Today is Saturday, March 2, the 61st day of 2013. There are 304 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 2, 1943, the three-day Battle of the Bismarck Sea began in the southwest Pacific during World War II; U.S. and Australian warplanes were able to inflict heavy damage on an Imperial Japanese convoy.

Glancing Backward Locally:

25 years ago - 1988

The Sayre Christian Church, located at the corner of Keystone Avenue and Lincoln Street, recently dedicated a new addition and remodeling work done in its present building.

Curt Williams of Wysox stamped his name in the Slippery Rock University record book recently as he became only the 10th basketball player in the school's history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Johnson, better known as Ted and Bea, will be feted at an open house celebration being planned by their children in honor of the couple's 50th wedding anniversary.

50 years ago - 1963

Sayre and Athens boroughs were ordered yesterday by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to discontinue the discharge of sewage into the Susquehanna River within two years, and take immediate stops to construct a sewage treatment plant.

Celebrating his birthday today is Dayton W. Mills of Ulster, retired county auditor who is 83 years old today.

Area merchants seeking workers to held handle their pre-Easter trade are reminded by Thomas M. Long, manager of the Towanda Local Office of Pennsylvania's Bureau of Employment Security, to use the facilities of his office.

75 years ago - 1938

The congregation of the East Troy Methodist Church presented Rev. and Mrs. Warren Guiles a beautiful electric lamp at the farewell party for them last week.

L. Lang Dayton of Towanda was elected treasurer of the Class of 1938 of the University of Virginia in the recent elections conducted by the Student Senate.

Seven Towanda high school students have entered the state-wide journalism contest sponsored by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers' Association: Marjorie Woodward, Jean Burch, Joan Law, Elizabeth Patterson, Helen Lintern, Marguerite MacMorran and John Beirne.

Elsewhere on this date:

In 1793, the first president of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, was born near Lexington, Va.

In 1836, the Republic of Texas formally declared its independence from Mexico.

In 1861, the state of Texas, having seceded from the Union, was admitted to the Confederacy.

In 1877, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, even though Tilden had won the popular vote.

In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship as President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act.

In 1933, the motion picture "King Kong" had its world premiere at New York's Radio City Music Hall and the Roxy.

In 1939, Roman Catholic Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected pope on his 63rd birthday; he took the name Pius XII.

In 1942, the original Stage Door Canteen, a wartime club for U.S. servicemen, officially opened its doors in New York's Broadway theater district.

In 1951, the East beat the West, 111-94, in the first NBA All-Star Game, which took place at Boston Garden.

In 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a game against the New York Knicks, an NBA record that still stands. (Philadelphia won, 169-147.)

In 1972, the United States launched the Pioneer 10 space probe, which flew past Jupiter in late 1973, sending back images and scientific data.

In 1989, representatives from the 12 European Community nations agreed to ban all production of CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) by the end of the 20th century.

Ten years ago: Iraq crushed another six Al Samoud II missiles, as ordered by U.N. weapons inspectors. Landlocked Switzerland became the first European country to win the America's Cup as Alinghi swept Team New Zealand in five races.

Five years ago: Dmitry Medvedev, Vladimir Putin's hand-picked successor, scored a crushing victory in Russia's presidential election. Four adults and two children were slain in a shooting and stabbing rampage at a Memphis, Tenn., house; three children survived. (Jessie Dotson, brother of one of the victims, was convicted of six counts of murder and sentenced to death.)

One year ago: Some 40 people were killed by tornadoes in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. President Barack Obama made a supportive phone call to law student Sandra Fluke, who'd testified before Congress about the need for birth control coverage, only to be called a "slut" on the air by talk show host Rush Limbaugh on Feb. 29 (Limbaugh apologized to Fluke on March 3). The NFL said it had found between 22 and 27 New Orleans Saints players had participated in a bounty program targeting opponents over the previous three seasons. Major League Baseball expanded its playoff format to 10 teams, adding a second wild-card in each league.

Today's Birthdays: Actor John Cullum is 83. Author Tom Wolfe is 83. Former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev is 82. Actress Barbara Luna is 74. Author John Irving is 71. Singer Lou Reed is 71. Actress Cassie Yates is 62. Actress Laraine Newman is 61. Former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is 60. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is 58. Singer Jay Osmond is 58. Pop musician John Cowsill (The Cowsills) is 57. Tennis player Kevin Curren is 55. Country singer Larry Stewart (Restless Heart) is 54. Rock singer Jon Bon Jovi is 51. Blues singer-musician Alvin Youngblood Hart is 50. Actor Daniel Craig is 45. Rock musician Casey (Jimmie's Chicken Shack) is 37. Rock singer Chris Martin (Coldplay) is 36. Actress Heather McComb is 36. Actress Bryce Dallas Howard is 32. NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 31. Actor Robert Iler is 28.

Thought for Today: "Just as we are often moved to merriment for no other reason than that the occasion calls for seriousness, so we are correspondingly serious when invited too freely to be amused." - Agnes Repplier, American essayist (1858-1950).