Hi,

I’m posting this early in case you want to participate in Bridge Day on the New the New River Gorge, West Virginia’s largest festival and the biggest extreme bungy  jumping competition in the world.  Over 500 BASE jumpers participate and they get crowds of over 100,000 people.  Tomorrow is also the anniversary of the Saturday Night Massacre when President Nixon fired many of his legal staff over the Watergate Affair (1973), the Sidney Opera House opened (also 1973), General Douglas made his famous Return to the Philippines (1944), and the Moscow Soccer Tragedy where 340 people were killed  (1982) and Guatemala celebrates it’s revolution over dictator Jorge Castanada (1944).  Birth anniversaries include horror movie star Bela Lugosi (1882), baseballer Mickey Mantle (1931) and actor Jerry Orbach (1935).

Spoiler Alert:  If you have followed me in the past and heard me whine about Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, you may want to sit down.  I am in favor of their proposed rate increase, on one condition.  They say they want to raise our rates to fund a comprehensive infrastructure replacement, if that’s what the rate increase funds, I’m 100% behind it.  You can live life without having a phone or cable, you can survive for a number of days without food, you can’t survive without water.  Most of us pay more for our phones and cable (individually) than we pay for water.  I understand it’s all around us, but clean, potable water isn’t free.  We have lines in the system that are over 100 years old.  PWSA should have the information available to them to know which lines are in the worst conditions and start there and work our way forward for our children.  He’s a novel idea for them, maybe coordinate with other utilities so they only dig a trench once, less invasive for us residents and a significant savings if they share the cost.  Obvious partners would be the gas companies and ALCOSAN (who’s still major on my negativity list).

What’s with Ravenstahl, after disappearing for months (on an extended vacation?), he’s re-emerged saying what a wonderful mayor he’s been and that he’s been working hard for the city.  Working hard at the exclusive golf club he was at for hours last week during a work day?  Or networking for his next job?  Besides me paying him (and you) over $100K a year, he’s mayor for a major American city, to just disappear for months is unacceptable and then to come back to tout his accomplishments, please, it’s obvious to me he’s posturing for his next position.  How could some politician justify placing him in some plum job after his Houdini trick.  I don’t forgive him.

Yea!  We almost won.  The Historic Review Commission recommended that the Terminal Building be designated a historic building, now we just need City Counsel to approve the application and we’ve derailed the Evil Empire Buncher group from tearing down 1/3 of this iconic building.  Of course, there was griping by Buncher and one of the Commissioner’s.  They said they were blind sided by the application for historic designation.  What’s with that?  There has been a vocal group that has been opposed to the destruction of this building, myself included.  That a petition was filed for historic designation when Buncher refused to modify their plans wasn’t back handed.  Go Historic Review, thank you.  :)

The Carnegie Park (in Carnegie) is hosting their second Trail of Terror on Forsythe Road from 7 pm – 11 pm Friday and Saturday, October 25 & 26.  This is a fund raiser to Pitcher Park Memorial Skatepark that’s being build in Carnegie Park.  Last year, they threw it together in three weeks, this year they’ve been planning since July, so it should be a lot better.  A school bus takes you to the top of the hill and you walk down through their haunts.  It’s supposed to be fairly graphic and gory, but they have a pumpkin patch for the young ones.  The admission is just $7 for adults and $5 for kids.  More info at 412-853-0515.

While working as a hunting guide in Knox City, Texas, Joe Maringo was shocked at all the stray dogs.  He brought two home and started Southwestern PA Retriever Rescue Organization in 2000.  He added Shades of Grey Sanctuary for senior dogs in 2009.  Pretty low keyed and family run, they took in 153 dogs their second year in operation.  They’ve limited the number of dogs they could handle and put up for adoption since.  Friend and pet groomer Kim Tamburri at the Barker Shop also in Plum is organizing a fund raiser from noon until 8 pm at John Anthony’s Italian Restaurant also in Plum (see a theme here?  friends helping friends).  :)

I never donate to those big advertised campaigns, in my experience they are rip-offs that some well-to-dos are making money off a very worthy cause. Case in point, the NFL’s Crucial Catch campaign for the American Cancer Society.  Of the $4.5M collected since 2009, 8% actually goes to cancer research.  There’s the manufacturers cut, the retail cut, the NFL cut, the franchise cut and even the Cancer Society’s cut for administration fees doesn’t leave much for research.  When interviewed on this, the NFL tried their double speak, but the bottom line is 8% of  $4.5M is a fair amount of money, but no where near what people expect to benefit the cancer research.  I donate each year to both NPR stations WYEP and WESA here in Pittsburgh, Brother’s Brother, the Pittsburgh Food Bank and the Western PA Conservancy and CAI religiously each year.  I also donate to individual causes as they come up and donate gift certificates to most any Pittsburgh organization that asks.  I never donate to the big guys, if they’re not actually scamming, their overheads are way to high.

I was audited by the county this week to ensure that I’m paying the proper amount of bed tax (7%) and they found no deficiencies.  I received a notice in the mail that this was going to happen about a month ago.  I received a certified letter from the county about a week later with the same notice in it.  I received a phone call from the county last week ensuring that I was going to be available with the financial records for them to audit.  The last time I went through this two years ago, there was four county auditors here for two days and one on the third.   So for the roughly 70 hours the county paid these auditors, they found about $700 in unpaid taxes, mainly from me not charging non-profits the bed tax, non-profits are not entitled to this discount by the county (they also found four room sales that I couldn’t justify the tax being collected).  So this year, the county hired that function out to a CPA firm here in Pittsburgh.  Dominic was here for about four hours.  OMG!  At least the county figured out it would be more cost effective to outsource.  But my beef is this auditor called me today to let me know that he found no discrepancies with my book keeping and he was going to send me a form he wants me to sign acknowledging this.  I asked if I was going to get a copy of his report and he said no, the county wouldn’t let him.  #1, the county scheduled an audit and never told me it was going to be a third party.  #2, I voluntarily gave this auditor highly sensitive information (to me anyway).  And I can’t get a copy of what he says?  I don’t owe any money, that’s not the point.  I trust his integrity not to divulge my personal information to a competitor or such, that’s not the point.  The point is he’s writing things about me and I don’t get to see them.  Supposedly the county will send me a re-cap.  This is the same county that wouldn’t support me when I was preparing to open in my battle with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority that ended up costing me $48K to open my doors.  This is the same county that finally kicked Steve Bland, the incompetent person in charge of Port Authority, and hired a new crony from the Turnpike Commission that luckily was indited for “pay to play” shenanigans before he actually started.  I know it’s petty, but I don’t believe I have to sign this form, so just to irk some bureaucrat it’s going to remain unsigned and unsent.  :)

The twelve windows have the insides all stained and two coats of polyurethane on them.  I have the first coat of finish on the outside and should have time to do the second coat this weekend.  Then it’s just clean the windows and touch up and I’ll be all set for the install next week.

So far October is running about 20% over last year and we have two weeks left.  I already have more on the books for November than I did all of November last year and have a pending group reservation for 28 more room nights.  Holy cow!  :)

Enjoy this Fall weather, the winter cold’s just around the corner,

ed

 

 

 

 

 

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