Pruning fruit trees Got a backyard fruit tree you'd like to make more productive? The Lawrence County Cooperative Extension can help. The extension is sponsoring a demonstration on proper fruit tree pruning at 4 p.m. March 20 at The Apple Castle on Route 18. Eric Oesterling, a horticultural agent from the Westmoreland County extension office, will lead the exhibition. To register, call the local extension office at (724) 654-8370 by Monday.

Navy pianist Master Chief Petty Officer Gerard J. Ascione, a New Castle native, will be performing with the the United States Navy Band in the area this week. The band will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hickory High School in Hermitage, and at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Butler High School. Ascione has been the band's pianist since 2002. He frequently performs as a soloist for such high-ranking officials as the vice president, the secretary of defense, the secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations. Ascione joined the Navy in 1977 and was assigned to the Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, Md. While there, he was a founding member of the Naval Academy's rock band, "The Electric Brigade." In 1980, he reported to the U.S. Navy Band, with whom he has led two ensembles: the Commodores jazz ensemble and the Cruisers contemporary music ensemble. A skilled arranger, the band frequently performs his renditions of classical and popular favorites. For ticket information, call (724) 981-6100 (Hermitage) or (724) 287-5778 (Butler).

Relay for Life The Westminster College chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity is signing up participants for the "Relay for Life" event in New Wilmington. The American Cancer Society fundraiser is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 8 at Harold Burry Stadium, and anyone wanting to take part can sign up online. To do so, log on to, or "Once you reach the relay site, you go to 'start a team' of your own or 'join a team,' " said William Rosengarth, a junior public relations major from New Wilmington. "Last year we raised just under $21,000, and this year our goal is $24,000." Alpha Sigma Phi started this event to honor the memory of Dr. Peter Macky, a professor who died of cancer nine years ago. The fraternity has raised nearly $170,000 over the past eight years.

Lions Club breakfast The Neshannock Lions Club will serve their annual pancake and sausage breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. March 25 at Hutchison Community Center in Pearson Park. Cost is $4 for adults and $2 for children under 12.

Guest conductor Beryl Tebay of New Castle dropped The News a line to say that her son, Garth, received a standing ovation after doing a turn last month as guest conductor of the Toledo Symphony. The symphony played selections from St. Bailey's Rag at the Masonic Auditorium in Toledo. Garth Tebay is resident of Maumee, Ohio, and a 1968 Neshannock High graduate. He also is a managing director of Source Companies in Toledo, and a founder and managing partner of Tebay Mosley Associates, which provides accounting, auditing, tax preparation and management consulting to Toledo-area businesses and individuals.

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