Thursday, December 27, 2012


  • Geibel has a swim team now, and they qualified for WPIALs a week or so ago.
  • In case you didn't know, I write for a music magazine on the side. Actually, I don't just write--I'm the managing features editor. Meaning I get to tell my readers, meaning you, what my top five albums of the year are.
  • Friendly reminder that O'Gillies is awesome, but they had to close last night due to snow. Boo.
  • Abandoned & Interesting Places has some cool shots up of one of the Yough's many abandoned bridges.
  • Uniontown's Facebook page similarly has some cool shots up of Uniontown's historic glory days.
  • Pictures of yesterday's snow storm are everywhere, too, mostly courtesy of Fr. Bob plus one gorgeous on from Fallingwater.
  • Facebook is full of the usual complaints--the county sucks and everyone is rude.
  • Word on the street is getting a table at Olive Garden is impossible.
  • And for good measure, Cross Worlds Nexus.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Snowmageddon: A Retrospective

Really, though, you guys. We do this EVERY YEAR. We inevitably suddenly get lots of snow and everyone freaks out and forgets how to drive. By March, we've all stopped caring and have remembered that we've been raised to navigate the snow like a boss.

In fact, we survived Snowmageddon, but Fayette County did look mighty purdy after.

Connellsville's Christmas decorations plastered with February.
The view from my parents' sun room.

How the dogs deal with no heat.

Digging out the car.

Connellsville St. Nickman's, facing the other direction, was blocked by debris.

In retrospect, that was one gnarly storm.

That was also when my mom's neighbor uttered her famous advice: "Marry a redneck." Because they know exactly how to handle these things.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Study of Social Conditions in Fayette County

I guess this study is basically just a serious, professional version of this blog. But I do have enough of a reputation that this same guy asked me if I knew of any good sources regarding the county's problems.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

STILL Need Gifts?

  • Tee Minus 24 is offering the year's top 10 most popular shirts at a lower price. Might not be ideal for Christmas shopping, but you could always get yourself something nice for surviving the apocalypse. I know I've had my eye on all the Lost shirts for pretty much ever. You guys don't understand how bad I want "Desmond Is My Constant."
  • Geibel art teacher Mrs. Yankovich has handmade beaded jewelry for sale in her Etsy shop and Monongahela's Favorite Little Things.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tweets from the Nam: Food Groups

You know how I say you can take the girl out of Fayette County, but you can't take the Fayette County out of the girl? I decided to drink rum alone in my apartment last night. And it was barely even snowing here. Party on!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Power Went Out in Uniontown, So Obviously It's the End of the World

I just wish I was home & in the shiny new Olive Garden so I could eat everyone's food when they left in a panic.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

More Fayettenam Gift Guides

You have less than a week to finish your Christmas shopping. Where to go!?

  • Try Colebrook Chocolate. I frequently get my boyfriend their chocolate-covered Brazil nuts, and they usually have candies in that feature Fayette County school colors (which make great gifts in graduation and musical season, too). They also have tons of other neat candies.
  • Check out ArtWorks Connellsville, a non-profit art gallery and learning center that does sell work by local artists--including everyone's favorite punk priest, Fr. Bob.
  • I'm still a big fan of Erica Ritenour's chapbook, March. I'm not really sure how one could gift a free ebook, but whatever. It's awesome. Download it as a gift to yourself to read while doing something nice like drinking wine in a bubble bath to recover from the drama the holidays may bring.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I expected this.

Now, we're not gonna get too heavily into this, just because anyone with a Facebook or Twitter has probably heard every opinion there is on this--some of them are astounding, in terms of both logic, disrespect, and insensitivity. I myself have debated plenty since Friday, including being attacked for statements I never even made. Which ironically basically sums up 2012 for me.

Anyway, it's safe to say we as a nation are saddened and probably a little scared. We should be shocked, but I don't think we are. Horrified, sure, but not shocked. I don't think a country that's seen so much gun violence in my lifetime alone can truly say that one more incident of it was really surprising. In fact, I stated after July's Aurora shooting that we'd see another one within six months, and unfortunately, here we are.

But like I said, this is nothing new. It is, in fact, so old that my grandmother's third-grade teacher was shot right outside her classroom. My grandmother and her classmates were fortunate--the shooter was only after their teacher, thanks to jealousy and a love triangle. My grandmother would tell the story on occasion, and it always left an impression. The shooter had the teacher step into the hall with him, and I believe my grandma and the other students could hear her say, "No," or cry, and then they heard the gunshot. They fled the school using the classroom's windows, even pushing each other out. My grandmother ran down the street. A woman stopped her and asked what happened, but she just said, "Let me go! Let me go!" and kept on running. When she got home, she said to my great-grandmother, "Go get Billy"--her brother--"They're shooting the teachers!"

Very few people are in favor of an outright ban on guns. I'm not. But I am in favor of tightening some laws and making it harder for this to happen again. I've heard all the counter arguments. I've countered the counter arguments. Yes, evil can still find a way to win, but that's no reason to sit back and not fight it. When we see a problem, the very least we can do is say, "This needs fixed." We may not agree on how to fix it, and the answers may not be simple or obvious and certainly won't please everyone or satisfy all needs, but we should at least try.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nam Christmas Tree?

Okay, this actually came from a non-Fayettenamese Facebook page, but I feel like it could have. Or will inspire people. After all, this is tame compared to last year's deer Christmas tree, not to be confused with the time I was at a party where a deer was skinned.

Fun fact: this came from Jeff Dunham's Facebook page.
His character Bubba is SW PA favorite. I know this from experience.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas in the Nam Pt. 2: The Reckoning


  • Rockin' Winter Wonderland to benefit Toys for Tots at Live Wire Tavern in Smithfield on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. featuring seven bands. Ages 21+. $6 donation, and take new, unwrapped toys!
  • Scottdale's Geyer Theater is performing The Nutcracker. I'm going super high class for The Nutcracker this year--finally--and seeing it in Pittsburgh.
Gift guide:

  • Cookie jars from the Friends of the Carnegie Library. $10 at the library.
  • Cross Worlds Nexus, now available in more comic stores in the area and fresh off an appearance at Steel City Con.
And a friendly reminder that for lost and found pet alerts, check this Facebook page. I also repost all the ones I happen to catch on the blog's Facebook. And don't forget about Christmas Cards for Kaden!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Cards for Kaden

My dad deployed three times from about when I was 13 to 16 or 17. My brother and I both were old enough to fully understand where he was going and why, but most of the military kids we encountered when we'd see him off at airports were much, much younger. The saddest and hardest part was always watching those little kids. You don't know true sadness until you see a toddler pressed against a window, crying, watching a plane take off, screaming, "Daddy!"

I got an e-mail forward from my mom today involving the former Franklin School District board president, Patty Moore, and her grandson, Kaden, whose mom just deployed for Afghanistan for the second year in a row. Patty's trying to see how many Christmas cards she can get for Kaden. So let's get on it!

Send cards to:

Kaden Moore
6312 Cardinal Drive
Newbern, NC 28560

Get a-steppin' and send this kid some cards! It's a simple gesture to help brighten his Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

County Crime Roundup

  • Someone stole Christmas presents intended for local children from a church. You suck.
  • The commissioners are still busy suing each other.
  • A woman got irritated with her 14-month-old kid and shook him and is now being charged. Stop these things, Fayette County!
  • The cops found some explosives in a home. Not a meth lab?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Got to Pay the Troll Toll

First, no one calls it "the Mon-Fayette Expressway." It's just "the toll road."

Second, the toll road is the fastest way between my apartment and my parents' place, as well as one of the fastest (though least interesting) routes between my parents' and work. But I almost never take it. From my apartment, at least, taking the toll road means paying twice--I believe about $1.90 in the Nam and $0.99 in near Washington. I need quarters to do my laundry and don't typically carry much cash, so I pretty much only take the toll road if I have some dollar bills or am traveling with someone who does.

It's a nice road to travel, though. You can go fast, and almost no one is ever on it--probably because of the tolls. Obviously, more people would drive it if they were lower, and then whoever gets all that money would be making bank.

The other problem? It seems like nearly all Fayette County exits are labeled "Brownsville." Do you know what a pain this is when I can't really tell where in the Nam I am from the toll road and want to go to Uniontown and not Brownsville? The last time I drove the toll road to the Nam, I was trying to find the exit that would get me closest to New Century Buffet, but they were all labeled Brownsville. I didn't really want to get off the toll road to drive another 15-20 minutes into town from Brownsville if I knew staying on the toll road would get me there faster...but I didn't know which exit would take me to Uniontown and didn't want to stay on too long for fear they all just say Brownsville or I'd somehow end up past Uniontown or even have to pay a third toll.

Turns out I had to pay a third toll anyway and probably would've gotten to the buffet faster if I'd held out for one or two more exits that may or may not have said they go to Brownsville.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fayette County Christmas

Lots of Christmas events and things are going around. In need of something to do or gift ideas?

  • Historic homes will be open to tours, which sounds neat for those of you who love our gorgeous historic houses or just creeping around (like my boyfriend's neighbor's apparently do--like, full-on looking in the windows). My aunt and uncle had their house on last year's tour.
  • O'Gillies is taking reservations for Christmas parties. With Sherwood's closed but kinda sorta not really open, O'Gillies is a nice second, even though I've only been there once. It's full of characters. It's not on Sherwood's level, though. Come back, Sherwood's!
  • The Holiday Inn is also still taking reservations for Saturday's lunch with Santa.
  • Mt. Macrina's annual live nativity is this Friday night.
Need gift ideas?

  • Ohiopyle still has 2013 calendars. Unlike most of the rest of the county, they're probably really pretty.
  • Then there's Cross World Nexus for comic fans, and lucky for you, creator Shane Ronzio will be at Steel City Con in Monroeville this weekend. Stop by, say hi, and tell him I sent you. Or look for me on Sunday.
  • St. Rita's is selling baked goods, and you know no one bakes like a church lady.
  • Tee Minus 24 has a new shirt out. Buy it for me. They were also at the last Steel City Con, so here's to hoping I'll see them this weekend, too.
  • And for you high rollers, a $14,500 Frank Lloyd Wright cat house. It's not Fallingwater, but who cares? If a Nam resident buys it, it'll be our third Wright construction in the county, making us even more awesome.
I will be accepting gifts of Fallingwater itself, Nguyen's gift cards, and any candy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

For Your Listening Pleasure

Here's some Geibel grads, AKA my former '07 classmates, jamming real nice. They're the Lowliners.

Without showing off my musical prowess, I'll give a brief review: it's kind of catchy yet mellow, soothing, good, definitely a solid jam.

I hope to hear more from them, as well as other Nam musicians. Meaning if you want me to talk about your band, I will.

Monday, December 3, 2012

We Have a TV Channel!

Baby steps! First, we have a whole TV station. Second, that stations has a variety show. Now that variety show needs interns, and it wants high-school graduates interested in broadcasting, communications, PR, and related areas.
Fayette TV strives to provide a safe, learner-friendly environment where motivated, creative, and upbeat individuals can develop useful skills while becoming more confident in their abilities. Our goal is to build a rewarding internship program that allows learners to have an important hand in the creation of a worthwhile product.
It could be a really cool opportunity. I wish I would've had it, although being's stringer was a pretty good deal.

Also, will someone give me my own show on this network? Like, a talk show where I bring in Nam royalty, natives doing nice/cool things, famous visitors, and general first-time guests? I'd be awesome.

Meanwhile, I want to know what happened to that potential Fayette County judicial-system reality show.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Write-In Votes

I was one bullet point into a county crime roundup when I found this glorious gem.

Fayette County was naturally split this election. Like I said before, it was a democratic county until a black man ran. What's a redneck to do when you don't like either guy, though? Write in your own names. Apparently, this wasn't really a common thing, but enough people did it for it to be newsworthy. And I'm thrilled because SERIOUSLY.

Fayette County's picks for president? The most random people ever. Roseanne. Reject Republicans Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum. Donald Trump. Somewhat surprisingly, Hillary Clinton. Leon Panetta. Jesse Ventura (it's probably his conspiracy-theory show).

But among the most popular? Clint Eastwood. Clint Eastwood seems like a perfect match for the Nam. In fact, had my dad known about this before the election, I'm pretty sure he would've voted for Eastwood, too.

Bonus: website user Truthiness, who seems to be self-appointed police based on previous sightings of his/her comments, calls out a word-usage error. This is why we can't have nice things--no one wins.

Speaking of the election, Fayette County voting was CRAZY. By most accounts, polling places, mostly in the evening, were ridiculously packed. My dad waited for 45 minutes (and didn't even vote for Clint Eastwood!), my mom and I waited together for about an hour, and plenty of people said they wouldn't have bothered if they had known the lines were so long. At least we had the art of Marshall School's children to keep us entertained, including lists of what they're thankful for. One was so good and so stereotypically Nam I had to take a picture. Someone harass me until I remember to post it.

Meanwhile, I had a man decked out in camo behind me standing way too close, and someone else passed by and smelled terribly of alcohol.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Toys for Tots Drop-Off Locations

It's Christmas (almost)! I know I already asked you to give some money yesterday, but I'm not asking for money on behalf of others this time...I'm asking for toys. Not even asking, really--just letting you know that has a full list of Toys for Tots drop-off locations in the county. Make Christmas awesome for kids who need it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Help an Ex-Pat!

So, Anne is a really cool former resident, Geibel grad, etc. who's raising money for the United Way of Greater St. Louis, and she has two days to raise just under $200 to meet her goal of $1,000. So, help her out!

You're probably burned out from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, but why not do something good? If you spend $5--or more or less--on a good thing, the universe will return it to you.

Monday, November 26, 2012

WTAE Features "Uniontown: Then & Now"

WTAE recently aired a segment called "Uniontown: Then & Now."

It's weird seeing Fayette County featured positively, especially when the segment opens with "We often think of Uniontown as the city just minutes from a swanky resort." NO ONE THINKS THAT. In fact, I was expecting that sentence to end with references to drugs, domestic violence, and the world's most bizarre crimes because that's why we're usually talked about. So props, WTAE, for making us sound so cool and resisting the urge to mock us.

The segment is good, though, mentioning the county's rich history (including George Marshall and the invention of the Big Mac) and former glory days of totally rich coal dudes and featuring some neat local businesses. Sorry to say, Titlow, but you're right across the street from Meloni's and I can't resist them. But good news, Newbauer's! You have the best, prettiest flowers ever.

The segment also features some of our surprisingly pretty architecture and our Lord and Savior Joe Hardy.

But it's interesting to note that while Joe Hardy is beefing up Uniontown, Connellsville, just minutes away with a history just as rich, is literally falling apart. I'm sure that's why some Fayettenamese are so skeptical of Hardy and reluctant to praise him for helping Uniontown.

Enter Fr. Bob.

Preach it, Fr. Bob!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Support Local Writers!

My awesome boyfriend recently had a short horror story published in October's issue of Siren's Call. So, aside from bragging, now's a good time to remind you guys of a few of the many writers we have of all ages, genres, and times.

And let's not forget the Nam's appearances throughout other literature:

Friday, November 23, 2012

County to Get More CYS Staff

Yep. Because of an increased case load, the county commissioners are looking at increasing CYS staff.

Now, on the one hand, adding staff to handle cases is a good thing and may help to prevent cases from being overlooked and get others resolved more quickly. How many times has a large case load been blamed for extreme cases of neglect, abuse, and even death?

On the other hand, it's pretty sad and terrible that the case load is so bad they need to hire more staff. Get you shit together, Fayette County.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday, November 19, 2012


  • If anyone's been interested in Zumba, my former dance teacher has a class Mondays and Wednesdays. Tonight's is 7-8.
  • Connellsville had their Thanksgiving festival of choirs last night, and it sounds like it went pretty well.
  • Local high schools are all announcing their spring musicals. The lineup so far is Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (I think at Connellsville), The Wizard of Oz at Laurel Highlands, and Les Miserables at Geibel. Every Geibel alumnus I know is nervous and doubtful, but we'll see. Seems Mr. Bell keeps trying to outdo himself. Fortunately, all his attempts the past few years were pretty solid. Cats haters, you get out of here!
  • My cousin is still modeling wigs for John Rutter.
  • Potter's bartenders forget how to make mojitos, so the result is a very strong, very minty but nice concoction. They made their shots strong, too. Then again, they may have known it was my brother's 21st birthday.
  • Comics fans, remember to check out Cross Worlds Nexus, which is updated weekly. 
  • Also remember to check out Colebrook Chocolate.
  • If you're starting your Christmas shopping and your favorite Nam historian needs to beef up his or her book collection, look to Marci McGuiness.
  • The SPCA has pictures up of all the animals they have up for adoption. Cats and kittens are $20, puppies up to a year old are $125, and dogs are $50. I'm fascinated by the high price of puppies, especially considering my volunteering experience at Fayette Friends taught me people want puppies. On that note...adopt from shelters. Don't buy from breeders or pet stores. So many animals need good homes. When you do adopt, keep in mind adult animals needs homes, too, & are just as lovable as the babies. Some of those animals may have been in that shelter longer than they deserve.
  • Missing cat alert!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mahoney Hosting Hurricane Relief Drive

I don't like Mahoney, but I do like this.

He's hosting a hurricane-relief drive at the Uniontown Mall next week. In fact, he's hoping to fill a trailer full of stuff, so help him out with that!

You can drop off items in the Sears parking lot Nov. 16-18 from noon to 6:00 p.m., plus from 9-6 on the 17.

They say they especially need coats, boots, blankets, pillows, cleaning products (including garbage bags and tons of other cleaning products), hygiene products, and non-perishable food. Think canned goods, crackers, trail mixes, bottled beverages, stuff like that.

Keep in mind some people are still without power from the storm. They need help. Get on it. Even just one item helps!

Monday, November 5, 2012

County Crime Round-Up

  • This deals with an old one, but I missed it the first time around. It involves a man in Coal Center on a roof with a rifle. Related: I once had a dream a sniper was wreaking havoc on Uniontown.
  • We also have another old one involving a police chase.
  • A man driving drunk hit and killed an bicyclist, and a different drunk man killed one person and injured another. Stop driving drunk, dudes!
  • A man claims in a lawsuit he was laid off after reporting his employer for fraud. Either way, props to him for reporting wrongdoing.
  • A man wants released early from his prison sentence for involuntary manslaughter. I know it's involuntary, but still, these things make me nervous.
  • A woman who won $100,000 in a lawsuit against Albert Gallatin wants an appeals court to reverse a decision made by a judge granting a new trial.
  • Another old one: a man was charged after shooting 10 rounds at another man outside a bar.
  • A former school-bus driver was sentenced for inappropriately touching a mentally challenged 16-year-old.
  • A man was sentenced for raping a girl on a campground trail.
  • Another man was sentenced for sexually assaulting a teenager last year.
  • A woman is facing drug charges after she was arrested after her house caught on fire.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hines Ward at Penn State Fayette

Hey, Steeler Nation! Hines Ward is paying the legendary Nam a visit. 

He'll be their featured speaker on November 13 at 7 p.m.

You'll need tickets to go, but they're free and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Judging by the huge banner on the outskirts of campus, I'd say there's probably still some available.
Tickets will be distributed in the Cultural Center of the Williams Building from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15, and Tuesday, Oct. 16. Two tickets per adult will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis.
How does Fayette campus get cool people to come? Kate Gosselin was out here last year. Is it pity?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Nam on Facebook: Small-Town Problems from the Vault

Apparently, I took a screenshot of this from my phone ages ago and forgot about it until I imported my pictures to admire Roger Waters.

Only in a small town is it a huge problem when a church photo doesn't make the paper. I do have to wonder, though, what the photo's significance is. Also, I will post ALL OF THE PHOTOS. has been criticized plenty of times before for showing bias, which is definitely a problem. That said, on the grand scale of subjects to show bias towards, church photos is at the bottom.

My favorite part is capitalizing half of one word. Twice.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Or even a hurricane. Or Snowmaggedon.

As parts of the Nam are without electricity but with snow, let's all remember the wise (paraphrased) words of one of my parents' neighbors: "Marry a redneck. They know exactly what to do."

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Nam, Social Media, and Sandy

Those are pretty accurate representations of my Facebook and Tumblr the past few days.

Serious business first: I hope everyone stayed safe and dry and came out unscathed. The Nam did have fun things like flooding, closed roads, power outages, and even snow (including Republic right now). In my new home of Washington, we've had perpetual rain and some wind. I'm pretty sure the water from my gutter created a pool for me outside.

Super important business! The Farmington fire department at 119 Elliotsville Road has opened a shelter for Wharton Township residents who still don't have power. Spread the word. To keep up with these things, follow the Nam's EMA Twitter.

The arc is complete.
10/30/12 10:18 AM

A backyard near Redstone Creek, as captured by my former classmate Kaylie Harper.

And that's how you deal with a storm in the Nam!

And we got to get political.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Calling All Veterans

Fayette County is full of veterans. My dad is one, and he works with him. So he asked me to mention the Fayette County Veterans Affairs office and the new director, Madonna Nicklow.

Actually, he said, "Can u on ur blog mention that madonna nicklow has bee appted director of fayette city va" then talked about a Rick Springfield concert tomorrow.

But basically, dudes, the VA can and will help veterans get the benefits they're entitled to. Someone (actually, a medium) pointed out that it's kind of sad when people have to help veterans get what they're already entitled to, but there you have it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stealing from My Cousin's Instagram

I told you fall was really pretty here right now. I'll try to take plenty of pictures myself for the brief time I'll be in the county Friday.

Consider this a Nam hot rod. Usually, our hot rods are rust-covered trucks with plastic-wrap windows, but some people around here own legit nice cars. This is one of them. Wonder if it belongs to the eye doctor in Connellsville that my dad used to point to and say, "He has a different expensive car in the lot every time I drive by." Every time we drove by.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Nam on Twitter: Winning the Lottery

'Honey….we goin truck shoppin' RT @AshlieWTAE: PA #lottery ticket worth $225k sold in #FayetteCounty
10/15/12 11:16 AM

Alternative ways to spend that money:

  • Farm animals. Bonus for goats or sugar gliders.
  • Cigarettes or snuff
  • More lottery tickets
  • Chocolate-covered bacon at the fair
  • Tickets to Clarks shows
  • The State Theatre
  • Sherwood's
  • Lifetime supply of Bud Murphy's pizza
  • Lifetime supply of Nguyen's cucumber rolls and miso soup
  • Lifetime of skating at Divito Park The Ice Mine
  • New huntin' gear
  • The nicest raft for the Yough
  • About a day's worth of your drug of choice
  • Train ticket to depart from Connellsville
  • Lifetime of rides on the FACT bus
  • Lifetime supply of either Redstone or Colebrook candy
  • Day trip to Nemacolin
In all seriousness, congratulations to the winners! Now, remember where you came from.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Observations and Happenings

  • The Nam is looking gorgeous right now. Instagram is full of fall foliage, but it's more impressive in person. Sections of 40 between Washington and Uniontown are breathtaking, as well as sections of 43. 43 gets bonus points because the grass is super green and there are big hills and everything just looks so pretty. I hear 51 is really nice right now, too.
  • That is, as long as the view isn't ruined by dead deer. It's that time of year, kids.
  • My brother and his girlfriend went to dinner "up the mountains" at the Bruderhof. I've asked him to do a guest post, but for now, every so often they have an open house where they host a big dinner for free (but I would guess donations are accepted). My brother also came back with a large pumpkin and books, also free.
  • My cousin was featured in the Herald Standard for modeling wigs.
  • I hear talk that a kid walked out in front of a car today at Geibel and hurt his arm. Look both ways twice, kids.
And finally, an anecdote from an outsider.

My friend's husband is originally from Ohio. Although they've been together and he's been living here for a few years, he's never been in Fayette County--until Saturday. Apparently, upon entering Connellsville, he said, "What the fuck is this place?" He then questioned the 25-mile-an-hour speed limit, which no one ever obeys anyway. And then he saw hunters decked out in camo talking about deer season at Sheetz, which sounds like it blew his mind.

Sometimes, I forget that the rest of the country isn't this way...and then the rest of the country reminds me.

Friday, October 12, 2012

One from the Vaults

I found this thanks to site stats and a blog that linked me. It's the National Front for the Liberation of Fayettenam!

Unfortunately, the blog hasn't been updated in over a year, but it does have lots of good, neat stuff related not just to the Nam but Pennsylvania itself--even a video of Centralia in the snow.

It also has nice information on the county as well as a history of little Brier Hill. Go browse!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Geibel Named One of the Top 50 Catholic Schools in the Country

Well, I guess all my peers who used to complain about Geibel can't say too much now. Geibel was named one of the top 50 Catholic high schools in the country.

Now, you can argue that it didn't get this distinction when we were there, but the people there certainly helped. I graduated five years ago and while a few long-time Geibel legends have retired since then, it couldn't have done it without them. Well, except Mr. Mascia.

Despite the changes, Geibel's obviously doing well. Fr. Bob's presence helps, I'm sure, as well as the three principals it's had in almost as many years.

That alumni newsletter, by the way, features the fabled superintendent--a man my classmates and I used to joke probably didn't really exist. Mr. Mascia, my principal my full four years, often cited the superintendent as the reason for certain rules and would say, "The superintendent saw this and complained," or "The superintendent didn't like that," but no one ever saw him. Also, Mascia's nickname was Mascia Potatoes.

Congratulations, Geibel! Keep on being awesome. When's your next auction? I want to go spend money I don't have on more cool things I don't need.

PS: Mr. Mascia always talked about how as students, we represented Geibel. As an alumnus, I apologize for doing a terrible job of that to this day. Maybe I should try to get this blog in the alumni newsletter.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sometimes We Do Good Things: Food Drives

When I was a stringer for, the very first article I wrote was about a 13-year-old girl organizing a marathon for charity after the death of her grandfather. I was impressed. At 13, I never thought of doing something like that. I've probably told this story before, but I still love it. Now, another awesome kid is out there doing awesome stuff.

I will always, always be impressed by kids willing to give when most of us adults don't think about it. Sure, we have bills, some of us have families, but how hard is it to even just write out a small check for a good cause? I've decided that every time I sit down to pay bills, I'll be sending a little to charity, too.

But back to the kids! As this little girl's birthday approached, she thought about all the things she was gonna get and how a lot of kids around here aren't as fortunate. And so for her birthday, she asked to collect food and money for a local food bank--instead of gifts. How cool is that? Even cooler, she's only 10.

At her birthday party, she asked everyone to bring food or money. She got $125 and 213 food items, and she's planning another drive for her 11th birthday next fall.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Help High School Kids Do Something Nice!

The Connellsville High School Patriots are asking for wreath donations.

They would like to place 400 at the Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville for the annual Wreaths Across America ceremony on December 15.

They're collecting donations to buy the wreaths, so help them out!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Nam on the Web

We get talked about a lot, Fayette County. Most of the time, it's mockery. But here we have a nice blog post all about debt and spending that references old Nam business like the Fayette National Bank and Cluss Lumber.

It was written last August after the debt ceiling was raised and discusses regional economic development, most interestingly with personal stories from someone who watched Cluss struggle to meet payroll in the '60s and a banker who chose to loan the owners some money.

Interesting stuff.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fine Dining: Wanna Waffle?

Look, if you tell me there's a waffle place with endless toppings that also offers milkshakes and posts pictures of waffles topped with ice cream, I'm gonna want to go really, really bad. In fact, I'll probably get up in the morning and text my boyfriend until he wakes up about going.

Wanna Waffle opened over the summer on Morgantown Street in downtown Uniontown, right across from DiMarco's. It's a cute little cafe-type place that isn't perfect but has a lot of potential.

It's one of those places that's good but not great, and yet that's okay. The prices are reasonable, and it's a good breakfast/brunch place if you don't feel like bigger meals from the big chains nearby. The waffles are good and fluffy. I got strawberries because I'm a creature of habit, and my favorite part was the fact that the strawberries were actually fresh. Too many places put really syrupy-tasting strawberries on their waffles, but Wanna Waffle? got it right. Meanwhile, my boyfriend got a pecan waffle, which was served with caramel sauce. Very nice.

The lemonade was really good. My chai needed some work--it could've been a little spicier but with more milk rather than water. 

They weren't busy at all, so we got our food pretty fast. The staff is nice, and it's a cute little place that makes you feel like you can sit and hang out for a while (the wifi and futon help). I'd like to try their milkshakes and smoothies. They also offer paninis.

It's definitely worth a try!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tweets from the Nam: All Honey Boo Boo All the Time

I don't see the fuss with Honey Boo Boo! People act like that here everyday! #redneckolympics #fayettecountyproblems
9/13/12 8:58 PM

A valid point. So valid, in fact, that I was watching Toddlers and Tiaras one day featuring Honey Boo Boo's return, which included picking up roadkill deer for the meat--and naming it Darlene. I was unfazed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Insect Causes Car Accident, I Wasn't the Driver

Well, an ambulance driver crashed today because an insect, likely a stink bug, flew in the window and distracted him.

Look, I get it. I'm so afraid of insects I once pulled over while driving to kill a spider on my dash that was about to lunge at me--I just know it.

Except I didn't crash, and I'm not an ambulance driver. As much as I'd love an ambulance driver to protect me from stink bugs while I'm in his care, I'm a little more concerned about getting to the hospital without crashing and sustaining more injuries.

Damn stink bugs.

Bonus personal bug anecdote: When I lived in Pittsburgh for a few months earlier in the year, I once came home to my cousin and fellow Nam native staking out in the kitchen to kill a centipede. Some time later, we also moved a couch in the living room and had a three-person operation specifically to kill a centipede. We (well, more like I) made the house smell like Raid.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The 10 Commandments Kerfuffle

Well, the Connellsville school district is getting sued over a 10 commandments monument in front of the junior high.

Full disclosure: I never knew a 10 commandments monument was in front of the junior high.

The plaintiffs in the suit are unidentified and the wording is ambiguous initially--I thought they weren't even residents, but they are.

On a very basic level, they have a point. We separate church and state in this country (as I think we very well should) and there's a religious monument and atheists/nonreligious people don't like it.

But here's where they lose me.
Schneider also wants a judge to block the district from having the monument moved to the Connellsville Church of God, which borders the district’s senior high school and one of its athletic fields.
The suit contends that the monument would be lighted and prominently displayed “for viewing by district students should the district move it there.” Schneider noted that the district rents and uses an athletic field from the church. 
Um. Okay, I guess the reasoning here is that the church borders the high school and so it's close or something so the kids can see it. It's Fayette County's religious equivalent to Sarah Palin being able to see Russia from her house. But it's a church. Asking a judge to block a religious monument from being moved to a religious institution is stupid, no matter which way you slice it. So what if the students can see it? They can see the church, too. Should we move the church? Is being able to see the monument--that wouldn't be on school grounds, mind you--really going to harm or offend them? There's such a thing as exercising your freedom of religion and the freedom from religion argument that goes with it, and then there's such a thing as taking things too far.

In fact, the following quote suggests the problem with the monument may not be separation of church and state, freedom from religion, etc. at all--it may actually be that students can see the monument. The horror!
“Upon information and belief, these proposed arrangements are intended by the district to continue to bring district students in contact with the Ten Commandments monument,” Schneider wrote. “Doe 4 will attend Connellsville Area Senior High School upon completion of her studies at the junior high. If the monument is moved to the athletic fields, it is assured that she will continue to view the monument.”
This ain't a dirty novel or a nudey magazine, dudes (but if it was, I'd care even less--happy Banned Books Week!) The monument being in eyesight isn't forcing anyone to believe anything or do anything. If seeing the monument is the problem, ignoring it should be the solution.

The suit indicated the monument is within view of students who are boarding or exiting school buses and taking outdoor gym classes.
How many of those kids are really paying attention, then? You know what I was doing when I was getting off the bus? Wishing I was still in bed. You know what I was doing when I was getting on the bus? Running so I didn't get left behind or harassed by upperclassmen. You know what I was doing during outdoor gym classes? Trying to stay alive.

“To the plaintiffs, the monument excludes them and others, both members of the community and visitors to the district, who do not follow the particular religion or god that the monument endorses,” Schneider wrote.
They'd have a point if they didn't also disagree with a church displaying them. Come on, now!

A rally was held in support of keeping the monument, and Fr. Bob especially has been very vocal about it. Then again, he's the only priest I'm Facebook friends with. They've tried covered it, but that's not really working since the monument apparently has lots of fans--which shouldn't be surprising. Fayette County leans more conservatively in these issues, and at least we stand up for what we believe in.

Covering it isn't good enough anyway.

“The indefinite covering of the highly conspicuous Ten Commandments monument has neither remedied the impermissible coercion that plaintiffs previously endured nor has it had the effect of squelching the message of religious endorsement that the district continues to send,” Schneider wrote. “Arrangements to move the Ten Commandments monument to the Connellsville Church of God so that it is in direct view of district students, including students who cannot avoid its when playing on athletic fields, would have the primary effect of advancing religion.”
I don't understand how moving it will remedy "impermissible coercion [...] previously endured" if covering it hasn't. Besides, a monument you can't even see or read through a cover isn't really endorsing much of anything, is it?

If all else fails, just move it to Geibel. Other than some of the stupidity around this and Fr. Bob's anger, everyone will win.