Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Warren Report (1964), the famous letter from “Jack the Ripper” (who most attribute as a hoax-1888) and the battle of Cambrai-Saint Quentin (1918). Birthdays include Revolutionary leader Samuel Adams (1722), political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840) and Confederate naval officer Raphael Semmes (1809).
Sorry, I just posted this and forgot to include pictures of my new chairs. I found these fabulous campaign chairs at the Ohio Valley Antique Mall on route 65. Check these out:
Once I get them fixed, they will end up in African Tulip. I think they’ll be perfect.
Such a warm and fuzzy story. Pittsburgh Police Detective Jack Mook is a volunteer for training kids how to box. Two boys he met and coached six years ago became friends with him (the boys were 9 and 5 at the time) and they obviously came from a challenging home environment. He’d encourage their school work, take them out for pizza after practice sometimes, was sort of a big brother to them. As time went by, the boys became more and more introverted and without being pushy, Jack would talk to them about their home life, trying to coach them on that as well. When the biological parents got busted for drugs and they were facing jail time, Jack offered to foster the kids and the parents agreed. On September 16th, Jack formally adopted the boys. Though they complain about his strict rules, they admit the structure he gives them a sense of stability.
The VFW is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year. Did you know they held their first convention at the Schenley Hotel in September, 1914? They are facing steep declines in membership, from around 2.1 million in 1992 to around 1.4 million today. They definitely have an image problem. The younger generation views them as a bunch of wizened old guys sitting around drinking cheap drinks in a smoke filled hole in the wall (part of that is true). :) But they also burned a lot of bridges. I wasn’t permitted to join because they didn’t recognize Vietnam Era vets as equal to them (or at least the chapter I tried to enter). They actually do a lot more than sit around drinking cheap drinks. They were instrumental in starting the Veteran’s Administration (the current faults of the VA has nothing to do with them), they helped form the National Veteran’s Cemetery system and my hat goes of to them for the the GI Bill which paid a lot of my expenses at Penn State. They are trying to clean up their image by recruiting on college campuses and admitting women. Actually, they trace their roots all the way back to 1899 after the Spanish American War and the Philippine Insurrection, but didn’t formally form until 1914.
Back in June I spoke about the House of Gold, it’s a house, once a home, in Wilkinsburg that was slated for demolition. Artist Dee Briggs lived next door and was distressed that this home, general store, neighborhood anchor was facing a inglorious destruction and thought it deserved better. She recruited a bunch of friends and 32 gallons of metallic gold paint and covered the entire place so it had some dignity. She then started a website and blog to chronicle what made this house important. Her latest endeavor is to have the building gently demolished. She’s teamed up with a couple of local contractors (Justin Lacey of Day Shift Furniture and Adam Lackett of Engine House Design and construction firm) to take the house apart piece by piece and recycle/reuse everything possible.
Penn’s Colony will be back this weekend with around 185 craftsmen and artisans this weekend in Saxonburg. They’ve been having this festival for the past 30 years and there’s lots to see and eat. They have battle re-enactors, live entertainment, etc at the camp grounds. Admission is $7, $6 for seniors, kids $5 and little kids free. Saturday it will run from 10 am until 6 pm and Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm. More info at their website or by calling 724-352-9922.
For 25 years, Stephen Chernicky has been building children’s dreams out in my hometown Finleyville at his Lillyput Play Homes. I never realized how big of a business he ran. They were hit hard with the housing crash in 2008 and dropped from around $2M to just over $1M last year. Obviously, a custom child’s playhouse is a luxury and he was afraid he might loose his business during the recession. He dropped from a workforce of 25 to 15 and entered the international market and his company is on the rebound with international orders. One of his most unique orders was $60,000 for a pirates ship for a family in Pakistan. 35% of his sales are now international. He doesn’t exclusively make high end extravagances. Some of his more basic playhouses are in the $5k neighborhood. So just keep in mind, just because it’s not looking too bright, there’s things you can do to keep your dream alive.
RAD days start this week. RAD (Regional Asset District) collects a portion of the 1% added on sales tax for Allegheny County and one of their requirements for institutions receiving funds must have free admission during the event. Since founded in 1994, they have distributed $1.5B to various non-profits. RADical runs from September 24 through October 12 and the free admission is on different days for different institutions. (There is one “late bloomer”, the Zoo and Aquarium’s RAD day is November 9.) Check RAD’s website for dates at venues you may be interested in.
I still love John Conti. He really has some amazing insights, frequently agreeing with my view (like what the Evil Empire Buncher Group tried to pull by tearing down 1/3 of the iconic Terminal Building-they lost totally, by the way. Buncher is totally out for development plans for the Terminal Building). :) Something that has bothered me for years, subliminally was how they treat our hills for development. And his article in this Sunday’s Trib is very enlightening. He likens ripping hillsides out creating verticle walls to what strip mining used to do to us. And the analogy is spot on, except the strip mines were forced to remediate the land they abused. The hundred plus foot shear cliff behind the Walmart, Lowes, at Robinson Town Center IS an eyesore, and it will be for the next century or more. Longer than those businesses will be there. He points out two local developments that were sensitive to the hills they were to occupy also on the Parkway nearby. Bayer has been on the hillside over looking the Parkway for years with their main building facing the Parkway and parking in back. As well as Foster Square on the other side of the Parkway closer to town (Foster Square is that development with a Marriott and other businesses tucked in the hills and you really don’t see if from the Parkway). How many times have you heard the comments from non Pittsburghers about how green our hillsides are and they are amazed at the greenscape in and around our metropolitan area. I will blame Mr. Conti for every time my blood pressure goes up when I see these eyesores from now on. :) As he points out, there’s a lot of advocates out their for many assets that can’t speak for themselves, bike trails, rivers, parks, etc but non for our hills. And land use control is left up to the local jurisdictions and we all watched what happened down on Route 65 when Walmart’s misuse of grading collapsed onto the road and railway a few years ago. We need a countywide, at least, land use ordinance to control this development or our grandchildren will have bad things to say about us.
The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society is hosting a bingo this Saturday at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Crafton Heights. It’s $20 at the door, doors open at 9:30 am and bingo starts at 11 am. Fun, food, prizes, raffles and furry friends to give you luck.
Also this weekend, Deutschtown is hosting their house tour Sunday from 11 am until 4 pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tours start at The Priory Courtyard at 614 Lockart Street with free parking in The Priory parking lot.
It’s not every year, but when it happens, it’s BIG! This year, Deutschtown will be hosting the 2014 Historic Deutschtown House Tour on Sunday, October 5th from 11am until 4pm. This year’s self guided tour will feature 8-10 beautiful homes and gardens, many built in the late 1880′s. The homes are more modest than the mansions in my neighborhood, but lots of loved homes with some unique twists showing what you can do with affordable city living on the Northside. Maybe you’ll see a home you love and end up being my neighbor. You can’t beat a fifteen minute walk Downtown.
My question on ISIS is if they are making an estimated $2M a day off oil, why can’t we dry up their supply system. We paid bribes to Pakistanis trying to get supplies through to our troops in Afghanistan and our convoys were constantly under fire by the Taliban. $2M dollars a day is not a kilo of heroin hidden in the trunk of a car. It’s pipelines and lots of trucks! Why can’t we disrupt this? And why have I never heard anything on this on the news, I ready and listen to it a lot.
Well, that’s about it for today. Enjoy this spectacular Fall weekend they are forecasting,