Tomorrow is the anniversary of Anne Sullivan finally getting through to Helen Keller the concept of sign by placing her hand under cold water and signing WATER on her palm and the first Chamber of Commerce was founded in New York City in 1768.  Birth anniversaries include educator and leader Booker Washington (1856), astronaut Judith Resnik (1949), physician who first used aseptic surgery Joseph Lister (1827)actors Gregory Peck (1916), Spencer Tracy (1900) and Bette Davis (1908).

American Eagle’s last year’s April Fools prank, Skinny Jeans, was out done by this year’s American Beagle.  The skinny jeans joke was a video where the sales crew was showing real customers in a real American Eagle store the “latest fashion”, in just your underwear, they spray painted your underwear and legs so you have “form fitting” jeans.  Well this year’s American Beagle features AE coming up with a clothing line for dogs.  It’s been such a hit that AE is looking into possibly adding a pet line.

The original La Gourmandine Bakery and Pastry Shop in Larwrenceville, has been so successful the owners are planning their second location in Mt Lebanon on Cochran Road where the Northwest Savings Bank used to be (right below where the high school is).  The French born couple has Pittsburgh roots, Lisanne Moreau’s mom is from Pittsburgh.  Lisanne talked her husband Fabien to follow her to Pittsburgh for job opportunities.  Initially Fabien, who has worked in many great French restaurants thought he’d open a restaurant here.  When he realized there wasn’t an authentic French bakery in the city, he and Lisanne decided to open La Gourmandine in 2010.  They decided on the Mt Lebanon site because of it’s close proximity to their home in Upper St Clair and the school their kids attend.  By the way, Fabian didn’t speak English when he moved here. The land of opportunity.  🙂

I think it’s a bit odd that West View’s borough manager and police Chief are the same, Bruce Fromlak.  Not that has anything to do with this post, I just noticed it in the article and found it a bit odd.  Anyway, a group of West View residents, borough officials and the Chamber decided to go a new route and created West View Community Connection and they have already either sponsored, or have scheduled movies in the park, junk in the trunk sales, parades, a community day and a car cruise.  Their next event will be a crafts, baked goods and other items for sale from 9 am until 2 pm next Saturday at the St Athanasius Education and Community Center at 7 Chalfonte Avenue.  They also have tables available for $20 if you want to try you hand at selling.  More info at West View‘s website or by calling the organizer Debbie Andrews at 412-931-2171.

I think Mayor Peduto must read my blogs, or maybe he actually uses his brain, not like a past unnamed Mayor.  Instead of slapping stickers all over the city on our streets declaring this a bicycle lane, that a bicycle lane, Mayor Peduto is having a study done that will identify exactly where to place bicycle only lanes that will be separated from  vehicle traffic by physical barriers.  They are tentatively looking at the Fort Pitt Blvd for the East West bicycle corridor and Smithfield St as the North South corridor Downtown.  This will entail changing some traffic patterns, maybe making some roads one way or moving from four lanes to two.  It is so much safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers to have separate bicycle “highways” and with some thought put into it, it can truly be an asset to the city.

Here’s a twist on energy consumption.  There’s a huge dock facility at Cove Point, MD owned by Dominion Gas Company that sat empty this past winter.  The reason it sat empty is America is not importing much gas these days.  So Dominion is looking into reversing the flow, they have the infrastructure for shipping at the dock and they have the pipe lines that used to bring gas into the  country.  So now they are looking into drawing from Marcellus and other fields and just reversing the process.

While we’re talking Marcellus, I’m not for fracking, but I’m also not against it.  If we can regulate the extraction that it is safe and doesn’t hurt the environment and then if we can then transport it and store it safely, I’m all for it.  Those are two huge ifs.  It’s almost daily anymore that I read about a pipe break, train derailment, oil tank breach. To the extent that one derailment in Canada totally leveled a town and killed most, if not all, the residents.   The worst part of this is generally speaking, train tracks and pipe lines follow along our waterways because that’ s the path with the most gradual grade.  But also along our waterways, generally speaking, are the coal fired power plants.  They’re placement there is so they can receive the coal needed to run the plant on the most cost effective transportation, barges.  The huge downside to this, and I admit I wasn’t aware of this until a few years ago, are the fly ash retention ponds.  HUGE ponds, some would call them lakes, with millions of gallons of toxic slurry next to our waterways.  And it’s increasingly becoming evident like the much publicized Dan River spill in North Carolina.  But include in the slurry mishap list the KIinston spill, the Charleston, WV spill and the Chattanooga, TN spill.  And the rate of pipe failures seems to keep increasing, 42,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Yellowstone River in 2011.  In 2012 there were 300 oil spills in North Dakota that went unreported to the public.  Oil is North Dakota’s major source of revenue and this hints at collusion between the oil companies and the state government. The oil spill in Mayflower, AK last year spilled 210,000 gallons of oil in that town.  I grew up in Finleyville, southwest of Pittsburgh and there were many old and abandoned coal mines and I clearly recall the yellow creeks and the smell of them from the abandoned coal mines.  The coal barons made their fortunes back at the turn of the century and we’re paying to clean up their mess.  Again, we need energy.  It would be nice if someone figured out how to build a fusion reactor, but until that time we need compromise.  But that compromise can’t come at the expense of the residents and the environment.  Exxon fought every inch of the way the disaster they caused in Alaska with the Valdez spill.  BP started being upfront over their Gulf spill until their lawyers told them to clam up.  Industry needs to step up to the moral plate and we need to trust our governments to look out for us, not like the implied collusion between North Dakota and their largest employer and source of revenue.

Next Sunday, St Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie is having their annual Pysanky and Traditional Food Bazaar.  They will be featuring the traditional art of Pysanky, intricately decorated eggs using wax and dyes.  There will be also other crafts and ethnic Ukrainian food available.  They will even offer a beginners pysanky class for $20 and an advanced class for $30.  The event is free and open to the public.  The classes require a reservation, if you are interested in the classes, call412-527-5359 for reservations.  Go to Sts Peter & Paul’s website for more event details.

Braddock Carnegie Library will be celebrating it’s 125 years this year.  The first Carnegie Library was founded March 30, 1889 as a place for learning and community interaction.  In addition to the library, they build the music hall (which is going through extensive renovations for the anniversary), recreational facilities including a bath house. Follow their website for upcoming events.

Enjoy this cool, but bright Saturday,



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