Tomorrow’s birth anniversaries include actress Bette Davis (1908), educator Booker Washington (1856), actor Gregory Peck (1916) and actor Spencer Tracy (1900).  It is also the anniversary of Anne Sullivan plunging a resistant Helen Keller’s hand under water and spelling out w-a-t-e-r in sign in 1887.  Helen grasped what Anne was doing and learned thirty more words that day.

It’ s been since Bill Clinton was president the last time we had a major “brood” of cicada’s hatch.  Like locusts, they go through cycles and some years there is more of them than others.  They have been know to top one billion per square mile during these large broods.  Their life cycle starts with the females laying about 600 eggs in the trees, about six weeks later the nymphs emerge (kind of look like ants) who drop to the ground and burrow beneath it.  They feed on sap from the roots for 13 to 17 years.  These basically harmless creatures emerge from the ground for only about three weeks to breed.   We have a bit to wait for the phenomena to occur, the ground temperature has to reach 64 degrees for them to become active.  Two web sites dedicated to cicadas are one run by entomologist Michael Raupp of U of Maryland and cicada enthusiast Dan Mozgai of Metuchen, NJ.

South Carolina ex-governor Mark Sanford received the GOP endorsement to run the that state’s House of Representatives.  It’s none of my business he had an affair, that’s between him and his wife.  I do care that he lied about it, repeatedly.  And that the GOP gave him the nod, this “conservative” party that’s always lecturing what’s moral and right and in just three years he’s “their man” says a lot.  🙂  (I know this is twice I hammered the Republicans, believe me, I can do the same to the Democrats).

A trend that may or may not be growing (depending on who you listen to) is “on-shoring” or “re-shoring”.  A huge obvious advantage is transportation costs from Asia.  The time it takes for delivery is also talked about.  Another huge concern is theft of intellectual property rights.  It’s hard enough to keep a lid on it here with all our laws about property rights, it’s next to impossible in most Asian countries.  With the raise in wage rates in Asian countries and finally addressing pollution concerns is another factor leveling the playing field.  Locally MCC International out in Cecil has increased manufacturing jobs from 47 to 58 since 2008, not huge, but this is where America is strong, small business growth.  I have recently talked about DAWAR here on the Northside, they intend to add ten more jobs within the next year to their current forty-seven.  Over in York, Unilife Inc moved their production from China  back here and have gone from 35 employees in 2009 to more than 140 now.  They manufacture syringes.

Lawrenceville is becoming quite the gourmand destination.  There’s Piccola Forno, Pastitsio, Pusadee’s Garden, Coca Cafe , Barb’s Country KitchenMauramori Cafe, Cure, Tamari, Industry Public House, New Amsterdam, Round Corner Cantina, Remedy, Frankie’s Extra Long, Nied’s Hotel, Salud Cuban-American Restaurant and Lounge, Matteo’s, Tender Bar & Kitchen, Franktuary, Dozen Bake Shop, La Gourmandine and Wild Purveyors.  The list includes mainly restaurants, but also some bakeries and an upscale grocer.  Most are new, some have been around for a bit and some have relocated.   Some are excellent (I recently ate at Tamari-I recommend eating at the bar, we really enjoyed watching the kitchen staff prepare the food and talk about it).  Some are OK, I also recently ate at Round Corner and wasn’t too impressed.  What I like about it is Lawrenceville doesn’t seem to be fallowing in Southside’s foot steps with bars that serve food to restaurants that have a bar.  🙂

The Night of the Living Dead fund raiser at Hollywood Theater last month brought in almost $17,000, towards the $70K they need to fulfill their Go Digital or Go Dark campaign.  It a nice start towards converting the projection system to digital so they can continue showing films.  (The film industry is switching from 8mm and DVD/Blu-Ray in an effort to curb pirating).  Up coming events include Annie on April 7 sponsored by the Girl Scouts, April 13 it will be Earth Girls are Easy, April 26 will be the Steel City Secret Cinema art show, May 3 will be the second anniversary celebration of the Hollywood’s move to non-profit and May 11 will be the Battle of the Bands.  These events are themed and the theater turns the evenings into special occasions.  Managing director of the Hollywood, Chad Hunter, feels between the special events and their drive for corporate sponsors they will meet their goal before this year is out.  What impressed Chad was the amount of small donations that raised this amount, over 300 donors.  With a donation (depending on the size I guess)  🙂 you get discounted admission, free concessions and invitations to special events.  If Chad reads this, maybe you should think about selling naming rights to chairs, like they do with bricks in many parks as a fund raiser.

For any of you from the south hills, as I was, the intersection of routes 51 and 88 has always been a nightmare, getting worse over the years.  They are finally starting on the upgrade this spring after all these years of talking about it.  The first couple of months most work won’t be that noticeable, moving utility lines, etc.  The earth moving starts in June and will continue for about two years.  At no time will there be less than two lanes in each direction during rush hours. The project will include rebuilding six deficient bridges, razing about 20 structures, building a jug handle behind the Rite Aid for left hand turns from 51 north bound onto 88.  Turning from 88 towards the north bound 51, traffic will have to turn south on 51 and go up to Fairhaven/Provost to make the  U-turn to go north.  Now the next step PennDot should start is no left turns along 51, unless there is a designated left turn lane.  At least during rush hour.

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, of people with a disability at least 16 years old have a 20% labor participation rate compared to 68.8% of non-handicapped.  To offer educational options on post-secondary education, employment and training opportunities available, nine school districts have teamed up to sponsor the second annual Northern Area Transition Fair at  AW Beattie Career Center at 9600 Babcock Blvd in McCandless from6 to 8 pm on April 18.  This expo is not limited to high school kids of the nine sponsoring school.  More info by e-mailing  Beth Sipe as bsipie@pinerichland.org or Erin Rushe at erin.rushe@beattietech.com or by calling 412-847-1925.

Last fall, Sheila May-Stein went to Manchester K-8 school for what she thought was just a library rehab.  She was so shocked at what she saw that she posted pictures and a rant on her Facebook page.  It went viral and the school has received over 10,000 new and gently used books, computers, a world map, reading tables and even a flat screen TV.  Isn’t it great what potential social media has and good can come from it.

Trey’s Laundromat and Brighton Cafe is hosting Cheryl Capezzuti exhibit of lint sculptures.  Yes, you heard right, sculptures made out of dryer lint and paste.  Cheryl, who has moved on to puppet making and other artistic endeavors decided to a “lint project” to help her neighborhood laundry and cafe.  While attending Penn State for art, her and friends played in this medium.  This isn’t Cheryl’s first foray into lint exhibits in laundries.  She did one at Duds ‘N Suds on the Southside that ran through 2004 and was even featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2005.  This current exhibit is running through April 27 and if you want, on closing day between 10 am and noon, you purchase a sculpture for about $10.  They are flying creatures ranging from super heroes to flying creatures.

Finally, a fabulous week weather forecast, I can’t wait.

Enjoy it,



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