Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Happens When the Coal and Coke Industries Disappear

My Facebook news feed was all kinds of a mess the other night when my Connellsville friends started talking about a building collapse. A man was injured but is okay, and the building has been demolished by the city. Which is funny, because as I watched the story on WTAE over dinner on campus the other night I thought, "It'll be torn down and made into a parking lot," like other dilapidated buildings before it. Anyone remember the Troutman Building?

Once First National Bank and then Troutman's Department Store, demolished in 1997. Now there's an H & R Block there.

I was about seven years old then, and remember how different Connellsville's skyline looked driving into what could be considered downtown from the hill I lived on. Oh, yeah, and it was haunted (see "The Fearful Fourth Floor" at the bottom of the page).

Connellsville's full of big, old buildings like this, and most of them are either abandoned or seem to be abandoned. Seems like owners lack either money or desire to keep these places intact. Even houses are the same - just by looking at them, you can tell Connellsville once had money. In fact, at one time it had more millionaires per capita than any other place in the country. And when Connellsville's coke was no longer needed - and the ovens and patch towns are still everywhere - everything went to hell.

Which brings us back to dilapidated buildings. The article says that two other Connellsville buildings are "public safety hazards": Macko's and Aaron's Furniture Store, both over 100 years old and therefore part of Connellsville's heyday. Both were ordered demolished in January. Glad to see that Connellsville is interested in preserving city history, although they probably don't have any other choice.

Really, the buildings are a reminder of the fact that Connellsville isn't what it used to be and in more than one way. Sure, that's been evident for years, but with each one ordered demolished more of Connellsville's rich history is destroyed. Literally. Not only have the buildings been allowed to deteriorate, but they can't even afford to get rid of them.

The bottom line? In the words of Mayor Charles Matthews, "We can’t continue to do this; the city doesn’t have the money."

Monday, March 28, 2011

More on the Ambulance Thief

I don't know how I missed this, but the guy that stole the ambulance from Highland's Hospital made the Morning Freak Show. Enjoy.

In other Freak Show news, Mikey is looking for an article that mentions them making fun of Fayette County. I'm also interested and hoping someone knows something about this.

And just for fun, his reaction to this blog.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Farm Animals Found in Home

Fayette County, please stop doing ridiculous things for about 24 hours. I'm falling behind.

A whole bunch of farm animals were found in a Fayette County home the other day.

The SPCA searched the home after it got reports of livestock being raised there. Obviously, there's a little more going on here than just raising livestock.

How about a breakdown?
  • 15 dogs
  • 28 chickens
  • 1 goat, which had been previously joined by two others that were recently sold and was probably lonely
  • Some rabbits
  • Unclear number of sugar gliders

What are sugar gliders, you ask? Is this a common Fayettenam animal, like venison is a common meal? No, unfortunately. If the Nam does have any unique creatures, they're Youghiogheny River mutations from the tires and beer bottles (the YoughNess Monster). No, sugar gliders are from Australia.

Okay, I totally support the owning of sugar gliders. Those things are adorable. I also support the owning of goats because they're pretty cool, too. I am truly a Fayettenam girl.

Now, when I went to Google sugar gliders, the second Google recommendation was "sugar gliders for sale in PA." Not far behind was "sugar gliders for sale in Pittsburgh PA." Do we have some sugar glider black market? At least I know where I can get one.

And why get rid of two of the goats? Run out of room because of all the chickens and sugar gliders?

In case you were wondering, live poultry and livestock in a home violates state laws.

The good news is almost all of the animals were in good health, which is rare for Fayette County animal stories. They're usually malnourished and horribly abused, and they get on the news and need homes and I turn into a child, look at my mom, and say, "Aww, Mom, can we take one?" and then all surrounding counties insult us and that's how I know that all is as it should be.

The thing is, plenty of people around here have farm animals. Shocking. Just not in such impressive numbers, and not sugar gliders. Oh, yeah, and not inside. I have seen them in interesting locations, though, including horses along 119 heading towards Connellsville, sheep along 119 by the drive-in, and chickens in the yard of this house along a road near mine.

The Morning Freak Show has dubbed it "the Fayette County basement of FUN." I have to agree. Once again, I am truly a Fayettenam girl. Mikey also pointed out that if things like this wouldn't happen, we wouldn't make said Freak Show, but I'm pretty sure Fayette County shenanigans will never stop. Besides, when it's called "The Morning Freak Show," don't we kind of belong there?

For further reading on this nonsense, check out WPXI's coverage and a very funny take from That's Church.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Man Steals Lots and Lots of Painkillers

First of all, much thanks for the links from That's Church and Mikey.

Second, don't worry - I will get to the other big Nam news, mainly the house filled with farm animals. Right now I want to talk about stealing vicodin.

Not just a little vicodin. A guy stole 1000 tablets, or whatever the technical term is. Really, it's not even huge news. Only in Fayette County is it possible to say that prescription drug theft isn't huge news, but we all know how common drug use is here.

The fun part about prescriptions is that aside from being stolen, they're often forged. I've heard stories from pharmacists about people adding numbers to their prescriptions - you know, making 10 vicodin 100. Or maybe 1000, although this wasn't a case of playing with numbers. He stole them from a Rite Aide, which happens to be very close to my house and employed my cousin. Good to know the drug problem won't be leaving any time soon.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Uniontown Loses Early in Burgh Bracket

Kiss FM is doing their annual Burgh Bracket, and Fayette County has its own. Unfortunately, the county distinctions have little to do with anything. That said, the city of Uniontown did make an appearance in the first round, but lost in voting to the Art Institute's T-Rex.

How are we supposed to compete with that?

Voting is still going on, but nothing's really Nam-related, unfortunately. A true Nam bracket would be good. Uniontown Hospital vs. Highlands? Gallatin Avenue prostitutes vs. the homeless man shouting sexual propositions?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We Had a Police Chase!

Basically, "a routine traffic stop turned into a high-speed pursuit."

A pickup truck in Fayette County with a broken taillight and "a very loud exhaust system." Surely, this has never happened before. And either the driver wanted to avoid getting in trouble for his loud exhaust - which is probably pretty likely - or the police would've found something more troublesome if he'd cooperated, like drugs. Also probably pretty likely.

And so he ends up driving into Revere, which only has one way in, and probably drove off onto a path in the woods. And the cops couldn't find him.

I'll give the police the benefit of the doubt and say it was dark, the truck was black, and the woods can get pretty ridiculous. And maybe the driver was smart enough, after going into a place with only one way in and out then hiding into the woods, to not leave his loud truck running. But still.

A black GMC around here, though, won't exactly stand out. That's like saying it was a car with two different colored doors, rust, and a plastic wrap window. Do you know how many cars fit that description?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Frying Pan Assault

You know, I'd like to post about other things one of these days, but the people of the Nam just won't quit and keep doing really ridiculous things that need talked about.

This time, a couple is in jail after assaulting each other with frying pans.

Domestic disputes in the Nam aren't new. Domestic disputes with frying pans, however, are. Angry couples are getting creative, I guess.

The great mystery is whether they were each armed, or just shared one frying pan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ambulance Thief

We just can't stop making the news, can we?

A man from Republic decided to drive himself home from Connellsville's Highlands Hospital - in an ambulance.

My boyfriend's from Republic. Yay, Republic!

There was a police chase and everything, until the man crashed the ambulance and was arrested. He even did $4,000 damage to it.

Did he really think this was a good idea, or do people just do crazy things to make the news now? Mikey applauded us and declared it the best Fayette County story of the year. I have to agree.

It should also be noted that a very quick search for Highlands Hospital malpractice suits didn't get any results, unlike the death trap that is Uniontown. Instead, Highlands is adding an autism center.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Nam: A (Sort Of) Tour

Not everyone is from Fayette County, meaning not everyone realizes how stupid things like having Walmart stores in Brownsville, Uniontown, and Connellsvile are. So I'm armed with a county map and ready to take you on a virtual tour of the Nam - notable people, places, and stories.

Bullskin Township - Recently made the news when the roof of a shed blew on to 119 during the most ridiculous wind ever the other day.

Everson - Right across the bridge from Scottdale. Why is Scottdale not on the map? It's in Westmoreland County. Why is this relevant? Because a man dressed as a ninja left his son home alone. Some people thought this did, in fact, happen in the Nam. The rest of us are left wishing but finding ways to blog about it anyway.

Dawson - Okay, I'm only in Dawson when we raft there. Home of the former Cafe Noswad and a current massive flea market. Very close to Layton, home of Buffalo Bill's house from The Silence of the Lambs. Not on the map, because I don't think most people care.

Connellsville - Considered one of Fayette County's cities. I'm told it used to be awesome. Launching point of said rafting trips to Dawson, former home of Coffee on Crawford, and current home of the Youghiogheny River Trail, my high school, and The Clarks.

South Connellsville - Former home of me.

Dunbar - Home of Pechin's, the Laurel Mall flea market, and the Fayette County Fair. They still have last year's schedule up, so I can't talk you into coming to see the debauchery for yourselves - yet.

Caparis - Home of these bigass cliffs. Oh, and some mines and a cave and things like bears and mountain lions or some other large animals that could eat people, because when I lived in South Connellsville my dad would always be like, "Hey, let's go to Casparis" but we never would because he wanted to take a gun and my mom was very concerned.

Normalville - I actually know nothing about Normalville but I'm guessing there's nothing normal about it.

Uniontown - Fayette County's other city. Better than Connellsville because it has a mall - a real one - and IHOP and stuff.

Jumonville - Home of a huge cross. Because of it's size and location in the mountains, it can be seen from up to 50 miles away, in three states and seven counties. I can see it from my house in Lemont Furnace, unless the weather is really terrible. Note that Lemont Furnace didn't make the map, once again probably because no one cares.

Fallingwater - The coolest place in the Nam.

Kentuck Knob - Probably as cool as Fallingwater since Frank Lloyd Wright built them both, but I've never been there. It took me something like 19 years to get to Fallingwater, thanks to my parents and school field trips depriving me my whole life.

Farmington - Home of Nemacolin.

Fort Necessity - Yeah, I bet you didn't know the Nam has a national battlefield. For some reason, I was really obsessed with it when I was little and asked my dad to take me all the time. I think I just liked walking around in fields and woods.

Actually, this entire post has reminded me of how beautiful our mountains are and inspired me to move.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Every Superbowl Party Needs Some Venison

Two men were charged for killing deer out of season just so they could serve it at a Superbowl party. Or, as people in the Nam like to call it, the Super Bowel.

That picture will always be funny. Don't even try to tell me otherwise.

One of the men is from Lemont Furnace, which is where I live, but I live in a tiny little part of Lemont Furnace (which is tiny itself) that's full of upper-middle class people who do things like use a riding lawnmower while wearing a polo shirt, but that's a post for another day. I'd show Lemont Furnace on a map, but it's not even on most county maps because no one cares.

Anyway, as usual, Kiss FM heard. But it's WTAE that has the best gems - they succeeded where everyone else failed and scored some beautiful interviews. The man who reported the incident seems to have done so because he wasn't invited to the party. At least he handled everything maturely. Meanwhile, the father of one of the men doesn't see the problem. He does have a point - a deer was killed and not a person - but still that's not much justification for breaking known hunting laws. Besides, is deer that much of a necessary Superbowl delicacy that it needs hunted out of season? He also said it's better than deer getting hit with a car, but I'm not sure shooting two deer is going to make that much of a difference. Plus people are usually only injured when they hit deer if they're going ridiculously fast, and Fayette County residents know where they are and what to do when they decide to collide with your car.

Meanwhile, Fayette County's reputation for being full of crazy hillbillies is only improved.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Because You Can Never Have Too Many Walmarts

Yeah. Despite Wal-Mart stores in Connellsville and Uniontown (affectionately referred to as Wally World and The Death Star), that's apparently just not enough for Fayette County because now Brownsville's getting one too.

To make this better, they're building it along Route 40. Where is the Uniontown Wal-Mart? Oh, yeah, along Route 40.

The good news is it'll be done in September 2012 --just in time for the world to end in December.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fayette County Representing in Monroeville

Steel City Con, sort of Pittsburgh's version of Comic-Con, is this weekend and one of Fayette County's own will be there. And no, I don't mean Adam West, AKA Batman and the mayor from Family Guy.

I'm actually talking about Shane Ronzio. He'll be there promoting his comic book, Cross Worlds Nexus, which I actually haven't read yet but plan to. The fact that someone from the Nam is writing a comic book is, I think, pretty cool, and Shane's a cool guy. How do I know this? He was the owner of the beautiful Coffee on Crawford I mentioned a few weeks ago. In fact, I found out about Shane's comic when my dad and brother went to Steel City Con last year and ran into Shane, who recognized them after several years and still remembered me from the hipster coffee shop days of my youth. I was so cool at ten with my hot chocolate and cookies.

If I end up there this weekend, I'm going to beg him to give a Fayette County coffee shop another try. I need one. I can't find a good chai around here.