2022 In Review: The Year’s Top News Stories

WARREN, Pa. – With the year coming to an end, it’s time for our annual look back at the stories that mattered the most to our readers. First, the top news stories of 2022.

The top stories of the year represent a mixed bag of topics, from restaurants to weather anomalies to building destruction, celebrating lives, and a visit from a U.S. Senate candidate. 2022 had a little bit of everything.

No more build-up, here are the Top 10 Most Read News Stories of 2022:

10. New McDonald’s Opens in Warren
The new Mcdonald’s at 75 Market St. in Warren was officially open for business on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Both the inside and outside are completely updated, complete with kiosks for ordering, a brand-new dining area, and two drive-thru lanes, completing a project that began in late July.

Warren Area High School Class of 2025 Officers Anna Courson, Vice President, Lillyann Hokel, Sophomore Class Representative, Ella Getner, Co-President, Charlotte Keeports, Secretary, Sophie Walker, Co-President, and Madison McDunn, Treasurer, came together to create a Suicide Awareness Walk following the loss of two peers to suicide in December. The Walk is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 at Betts Park. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

9. Inspiration from Tragedy
Tragedy affects people in different ways. For some, it becomes something they never truly recover from.

But for others, like a group of Warren Area High School students, it leads them to be inspired to help prevent others from suffering a future tragedy.

The WAHS Class of 2025 Officers planned the inaugural Suicide Awareness Walk, which took place on May 22, after losing two of their peers to suicide within days of each other in December.

8. Students Gather to Remember, Celebrate Coach and Teacher Paul Clough
“Go do a wrestle.”

Those were the simple yet famous words Paul Clough told his wrestlers before they took the mat. Clough, who served as the head coach at Youngsville from 2015-2021 and as an assistant at Sheffield this past season, passed away on March 17 at the age of 40.

Clough also served as a substitute teacher in the county and on March 22, his students and wrestlers gathered to celebrate and share fond memories at the Evangelical United Methodist Church in Youngsville.

Pillars of light appeared across Warren on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022 due to the subzero temperatures. Photo courtesy Marlo Nowacki.

7. No, It Wasn’t the Start to ‘The War of the Worlds,’ Just Really Cold
While it may have appeared to be the start of an alien invasion, or that a number of Warren residents were being beamed to the U.S.S. Enterprise Thursday (Jan. 20) night, the “pillars of light” seen across Warren was actually a natural phenomenon.

As temperatures dipped close to and below zero overnight, pillars of light began to stretch toward the night sky.

“Light pillars are optical phenomena that occur in extremely cold atmospheres, when flat ice crystals form close to the ground,” according to scienceabc.com. “They reflect natural and artificial light in columns that extend through the sky.”

6. PennDOT Names Winners of Paint the Plow Contest in District 10
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is announced the District 10 regional winner of the Paint the Plow safety outreach contest.

Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School won the “Fan Favorite” award, which was determined by online voting through www.penndot.pa.gov. Keystone High School of Clarion County was the honorable mention.

Some of the damage at Werner Park. Photo courtesy Werner Park Facebook page.

5. “Heartbreaking” – Vandalism at Werner Park
Pennsylvania State Police and park caretakers are hoping to locate the vandal or vandals who caused extensive damage to the grounds and structures at Werner Park in Russell overnight Friday, Nov. 11.

People who came to walk their dogs discovered the damage on Saturday morning and alerted Mike English, one of the park’s caretakers, who contacted PSP-Warren.

“It’s just horrible for us, heartbreaking,” English said. “We’re all volunteers, we don’t get paid (to take care of the park). It’s so disheartening, saddening, then anger comes into it.”

The new sign outside Pub 302. The establishment, formerly known as RalphE’s, completed its rebrand to Pub 302 this week. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

4. Pub 302 Open for Business
What has essentially been a 4-year conversion process took the final steps to completion as the newly christened Pub 302 opened its doors in late February.

When Phelina Turner bought the establishment, formerly known as RalphE’s, a little over four years ago, she knew she wanted to make it her own.

“For the last four years I’ve just been doing changes, updates, and upgrades,” Turner said. “Just making things more my own.”

What remains of the coal-fired power plant following a controlled implosion on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

3. Implosion at Coal-Fired Power Plant in Starbrick
The ongoing demolition at the Warren Generating Station complex in Starbrick continued Wednesday, March 9, with the controlled implosion of the remnants of the station that housed coal-fired electric generators.

B&B Wrecking, a firm out of Cleveland, Ohio, carried out the implosion at approximately 9 a.m.

City Department of Public Works Superintendent Joe Reinke communicates with other city officials from the roof of the Flat Iron Building in Warren after it was struck by lightning on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. The lightning strike caused bricks and debris from the building to fall onto Pennsylvania Avenue and damaged multiple vehicles parked along the street. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

2. Block Closed After Suspected Lightning Strike at Flat Iron Building
Lightning is believed to have struck the Flat Iron Building in downtown Warren (which houses KeyBank) just after noon on April 13, shutting down a portion of Pennsylvania Ave. from Hickory to Liberty streets.

Multiple vehicles were struck by several falling bricks, some causing substantial damage to at least one of the vehicles.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. and US Senate Candidate John Fetterman stopped by the Hampton Inn in North Warren in February 2022 to address the Warren County Young Democrats. Photo by Andy Close.

1. Fetterman Touts Infrastructure Bill, Keeping Jobs in U.S. During Stop in Warren
The Fern Hollow Bridge collapse in Pittsburgh in January struck close to home for Pennsylvania Lt. Gov., and U.S. Senate candidate, John Fetterman in more ways than one.

Not only was Fetterman the four-term mayor of Braddock, just outside Pittsburgh, but, as he told those in attendance during a campaign stop in Warren on Feb. 12, he had driven over that bridge the day before it collapsed.

“I drove over that bridge the night before with our son,” Fetterman said. “I got to hang with the President of the United States at that bridge.”