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John Rigas, January 30, 2007

Ya Ya

Several months ago, I wrote a short piece about how the Texas Hot in Wellsville, New York
was started.  The story naturally centered to a large extent on my father, James Rigas, who
founded the restaurant and operated it with George Raptis for many decades.  I now would
like to tell you a little about my mother, Eleni Brazas Rigas, a woman who though not
involved formally in the business or with a career outside the home, has a history that is no
less interesting or meaningful.   While her story in one sense is unique to herself, it is at the
same time representative of the experiences encountered by countless immigrant women
who have sought a better life in America.  
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John Rigas, August 22, 2006

A worthy community project

During this year’s Memorial Day ceremonies, I was struck more than ever by the majesty of
the Civil War monument on the Courthouse Square.  Once again, only this time with
heightened appreciation, I marveled at the sight of the Union soldier soaring gracefully
toward Heaven, lifted by an elegantly-shaped column of near-perfect proportions.  I reflected
how extraordinary it was for a small town like Coudersport to have such an impressive
structure gracing its town center.  Yet, while unusual, it is also perfectly fitting.  Among
northern United States counties, Potter County boasted one of the highest percentages of
citizens fighting on the Union side.  The monument is a testament to this achievement, an
enduring memorial to those many soldiers who sacrificed comfort and life itself to preserve
the union and to end slavery.  
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John Rigas, August 7, 2006

Texas Hot Origins

Now in its eighty-fifth year of operation, the Texas Hot Restaurant has long been a local
institution in Wellsville, New York.  Over the years, innumerable people have remarked to me
that a trip to Wellsville is incomplete without a stop at the Texas Hot and a few of those hot

Although most people in these parts have been to the Texas Hot many times, few people
know the story of how the restaurant got started.  It is a story like so many others in our
nation’s history—that of young, hard-working immigrants striving to capture a tiny part of the
American dream.  
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John Rigas, August 4, 2006

Jack-Knives and High-Tops

One of my clearest memories from the first four grades of school was the high-top shoes I
and the other boys wore every day.  Laced all the way to the knees, they complemented the
knickobocker pants (“knickers”) we also wore, which extended from the waist to the knees.  
Always tucked in a pocket on the outside of our high-tops was a small jack-knife, with which
we whittled wood, opened packages, and most of all played “mumbly-pegs” and other games
on our way to and from school and during recess.  These activities were part of our daily
ritual, and we would have been lost without our trusted jack-knives.  They filled the role that
“game-boys” do for many children today.  They were our toys, not weapons.  

John Rigas, June 26, 2006

Cars Verses Interstate 80

The movie Cars played recently at the Coudersport Theatre.  From everything I’ve heard, it
is an excellent film in the tradition of other Disney-Pixar movies.  A major theme of Cars is
the role automobiles and superhighways have played in the demise of Main Street in
countless towns across America.

This subject reminds me of a debate which occurred in Coudersport and northern
Pennsylvania just about fifty years ago.  The issue was where Interstate 80 should cross
Pennsylvania.  The original plan was for it to follow the path of Route 6 across the northern
part of the state, with by-passes around the many small towns of the region.  However,
mainly through the efforts of a powerful politician from Williamsport, Z. H. “Dick” Confair, the
decision was finally made to build the road more toward the center of the state and
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John Rigas, June 12, 2006

For those interested in learning more about our appeal

For those interested in learning more about our appeal, I recommend reading Donald
Gilliland’s article in the June 7 edition of the Potter Leader Enterprise (“Oral Arguments in
Rigas Appeal Scheduled for Next Wednesday”).  The article provides a balanced and
accurate summary of the major arguments made by both our lawyers and the government
attorneys in briefs submitted to the Appeals Court.  The summary highlights our strong
contention that this case is at its heart an accounting matter which should be decided by
jurors who have been properly educated by qualified accounting experts on the complicated
accounting principles at issue in the case.

John Rigas, June 2, 2006

Memorial Day 2006

On this past Monday, the 29th, I was honored once again to take in the Memorial Day
Parade and the ceremonies on the Courthouse Square.  The turnout was significantly
smaller than in past years, which probably was due in large part to the sweltering heat.  As
always, the ceremony and speeches were very meaningful.  But the highlight for me was
when a small cub scout—probably no more than six years old—made a special point of
coming up to thank me for helping our country in World War II.  This simple expression of
gratitude touched me deeply; here was living proof, at least four generations later, that what
so many of us had fought for had not been in vain.  I thanked him and hugged him, though I
did not know who he was.  The pleasant memory from this incident has been with me all
week, and I would like his parents to know that because of him this Memorial Day was very
special for one old veteran.