that's what I'm going to have the media check out."

The "Salesmanship of the Year" award goes to a promotional company that contacted me back during the primary election season offering "promotional merchandise." They would print my name on it and direct-ship it to potential voters. The company even sent a sample pencil. The problem? The whole thing came 15-cents postage due. I passed.

Sliding in just under the 2019 deadline is the "Pretty Sure That Beats a .08 BAC" award goes to the fellow who was charged with a DUI after driving his vehicle into a house. After admitting to police he had been drinking that evening, police asked how much he drank. Replied the suspect, "Enough to hit a house."

The "You Never Even Shooshed Me" Rodney Award goes to former Knox Library Director Roxanne Miller who retired from the job this year. Roxanne ran a great library and I wish her the best in retirement.

The "That's The Way It Should Work" Rodney Award goes to the Knox Township Municipal Authority which continues to look for ways to finance a state-mandated sewerage system that won't break the pocketbooks of its customers.

The "Dude, I'd Have to Agree With You" award goes to the young guy on the bicycle who pedaled up to me at a convenience store and said, "Dude, I need some help" as blood spurted from his deeply cut finger.

From the same incident, the "I Got This" award goes to Strattanville volunteer firefighter Wes Lander who was at the convenience store when the bleeding bicyclist rode up. Wes assessed the situation, called 9-1-1, treated the fellow for shock and gained control of the bleeding within moments.

The "Indirect Fiscal Conservatism" Rodney Award goes to Salem Township officials who appointed an attorney as legal counsel way back in January of 2019 but never told the attorney he had been appointed. With no retainer fee and no legal problems, the township had no attorney bills this year.

The "It's Been A Good Run" Rodney Award goes to Clarion Borough Councilman Earl Zerfoss who after many years 30 or more decided not to seek re-election. Earl provided many "colorful" quotes over the years. I enjoyed working with him.

The "Either Way, Clarion Borough Was Going to Win" award goes to William Miller and Brett Whitling. Bill and Brett ran for mayor in the last election and either way, Clarion was going to get a good mayor. Brett won but Bill will still be around lending a hand where needed.

That's all for this year. This year's awards ceremony will be held during the grand opening of the next Dollar General store in (insert the name of your town or village here).

Congratulations to the winners. Nominations for the 2020 Rodney Awards will be accepted throughout the upcoming year.

Award winners are responsible for all taxes and fees. Any use of the Rodney Awards logo or likeness is expressly forbidden by the Articles of Impeachment.

The author is the editor of the CLARION NEWS.