New Castle News

Local News

July 26, 2013

Photos, Video, Story: Local man checks off bucket list item with balloon flight

NEW CASTLE — An opportunity to check an item off your bucket list doesn’t happen every day.

For Art Hautala, yesterday was a day that he got to check something from his. An item on his list was to ride in a hot air balloon.

Thanks to Louis Merryman, Hautala and his daughter, Ashley, got to take a balloon ride from Wilmington High School to Neshannock High School.

Hautala said hot air balloons always sparked his interest. Seeing them always made him wonder what it would be like to go up in one, and even the process behind it.

Merryman has been piloting hot air balloon rides since 1996. From out of town shows to the annual Balloon Quest, Merryman said taking out the balloon has always been a fun way to spend time with his family.

While Merryman and his family prepared the balloon for takeoff, Hautala said he was feeling no nerves.

“If I’ve been on C-130’s 30,000 feet up in Vietnam, I think I can handle this,” he said.

C-130 is an aircraft used for military transport.

Hautala, his daughter, Ashley, and Merryman took flight shortly after 7 p.m. On the ground, Merryman’s family communicated with him via walkie-talkie to help him determine a safe place to land.

Their landing occurred just behind Neshannock High. Hautala’s first reaction upon landing, he shouted, “I loved it!”

Smiling in excitement after the ride, he said he would do it again in a heartbeat.

“It was well worth it,” he said. “You’re not that high, it’s just peaceful up there.”

He said their trip was smooth, and that the whole experience was like a gift. Hautala said he understands why Merryman’s been doing this for so many years after he got his chance to take a ride.

“Ashley loved it, too,” he said. “It was better than any Cedar Point ride any day.”

After the team packed the balloon back into the trailer, Merryman gathered everyone together for a traditional toast with champagne.

Merryman, his balloon, and his crew will all be present at this year’s Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park. The event kicks off this evening with “Balloon Glow.”

He said he will be there as earlier as 6 a.m. over the weekend and that rides in the morning are unlike any other.

For Merryman, the ride was just another notch on his belt but for Hautala it was a valuable check for his bucket list.

 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • LOVEkitchen.jpg Love Kitchen: Little Caesars provides special delivery for Rescue Mission

    The Little Caesars Love Kitchen rolled into the City Rescue Mission for a special delivery Wednesday. A pizza kitchen on wheels, the big rig travels across the United States and Canada to meet the needs of the hungry, the homeless and disaster survivors.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • fairphoto.jpg County fair looks for a few good bakers

    The countdown to the 2014 Lawrence County Fair has begun. In less than two weeks, the fairgrounds will be brimming with animals, vegetables, fruit, flowers, music, food and fun. This year’s fair runs from Aug. 11 to 16.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • CarolineOrrico.jpg Local teen off to state DYW event

    Lawrence County’s 2015 Distinguished Young Woman is heading back into scholarship competition.

     

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • NicholsonOffice.jpg County to buy new office for Nicholson

    Before the end of the year, the Lawrence County commissioners plan to move District Judge Jennifer Nicholson into new offices.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • PortersvilleSS.jpg Portersville Steam Show summer event arrives

    The Portersville Steam Show will stage its summer event Thursday through Sunday at its show grounds.

     

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Veteran.jpg Veterans seminar to view technology

    A veterans benefits seminar has been set for Friday. The program will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the commissioners room of the Lawrence County courthouse.

     
     

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Part-time guard position created

    The Lawrence County Salary Board created a part-time temporary court guard position Tuesday.

     

    July 30, 2014

  • JaredGustafson.jpg Mohawk senior Jared Gustafson elected nation FCCLA officer

    A Mohawk High student was elected to national office at a leadership conference in Texas. Senior Jared Gustafson now is the 2014-2015 national vice president of parliamentary law for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • PipeDreams.jpg Concert to feature sounds of ’60s

    This week’s Friday Night Live at Riverwalk Amphitheater will feature a 1960s theme. Entertainment will be provided by Pipe Dreams. The group performs a tribute to the British Invasion and American rock ’n roll with music from The Beatles, Stones, Doors, Monkees and hits from Motown and Philly.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Environmental groups oppose forced pooling

    An effort by local landowners to have forced pooling declared unconstitutional is getting some outside support. Two environmental groups — Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association — have filed a friend of the court brief with Commonwealth Court. They are asking that the court review forced pooling, which is part of a 1961 Oil and Gas Conservation Law, before scheduled hearings take place.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo