Tomorrow is Julia Pierpont Day, accredited with originating Decoration Day that later became a National Holiday Memorial Day, remember our troupes that have given so much.  It is Australian Sorry Day  where they express regress for the forced removal of aboriginal children from their parents, it is Georgia’s Independence Day from USSR and the anniversary of the Evacuation of Dunkirk (1940).  Birth anniversaries include actor John Wayne (1907), musician Al Jolson (1886) and singer Peggy Lee (1920).

Peter Guibert emigrated here from France at age one in 1843 ending up in the Northside.  He joined the Union Army to fight in the Civil War as a drummer boy at the age of 17 and was in the Battle of Bull Run and Gettysburg.  On May 26, 1913, at the age of 70, he took his Civil War drum and walked from The Commons to Gettysburg to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that battle.  His drum lay in an attic for years.  A family member found the drum and gave it to Jim Smith of New York who graduated with degrees in music and engineering and restores drums.  Jim, also 70, rebuilt the drum and to commemorate the 150th anniversary will be marching with that drum from the Northside to Gettysburg with stops in Jeannette, Greensburg, Ligonier, Bedford and Breezewood.  If you would like to see Jim off, he will be departing at 9 am.  They are also having a ceremony honoring Peter Guibert at his grave site at Highwood Cemetery on Brighton Road this Friday at 2:30 pm.

PNC Bank made $190M in ATM fees last year, US Bancorp made $346M and Citizens made $86M, that’s a lot of change for ATM usage.  You know when you use an ATM not owned by your bank, that bank charges you a $2-$3.50 fee and then sometimes your bank will charge you for using the other bank’s ATM.  The Dodd-Frank legislation puts a lot of limits on the fees banks can charge, like the interchange fee they charge merchants.  But there is no limit on what banks can charge for the use of their ATM machines, it’s basically what the market will bare.  In banks defense, a cash dispensing machine only costs them about $9,000.  Where one of those “smart” ATM’s that can scan a check you are depositing and give you a receipt with a picture of the check and other upgraded features cost in excess of $50,000.  Just as they charge different amounts for regular unleaded gas versus premium, why not do a similiar thing with ATM’s?  Cash dispenser’s get a $2 non customer usage fee and smart ATM usage charges $4.50?

Having lived in Florida during “The Mean Season“, a book published by the Palm Beach Post documenting the devastating hurricanes in Florida in 2004, I’ve often wondered about tornadoes that cause such destruction in the mid-west and why there would be such damage.  (If you visit The Parador, there’s a copy of this book on the coffee table in my Parlor).  I erroneously assumed that since winds of hurricanes typically don’t go over 150 mph and the intensity of 200+ mph winds of a tornado are something modern building can’t defend against.  I was wrong.  If the mid-west adopted the Miami/Dade standards that are required throughout Florida in the mid-west, they could minimize the damage, just like they do in Florida.  Strapping the walls to the foundation and then the roof to the walls would make a major improvement in building safety facing tornadoes.  And much of the Miami/Dade standards are so inexpensive in construction of new buildings that I then was wondering why these standards weren’t adopted in the mid-west.  I figured it out.  The value of the dense building in Florida has made the government mandate the adoption of the Miami/Dade standards.  The mid-west doesn’t have the density, so the loss is spread over a much larger area.  And the mid-western attitude of minimal government regulation keeps these standards from being adopted.  (I agree in principle for minimal government legislation).  Even when I lived in South Florida and benefited from the nationally subsidized hurricane insurance, I didn’t feel other areas of the country should pay higher rates to cover this subsidy.      Moore, Oklahoma was a tragedy, don’t get me wrong.  But if they want us to subsidize their re-building, they should adopt the Miami/Dade standards, or some semblance to them.  That being said, if you would like to assist the folks out in OK, here’s some ways to help.  The best charity is Brothers Brother here at 1200 Galveston Avenue, PGH, PA 15233. Brother’s Brother keeps very little of what is donated to them goes to overhead.  You can mail a check to them or visit their web site to make a donation.  The Pittsburgh Foundation has set up a fund to assist OK and they’re a pretty good organization.  More info at their web site.  The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh has set up a fund as well and they also have a fairly low overhead.  If you want the better known charities, The American Red Cross and the United Way of Allegheny County have also set up funds, but not as much money goes to those effected by the tornado.  More info at their web sites.

Well, we had our primary this week, did you vote?  Shame on you if you didn’t.  I’ve like Daniel LaValle since he came to office.  Seems like a nice guy that has the citizens as his priority.  He keeps in touch with the citizens, I’ve seen representatives from his office at most local/neighborhood meetings.  When I saw my former council woman Tayna Payne was running against Daniel, I looked at her bio.  She’s been working for the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority since she got kicked out of office!  She was the council person I went to for help when battling the PWSA over being required to separate my domestic water from the sprinkler system that cost me over $42T pre-opening.  At the meeting, she was all cozy with Greg Tutsock the former PWSA director I was battling.  Totsock was eventually fired.  I was elated to see Daniel trounced her, I believe he got over twice the votes she got and she was the one endorse by the Allegheny County Democratic Party.  🙂

Did you see where the Republican candidate for mayor, Josh Wander was on a TV show?  I don’t know which station carries it, but he was featured on that series that talks about survivalists.  Oh, that’s what we need in City Hall, someone that has a stock pile of beef jerky and water in the mayor’s office closet.  🙂

Speaking of the mayor, I initially wasn’t supportive of Bill Peduto, not being in his district, I haven’t been as familiar with him as I have been with Daniel.  Some of the things Peduto supported I definitely agreed with.  It drove me nuts the bickering between him and the mayor and some of his co-council persons.  I’m a big proponent that we should “play nicely”.  I was leaning towards Jack Wagner until those viscous attack ads came out from a Ravenstahl political PAC against Peduto.  Talk about sour grapes Lukey, would you please grow up.  When Wagner didn’t come out and clearly and precisely distance himself from those half true negative ads, he lost all of my support.  Then to put icing on the cake, when Wagner gave his concession speeches, he blamed his loss on poor voter turn out and Peduto’s negative campaign.  Please.

Gonna be cold again tonight, but bright and sunny tomorrow and for the holiday.  Have a fun and safe holiday,


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