Tomorrow is Armenian Christmas, also the Epiphany or 12th Day of Christmas when the Magi arrived at the manger, Pan Am first circled the globe (1942) and New Mexico became at state (1912).  Birth anniversaries include oater actor Tom Mix (1880), poet Carl Sandburg (1878), comedian Danny Thomas (1912), actress Loretta Young (1913),  poet & author Kahlil Gibran (1883) and Joan of Arc (412).

Some parents are turning to libraries for unofficial after school daycare.  With stretched budgets and parents working more, a safe place for their kids to go after school are libraries.  It’s an added strain on the libraries, but if they play their cards right, they have the perfect opportunity to develop future readers and patrons from this.  Some libraries are starting after school programs that’s engaging these children.  They have the resources right there with all the books, reference materials and computers to run programs that they can run internally.  And there’s a lot of low cost crafts they can offer like origami.  This comes to mind because I got Dee’s son Taymar an origami kit for Christmas.  Tay’s pretty creative, you should see the cartoons he draws.  When I asked Dee if it was a hit or a bust, she said the two of them compete with each other on projects.  🙂

Pittsburgh’s bald eagles in Hays are going to be streamed on line starting in February.  PixController from Murrysville has teamed up with the PA Game Commission and WildEarth.TV and installed possibly the first webcam with remote tilt and zoom lenses.  Last year, the young eagle couple built their first nest and they didn’t do it right.  They picked a weak part of a tree and didn’t follow “eagle building codes” and it fell out of the tree.  Luckily their young offspring was already grown.  🙂 This was the first successful raising of a bald eagle in Pittsburgh in over 200 years. So they built a new bigger and stronger nest in a bigger tree along the Monongahela River.  In 1989, PA only had three nesting bald eagles in the entire state due to the pesticide DDT.  The commission went up to Saskatchewan to bring some eagles down here.  We now have 266 next pairs of these magnificent creatures.  This project really was a team approach that includes National Geographic and batteries donated by Interstate Batteries from Verona.  The batteries are charged by solar panels donated by PixController.  PixController also supplies webcam equipment for the peregrine falcons on the Cathedral of Learning.

Speaking of local eagles, the pair in Harmar near the Hulton Bridge stole a red tailed hawks nest last year and the battles between the hawks and eagles were much watched up there.

The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club out by Johnstown has a very storied past.  In the late 1870’s 60 of Pittsburgh’s creme de creme like the Fricks, Carnegies and Knox used this remote resort to recreate in private away from the smoke and congestion of the city.  When they bought the property, they didn’t rebuild the dam creating the lake they enjoyed.  I originally was constructed in the early 1800’s and actually failed twice before.  They didn’t replace the drainage pipes and when the area was hit with some significant above normal rainfall, the dam failed again causing the Johnstown Flood.  Over 2,000 persons perished.  The National Parks of Western PA is restoring the 47 guest room club house and several of the cottages in the hopes to at least partially opening next summer as a 125th anniversary of the flood.

Well, as the holidays are winding down, local governments are setting up locations to drop your live Christmas trees off for recycling.  Allegheny County has set up several of the county parks as drop off locations.  The trees need to be free from lights, ornaments and tinsel before drop off.  The mulch from these trees will be used throughout the park in landscaping and soil retention.  Drop off locations on the link.

Northside has suffered for decades due to policies and initiatives from the city.  Not only did they demolish the old Market House in the center of the Northside for the ill fated Allegheny Center Mall, they disconnected the major north/south and east/west roads joining the communities in the 1960’s.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, they then slated the interstates to even more divide the communities.  No where in Pittsburgh is the saying “You can’t get there from here” more relevant than the Northside.  BUT, the Northside has some of the strongest (yet segmented) communities in the city with a core of families that have been here for generations and great housing stock.  If you are looking for inexpensive housing to fix up, there are areas here that you can pick up homes at a steal.  There is no place else in the city that you can own an affordable home and walk Downtown in fifteen minutes.  I was living in Philadelphia when West Philly was in a similiar position of being way under appreciated and those neighborhoods exploded (I mean that in a good way).  🙂  So if you are looking for city living at a fraction of the price for the Downtown and Strip condos, look no farther than some of our neighborhoods.  Allegheny West and the War Streets are on the upper end of the prices, but Manchester, Spring Garden, Spring Hill, Troy Hill, Deutschtown and East Allegheny are areas with great potential.

Dormont’s the little city that can’t seem to grow up.  They’ve had bickering between the police chief, mayor, city council and borough manager for several years that have ended in incredibly embarrassing lawsuits, locking each other out of their offices, and other childish antics.  Their little business district has struggled with enough parking as most city business districts do.  I saw last year where the borough was selling their 75 slot lot to Cochran Automotive group and in turn they got a 39 slot lot and another that they leased to Cochran during their new building expansion.  I don’t know how they do their math and they haven’t said how many spaces the lot Cochran is leasing will furnish, but the net LOSS of parking spots is quoted at 39.  I’m sure Cochran is a good corporate citizen and I think helping a business during construction is generally a good thing.  But not at the expense of the little guys struggling to survive.  Dormont’s solution for the problem they helped create is to increase the time meters are enforced and give out more tickets to force people not to park too long.  Doesn’t make sense to me.

The Parador Inn’s first paranormal weekend has been scheduled for Friday and Saturday February 21  and 22.  Friday evening will feature psychic reading by psychic medium Sara Sachs and a welcome wine and cheese reception.  Saturday the Pittsburgh Paranormal Adventures Society will contact a paranormal investigation.  When I first tried to do this last fall, I couldn’t get all the pieces together  to meet everyone’s schedule.  But there was a lot of interest, so get you reservations in quickly.  The weekend prices will be The Parador Inn’s normal rate, no added fees so it’s a bargain.  🙂

Watch out for the cold snap coming this week.  Limit the exposure of your pets, watch out for your neighbors (particularly the elderly) any exposed pipes or those close to outside walls should at least monitored, although locally we’re not supposed to get much snow, it’s always a good idea to have a bag of kitty liter and blanket in your car.

Keep warm and safe,


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