We’re skipping to Wednesday, it is the anniversary of the Battle of Tippecanoe (1811), the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1885), the adoption of the Republican symbol (the elephant was adopted 1874), Roosevelt was elected to his fourth term, the first black governor was elected 1989 (L Douglas Wilder in Virginia) and the USS New York was commissioned in 2009-this $1B amphibious transport was built with 7 3/4 tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center.

Josh Verbanets of the rock band Meeting of Important People has teamed up with Gab Bonnesso also of Pittsburgh’s indie-rock and comedy scene.  They have started teaching school kids about bullying and what to do about it.  The idea came from Gab being approached by her alma mater Montour School District to come up with a program to teach youngsters about bullying.  They worked with guidance counselors and other school personnel to come up with the program.   Instead of trying to get the  attention challenged kids to listen to another school lecture, they present their material in a musical and comedic format.  Definitely keeps the kids attention.  They’ve written songs specific for this and are planning on recording an album with this work and will even be performing it at First Night.  The Josh & Gabe Show has become so popular through word of mouth that they already have 20 schools booked.

Anyone that’s read any of my blogs and/or knows me knows I’m a pretty environmentally focused guy.  Not judging them, but I think Ted & Kathy Carns of Ligonier have gone a bit over the top.  🙂  They have created a totally off the grid home out there on 5 secluded acres.  (Well, not totally off the grid, no wires, pipes, or other hard connections.  They do have cell phones and Internet access).  They make their own electricity any way they can.  The have the traditional solar panels, bio-diesel fuel, thermoelectric, a wind turbine, they are working on a federally permitted ethanol production that will have built in food drying racks to take advantage of excess heat given off during the process and they even have a bicycle powered generator for quick charges on their cell phones and such.   They have a wood chipper that they use to grind plastic foam packaging, cups and trays into insulation.  The running water in their house comes from  a series of cisterns that are gravity fed.  You can follow them on their web site The Stone Camp   or buy their book Living Off-Grid in Comfort on amazon.com and Barnes and Noble Bookstores.

Luke Wholey, the prodigal son of the Wholey clan, has returned to Pittsburgh and opened his restaurant Luke Wholey’s Wild Alaskan Grille at 2106 Penn Avenue in the Strip (I guess he’s going to save a lot on delivery fees from his family’s wholesale business at 1711 Penn Ave.)  🙂  Part of the reason for the Alaskan in the name is he spent time up there leading fishing tours and in other parts of the country like Montana.  The focus of the restaurant obviously is fish and it’s a fairly paired down simple menu.  It’s the building Rob Sunseri owns with the big aluminum garage doors that used to be a night club.  A pretty contemporary filled space using things like sanded down wooden wire spool tables mixing with the sleek modern tables from the former night club.  More info at their web site or by calling 412.721.9590.

The 31st annual Three Rivers Film Festival recently started and runs through November 17.  Screenings will be at the Regent Square Theater, the Harris Theater and the Melwood Screening Room.  Tons of all kinds of films to fit every taste.  Check out their web site for movie listings and which theater they will be at.

Free Libraries are popping up all around, even as far away as Europe and Africa.  Many of them look like bird feeders.  Todd Bol came up with the idea in 2009 and already the phenomenon has taken off.  Bol, an avid reader, decided to put books he already owned out for neighbors to borrow and the idea has really taken off.  You can order your own “pre-built” library from The Little Free Library web site or build your own.  Some people even take those free newspaper dispersion boxes to use.  The only real requirement is that your Little Free Library needs to be water proof.  How you gussy it up is your business.  I know of one woman that planted a garden around her’s with a park bench for people to preview books prior to selecting which book to borrow.  In some neighborhoods they have become quite the hit and community builder with neighbors that have never met, meeting.  Madison, Wis has 250 official Little Free Libraries (Bol is from Wis, so it’s not surprising they are on the forefront).

The Monsour Brothers founded Monsour Hospital in Jeanette, bled it dry and walked away from it.  Now the little town of Jeanette’s faced with so many challenges.  When Monsour  closed, they literally locked the doors and walked away.  Equipment, furnishings, patient and doctor information, medical equipment, everything was just left behind.  Now, years later, several arsons, many homeless breaking and entering and vandalism Jeanette is facing the need to secure the building and figure out how to get the million it’s going to take to raze the building.   #1 the Monsour brothers and their heirs should be held responsible, I don’t care if they’re in their nineties.  They walked away with plenty of money.  #2 the last board of directors that closed the hospital also should personally be held responsible for the razing of this dangerous structure.  It’s a state law that non-profits have to be liquidated when they close.  #3 abandoning property is nothing new to the Monsour brothers, they did that in Sarasota, FLA where they abandoned a hotel after they made their money and didn’t re-invest in the property.

I remember when I first moved back up here, Race Street in Homewood was in the news several times for shootings and other violent crimes.  The wonderful people there got fed up and decided to take their street back.  Most of them pitched in and started cleaning up the vacant lots and keeping the streets clean.  They formed their own citizens watch and not only kept their collective eyes on the activities on the street, but acted as one voice to get the city to address their concerns.  Night and day what we can do as citizens.  In decent weather, you’ll see me sitting on my front porch.  I was sitting on my porch one day this past summer when two people got in a car in front of my Inn and the passenger placed a soda can on the sidewalk.  I came down from my porch, tapped on their window and asked if they would mind waiting until I got my car started.  I wanted to follow them to their house and throw their trash in their yard.  They opted to take the can with them.  🙂  It’s not a shooting, but you get my drift.  A couple of years ago, late at night, there was a domestic with two males and a female leaning on my porch causing a disturbance.  I came down from the back (with my guard dog RJ) and call 911.  As I’m standing, not ten feed from them giving the police descriptions of them, one of them noticed me and said “Let get out of here, that m****r f****r is calling the cops.”  I have many other stories from when I was in Florida chasing drug dealers and prostitutes out of my neighborhood.  You go Race Street, we can do this.

Tomorrow is election day.  Please go out and vote.  Please be civil.


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