Tomorrow’s the anniversary of Boston Fire (1872), the Berlin Wall was opened (1989), the East Coast blackout of 1965, Kristallnacht (Crystal Night-thousand of Jewish shops were destroyed 1938), Wilhelm II abdicated (1918), the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened (1984) and the Links Inc was founded to better the lives of African Americans (1946). Birth anniversaries include astronomer, biologist, author Carl Sagan (1934), senator William Fulbright (1905) and vice president Spiro Agnew (1918).
Robert Pounds has been cared for in group homes since his brother passed away, who took over caring for the functional, but mentally disabled 62 year old after their parents both passed away. William and Jaylee Trzyna were empty nesters who “adopted” Robert in 2009 through the Lifesharing program. Lifesharing, founded in 1982 to help find alternatives to group housing, is coordinated by county agencies and regulated by the state Department of Public Welfare. Of the approximately 2,000 mentally disabled eligible persons, only about 70 have been placed with host families. It can be a scarey commitment, but you are not in it alone. The county has staff that work with you and the Lifesharer has regular engagement with mental health professionals. Robert goes to an ACHIEVA training center four days a week and the Trzyna’s get a monthly stipend from the state. As with anything, it’s what you are willing and able to put into it what you will get out of it.
There are so many caring people out there. One of my guests in Florida, Joyce Cummings, will always be remembered. She’s from central Pennsylvania and was coming to Florida to pick up “her latest” adopted daughter. Joyce and husband grew their family and when they became empty nesters, had a discussion about what they wanted to do. They decided they had so much and there are so many handicapped children in need, they should share with them. When I met Joyce and one of her 7 adopted special needs kids Trista, they came down meet the 8th child they were adopting. This new little girl from Haiti was confined to a wheel chair and the sweetest little kid. The generosity in some people’s hearts is just beyond words.
Paris is famous for it’s portrayal in Impressionist art, but Pittsburgh has it’s share of being portrayed in the Impressionist style. Point Park University currently has an exhibit in their Lawrence Hall Gallery Pittsburgh Impressionism, Past, Present, Future. Point Park has put together the works of three Pittsburgh area artists Philip Salvato, Kim Curinga and Frank DeAndrea, all impressionist painters of Pittsburgh’s landscapes. The show runs through March 15, admission is free and is on the corner of Wood Street and the Blvd of the Allies. More info on Point Park’s website or by calling 412-392-8008.
Here’s something I hadn’t thought too much about fracking, most land over potential wells in Pennsylvania is owned by farmers. It makes sense. The wind fall from fracking is giving small farmers something they haven’t had in years, excess cash. The big agribusinesses don’t need it, they have all of their economies of scare and tax benefits, it’s the small guys that have been in such a bind, as of late. Many farmers are choosing to take this $ and retire, but many are taking it and investing in what they do. They are re-building crumbling barns and out buildings, buying new equipment (it’s amazing how much new farm machinery cost) and over all improving their lot. This may be a major turning point in small farming in our state that can make it more competitive with the big guys and have long lasting effects. Case in point, friends of mine own Armstrong Farms, a farm stay Inn and working farm has purchased a grist mill to process their organic wheat and be able to sell it adding to their income stream.
Did you know the term Speakeasy is credited as originating here in Pittsburgh? According to a New York Times article a McKeesport saloon keeper would go through the crowd and caution them to “speak easy” to keep the police from being aware people were in there. Last year there was a big jump in “Speakeasy” busts in Pennsylvania, a 22% increase over the year before! (This year it’s down again). These busts include college kids selling cases of beer out of the back of trucks at college football games (one of them actually was carding the purchasers to be sure they were of age), as well as that lady out in Shadyside (?) that was charging a cover at the door for “free” alcohol, but charging for the “labor of serving” the booze at the Irish Centre. You can be busted for running a Speakeasy for any unlicensed sale of alcohol.
They will be having the 32nd annual Dirty Dozen bike race on November 29. The Dirty Dozen is a race up twelve of Pittsburgh’s steepest streets, including Canton, actually the steepest paved street in the world in Beechview. Baldwin Street in New Zealand holds the title because of it’s length, it actually has less of grade than Canton (35% vs 37%). So if you are enough of a xtreme biking enthusiast, go to the Dirty Dozen’s website to register and get details (you even have to sign a waiver of liability to participate).
Light Up Night is just around the corner, November 21. Macy’s is again doing animated window displays, the ethnic market will return for it’s third year in Market Square, live music, fireworks, the ginger bread houses will return to PPG Place, the lighting of Christmas trees and much more. The full slate is at Light Up Nights website.
Speaking of the holidays, I Made It Markets are springing up around town this month. They are a great place to find one of a kind gifts by these Indie crafts persons. Check out their website.
If you see a tripped up Ford Flex with BBC Pop UP, don’t panic, it’s not another British invasion. BBC is sending a crew around America to get a feel for the streets, as opposed to covering news stories. (Did you know BBC and the Brits were heavily interested in our mid-term elections? They had tons of coverage and commentary on it). Matt Danzico (originally from Scranton), Benjamin Zand from England and Colm O’Molloy from Ireland round out the group. They started their tour in Boulder followed that up with Baton Rouge. Delayed by a car accident and repairs, they are now here through the end of the month. They are looking for crowd sourced stories and you can connect with them at www.bbc.com/popup, bbcpopup.tumblr.com or twitter.com/bbcpopup.
Have a great one,