Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Man charged after shooting at neighbors

A local man is facing charges of reckless assault, simple assault, and reckless endangerment after firing a dozen shots at his neighbors, as one does.

New articles aren't really clear on his motives, and honestly, I'm really curious as to what they might've been. Not that there's a whole hell of a lot to justify shooting at your neighbors. I just want to know what led this guy to do it. Like, it's one thing to shoot in self-defense. It's another thing to shoot if, like, someone's being too noisy or something.

The man was taken into custody after a standoff with police, as though shooting at your neighbors wasn't bad enough.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Rock the Yough coming to Connellsville this summer

Music fans of the Nam, you're getting a music festival in your own backyard. Rock the Yough will be held at East Park in Connellsville on August 6. I'm bummed I won't actually be able to go--that's the day my brother's getting married!

The festival is still in early planning stages, so no information about things such as the lineup is available yet. But it's a pretty cool thing to bring to Connellsville, and I personally hope it takes off. But in the meantime, the festival's Facebook page is kicking things off with a contest if they hit 1,000 likes, and I like if you dear readers head over, you can help them reach that goal.

The festival is also currently looking for sponsors.

Proceeds of the festival will benefit Connellsville's Parks and Rec board.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Nam Nuptials: The Summit

I'm getting married! Although I'm getting married in the Pittsburgh area and will therefore mostly be using Pittsburgh-area vendors, I have explored my Fayette County options, and as a blogger, I'd love to highlight some of them--especially for couples looking for something a little different than a social hall.

I'll be honest--we never actually toured The Summit, but the only reason for that is timing. Although I didn't want to wait around too long to start planning our wedding, knowing I wanted a date for next summer, planning a wedding in winter has some major disadvantages, and a major one is that some venues are gonna be difficult to tour. The Summit is a perfect example. Although they have someone taking calls and answering e-mails, the resort is closed for the season until April and actually doesn't even have their power turned on, so a tour would have to happen either during a weekday, requiring my fiancĂ© and I to both take a day off from work, or we'd have to wait until they opened at the end of April. While I was willing to take a day off, my fiancĂ© wasn't quite as open to it, plus a busy period at work for me would've made it difficult. And I didn't want to book a place I hadn't seen. I haven't been to The Summit probably since my First Communion. On that note, The Summit was a nice choice for that! And my dad also worked there at the time, so there's that.

The bummer is The Summit had a lot of the qualities I wanted in a wedding venue, like being in the mountains with nature and trees around and overnight accommodations onsite. They also offered packages similar to ones we'd considered at Seven Springs and at a much lower price--we'd been looking at Seven Springs' cheapest package, and the Summit package we liked the most was $30 cheaper per person, with add-on options like the quality of bar liquor or shots after the bridal dance. For comparison purposes, The Summit offered a little less than Seven Springs, but it was significantly cheaper and honestly might've been a winning venue for us if we'd been able to make a tour work with our schedules. 

If you're looking for a nice, rural setting with nearly comprehensive packages, I'd say The Summit is a great choice--especially if you're looking to save some money, as their packages are a good bit cheaper than similar ones at other nearby resorts. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

County health rankings released

Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is nationwide county health rankings have been released, and Fayette County isn't the worst in Pennsylvania! The bad news is we're second to worst.

Rankings are chosen based on such factors as premature death, quality of life, obesity rates, preventable deaths, and more. Some notable things from this year's Fayette County data are that we're getting worse for premature deaths, adult obesity, physical inactivity, STIs, and uninsured, unemployed, and child-poverty rates. Remember, kids, eat healthy, take a walk every day, and practice safe sex--if you're a college student, condoms are often available for free at campus health centers.

Fortunately, though, it's all bad news--we have improved in some areas, including alcohol-impaired driving deaths, preventable hospital stays, diabetic monitoring, mammograms, air pollution, and the violent-crime rate. Keep up the good work, guys! Remember to take care of yourselves, don't drink and drive, preventative care is super important, and violence is pretty much never the answer.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Parents arrested in death of toddler

I'm not sure what's sadder--the fact that a toddler who died last month weighed only 10 pounds at the time or the fact that I wasn't surprised to hear that.

I'm sure you remember the story. A girl, not yet two, was left in a carseat for 13 hours. When her mother checked on her and gave her a drink after running errands, she noticed something was wrong and took her to the hospital, where she unfortunately died. Not long after, the coroner announced that preliminary autopsy results would not be released "so as to in no way compromise the accuracy and completeness of the ongoing investigation into the death of [the child], to which I said, "Personally, this makes me concerned that this is going to end up a pretty sad, disturbing case."

And here we are not even a month later, and it's looking like I was right. The coroner is now saying the cause of death was malnutrition and dehydration, and both parents have been arrested. They were also found to have been living in "deplorable" conditions with no running water or sewage.

This entire thing is sad and disturbing, to be sure. This child deserved much better, as do all children, but there are still a lot of unknowns here. It would be easy to criticize the parents, but we should also remember that drug use or mental illness could be a factor. And it's also important to remember that taking that into consideration is by no means making excuses for or justifying what happened here--it's merely a reminder that people aren't always in a good, healthy frame of mind and that others around them can pay the price as a result. It's also important to remember that wouldn't make this okay. And that Facebook comments wishing violence or death upon these parents does no good to anyone, nor does expressing that make one a better person.

I have some lingering questions. Did no one notice the child was just 10 pounds and try to intervene? What about the health of the couple's other two children, who were placed in protective custody?

And finally, as always, if you see something, say something. And if you're struggling with mental-health or substance-abuse issues, please reach out to someone. There's no shame in asking for help.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Easter Events

Easter is creeping closer and closer already, which means Easter events are, too. If you're looking for something to do or even seeking out the Easter Bunny him/herself, here ya go!

  • Today--March 13--from noon until 5 p.m., St. John Byzantine Church in Uniontown will hold an "Eggstravaganza" show featuring egg artists, a marketplace, video of pysanky-making, display of Easter-basket covers, an explanation of traditional Easter foods, hands-on pyansky workshop, and a Lenten lunch.
  • Keep an eye out for the Easter Bunny at Colebrook Chocolate in Connellsville!
  • And as previously announced, Immaculate Conception in Connellsville will have their 9:30 a.m. Easter mass signed for the deaf community. All are welcome, not just Catholics.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Upcoming events

You know, back when we had all that unusually warm weather in December, I knew we were gonna pay for it comes January and February. And while we've seen worse and temperatures are set to go up over the next few days, well...here we are. But if you're getting cabin fever and are itching to get out and do something, you've got some cool options.

New events are in bold, past events are crossed out.
  • On Wednesday, March 2, stop by the Uniontown Mall to sign a pledge against using "the r-word."
  • A free meal will be served to those in need at Abundant Life Church in Uniontown on Saturday, March 5, 1-5 p.m.
  • Tractor Supply in Uniontown will once again  host a rabies clinic on March 6 from 1:30 until 3 p.m. Rabies and distemper shots will cost $15 each, and you'll be able to have your pet examined by a vet from Duck Hollow Animal Hospital.
  • A spaghetti dinner will be held to raise money for Connellsville's annual fireworks display. Admission costs $8 and includes spaghetti, meatballs, salad, bread, drinks, and dessert. The event will also include a 50/50 raffle and Chinese auction.
  • Fayette Friends of Animals will host a Cash Bash on Saturday, March 19. Tickets are still available.
  • Fallingwater will have a Fayette County Appreciation Day on March 20 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., where all Fayette County residents will get to tour the historic house for free. Reservations required. No word yet on when they'll let me live there.
  • Falls City Pub in Ohiopyle will be hosting a Southern Tier Beer Night, with five craft beers from Southern Tier and five craft courses from the restaurant. It'll be on Tuesday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m., but you'll have to make reservations and space is limited.
  • The annual Empty Bowls will be held April 24 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the adult rec center in Uniontown. Choose a handmade bowl, eat some soup, and participate in auctions to benefit the food bank.
  • The Braddock Inn summer concert series will kick off on Saturday, May 28 with The Corn Liquor Band, playing from 8 p.m. 'til midnight.
Of course, we're heading into high-school musical season, so look for a list of those soon, as well.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Couple has trouble selling "Silence of the Lambs" house

UPDATE: The price on this has been lowered again--apparently for the fourth time--to just under $225,000.

I wasn't going to post about this, but CNET picked up the story. And the combination of some of their wit with the fact that this is catching on outside of local news inspired me. I mean, my personal favorite is the line, "Maybe they could throw in a basket of lotions to sweeten the deal?"

The famous house from "The Silence of the Lambs" known as the dwelling place of serial killer Buffalo Bill has been up for sale since last summer--apparently, no one's buying. But is it the "serial killer" part that has people staying away? Nah. It's probably just the asking price, which currently sits at $250,000, down from the original price of $300,000.

Now, I may not be an expert in county real estate, but I know enough to know that $250,000 is still too high for an old house in Layton, no matter how big and no matter its Hollywood history. Sure, the movie might add some value, but not enough to justify the price, and I can't imagine the average Fayette County buyer even cares. And if people around here are willing and able to drop $250,000 on a house, they're probably gonna spring for something a little nicer, or something that's not right next to train tracks, or something newer. I mean, based on experience in my childhood, you know what my first thought is when I see an old house? It's, "Man, that's probably a bitch to heat in the winter. No thanks."

Monday, March 7, 2016

A political PSA

As election season rages on, now's as good a time as any to remind everyone that voting is important, first of all, but to be able to vote, you first have to register--but to be able to vote in the primaries next month on April 26, you have to register by the deadline. That deadline is at the end of this month on March 28, and it's for both new registries and updates like changing your party. Because remember, in Pennsylvania, you have to be registered with a political party to vote for one of its candidates.

You can now register or update your information online in PA by clicking here.

One more time--the deadline to register to vote or to change your party affiliation is March 28. The primary is held April 26, so get out and vote! Just not for Trump, please, or else we're all screwed.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Easter mass to be signed for deaf

Fr. Bob and interpreter Cindy Hanzes have announced that Immaculate Conception in Connellsville will have their Easter Sunday mass at 9:30 a.m. signed for the deaf. All are welcome, including non-Catholics.

For more information and resources for the Fayette County deaf community, visit the Hear Fayette Facebook page.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

High-School Musicals Masterpost

'Tis the season for high school musicals. Let's be real here--we're probably all most interested in our alma maters or the schools of friends and family, but just in case you'd like to venture out and see something different and support local schools' drama departments in the process, here are all the local musicals being performed this spring. As always, if you'd like to add a school to the list, just send it my way!

Also, shout out to whoever it was years back now who wrote a letter to the editor complaining about Godspell being anti-Christian. You keep fighting the good, ignorant fight.

Shows are in alphabetical order by school.
  • Frazier: Due to a lack of interest in the annual musical, Frazier got creative and is instead having a Broadway review. It'll be this weekend, with tickets costing $5, featuring a variety of songs from both classic and modern musicals. Remember, kids, participating in your high-school musical is awesome and fun and I'd do it again if I could.
  • Geibel: Grease, performed at the State Theater in Uniontown March 17-19. Tickets are $20, me seeing a large number of former teachers is priceless.
  • Laurel Highlands: Cinderella, performed at the Laurel Highlands High School March 10-13. Tickets are $12 each, as well as a $25 dinner/show combo on the 12th. Which sounds super cool and fancy and impressive. Kids these days, man.