Hi,

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Donner Party leaving from Springfield, IL for California that led to an arduous journey that included famine and cannibalism (1847), the Statue of Liberty was dedicated (1886), the Czech Republic’s Independence Day (1918), Harvard University was founded (1636) and the first woman US Ambassador, Helen Anderson (1949).  Birth anniversaries include artist Francis Bacon (1909), French chef Georges Escoffier (1846) and polio vaccine inventor and Pittsburgh native Jonas Salk (born in New York 1914).

Historic Harmony Village will be having their annual WeihnachtsMarkt November 9 from 11 am – 6 pm and November 10 from 11 am – 4 pm.  Admission is $7, $5 for seniors and $3 for students.  Besides finding hand crafted gifts, you’ll see trades persons plying their trades like black smithing and other colonial efforts.  More info at their website or by calling 724-452-7341.  After nearly closing because of cut government funding, Harmony has re-grouped their mission and ramped up fund raisers like this.

Picking up on my past comments about big charity fund raising, organ transplant organizations are coming under the microscope.  A Trib investigation found 58 organ transplant organizations with multiple improper and undocumented spending.   For example, The California Transport Donor Network spend $19,200 for a retirement party for former CEO Phylis Weber $9,600 of it taxpayer money.  That’s one hell of a retirement party.  And it doesn’t clean up from there, Phylis’ successor said the expenditure seemed “reasonable” based on Phylis’ length of service.  One Legacy, also of California, spent $327,000 on a Rose Bowl float, football tickets, hotel rooms and other “necessities”.  And it’s not just in California, next door in Ohio Life Connection traveled 146 miles by private plane for a cost of $3,900.  You can always check a charity’s track record by going to Charity Navigator.  Charity Navigator is in a bit of controversy themselves lately.  They are planning on changing the way they rate charities from just how much comes in compared to what they spend on overhead to also include how effective the charities are in their stated mission.

The Pittsburgh Public Market has re-opened in the Strip at 2401 Penn Avenue.  They are opening with 15 vendors and 10 produce growers and will be open 10 am – 4 pm Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and 9 am until 5 pm on Saturdays.  They left the Terminal Building last month for several reasons.  One was for more space, they will be able to double in size now and they have a working commercial kitchen in the new facility.  The Public Market has been a major spring board for several local businesses like the East End Brewery that through exposure at the Market, they gave up their leased space in the East End and bought a building that quadrupled their capacity.

Happy Birthday, Mad Mex.  Tom Barron, a New York transplant, was working Wheel Deliver with childhood friend Juno Yoon when he came up with the idea of a fun place to eat with healthy food (as much local as possible back then) and with a Mexican slant.  They created menus based on basic Mexican stables, but with their twist.  The name Mad Mex comes from a play on Tom’s son Max, a toddler at the time that was throwing a fit.  :)  A year later, Bill Fuller, joined the team.  Bill, still the exec chef was working on a chemistry PhD in California when he decided to move back home (Pittsburgh) and pursue his true passion, cooking.  They now have 10 Mad Mex’s as well as Kaya, Casbah, Soba, Umi and Eleven.  They have over 700 employees at corporate as well as the restaurants.  The masks you see throughout Mad Mex comes from a woman in Arizona that sells them to support a ranch for orphaned animals.  The metal sculptures are by Rich Bach, the metal artist that did my Aztec  calendar on my Courtyard wall blocking my neighbor’s dusk to dawn sodium vapor light.

See my name over the center face?  :)

I’m a big fan of John Conti, contributor to the Sunday Trib.  This past weekend he posted an article on the Wood Street corridor by Point Park University and how Point Park is saving and restoring most of the area.  There’s other buildings along that street unrelated to Point Park that are also under going restoration and revitalization.  They are counting on the impact the new PNC green building will have on the area.  John’s point is how he appreciates the old and the new co-existing side by side.  One of the things I like about John is he’s not even an architect, but has such an appreciation of the medium that he gives a great insight into it.  Maybe that’s why he’s so good at it, he’s not formally an architect and that gives him a fresh perspective.  “Upcoming Downtown Projects” was a great article.

The free speech movement stated where else, but on the campus of the University of California, Berkley in 1964.  To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this, the Berkeley Art Project held a national public art competition to design fitting monument.  The winner was Mark Brest van Kempen a graduate student at the San Francisco Art Institute.  “He created an invisible sculpture that creates a small space completely free from laws or jurisdiction. The six-inch circle of soil, and the “free” column of airspace above it, is framed by a six-foot granite circle. The inscription on the granite reads, “This soil and the air space extending above it shall not be a part of any nation and shall not be subject to any entity’s jurisdiction.”” That is a direct quote from the Roman Mars article at KAWLNews.  Once the Berkeley Art Project selected the winning monument, they tried to give it to Berkeley who continued to try and not accept it.  This six inch circle of monument goes 60,000 feet into the air and when Mark was asked why so many people miss it, he said “Maybe I should have made it bigger.”  Here’s a picture of it:

 

Oops, you missed it?  :)

Do you want a 1897 HK Porter0-4-OT Locomotive and a P & LE Bobber Caboose?  Before making an offer, you can view it Sewickley’s Riverfront Park along Chadwick Street.  The city has determined it’s a liability waiting to happen and want to sell it and are hoping to get $1,000 for it.  I’d kind of like to snag the caboose, Joshua Rhodes, the industrialist that built the building that became The Parador Inn founded the P & LE Railroad (Station Square was his train station). We could just put it in the Courtyard as an additional guest room?

Finished the latest window replacement Thursday, that’s 30 windows this year and sixteen I previously installed.  That leaves 46 regular windows in the Mansion (these numbers don’t include the stained and leaded glass windows which total 20).  96 windows in just the Mansion.  Wow.  I certainly hope is notice it in my gas bills this winter.  With the construction and three of the rooms torn apart for it, we really did a nice job deep cleaning them.  It’s amazing the dirt you can find in a “clean” room when you tear it apart.

By far a record breaking year, after a sluggish start.  Really kicked some butt this past two months, thanx Dee and Jeff for keeping me from going insane.  Biz is slowing down, but November is actually over last year already.  It’s weekdays that are fairly slow.

Well, that’s it for today.  It was cool and sunny this afternoon, but certainly has turned blustery by late afternoon.  Keep warm,

ed

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