August 7, 2011

Fayettenam (Pennsylvania)



Fayettenam: nickname of Fayette County, Pennsylvania

     This nickname was jokingly bestowed on this Southwestern Pennsylvania, county forty years ago by state police, perhaps a mockery due to its crime and references to hillbilliesit seems like the punch lines never end, with bizarre crimes fueling bloggers, radio hosts and water-cooler chats.

     My first experiences while a new resident of Connellsville supported this aspect of Fayette County.

     Two weeks after my arrival a fire erupted in a house two blocks away. I watched from my porch as a car careened through a corner parking lot, then careened at high speed down the block, narrowly missing two children playing on the edge of the road. Then I walked to the fire. Being a journalist who covered fires and accidents in my previous community, I carried a camera. When I used it, a young man holding a baby came up to me and (more…)

October 7, 2010

Drought, Drought, Drought…Through Time in Southwestern Pennsylvania




It’s raining, it’s pouring…from the Midwest to the Atlantic Coast, as I type this post. Will this rain improve conditions at Yough Lake, where dry, cracked veins are visible in the lake basin because the water level is down fifteen feet?*

     The following headlines were pulled from local newspapers.


Dry conditions continue    

Rain hasn’t helped much at Yough Dam.

For many in state, drought means dry wells


Drought emergency declared


Area water supply running dry…

Drought sends flood of business to well drillers

     Perhaps an upcoming newspaper headlines will proclaim that Despite recent rainfall, the Yough River Dam is still in a “fairly dry situation.” Will private wells go dry? Will there be a flood of business for well drillers?


     Gov. Tom Ridge declared a drought emergency in 55 of 67  Pennsylvania counties…including Fayette, Greene and Washington counties. “Pennsylvania’s water supply is at a dangerously low level throughout the entire state. If we don’t begin to conserve water today, there won’t be any to conserve tomorrow.” Ridge declared a drought warning, which calls for a voluntary 10 percent reduction in water use, in four counties, and a drought watch (a voluntary 5 percent reduction in water use) in eight counties. It is spurred on by weeks of triple-digit temperatures and a well-below-normal rainfall. Groundwater levels across the state have plummeted in recent weeks, emptying streams and rivers and drying out residential and commercial wells.*

     The Yough River is eleven feet lower than average, and dropping six inches a (more…)

October 7, 2009

Staycation Day Trip: Somerset County, PA




Every time we travel to New England in the fall, we are asked if we are going to “leaf-peep.”

“Why?” I ask. “Why would I travel to New England to leaf-peep, when all we have to do is walk out our front door to see gorgeous leaves. (We happen to live in a park setting.)”

We didn’t travel to New England this fall. But we did drive around and “leaf-peep.” In Pennsylvania this year are coming in spectacular colors.

I had suggested to my husband, Monte, that we take a day a week for six weeks to travel to different communities. I admit I had an agenda. Each place I chose had a purpose.

The first jaunt, to Somerset County (PA), was chosen because I needed oat bran and Monte needed flour—he makes homemade bread, and we liked to purchase these items at the Mennonite store on Rt. 30 near Jennerstown (PA). In addition, I wanted to revisit the Flight 93 Crash site, the Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, and the Quecreek Mine memorial site.

We woke up to a cold fall morning. If the sun hadn’t been shining I might have backed out. As it was, it was one of the nicest autumn days to date. A perfect day for photography, and Somerset was a daytrip to use my camera.

As we left Laurel Mountain Borough’s Rt. 30 exit, turning east on the Lincoln Highway, the sprouting golds, bronzes and reds (more…)

June 5, 2009

June Celebrations: Part 1



      Get ready for battle! The enemy is the nasty fly! June is National Fight the Filthy Fly Month, and the war continues from last year. However, there are those who swear that the battle against the Maine black bugs is more of a priority! (read BLACK FLIES AND OTHER INSECTS: Then and Now) Something easier to handle is National Adopt a Cat Month. Every cat has a right to a good home. To read about cat’s other rights, read (WHAT RIGHTS DO CATS HAVE, I ASK  & FERAL BIRDS: THE LATEST COMMUNITY HAZARD).

     June is also Dairy Month, Turkey Lovers Month, and National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month. Think healthy: Milk/cheese is loaded with calcium, but if it’s not low-fat, you are at risk of ingesting more bad-fats than good fats. If you have to eat meat, turkey is far more acceptable than red-meats. However, I am wondering about JUNE being (more…)

February 23, 2009

Route 30: A Review of John Putch’s Movie


ROUTE 30: A Review of John Putch’s Movie

      This afternoon a friend and I attended a movie that had great raves. Attendance at the local Ligonier Theater, which I’ve heard has poor movie attendance, was almost SRO. I splurged (diet-wise) with hot buttered popcorn and settled in for an afternoon of enjoyment.
     Within the first five minutes, I was disappointed. I guess I didn’t expect (more…)

October 16, 2008

LEAF-PEEPING: Autumn Leaves


LEAF-PEEPING: Autumn Leaves

     “Are you going to peek at the fall leaves?”
     This was the first question most persons asked when they learned my husband Monte and I were traveling to New England in September.
     “No,” was my response. “I can see fall leaves just (more…)

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