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'Our plans didn't go past Friday night': How an Erie man has lived with HIV for 32 years

HIV/AIDS was still considered a death sentence in March 1990 when Erie native Don Stroz tested positive for the virus.

The former nurse wasn't surprised. His partner was HIV-positive and many of the couple's friends in southern California, where they lived, were dying from the disease.

"It became almost a routine," Stroz said. "You visited them in the hospital, went to their funeral, and you mourned."

Stroz, now 76, would not have predicted 32 years ago that he would be back in Erie, collecting Social Security and working part-time at a hardware store.

World AIDS Day:'Our plans didn't go past Friday night': How an Erie man has lived with HIV for 32 years

Presque Isle Lights driving tour highlights beauty of the season, the state park

A Christmas tree is displayed at the Feather observation platform on Dec 10, 2021, at Presque Isle State Park in Millcreek Township. The holiday decorations are part of Presque Isle Lights, sponsored by the Presque Isle Partnership.
A Christmas tree is displayed at the Feather observation platform on Dec 10, 2021, at Presque Isle State Park in Millcreek Township. The holiday decorations are part of Presque Isle Lights, sponsored by the Presque Isle Partnership.

Lighted woodpecker, snowflake, deer, tree and more displays will shine around Presque Isle State Park in December.

Presque Isle Lights, a self-guided evening driving tour, will kick off Thursday. The seasonal lights will be on Thursdays through Sundays through Dec. 18 and then Thursdays and Fridays, Dec. 22, 23, 29 and 30. Lights will go on at 6 p.m. and the park gates close at 9 p.m.

Christmas lights:Presque Isle Lights driving tour highlights beauty of the season, the state park

Wit, characters, staging all help bring to life classic play 'A Lion in Winter' at PACA

There’s no shortage of holiday productions this Christmas season, but one of the best might also be the least expected.

“The Lion in Winter,” which opens Friday at the Performing Artists Collective Alliance, 1505 State St., is certainly the smartest. With a script that won a 1968 Academy Award for the screenplay for James Goldman, “The Lion in Winter,” is a masterpiece of wit and humor that is a joy to watch.

“The Lion in Winter” is a family drama set at the Christmas court of King Henry II of England in 1183.

Now playing:Wit, characters, staging all help bring to life classic play 'A Lion in Winter' at PACA

Vietnamese restaurant opens, more bubble tea coming, fundraiser held for Erie restaurateur

Saigon Nights opens in former Khao Thai, Bubblehouse on the way to the Millcreek Mall, fundraiser to help ill restaurateur; Creek's cancels breakfast.

Just opened:Vietnamese restaurant opens, more bubble tea coming, fundraiser held for Erie restaurateur

An Erie tradition: Looking back at memorable Otters moments on Thanksgiving

The Erie Otters' Joe Wigle looks to pass in the first period of their hockey game against Mississauga Nov. 27 at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie. In their annual Thanksgiving night game, the Otters beat the Steelheads 5-1. CHRISTOPHER MILLETTE/
The Erie Otters' Joe Wigle looks to pass in the first period of their hockey game against Mississauga Nov. 27 at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie. In their annual Thanksgiving night game, the Otters beat the Steelheads 5-1. CHRISTOPHER MILLETTE/

Hockey is an annual Thanksgiving Day tradition in Erie. The Otters took on that tradition when playing their first season in 1996-97.

For the second straight year, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds will visit Erie Insurance Arena on Thanksgiving Night. Faceoff is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday.

Let's take a trip down memory lane to revisit some memorable Thanksgiving Day game moments in Otters history.

Erie Otters hockey:An Erie tradition: Looking back at memorable Otters moments on Thanksgiving

Cashier's House restaurant to open, art brunch, find FIFA, much more

The historic Cashier's House, 413 State St. in Erie, is shown on Jan. 27, 2022. An American steakhouse restaurant is planned for the space.
The historic Cashier's House, 413 State St. in Erie, is shown on Jan. 27, 2022. An American steakhouse restaurant is planned for the space.

The Cashier's House, 417 State St., is slated to open in January as an American steakhouse called Bricks at the Cashier's House, co-owned by Chris Adams, 42, and Justin Stoll, 39.

The two met 20 years ago and worked together at Edinboro University's dining service, which changed hands last summer when the school merged with two other universities and changed its name to Penn West.

Open in Erie:Cashier's House restaurant to open, art brunch, find FIFA, much more

Save your money for presents. Here is a list of cheap holiday events around Erie

Michelle and John Dalton of Erie, center, have their picture taken with the Christmas tree at Perry Square, Dec. 3, 2021, during the Downtown D'Lights celebration, which included the lighting of the Perry Square decorations and a visit from Santa Claus.
Michelle and John Dalton of Erie, center, have their picture taken with the Christmas tree at Perry Square, Dec. 3, 2021, during the Downtown D'Lights celebration, which included the lighting of the Perry Square decorations and a visit from Santa Claus.

Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the most expensive.

Gifts, holiday dinners and special events can cost lots of money, especially during times of inflation. The price of everything, from stocking stuffers to a boneless ham, is much higher than in previous years.

But families can still have fun this December without spending their last dollars on entertainment. Here is a list of area events that won't empty your wallet or purse. To qualify, the event must cost $100 or less for a family of four.

Holidays in Erie:Save your money for presents. Here is a list of cheap holiday events around Erie

🔒 Proactive inclusion: Erie's Hispanic/Latino community 'making our presence known'

This is a composite image of, from left: Eddie Ocasio, program manager/employment coordinator at Erie's Multicultural Community Resource Center; Vilma Espada-Ortiz, general manager of Vilma's Kitchen; Sonny Concepcion pastor at Iglesia Bautista El Calvario Church; Karinna Vernaza, Gannon University's dean of the College of Engineering and Business; Mario Medina, attorney; Armando Reyes, owner of Lake Erie Woodworks.
This is a composite image of, from left: Eddie Ocasio, program manager/employment coordinator at Erie's Multicultural Community Resource Center; Vilma Espada-Ortiz, general manager of Vilma's Kitchen; Sonny Concepcion pastor at Iglesia Bautista El Calvario Church; Karinna Vernaza, Gannon University's dean of the College of Engineering and Business; Mario Medina, attorney; Armando Reyes, owner of Lake Erie Woodworks.

In several ways, many of the Erie region’s Hispanic/Latino residents are visible, active and promoting communitywide diversity.

Proactive inclusion: Erie's Hispanic/Latino community 'making our presence known'

A closer look at Erie's Latino/Hispanic population in terms of Census numbers and country of origin

Take a quick look at the makeup of Erie's Hispanic/Latino community in terms of population and country of origin.

US Census:A closer look at Erie's Latino/Hispanic population in terms of Census numbers and country of origin

Erie's Room 33 Speakeasy is changing hands. Who are the new owners?

Room 33 Speakeasy, a State Street lounge that opened on New Year's Eve 2017 with a secret entrance through a bookcase, has a new owner.

But co-founder Rebecca Styn said familiar faces will remain in charge at the business, located at 1033 State St.

Styn said the majority interest in Room 33 has been sold to Shawn McCall, general manager of the business, and Elizabeth Heffernan, the bar manager. The new owners, each of whom will have a 45% stake in the business, have both been with Room 33 since it opened.

Lounges in Erie:Erie's Room 33 Speakeasy is changing hands. Who are the new owners?

🔒 This 198-foot Erie landmark could be changing hands. What is the plan for the building?

An Erie landmark and the city's tallest building could soon have a new owner.

That and other changes could be coming for Erie's Renaissance Centre, the 14-story building at 1001 State St. that opened in 1928 as the Erie Trust Co. building. The building, owned by Erie developer Tom Kennedy, was recently the subject of an $8 million funding request submitted to the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

The request, which was not approved, called for upgrading the 160,000-square-foot building and re-purposing it as a hotel.

Erie landmark:This 198-foot Renaissance Centre could be changing hands. What is the plan for the building?

New Year's Eve 2022: Say hello to 2023 at these nearby locations in Erie and nearby

Looking for something fun to do this New Year's Eve? A couples' event or something the whole family can enjoy? We've got you covered. If we miss one, contact reporter Valerie Myers at vmyers@timesnews.com and she'll add it here.

New Year's Eve 2022:Say hello to 2023 at these nearby locations in Erie and nearby

Renowned Erie business on the market: Art's Bakery for sale for $1.1 million

Gordon Evans, 65, started working for his father, the late Art Evans, as a stock boy at the age of 12. Now he's ready to retire, and has placed the legendary Art's Bakery, 4380 West Ridge Road, up for sale with a price tag of $1.1 million.

"It's been (on the market) for a few months," Gordon Evans said, adding that he's had some nibbles. "People are interested."

The building was the original Art's Bakery, though through its history there have been up to four additional locations.

"This is the original and it will be the last," Evans said.

According to the real estate listing, Art's Bakery specializes in baked goods, deli items and locally sourced grocery items.

Up for sale:Renowned Erie business on the market: Art's Bakery for sale for $1.1 million

Shuttered Bel-Aire Hotel set for sheriff's sale as Erie-area landmark fades further

The Bel-Aire Hotel, 2800 W. Eighth St., in Millcreek Township, is shown on April 15, 2021. The hotel owners are operating under a court-approved receivership because of financial difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bel-Aire Hotel, 2800 W. Eighth St., in Millcreek Township, is shown on April 15, 2021. The hotel owners are operating under a court-approved receivership because of financial difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bel-Aire Hotel's slide into financial collapse has reached another low point.

The once-bustling complex at 2800 W. Eighth St. in Millcreek Township, just east of high-traffic Peninsula Drive and just south of the entrance to busy Presque Isle State Park, is headed for a sheriff's sale on Nov. 18.

The move — announced in legal advertisements in the Erie Times-News, most recently on Friday, and publicized online by the Erie County Sheriff's Office — comes after the Bel-Aire had its mortgage foreclosed in March 2021, was placed in a court-approved receivership in April 2021 and was permanently closed this past spring.

Faded Erie landmark:Shuttered Bel-Aire Hotel set for sheriff's sale as Erie-area landmark fades further

A new Corry moonshine distillery and a pair of Erie bakeries are set to open

There's a brand new kind of distillery in Corry, Before the Barrel, at 11 S. Center St.

Owner Bernie Blore, 31, specializes in what he calls "un-aged spirits, including flavored moonshine and age-your-own products."

He features unaged spirits made from corn and white rum and offers flavored products such as salted caramel and lemonade. You can drink them as is, or age them yourself by soaking wooden oak blocks in the liquid for an aged taste to make whisky and rum.

New to Erie:A new Corry moonshine distillery and a pair of Erie bakeries are set to open

Girard's Marc Blucas to star with Candace Cameron Bure in holiday TV movie

Girard native Marc Blucas co-stars with Candace Cameron Bure of "Full House" and Hallmark fame in an original holiday movie premiering this month on Great American Family.

Blucas, who appeared on TV as the boyfriend of the title character in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" from 1999 to 2002, and Bure, who also starred in "Fuller House," play husband and wife in "A Christmas ... Present." Airing Nov. 27 at 8 p.m., the movie is one of 18 titles making up the network's "Great American Christmas" holiday franchise, according to a Great American Family news release.

Holliday movie:Girard's Marc Blucas to star with Candace Cameron Bure in holiday TV movie

Erie's Pineapple Eddie plans to move to the former location of another popular restaurant

Pineapple Eddie Southern Bistro, which opened 10 years ago in April, has purchased a new property that will eventually become the restaurant's new home.

But the popular restaurant, Which Tripadvisor ranks third out of 286 Erie restaurants, isn't going far.

Sisters Adrienne Paul and Karen Thomas, who are both partners in the restaurant and owners of Pineapple Real Estate LLC, have purchased the former Pie in the Sky restaurant building at 461 and 463 W. Eighth St.

Pineapple Real Estate paid $395,000 for the property, according to documents on file at the Erie County Courthouse.

Erie eats:Erie enters November with art, music, theater, wine and Darth Vader for entertainment

'Elf,' 'Wonderful Life,' Erie Phil holiday pops concert, more December shows around Erie

Lots of theater plus some holiday pops and art are in the entertainment lineup around Erie as November ends and December begins.

"Our Town" will be on stage at Mercyhurst University, "The Lion in Winter" will be performed at PACA, "Elf" will be coming to the Erie Playhouse and "It's a Wonderful Life" will be presented at Meadville Community Theatre.

More details on these and many other events in the Erie region are below. But we couldn't list them all. You can find additional events by visiting GoErie.com/calendar.

Entertainment in Erie:'Elf,' 'Wonderful Life,' Erie Phil holiday pops concert, more December shows around Erie

🔒 Erie musician runs studio decades after hanging with Beatles, opening for Sinatra

Do you remember the day that changed the world in music and pop culture?

If you are a fan of a certain age, you can recall not only when it occurred, but what you were doing when it happened. It was Feb. 9, 1964, the day The Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” an electrifying event that few of the millions of viewers who tuned in can forget.

They include Walt Slivinski, an Erie native living in New York at the time. He wasn’t in the screaming crowd in the Ed Sullivan Theater at Broadway between West 53rd and West 54th streets because he was at work 10 blocks downtown at a place called the Peppermint Lounge. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

You’ve probably heard of the club’s guests that he and the other members of Erie’s Fabulous Epics hung out with that night after their set was over and later that week: four blokes from Liverpool named John, Paul, George and Ringo.

For Slivinski, that legendary evening is part of a jewel necklace of memories that now read as a concordance to one of the most memorable eras in modern music history, observed by someone who stood just outside the spotlight.

But what a spotlight.

The music is still playin':Erie musician runs studio decades after hanging with Beatles, opening for Sinatra

Pools, lakefront views, multiple garages. A list of million-dollar homes for sale in Erie region

Luxury living is available for a price, and for some homes in the Erie region, the right price is around $1 million. The area always seems to have at least a few single-family homes available that are priced near or above seven figures.

Here’s a look at some of the top-priced homes listed for sale this month, with information available from Realtor.com.

Erie Real Estate:Pools, lakefront views, multiple garages. A list of million-dollar homes for sale in Erie region

🔒 Millcreek Township couple selling dream home that includes horse trough, 200-year-old tree

Rebecca Stoczynski first saw her future home while riding bicycles with her husband, Neal Stoczynski, in 1983.

The former cottage, built in 1930, grabbed her attention so thoroughly that Stoczynski told him that she wanted to live there. Three years later, she got her wish.

The couple purchased the house at 921 W. Arlington Road in Millcreek Township and has lived there for 36 years. They are now selling it because they have each retired and are moving to Pittsburgh to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

They are only the third owners of the two-story, 2,200-square-foot house. It was built by Joseph F. Kennedy in 1930 after the Buffalo, New York, man joined an Erie shipping company.

For sale:Millcreek Township couple selling dream home that includes horse trough, 200-year-old tree

Erie's Brooke Surgener draws from personal experience for songs on new album 'Moon Waves'

Brooke Surgener is ready to release an album that's been in the works for a long time.

Surgener, of Erie, has grown up in the Erie music scene. She graduated from Seneca High School and attended PennWest Edinboro, formerly Edinboro University, for one semester before realizing college wasn't for her.

She plays at various bars, wineries and community events and opened up for local band First to Eleven on its tour in the spring.

When Surgener is not performing, she works at Rock School Studios in Erie, soon to be renamed Monochrome Studios.

Now, she's ready to debut her first professionally produced album "Moon Waves" on Oct. 14.

Erie Music scene:Erie's Brooke Surgener draws from personal experience for songs on new album 'Moon Waves'

Gannon student walked in NY Fashion Week, defends women's health through pageants

For Waterford's Haley Poe, the last three years have managed to be challenging, frustrating and exciting all at the same time.

From starting her pageant career, to being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), studying pre-med at Gannon University and walking three weeks ago in New York Fashion Week, the 19-year-old has managed to balance it all.

But Poe has big aspirations for becoming both a successful model and a doctor of osteopathic medicine.

"It’s cool to have both because I would be mentally exhausted if I was in the lab all the time but I would be mentally exhausted if I were modeling all the time," she said. "When you do a lot you learn to handle a lot, so doing both at the same time has really gotten me used to figuring that out."

Walking the runway:Gannon student walked in NY Fashion Week, defends women's health through pageants

Changing music: How a Mercyhurst professor became the biographer for a revolutionary inventor

In December 2009, Mercyhurst University music professor Albert Glinsky received an unexpected phone call that would alter the course of his life.

On the other end of the line was Michelle Moog-Koussa, executive director of the Bob Moog Foundation, asking if Glinsky would be willing to write a definitive biography of her father, Robert Moog, the inventor of the Moog synthesizer.

Twelve years, 496 pages and countless hours of interviews later, that biography, “Switched On: Bob Moog and the Synthesizer Revolution,” was published by Oxford University Press on Sept. 23.

Changing music: How a Mercyhurst professor became the biographer for a revolutionary inventor

New restaurants: Barista's Roast in Corry, Rodney's Bar & Grill in Girard now open

Three new restaurants open in Erie County: Pueblo Real (Mexican) and a sports bar (Rodney's Bar & Grill) in Girard, and breakfast place in Corry (Barista's Roaster).

Find out all the latest restaurant news here.

Erie restaurant news:Union City Dinor razed; Erie restaurants shift gears into fall with events, specials

How much money are Erie-area food shoppers saving buying store brands? Here are the results

When "generic" products came out in the 1970s, in white packages labeled simply "potato chips" or "green beans," shoppers were curious but wary. The stigma of buying them turned the term "generic" into shorthand for "cheap and inferior."

Now stores proudly display their own and other "private label" brands in fancy full-color packages containing diced tomatoes and breakfast cereal, sometimes at two or three separate price points. But the products are almost always cheaper than the brands that marketers have made into household names, such as General Mills and Hunts.

Check out our survey to see what Erie residents have to say.

Penny pinching:How much money are Erie-area food shoppers saving buying store brands? Here are the results

Lavery Brewing Co. buys closed downtown West 12th Street pizza shop to expand seating, kitchen

Anyone who's enjoyed the libations and food at Lavery Brewing Co., tucked behind the former Hungry Howie's, 128 W. 12th St., knows how much they need to expand.

A main issue were public bathrooms that required a trip out of the tavern and into the commercial building in addition. And there was a lack of seating on popular nights and full table service as well as a kitchen to support their fine dining chef's creativity.

Co-owners Jason and Nicole Lavery have put money where their beer is, purchasing the vacant unit to fix all of that and more. They bought the unit for $340,000. Builders have already started demolition, Jason Lavery said last week.

New ownership:Lavery Brewing Co. buys closed downtown West 12th Street pizza shop to expand seating, kitchen

New bed and breakfast named for 'widely known' North East woman who owned home built in 1865

NORTH EAST — A new bed and breakfast in North East is once again the "abode of hospitality" that it was more than 150 years ago.

The Elsie Greer House Bed and Breakfast at 45 Park St., in what is believed to be one of the oldest homes in Erie County, is named for the woman who owned the house after the Civil War.

Elsie Greer's "abode of hospitality" was where friends and colleagues of her husband, Judge John Greer, gathered. But Elsie Greer was a force in her own right. She was a patron of the arts and education and donated the property for the Methodist Church's Lake Shore Academy, later St. Mary's Seminary and Mercyhurst North East.

New in town:New bed and breakfast named for 'widely known' North East woman who owned home built in 1865

Fairview Township mansion boasts luxury living with lakeview setting on 10 acres

The word "mansion" doesn't have an accompanying photo in Webster's Dictionary. But if it did, a photo of the French Country-style manor in Fairview Township might suffice.

The stunning home, located at 7000 Pinegate Road, and which is on sale for $1,450,000, is the stuff of dreams: a 10-acre property with 23 rooms, 7.5 baths, seven bedrooms, three kitchens, a nine-car garage and a waterfront view of Lake Erie.

If that wasn't enough, there's also an indoor pool.

Luxury on the lake:Fairview Township mansion boasts luxury living with lakeview setting on 10 acres

Giant slides at Erie's Frontier Park reopen; city says safety test showed no problems

The sliding is no longer stalled at Erie's Frontier Park.

After temporarily closing the park's three giant slides on Aug. 19 due to safety concerns, the city reopened the slides on Wednesday.

The city inspected the slides, built into a hillside on the northern edge of the park near West Sixth Street, and "the report came back indicating that the slides are installed correctly and safely," City Solicitor Ed Betza said on Tuesday. "No suggested revisions."

Safe to slide:Giant slides at Erie's Frontier Park reopen; city says safety test showed no problems

Can you get in and out of the newly opened Five Points roundabout in Summit Township?

The new roundabout in front of the Erie County Technical School in Summit Township is open.

Individual "spokes" of the circle had been opened in turn as they were completed earlier this summer. All five spokes — at Oliver, Hamot and Flower roads — opened Wednesday.

And drivers seemed to negotiate the single-lane roundabout without incident as school buses arrived at the tech school Thursday morning.

"I haven't heard any complaints," said ECTS Director Joe Tarasovitch.

Open to traffic:Can you get in and out of the newly opened Five Points roundabout in Summit Township?

After a record season, Waldameer is looking to make a $7 million splash with new attraction

In recent years, Waldameer has gone into most summer seasons with the goal of adding a new ride, slide or other attraction between the end of one season and the start of the next.

But for each of the past two years, Waldameer has taken a wait-and-see posture toward improvements.

Thanks to COVID-related shutdowns and restrictions, along with a widespread reluctance by many to venture into public places, gross revenues were only 27% of normal in 2020.

And while crowds were bigger in 2021, staffing problems forced the park to operate some rides on a limited basis and shift to a weekends-only schedule earlier than usual.

What new 'thrilling' attraction is being planned?

Thrill ride:After a record season, Waldameer is looking to make a $7 million splash with new attraction

Tall Ships come to Erie: Explore the vessels that have sailed along the coast throughout the years

The U.S. Brig Niagara sails into Presque Isle Bay on Aug. 22, 2019, leading the Parade of Sail for the 2019 Tall Ships Erie festival.
The U.S. Brig Niagara sails into Presque Isle Bay on Aug. 22, 2019, leading the Parade of Sail for the 2019 Tall Ships Erie festival.

Tall Ships Erie returns Aug. 25-28 with seven sailing ships and the World's Largest Rubber Duck scheduled to appear in Presque Isle Bay.

It's the first time the festival has been held since 2019, but the delay was not due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is scheduled every three years.

If you plan on going, here is the information you need to know to enjoy the family-friendly event.

Tall Ships come to Erie:Explore the vessels that have sailed along the coast throughout the years

🔒 Cruise ships are sailing the Great Lakes in growing numbers, but will they dock in Erie?

The Great Lakes cruise ship Viking Octantis passes under the Hoan Bridge in Milwaukee on May 6, 2022. It is the first cruise ship to visit the city since 2019.
The Great Lakes cruise ship Viking Octantis passes under the Hoan Bridge in Milwaukee on May 6, 2022. It is the first cruise ship to visit the city since 2019.

Pearl Seas Cruises starts its six-day voyage on the Great Lakes in Toronto, Canada, and ends in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Viking Cruise Lines has trips that visit Thunder Bay, Ontario, Milwaukee and Alpena, Michigan.

Meanwhile, the Great Lakes Cruise Company has cruises that dock in 31 ports on the Great Lakes.

Those and other and others cruise ship lines that sail on the Great Lakes have one thing in common. None of them makes a stop in Erie.

Cruisin' along the Great Lakes:Cruise ships are sailing the Great Lakes in growing numbers, but will they dock in Erie?

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