Tomorrow is the birth anniversaries of composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685), vintner Julio Gallo (1910), full blooded Zapotec (Mexican) Indian Benito Pablo Juarez who ended up being Mexico’s president (1806) and Declaration of Independence signer Francis Lewis (1713).  It is Namibia Independence Day (from 1990), Noruz, Iranian New Year’s Day, India’s Saka calendar New Year’s Day, Baha’i New Year’s day Naw Ruz, Selma Civil Rights March (1965) and it is the anniversary of the death of Pocahontas (Rebecca Rolfe 1595).

Finally, I got the picture of me on a zip line in Costa Rica in a format I can share with you.  Honestly, at this point I wasn’t scared, it was the 9th leg of the trip down.  To make a correction, Costa Rica uses metric, so I was traveling 75 kph, not 75 mph.  🙂

There are two outdoor leadership programs coming up through Venture Outdoors.  From 7 pm April 5 through 5 pm April 7 they will be teaching folks how to lead hiking, Biking and Kayaking groups.  (I’m assuming this class is not straight through).  🙂  It is being held at Camp Kon-O-Kwee in Marion, Beaver County and costs $50 for members and $67 for non-members.  The other class will be a wilderness first aid class and is a 16 hour course.  It’s being taught at Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center in Ford City from 7:45 am April 20 through 5 pm on April 21.  The cost is $220 for members and $250 for non-members.  More info on their web site or by calling 412-255-0564.

I thought I talked about the Latrobe High School‘s art collection in the past, but when I did a search on my blog, nothing came up.  I knew they had a fairly sizable collection on their walls (around 200 paintings and some sculptures and photographs), but what I didn’t know was how this artwork came to be.  During the Great Depression (1936), art teacher Mary Martha Himler wanted to expose her students to artwork.  The closest art museum was here in Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Art Museum, way to far and they didn’t do field trips during the Depression.  So Ms Himler would borrow paintings from the Associated Artists to display.  Jim Beatty, the social studies teacher got involved and would speak about the paintings.  Mr Beatty was one of  the student council’s advisers and got the student council to work on the idea purchasing artwork for the school.  The student body would all team up to raise the money and then vote on which piece (s) to purchase.  This tradition continues to this day.  I have never actually been in the high school, I’ve just seen pictures of the artwork and was curious how it remained on display, in a high school and not suffer damage, graffiti or theft.  I guess when you “own” something, you take pride in it.

How petty.  Our illustrious mayor threw Senator Wayne Fontana off the  Sports and Exhibition Authority days after Fontana endorsed Councilman Bill Peduto, a bitter rival of Ravenstahl.  Ravenstahl announced last week that he wouldn’t seek reelection, the job has too much stress.  What a child.  This is the same mayor that denied repeatedly he got into a fight with a Pittsburgh Police Officer at Heinz field.  Lukey was in college at the time, who would have cared?  Have any of you gotten into a fight with a police officer and “forgot”.  This kind of childishness is one of the big problems of why the mayor’s office and city council have been at each others’ throats since Ravenstahl came to office.  It’s like the democrats and republicans in Washington.  Serious guys, can’t we all grow up and learn to play nice with each other?

I do have to give Lukey some credit.  He’s decided to take on the evil giant, UPMC and is trying to revoke their nonprofit status.  UPMC reported a $220.7M PROFIT  last year.  I believe UPMC has a different term, but the money left over after you pay all your bills still boils down to profit, no matter what the semantics.  To qualify as a charitable hospital, they need to provide 4% free care to the less fortunate.  UPMC CONSISTENTLY hoover at the 4%, they NEVER go up to even 5%.  They might have a very generous year and do 4.2%.  Any way, UPMC spokesman Paul Wood said “If UPMC ran its affairs as poorly  as some of our local governments, it would not have become the internationally known, world-class health care institution it is today”.  Wow, I guess we took our gloves off here.  🙂  As an aside, the evil non-profits are pushing a state wide bill stripping local governments power to declassify non-profit status.  If you happen to talk to your elected representative, please make it known that this is a local thing.  We know the difference between Springboard Kitchens and UPMC.

I’ve talked about traveling restaurants and retail in the past.  Street vending seems to be pretty huge in Los Angeles.  Here’s a new twist.  The JW Marriott in Los Angeles has some pretty extensive meeting and convention space.  One of the things their convention services team offer guests is an assortment of real street vendors just outside the convention center on the Marriott’s private road.  The hotel has a list of “approved vendors” that they have already investigated to ensure they offered a quality product, run clean and legal trucks and will offer limited items so they can expedite service.  Since they can have up to 1,000 attendees, time is critical.  It seems usually the attendees prefer to stand and eat like you would on the street.  The Marriott does offer to put Astro Turf down and picnic tables if requested.  Kind of thinking outside the traditional boxed lunch.  🙂

Last spring, Tom Hendrix’s monument to his great-great-grandmother was completed.  Te-lah-nay was one of the Indians forced to relocate back in the 1830’s that marched the Trail of Tears to the Oklahoma reservation.  She was so unhappy there, that she walked back to Alabama and married a local man.  They had three children before she passed away at a young age.  While talking to an elderly American Indian women, Tom came away with a quote “We honor our ancestors with stones.”  Later, when Tom retired, he decided to build a remembrance that turned out to be two parallel walls that run a mile and are from three to five feet high and six to eighteen feet wide.  There is no rhyme or reason to the variances, he just let the walls dictate their creation.   At 79 years old, Tom’s pretty glad he doesn’t have to go around rummaging stones anymore.  🙂

Have a great one and keep warm,




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