Saturday, November 26, 2016

Uniontown featured in NPR post-election segment

One of my regrets now that we're in the aftermath of the election is the fact that I didn't post more during the election, particularly regarding campaign promises and local hopes. I don't think I would've swayed people one way or the other, necessarily, but I like to think maybe people would've at least considered what I had to say.

See, the thing is, a lot of people around here seem to think Trump is their solution and salvation, the key to turning what's long been a struggling county around and back to what is was in its prime. And I think those people are wrong. I think that for a variety of reasons I won't get into today.

For now, NPR has run a story on the expectations people have of a Trump presidency, particularly in little ol' Uniontown. One of the things they mention is that for the first time in 20 years, Pennsylvania went red and voted Republican, something that seemed to surprise pundits and I suspect the politicians themselves--but it didn't surprise me, and I can't imagine it surprised many other residents, either. The flip from blue to red has been brewing a long while. I've mentioned on this blog in the past that I noticed during Obama's first run in 2008 many more yards had McCain signs than Obama, and having spent my whole life living here, I was fairly confident that had a hell of a lot more to do with skin color than it did policy. Even other Democrats bought into the unfounded rumors that Obama was born in Africa and his father was a terrorist.

Similarly, in my new location of nearby Washington and all the way down 40 to Uniontown, Trump signs dominated. While Fayette and Washington counties certainly aren't representative of the entire state, they seemed to reflect the attitudes and opinions of a lot of other people in the state, and while pundits seemed to speak of Pennsylvania as though it were a guaranteed blue state, I was skeptical. Like I said, in the end, we went red, and I wasn't surprised in the slightest. I wasn't alone, either.

Community members of all political persuasions came out for the event including Fayette County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Davis. 
In the spring, Davis was trying to raise alarm bells to his party. He told NPR that he was concerned about the large Republican turnout in the Pennsylvania primary and he that he was seeing Democrats in his country switch their party registration so they could vote for Trump in the general election. 
The writing was on the wall. 
"We didn't want to see it," Davis says. "We didn't want to accept it but ... it was obvious." 

Part of that has to do with the desire to see the coal industry make a comeback, and it's hard to argue with people who are feeling the impact of that loss. There's even a post back lurking in the archives of this blog dedicated to the impact the loss of the industry had on the area. It's pretty evident, really. The thing is, I think these hopes that Trump is going to bring it back are unrealistic. For one, I think he's barely aware of the county's existence, and on top of that--and this is one of the many reasons I couldn't vote for him--he doesn't seem to have a true understanding of how to fix our problems. The best example of this is evident in the fact that he promised to help both the coal and natural-gas industries, both of which have business in Fayette County. But the problem is the two compete with each other, making it impossible to truly help both. In the end, it'll be one or the other.

As much as I understand why people are holding on to the hope that coal will be saved, maybe it's time for Fayette County to move on. Maybe it's time for us to take a look at what else we have to offer and how we can rebuild our economy in another way. Take Pittsburgh, for example, which is becoming known more and more for sectors like technology and medicine. Even a look at the Waterfront will show you how the city is moved past its steel history--the area now boasts shopping, dining, and even entertainment, with places like Dave & Busters or the Improv comedy club, plus the Carnegie library/music venue up the hill. That's what we need to strive for--not a revival of an industry that truly doesn't seem like it's coming back or a president-elect full of empty promises, but rather an alternative to pick us back up again.

In the NPR article, Davis says something similar:

Davis believes the Democratic Party has to reinvent what they stand for in order to win back blue-collar voters and stop putting social issues at the forefront of the party. Democrats, he says, have to start talking about things like how to bring decent jobs into places like Fayette County. 
"Not a job that pays $8 an hour with no benefits, but a job that can pay a reasonable wage with benefits that a man can raise his family, can hopefully buy a house and send his children off to college, maybe state school, but college," Davis says. "That's the kind of thing we've got to start talking about."

Monday, October 31, 2016

Fayette County gets mention in Funny or Die video

First of all, if you're not familiar with comedian Keegan-Michael Key, you should really change that. I recommend starting here.



More recently, Key, a Penn State alumnus, did a video for Funny or Die encouraging Pennsylvanians to get out and vote--and I encourage you, too! But more importantly, the video references our own Fayettenam, including specific mentions of Connellsville and Bud Murphy's. And while our registration deadline may have passed and this video is now a little outdated, it's still pretty funny and worth the watch.



Thursday, October 6, 2016

Vote!

Hello, everyone! Long time, no post. Truth be told, the reason posts have fizzled out is because I really just didn't feel like doing them--keeping up with Fayette County's news can be tiring and disheartening, and on top of that, there have been times where I felt I didn't have much to say and I'd only be rehashing a news article, and I don't think that's what anyone is interested in reading.

That said, I don't want to end the blog altogether, and I will try to surprise you with the occasional post. I have some Nam Nuptials posts I'd like to do, and there's a political post brewing. But first, I wanted to tackle something a little simpler and a bit more pressing--registering to vote.

It's election season, and we're all surrounded by ads and social-media posts about who should or not be president. But the thing is, you have to do more than just discuss politics--you have to get involved, and you have to get out and vote on election day. And of course, in order to vote, you have to first be registered, and you have to be registered by a certain day to be able to vote on Nov. 8.

The deadline for us here in Pennsylvania is Oct. 11. You can register with a paper form and mail it to your county voter-registration office as long as it's postmarked by the 11th, or you can register online by clicking here. For the most part, all the form requires is some basic personal information.

If you think you may already be registered but aren't sure, you can check by clicking here and searching using your name or your driver's-license number.

If you're registered but aren't sure where to go to vote, you can search for your polling place by clicking here and entering your address.

And remember, take the time to learn about all the candidates--including those running for local positions--and make an informed decision.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Veteran denied service at Darby's due to service animal

I'm fascinated by service animals, to be honest. I love animals in general (I'm probably like the only vegetarian to come out of Fayette County), but service animals in particular really interest me due to the numerous ways they can be used to help people and what a benefit they are. One of the things they're great for is veterans with PTSD, like local man Eric Stump, recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star who did three tours in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, Stump was recently denied entry on a visit to Darby's because of his service dog, Dixie, who I'm sure is adorable.

I'll be honest, my initial plan for this post was to take Darby's to task for it and encourage a boycott, because not only is it super shitty to deny service animals, but it's also illegal unless the animal is causing a disturbance. But I have to give credit where credit is due--the owner handled the situation promptly and appropriately by apologizing.
"I feel bad. I don't ever want to hurt anybody's feelings, ever," [Barbara] Johnston said.
 While I'm glad the situation has been resolved, this does seem like a good case for ensuring employees--and business owners--are aware of laws regarding service animals. And remember, kids, if you're out and about and see a service animal that you just really, really want to pet because nothing's cuter than a dog in a vest, don't. It can be disrespectful, and more importantly, it can distract the animal from its job, which can be anything from assisting a blind person to providing support for people with mental illness.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Pechin's goes on lockdown, internet responds accordingly

Man, there's nothing like scrolling through your Facebook feed on a Friday on your lunch break and seeing that Pechin's is locked down because of a possible active-shooter situation.

The world's been a little chaotic and violent lately--we all know that. I couldn't help but think, "Not another one." Fortunately, it was a bit of a misunderstanding, and a man simply was hoping to sell a gun at the flea market...which is kind of ridiculous thing in itself, selling guns at flea markets. But I am glad it wasn't a situation where anyone was in direct danger.

The Internet being, well, the Internet, someone made it a meme.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Duda's Farm having trouble with roadside signs because PennDOT

Ah, roadside farm stands. They're a hallmark of summer. Need some tomatoes or sweet corn? There's probably a sign along 40, 51, or 119 guiding you right to some. And if you're like me, you kind of look forward to this--when the time comes, you hit your nearest Duda's stand to stock up on your weekly produce. Maybe even eat less junk than normal and instead have corn on the cob, stuffed peppers, or zucchini. And their roadside signs are so familiar, you almost don't notice them.

Unless you're PennDOT, or rather, the person who complained to PennDOT about Duda's signs.

Duda's took to Facebook asking for community support after being told to take the signs down. Apparently, Duda's needs a permit for the signs, as they don't fall under exemptions that political signs, yard-sale signs, or other small, temporary signs on private property placed with permission have. Which doesn't make much sense to me--while I'll grant Duda's signs are typically larger than those other signs, they are still temporary. Plus Duda's says the signs on private property were placed with permission, so it's hard to see what the problem is here.

Duda's feels they're being targeted, and it's hard to argue with that, especially considering they noted similar signs that are apparently okay. PennDOT says they're only concerned with signs people complain about, so...which one you complained about Duda's signs and why? Also, if all signs are illegal, why not go after all of them and get money off them fines? Surely PennDOT could always use more help paying for the construction that is every-damn-where, not to mention everyone's favorite, fresh oil and chips.

So why not just apply for the permits? Well, they have, but of course, it's a long process, and they'd like to be able to keep the signs up in the meantime. Duda's also turned to local politicians for help, particularly Rep. Pam Snyder, who introduced a bill allowing such signs to be put up without permits.  It's currently awaiting action in the state Senate.

In the meantime, I personally suggest visiting your closest Duda's stand and showing your support. For my fellow expats, you can find one in the parking lot of Washington's Crown Center mall.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Nam Nuptials: Inne at Watson's Choice

I'm getting married! But this actually has nothing to do with my wedding, so...never mind. Nevertheless, as a blogger, I'd love to highlight some of the Fayette County wedding venues and vendors--especially for couples looking for something a little different than a social hall.

The last time I was at Inne at Watson's Choice, it was for my cousin's First Communion, and looking back, I remember very little of it. But it's fitting that now, all these years later, her oldest brother chose Watson's for his wedding--and it was beautiful.

Unfortunately, I didn't really get any good pictures of the place. I thought about it, but, you know, partying with friends and family was my priority. So you'll have to rely on the venue's page for that one. Sorry, guys!

I did briefly consider the Inne for my own wedding, but it's a barn and I'm not much of a barn-wedding girl for myself--but if you are a barn-wedding couple, I think you'll love this place. The barn is nice and quaint, and though it looks a little small, it's well-suited for weddings. We started off there with cocktails, then headed down to a tent on a lawn for a buffet dinner. After dinner, we spent the next few hours dancing until the DJ packed it up, which is around 10 due to the neighbors. If you need a break from the dancing, there are plenty of places to hang out, whether it be outside on the porch or up in the loft, looking down on the party below.

We kept the party going for a little after the DJ finished by heading down to the fire pit, which was a nice touch on a chilly, rainy night. I headed off to crash at my parents' place, but a lot of my friends and family--especially the wedding party--got rooms and spent the night.

Everyone had a great time, the venue was nice, and you and your guests can spend the night so you can get real drunk without worrying about getting home. Sounds like a great wedding to me!