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.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Uniontown Hospital to Collect Prescription Drugs

So, Uniontown Hospital hosted this event in an effort to prevent prescription-drug abuse where you could drop off any medications in the hospital lobby anonymously and no questions asked.

Now, don't get me wrong--I think this is a really good idea and I hope it went really well. But I'm a pessimist when it comes to drugs in Fayette County, and we just had another case of prescription fraud, so I'm worried that either someone went in looking to steal drugs turned in or they'd get very few at all. Let's hope I'm completely wrong.

Also, what happens if you take expired decongestants?