Tomorrow’s the anniversary of the  ratification of the 14 amendment to the constitution (1868), the first open heart surgery (1893), the largest Tsunami recorded (1958-300′ wave hit Lituya Bay, AK) and two independence days, one in Argentina (1816) and South Sudan (2011).  Birth anniversaries include actor Vince Edwards (1928), composer Ottorino Respighi (1879) and inventor Elisa Howe.

There are about 39 churches involved in the Family Promise of Southwestern Pennsylvania that aid local homeless families.  Participating churches invite selected homeless families to stay overnight at the church for a week at a time.  A great thing about this program is it keeps families together, a mother with teenage sons would not be able to stay together at a normal homeless shelter.  Church members volunteer preparing evening meals, caring for the children, driving families back to a day center in Crafton, assisting with job searches and finding permanent lodging.  Family Promise was founded 19 years ago in Washington County.

Plum is the latest community to join the Troop Banners program.  I’ve talked about this in the past, a gentleman in Castle Shannon came up with the idea and they initially installed the banners with pictures and information on veterans from that community in a small park.  It became so popular that they ended up lining several major streets with these tributes.  11 year old Richie Hrivnak saw the banners while traveling through Whitehall and petitioned Plum’s City Council about the idea and they agreed.  It costs about $80 per banner which includes the full sized banner, a smaller one for the family, a bracket to hold the banner and the hardware for mounting.

There’s a new recreational boating option in Pittsburgh,Sharpsburg Island Marina is renting pontoon boats for $80 – $360 depending on the day and time.   The boats accommodate 10 people and unlike most other watercraft, people face each other and it creates a much more social environment.  Traveling at a much more sedate pace than a speed boat, they are much more conducive to social interaction, view the great views of the city from a more leisurely pace.

Speaking of boating, they closed the locks to recreational boaters in 2012, but it looks like they may be opening them to recreational boaters again on weekends and holidays.  Recently passed legislation allows the Corps to accept donations from private groups and The Allegheny River Development Corporation has funds to give the Army Corps of Engineers to achieve this.  Have you ever gone through the locks?  Kind of scary when the lock is empty and you’re looking up those huge walls towering about you and your small watercraft (the locks were built to accommodate barges and tug boats)!

Sandcastle is celebrating it’s 25th year anniversary this year.  The park has grown to 15 water slides, three pools (the Mon-Tsunami Wave Pool, Mushroom Pool and the Tad Pool-guess who that’s for), Lazy River rafting and Wet Willie’s Water Works.  Of course there’s also the Boardwalk with traditional honky-tonk gift stores and food and concert venue.  You can travel by car or pull your boat up to the dock for a day (and or night) worth of fun activity.

It’s that time of year again for Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix.  Running July 6 through July 20 in Schenley Park.  What’s really amazing about this event is it is primarily a volunteer driven event with 1,200 people donating their time.  Another amazing thing about this race is It is not only America’s largest vintage race, but the only one run on city streets – the way sports car racing began.  This is the 30th year for the race and proceeds benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and Allegheny Valley School.

Summer is here and even many Pittsburgh natives are not aware of dining options around, specifically roof top dining.  Some of these restaurants have had this option for years like Six Penn Kitchen Downtown.  Also Downtown on Penn Avenue, Il Tetto offers roof top dining as well.  In the Consol Energy Center is Uptown that offers a roof top option as well.  East Liberty has a BRGR that has a roof top otion as well (I like BRGR’s burgers, but still prefer Paul’s great burgers right down the street from me in Benjamin’s, no roof top but sidewalk and patio options).  Southside has two options in Carson City Saloon and Skybar both on Carson Street.  Finally, over in Mt Lebanon Bado’s Pizza Grill and Ale House has a roof top option.

There’s several interesting non profits out there, Thru My Eyes  and Memories Live does a video taped message of people with potentially life threatening ailments for their families.  With all this media these days like Skype, selfies, etc, I’m surprised this concept is just gaining ground.  What a nice concept, particularly with young parents to leave a farewell video with their voice and face delivering the message.

OK America, you’re doing a good job, but don’t let up.  Since the Great Recession, Americans have trimmed their personal debt by $1T and increased savings by 4%.  When the recession hit, Anna Jones from Denver had $24,000 in debt on her credit cards.  Her salary covered her mortgage and utilities and everything else she placed on credit cards.  She decided to fix it and in 15 months she had eliminated all of it by curtailing her spending.  It can be done.  She has since gotten married, had a baby and sold her duplex and put 20% on her new digs.  She has a website of her endeavors to clear up the mess we put ourselves in, And Then We Saved.  Keep up the good work!

That’s about it for today, enjoy your week,