Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Nam on Twitter: Bigfoot the Movie

Great Fayette County tweet or greatest Fayette County tweet? You decide.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Buy Local: The Book Case

Ever since I was a kid, I've been a bookworm. Back then, I used to read stacks of books at a time, leaving my family wondering how I managed not to confuse plots and characters. I dropped that habit in college, mostly out of necessity, but somehow managed to pick it up again in the few years since--my grand total of books of currently reading is 10, not counting the book I carry in my purse in case I need something to read in an emergency. People tell me I should get an e-reader, but I prefer physical books. These people have also probably not seen my CD collection and heard my reasons for not getting any sort of mp3 player, but that's a story for another day.

But no wonder, then, I have a weakness for used-book stores, and no wonder I almost always come out with stacks at a time. Sure, Half Price Books is great. And Greensburg has Patty Weir's Paperbacks, but the last time I was there, I saw a lot of books that had been required reading in a few of my college classes from nearby Pitt-Greensburg. But when you're in the Connellsville area? You need to hit The Book Case.

Bonus points for you bookworms who go into Greensburg for Patty Weir's and hit The Book Case on your way back through.

They specialize in mysteries, which means if you're hunting for Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder series, your best bet is probably there--they've got stacks of 'em. Or at least they did until we wiped out a good chunk of them. But if you're not a mystery fan, they still have plenty for you. Sure, they're like an used-book store in that they can be kind of hit and miss depending on what you're looking for, but they're shelves are packed and just about each genre is represented, with everything from old classics to new-ish releases. They've even got some nice collectibles, like leather-bound and gilt-titled copies.

Their small shelf featuring local writers gives you the opportunity for a buy-local double whammy--you can buy a book and support our local writers as well as the business selling your books.

The Book Case is located at 809 Blackstone Road--heading to 119 in Uniontown, a bit before you hit the Walmart plaza but after Wendy's in Connellsville. They're marked by a green roadside sign. If you need new reading material or even want to save on some of that required college reading, stop in or buy from the online.

And remember, buying local supports your local economy and creates local jobs.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

DUI suspect shows up at police station drunk

Before we get started, driving drunk is bad. Very bad. Don't do it--call a friend or relative, a cab, use public transportation, walk, or even just sleep it off wherever you are, if that's a possibility. In my college drinking days, I always spent the night in the house/with the friends I was drinking with. I especially encourage this if you're drinking underage, when the consequences of getting caught are pretty terrible. But let me say it again--never drive drunk. You're endangering yourself and others, which isn't okay.

That said, this story out of Uniontown is kind of great. And terrible and maybe sad.

A Dunbar man went to the booking center in Uniontown to be fingerprinted for a DUI charge...and he drove there drunk.
An officer at the station noticed an odor of alcohol on Kroll’s breath as he was filling out paperwork for a previous DUI arrest. The booking center desk officer, Patrolman Delbert DeWitt, had noticed Kroll pull up to the booking center parking lot, pull out, then return to the lot between 3:49 p.m. and 3:50 p.m. Kroll got out of a pickup truck on the driver’s side and entered the booking center.
A breathalyzer indicated his blood-alcohol level was .089, while a blood test later showed a .086. The legal limit is .08...but no silly test can gauge whether or not you're too impaired to drive, amirite?! He claimed he hadn't had a drink since the night before, but given that this happened at almost 4 in the afternoon, he would've had to have been really, dangerously drunk if that's the case.
“That’s a first for us,” said Uniontown Lt. Tom Kolencik. “His original charge was a DUI and to come in intoxicated is disrespectful to the judicial system and disrespectful to the police.”
Look, I'm not gonna dispute that. But did anyone consider the fact that this man is probably an alcoholic, a man with a very serious problem? I doubt he was downing beers shouting, "Fuck the police!" And if my instincts are right, I hope he gets help and not just legal troubles.

It's been a good with for Pennsylvania drunkards, though. A Somerset man set up a fake DUI checkpoint while intoxicated...and was charged with a DUI, impersonating a public servant, and unlawful restraint.

Lay off the booze, guys, and make smart decisions.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Woman robs ice-cream truck

Police have arrested a woman in connection with two robberies last week...of ice-cream trucks. Including some gunshots fired at one and a driver injured by shrapnel.

A man was also involved, but the incidents are still under investigation and no other arrests have been made.

But this isn't the first time the ice-cream-truck industry in Fayette County has been plagued with violence. In fact, my first thought that maybe this had to do with the ice-cream truck turf war of a few summers past, including the employee who broke into his boss' home for money.

I thought we'd moved on, Fayettenam! Grown as people! Matured! Become more rational! But alas, I was wrong.

Could we at least leave the ice-cream industry out of it? Stay safe, ice-cream-truck drivers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Uniontown police at 724-430-2929.

Monday, June 1, 2015

On the Confederate Flag

Last Memorial Day, I talked about seeing a pickup truck at Ohiopyle sporting two Confederate flags fluttering through the wind. I'll save my rant on the problems of this and redneck culture some other day, but suffice it to say that the act of displaying the Confederate flag is nothing but disrespectful at best and racist at worst.

A Westmoreland County blogger shares this sentiment, and he's given a great explanation as to why--probably better than I could. So I encourage you all, especially those of you displaying the Confederate flag, to give it a read and think about what you're supporting and what message you're sending.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

On School-District Budgets

Connellsville School District may or may not have a $6 million budget deficit, which the former business manager may or may not have warned of in January. It's hard to say because the current powers that be say the numbers aren't accurate, but I doubt that.
The letter, dated Jan. 9, states that a “very preliminary review” of the budget reveals that the district will need to cut expenditures by approximately $5.9 million.
The district also imposed a hiring freeze.
“There’s not much you can do when you’re in the middle of the school year,” [board President] Detwiler said.
True enough, but another option, of course, would be to increase revenue by increasing taxes. Now, as a taxpayer (albeit not a Connellsville one), I know I speak for everyone when I say it's a plan I personally don't like. However, sometimes, it's a necessary one, as is the case in so many of our school districts. You can only cut costs so much--and this even applies to day-to-day life as individuals. You can't cut out necessities. Something is always going to cost money.
“It is not easy to find $6 million in cost savings when you consider, in context, the magnitude of this number, as it represents almost 10 percent of our entire annual budget,” Kisiel said on Wednesday.
Kisiel is a district resident and CPA, so he knows his shit. But according to the new business manager...
"It’s still up in the air, and it’s not $6 million."
And a tax increase would only raise about $360,000. I'm sure any little bit helps, but $360,000 is a far cry from the alleged $6 million needed. And even then, the school board would still have to approve a tax increase. And no matter how much it may be needed or how much a district might be in the hole, school boards (understandably) don't like tax increases...especially if they're going after re-elecetion. But the way I see it, a district's got to do what a district's go to do if it needs money. Again, cost-cutting will only get you so far.

The school board will meet to discuss the budget on May 26 at 7 p.m. A preliminary budget must be passed by May 31.

Godspeed, Connellsville business manager and school board.