Tomorrow’s birth anniversaries include Walt Whitman (1819), Prince Rainier of Monaco (1923), Prtricia Harris (1924), Don Ameche (1908) and Norman Vincent Peale (1898).   It is also the anniversary of the Johnstown Flood (they have had many, but the one in 1889 was so destructive that it was used as a national term to describe horrible destruction for years.  2,300 people perished, thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed and over 800 unidentified people were buried in a common grave.)

The county has had ten years to prepare a county wide re-assessment.  When the reassessed values for businesses when out in January, initially we the tax payers had two weeks to file an appeal.  The assessment is riddled with errors, some extremely gross and should have been obvious to a casual observer (like a building that had burnt to the ground years previous).  The county is now bogged down with 103,776 formal appeals (including mine).  They wanted to double my property taxes to $30,000-which I consider excessive.

Walldogs is a group of artists trying to revive or at least keep that art of outdoor wall art for advertising alive.  They started in 1993.  They are a group of artists that started meeting yearly in the summer to do multiple projects in a certain town, and kibitz with other artists and learn from each other (somewhat like an Innkeeper’s conference) :).  This year’s project in in Plymouth, Wis.  160 artists will converge and create 21 murals.  The town persons will provide lodging and a brigade of women get up at 6 am to prepare breakfast and then lunch for the artists at St John Lutheran Church.  Some residents research archives to find appropriate images of past wall art.  Pretty cool.  More info at their web site.

Brighton Heights Citizen Federation is having their 8th Annual Walking Chocolate Tour.  Starting at the Kaut House on the corner of Flemming & Termon Avenues on Sunday, June 6.  Tickets are $9 through June 9 and $15 the day of the tour.  You can purchase tickets at the Federation’s web site through PayPal.  More info at their web site or e-mail brightonheights@yahoo.com.

Clique Vodka, headquartered in the Strip since 2007, is having a major expansion.  They have been servicing Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia since 2010.  They are expanding into India this year.  Many vodka producers are introducing new premium and ultra premium brands, where as Clique is targeting a well made, moderate priced vodka targeting the younger 20’s & 30’s age groups.  Clique, Premier Innovations Group, takes a Latvian vodka and packages and markets it.  A lot like what Sidney Frank did with Grey Goose and then sold it to Bacardi for $2BILLION in 2004 after only doing the same thing for eight years.  Wow!  More info at their web site.

Gary Luther of Greensburg has been collecting pedal pushers (those toy cars, not girls shorts), 🙂 kiddie cars, junior autos since 1996.    His collection has gotten so out of hand, he solved the over crowding of his his by buying a small building in his neighborhood that he’s converted into his own “museum” and work shop.  He has over 75 pedal cars, 150 tricycles, 40 wagons and two dozen scooters.  Although his “museum” is not open to the public, he is showing his collections at The Lincoln Highway Experience Museum at 3435 Route 30 East in Unity, Westmoreland County next Sunday at 2 pm.  Admission’s $10 and you need to preregister.  More info at their web site or by calling 724.879.4241.

I am currently reading Quest by Daniel Yergin and I am totally en rapped with it.  Big book (800 total pages), relatively small print, few pictures and I am ravenous with it.  I will finish it by early next week, if not the weekend.   You know how some words are hard to translate from one language to another?  Mottainai is a Japanese word that someone asked it’s meaning awhile ago after seeing Americans at Christmas just bunch up wrapping paper and throwing it away.  The Japanese ended up having a forum to translate it into English.  What they came up with was “too good to waste”.  I think that speaks volumes about recycling.  I need to learn how to pronounce it.

It looks like Buncher is still getting away with destroying 1/3 of the Terminal Building on Smallman Street.  That is so depressing and wrong.  Their latest PR to justify this disgusting destruction of our heritage is they are planning on building 750 new housing units back there.  This road they insist on building will connect 17th Street and by proxy Liberty and Penn to their new housing and retail units that they will sell for a profit.  I still adamantly feel they should develop 15th Street which already exists, just before the Terminal Building next to Lydia’s.  They were before the Planning Commission the other day and were tooting their own horn about what wonderful developers they are and what an asset they are to the city.  This road that requires the destruction of 1/3 of the Terminal Building will stop before the jogging/bike trail along the river.  Oh My, what civic minded developers.  They are not going to allow users of this new road to run over joggers while traveling down a road that has to stop anyway because there’s a river.  Oh yea, these civic minded developers are going to build a 1,000 car parking garage under the Vet’s Bridge.  What else can they put there, another Hyatt, oops :).

There’s a once in our life time celestial event occurring next Tuesday.  It’s called the Transit of Venus and Venus will totally eclipse the sun around five pm our time.  Now this is series stuff, don’t go looking at it with your naked eyes.  This event occurs twice over eight years every 100 years, so see it Tuesday or you loose (unless you plan on living to be 100+) :).  The Carnegie Science Center is hosting public viewing in the fifth floor observatory, the Buhl Planetarium.  They will have telescopes with solar filters for safe viewing (I assume you will need to buy their regular admission).  (I’m not including a link to the Science Center out of protest.  If they are going to have a calendar of events, lets keep it up to date.  There’s really no info on their web site about this event that I could find).  The Observatory at Riverview Park will not be hosting any kind of an event because of their location with the park’s trees will block the view.

Beautiful day today and will be tomorrow, enjoy,



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