Teen will get to blow up viaduct
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARON, Pa. -- What do you wear to blow up a bridge?
"The only thing I don't know is what I'm going to wear," said 13-year-old Nicole Montgomery of Lamor Road, Hermitage, who has won the honor of being the one to push the button that will bring down the Oakland Avenue Viaduct on Saturday.
The city sold 5,379 tickets at $1 each in a raffle for the honor of getting to push the button, and all proceeds will go to the Mercer County Unit of the American Cancer Society.
Mother's name: The winning ticket was drawn at the start of a city council meeting Thursday and it was actually Nicole's mother, Nancy Rhodanz, whose name was on the ticket pulled by Dr. Donna DeBonis, supervisor of curriculum and instruction for the Sharon City School District and a cancer survivor.
However, Rhodanz, contacted at home later, said it was never her intent to blow up the bridge. That honor will go to her daughter, she said, adding, "I bought the tickets for her."
It was Nicole, who will be in the eighth grade at the Hermitage Middle School this fall, who said she wanted to push the plunger when she heard about the raffle, her mother said.
Rhodanz said she bought seven tickets at a Sharon shop.
"It's a part of history that nobody's going to forget," Nicole said. "It would be nice to have people remember you did something like that."
She said she hopes to see "a lot of things blowing up in the air."
Family affair: She plans to bring her mother; her stepfather, Scott Rhodanz; her sister, Dawn Rhodanz; and her father, Leonard Montgomery of Brookfield to the occasion.
"I'm not sure about my brother, Lenny Montgomery. He's not a morning person," she confided.
Mercer County actually owns the bridge and is using $3.6 million in federal and state grants to demolish and replace it.
The 60-foot-high concrete span will be imploded between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Saturday. It will drop onto the Shenango Valley Freeway. The freeway has been given a protective layer of dirt to shield it.
More help: Price said the Sharon Elks Club, on the Shenango Valley Freeway near the viaduct, has come up with another plan to help raise more money for the Cancer Society.
The club will serve a continental breakfast of doughnuts, coffee and orange juice starting about 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
Donations for the breakfast will go to the Cancer Society, he said.