Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where's the Beef?

So. Fayette Patch Hunky. They've got some issues, mainly with politics, and general cynicism.

Before I start, full disclosure: I occasionally write for and am related to someone in Albert Gallatin's administration. Neither of these facts is particularly hard to figure out, but it's relevant.

Let's start with the Patch Hunky's issues with the paper. They frequently attack the editorial staff and blame them for pretty much everything (easy and noteworthy example: their post on AG's tax increase).

I've heard complaints from people in the area about the paper and politics before. Case in point: a man complaining to me about how liberal it is while I was on assignment and comments all over the site. However, just because there's a slip-up in numbers doesn't mean that the editors have an agenda they're peddling. In fact, the mistake may have been the fault of, oh, I don't know, the writer responsible for gathering and reporting the information. We're not perfect.

As for AG's tax increase, the Patch Hunky seems to be claiming it was allowed because school board members have relatives working in the district they're trying to keep from getting furloughed. Not so, as furloughs still went out. But even better, a tax increase has been recommended for years and didn't seem like it was going to get passed this time, yet it somehow did. And it sucks for everyone living in the district, but administration had no other choice. Money's been tight for years.

The Patch Hunky also brought up the issue of AG teacher pay freezes. I'm told they were asked to take one and refused. Some administrators and principals, however, did willingly take one.

Bottom line? The Patch Hunky seems to be nitpicking about issues they're really somewhat unfamiliar with. Calling into question media sources is totally fine and really sort of commendable, but only when done realistically. Not every information gap is there because of paper politics, and not every school board decision revolves around nepotism.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Scenes from Dawson

I forgot about this gem I snapped on a rafting trip.

  1. Classy.

  2. Fayette County, we need to stop calling people fags. "Fag" or "faggot" is a slur. It's offensive. Even if you disagree with homosexuality--and there's no reason you should since it really doesn't affect you--that's no reason to go throwing around words that carry so much weight for a specific group. Consider that there is no heterosexual equivalent for "fag." No word with such a powerful connotation. So what does that tell you? It was designed to hurt and oppress.

  3. Even if Dylan is gay, who cares?

  4. Regardless of Dylan's sexual orientation, stop acting like being gay is a bad thing. It's not. Being straight doesn't make you better than anyone. Get over yourself.

  5. Get a hobby. Like, I don't know, rafting.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Steelers Sign Nam Native!

First MLB picked up one of us, and now the NFL has done the same. Free agent wide receiver Terrence McCrae from Ohio University has agreed to terms with the Steelers.

McCrae is a Vanderbilt native and Connellsville High School graduate. Congratulations to him, and remember dreams do come true!

Some blog stuff: I have a planned post refuting some of Fayette Patch Hunky's statements and their apparent witch hunt, but after that I'll be spending time on things like our glorious fair, running now until August 6, and all the various things that have popped up on my Facebook news feed. I promise gems.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Squirrel Causes Power Outage

Were you without power the other day around Uniontown? Confused as to what happened? Apparently, it was all the fault of a squirrel.

Sure, a power outage is an inconvenience, but it was restored quickly. The squirrel, however, was probably turned into what my middle school teacher Mrs. Bell would call a "crispy critter." Let's have a moment of silence for that poor squirrel.


The best part is this has happened before, in 2006.

Squirrels actually cause a fair amount of problems here. They run out in front of cars, for example, or find their way into homes. When I was young and living in Connellsville (the "Boulders" house, actually, and I have a feature coming up in on the 31 about it) they always found their way in, and rounding a corner to be face-to-face with a squirrel was a scary thing at the time. We could hear them scurrying through the walls. Some people set mouse traps, but we set squirrel traps. And perhaps best of all is the fact that a squirrel got trapped and died in a stove.

Without ruining my own upcoming article too much, the house's third floor used to be a ballroom and was turned into a full apartment, which housed two separate great-grandparents of mine. Naturally, it had a full kitchen, so we had a kitchen downstairs that was used regularly and a kitchen upstairs that, after my great-grandparents respective deaths, was used only for visiting relatives or family friends and my sleepovers (but only sometimes because seriously, that house is haunted and I need to get those ghost hunters in there. That entire floor creeped me out BAD).

The time came when our dog, Mandy, seemed to want to go up to that floor and wouldn't go up without my mom. So, the two of them ventured up together, and Mandy went right to the stove in the kitchen and kept sniffing underneath the stove. The smell was obvious to my mom and could even be detected downstairs. She and my dad lifted the stove and looked all around it, knowing something had died but thinking it was underneath. As my dad tilted the stove, he could smell death right under his nose, where the control panel was.

My mom unscrewed the top and pulled apart the panels and peered down into the stove until finally they both looked at the panel they were holding to fine a squirrel that my mother says "had been dead for quite some time." Long enough to attract a hungry worm.

Crispy critter indeed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Texts from Pechins

It's been a while. I have more than one contact in Pechins right now so I have plenty of stories, I just can't keep up. I'm also behind on Nam news. But the world deserves a new Pechins post.

Clearly this is what inspired the horror novel coming out that's set in Brownsville.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dream Big

As we travel to and from Dawson to drop off a car and then later head home when we raft, we pass the Dickerson Run post office. The Dickerson Run post office has quite an interesting window display: it's full of mannequins. Army, Navy, postal worker, etc., probably to send the message that this is America and those are all fulfilling, rewarding American careers. You can be a soldier! You can be a sailor! You can be a mailman! You can be...

...the Jolly Green Giant?

That's right, the Jolly Green Giant is part of the Dickerson Run post office display.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

All Hail

Youghiogheny rafters, behold your ruler: The River King.

He's very tan, plays music loud from what we think is just an old boom box--usually DVE but indulged in some Britney Spears and Kesha (fuck that dollar sign!) last week--has a motor for his raft, and always flies those two flags. And waves to his subjects, no matter whether or not he's seen you before.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Captain's Log: We Found a Boat

My good friend Marion and I went for a nice raft yesterday. Many of our loved ones were concerned and thought we'd die due to the heat, but really, it didn't feel any different than other hot days on the river and I only got a sunburn on my back, which apparently SPF 50 just cannot protect.

Anyway, we were floating along when we spied something strange in the water. As we got close, we saw what it was.

A damn boat.

I was honestly preparing myself to find a dead body in it when we realized what it was but no, it was just idly sitting there. We even yelled to make sure there wasn't someone stranded on a bank somewhere, but soon after a man floating behind us fishing with is daughter caught up and told us that it's been stuck in various parts of the river for weeks. It was once tied up, then ended up trapped in rapids, then made its way farther down. Marion pointed out that we ourselves had seen it before, but it was docked then.

Aside from being submerged and useless, it appeared to be a pretty nice boat. What a fine piece of river treasure that would've made had it been operable.

More pictures from our rafting trip yesterday to come. Mainly of the man dubbed the River King and a Jolly Green Giant mannequin in a post office window in Dickerson Run. What the hell?

And by the way, Marion's sister, Andrea, is also a blogger.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Is there something strange in your neighborhood? It's probably a druggie. But if its not and is perhaps other-wordly, you may want to look into the Fayette County Chapter of the Pittsburgh Paranormal Society. The Uniontown Ninja won't help you here. Well, he will, but it won't do much good.

They just had an investigation Sunday night but have not posted an update on it. Bummer. If you'd like to call 'em up Ghostbusters style, the number is 724-570-1180.

There are plenty of ghost stories in this area, though. They should have plenty to work with. As long as somebody doesn't start tripping on acid and call them about all the ghosts they're seeing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Nam Writer Gets Published!

And it ain't me. But I haven't been trying very hard lately.

Jacquelyn Thunfors, a "journalist-turned artist" and 1945 Uniontown High School graduate, has published a memoir all about her childhood. It's called Alternating Currents and is her third book.

As for her art, it's appeared all around the world: Greece, England, Spain, and New York. She's also taught free workshops in South Africa and China.

I'd like to read all of these books by local authors. I may find a new favorite. Plus we need to stick together and should start a workshop or something. Any takers?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sometimes, We Get Totally Rich

Related: moving on to bigger and better things.

A historian is tracing the life of some dude who blew this joint (not in the substance abuse sense) and got totally rich and powerful in the 1800s.

We leave and we get rich. We never get rich and stay, or get rich and come back, or get rich and do something epic for those less fortunate stuck here in, oh, I don't know, the poverty or Welfare cycles.

And yes, that means if I ever get rich someone around here is going to benefit.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


Shocking. A woman was raped in a Uniontown park.

That's not all. She was also mentally challenged. The man admitted that he'd done something wrong, at least, but if you know it's wrong, why do it?

Great job, people of Uniontown. You've raised some real winners.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Bring KissFM to the Nam!

Fayette County's biggest fans, Mikey and Big Bob, need a city to stop in for their Coors Light Big Bar Adventure and they're letting their adoring public choose.

You can vote for Uniontown right here on Facebook, and you have until 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 21.

And how could you not want them here? They'll get to see the Nam's glory in person and you know they'd be fun to drink with. If only Sherwood's was in Uniontown...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Blog in Town

If you like me, you may like The Fayette Patch Hunky.

Although the Patch Hunky is a bit more serious and focused than I. If it happens in the county, I talk about it. I tell ridiculous stories. I mar our reputation even more. The Patch Hunky takes a closer look at things like local politics and how things are covered on A very close look. A very critical look, and rightfully so--one look at the comments on some of the articles shows you that some people are unhappy and have very pointed criticisms of the paper's coverage. There's talk of them playing favorites with and being very selective in what they report about politicians. I argue that some of this could be explained by poor reporters rather than some mass agenda run by the editors, but it's hard to tell.

I'd like to welcome the Patch Hunky to the very limited selection of Nam blogs that update regularly.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rafting Protips

  • It's fun to put a life jacket on, get out of the raft, and just lazily float on your back down the river. Just make sure to keep track of your raft. You'll get comments like, "I think you're confused about how this whole boating thing works."
  • Rangers or river police or whatever they are were out the other day. Remember, as more people keep dying on the river or fail to make smart decisions, the more likely they are to be out. Remember that being caught without enough life vests for all rafters is an $80 fine, and don't give alcohol to minors or drink underage. Or if you do, say you left your ID back where you launched and add sufficient years to your birthday.
  • Wear water shoes. Flip flops break or come off easily.
  • Feed the ducks.
  • Don't fall out, because you might fall out in shallow water that's swift enough to make the raft really hard to stop, making it really hard for you to catch up.
  • Try parking by the Dawson bike trail and docking there. Beware the mud. Also beware high winds whipping up dirt and grit right at you at high speeds.
  • If you find some inflatable Crest tubes, you're welcome.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Buy Local: Spotto's

Where do most people go when they need something? Wal-Mart. Where should most people go when they need something? A local store. They need all the help they can get. And in some cases, they succeed where Wal-Mart fails.

Take Spotto's in Connellsville, for example, and some kids setting out on a rafting trip who needed an air pump for their raft. Previous trips to Wal-Mart showed limited selection. Spotto's, however, had several kinds of pumps at good prices, and we settled on a pretty big multi-purpose one for only $12.

We're also in the market for a new raft to add to our fleet. Our original massive Excursion raft was a Spotto's purchase, and a quick look at Wal-Mart's rafts gave us only two small options. But Spotto's? Vast selection. Small, medium, massive--they have it. On sale now, too. You can get a nice, medium-sized raft that would probably fit about four people for $60, which is pretty good.

Spotto's also has its quirks. Located on Crawford Ave., there's a store fore hardware and a separate store for sporting goods. Oh yeah, and guitars. I have no expertise on that, though, since my Nam-purchased guitars came from Atkins and a pawn shop. But I digress. Spotto's also features hand-written signs and price tags. How cute.

So consider this a rafting pro-tip: get everything at Spotto's.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Seven Wonders of the Nam: Cucumber Falls

Some say that I'm an expert on this county, but there are some things that even I miss. And how I missed a massive waterfall in Ohiopyle, where I've been dozens of times before, is as wonderous as Cucumber Falls itself.

The stone steps down may be steep, but the view is sublime. When you get down there, the rocks are fun to climb on, the water is nice, and you're impressed but what nature can accomplish. But really, writing about the falls doesn't have much point. Pictures, however, do.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Found wandering my friend's yard. If you want it, or if maybe it was yours or know who it belongs to, let me know and I'll hook you up with said friend/cat.

Friendly animal-related reminders: always spay/neuter, get them vaccinated by a vet, use collars and tags, bonus points for microchipping, try not to let them wander far, shelters are your friend for adopting or finding a good home but tend to fill fast, Fayette Friends of Animals is our only no-kill shelter, don't get an animal if you intend to leave it outside or crammed inside with a bunch of other animals. Related: farm animals are illegal to have indoors.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Boater Found

I didn't cover this at all because I never got a chance--I've been busy, I'm but one girl, and the county has a lot going on--but a boat tipped over on the Yough and one of the people on it has been missing ever since. Until now. His body has been found in Confluence.

This isn't the first Yough accident this summer. Please, stay safe. Make smart decisions, don't think you're capable of anything if you're not an expert, don't go out in storms, etc. I'm not saying that any of these factors had anything to do with three injuries and a death, but we must remember that Mother Nature and the Mighty Yough are stronger than people. Hence the term "Mighty Yough."

As for myself, I will be rafting tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy (Belated) 4th!

What? How does one sum up Independence Day in the Nam in a picture, you say?

The garbage at my neighbor's house the day after. Empty boxes of beer and fireworks.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dives: Sherwood's

Who needs places like Bud Murphy's when you can have a better and cheaper time at a dive? I don't really frequent many here or anywhere, but I don't need to when I have good, faithful Sherwood's.

I've grown up with Sherwood's. My cousins live across the street, so I heard the noise when I was over all the time. Now, I'm old enough to enjoy it properly, and enjoy it properly I do.

First, there are the characters. Everyone there is a local, and probably a regular, and they do things like ask if you're a narc when you go too long without singing karaoke then warn you to be careful going home because cops are out. They make the experience well worth it.

However, if that's not enough, let the decor lure you. NASCAR wallpaper with Steelers curtains. Enough said.

Best of all, the drinks are cheap. Margaritas: $4 (get the owner Cis to make them. I'm told hers are the best, and her secret is she uses three different kinds of tequila). Whiskey sour: $3 (really strong, too). Vodka and cranberry juice: $2.50. Shots: $3 (try the Swedish Fish). Pitchers: $15. Ten-ounce can of Bud Light: $1. That's right, Sherwood's has what I like to call a Dollar Menu. Beers in a cooler under the bar.

I guarantee a good time. Just drink responsibly and remember there's often a DUI checkpoint down the road at Divito Park. I mean The Ice Mine.

Monday, July 4, 2011

National Gang Leader Meets Downfall Near Nam

Finally, all the times my brother spends watching Gangland while I'm clicking away on my laptop have paid off, because now when says things like the leader of the Pagan biker gang was caught in a local drug raid, I know what they're talking about. Before I would've been like, "What? Pagans are into motorcycles?"

They actually got him in Hempfield, which is Westmoreland County, but still. The gang has an active chapter in the Nam, plus raids like this have happened before (in churches).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Nam in Literature

A horror writer is basing a novel on Brownsville.

So that means it's a memoir, right?

It's By the Light of the Moon by Larry Kerr. So that means it's about drugs deals, prostitution, and robberies, right? Also known as a memoir, right?

“I was always told to write what you know,” Kerr said. “I had the experience here in Fayette County so it seemed like a good setting for a novel.”

So that means it's a memoir, right?

Oh, wait, it's about werewolves. The title didn't imply that or anything. But what about "the experience" Kerr is talking about? The article doesn't specify. As far as I know, we don't have werewolves here. Bigfoot sure, but not werewolves.

Friday, July 1, 2011

County Crime Round-Up

Dear Fayette County, please grow a moral compass.