Maybe they got neutered

Article posted on November 30, 2009

I have been thinking lately about starting my blog posts again with the line, “Day ??? Without a totally completed budget”. Most people that talk to me about the budget think that it is finished. I have to explain that the House has been sitting on a few pieces for weeks and innocent people are getting hurt. I wouldn’t believe these shenanigans unless I saw them for myself. Legislators exist to try to make life better for the people they represent. We have a few that put their political agenda before the common good. Since the media doesn’t seem to care about this issue, the public pressure is not in place to move the ball forward. It is no wonder folks are confused about the process, lack trust in their elected officials and want change. If the media continues to ignore the real problems that exist in Harrisburg, nothing much will happen. I thought that they were the watchdog in our Democracy. Maybe they got neutered.

– John

I know that the libraries look forward to this contest each year

Article posted on November 29, 2009

There wasn’t much in the papers today. There were two stories about Ed Rendell the Reformer, neither were very complimentary. Most people at this point, think that any effort to reinvent himself is futile and that his legacy is already in place. After this year’s budget mess, I think that he will be remembered most for never getting a budget done on time. 0 for 7 is a record for all of history and a tough one to beat by any Governor in the future, not that any would strive to do it. I mentioned yesterday that I am working on a library project and I spent time on it today. I agreed to be one of seven judges in a state-wide contest of library programs. Libraries from across the Commonwealth submitted program ideas that are broken down into seven different categories and further sorted into small, medium or large sized libraries. I read through an explanation of the program and then grade it based on three criteria. Some categories have a few submissions, some have more. I need to submit my results on Tuesday when I get back to Harrisburg so I must get done tomorrow. I know that the libraries look forward to this contest each year, I have been to the award ceremony. I wonder how my scores will compare with the other six judges?

– John

I’ll go into more detail about that tomorrow

Article posted on November 28, 2009

I attended Joe Moran’s funeral this morning at the Cathedral in Altoona. The place was nearly full and I saw some people that I haven’t seen for a while. His three children spoke about their dad at the end of the service, it was very nice. I did a little more decorating at the office this afternoon and spent some time with Johnny. We plan to go shooting tomorrow afternoon so we got a few things done today to make the time. I started a project for the state library system today that I have to have finished by Tuesday. I’ll go into more detail about that tomorrow.

– John

Happy Black Friday

Article posted on November 27, 2009

Happy Black Friday everybody! I had to go to the local hardware store in Hollidaysburg today to get a thing or two for decorating the office. Other than that, I didn’t get close to a store. Charlotte worked early this morning and had to do stories from the stores. Nobody appreciates a good deal more than me, but I don’t think that hitting the mall at 4:00 AM is worth it, under any circumstances. I got the tree in the display case decorated today and installed a timer for the lights. I need a tree skirt to make it nicer and some kind of cottony filler for the floor to put packages on. The finishing touch will be, I think, the words “Merry Christmas” on the glass with spray snow. I’ll see how things come together. The office was closed today, that makes it easier for me to get things like decorating done. I hope to hit a few more items tomorrow. We have to get the office in top shape for the Christmas Open House coming up soon.

– John

Happy Thanksgiving

Article posted on November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I hope that people across our country had time with family and friends today and took at least a moment to say thanks for all the blessings we have received individually and as a nation. As bad as things are these days, we are still a very lucky group of people to live in this country and have the freedoms we enjoy. On a sad note, I saw in the paper today that Joe Moran, a Magisterial District Justice from Altoona died. Joe was a friend of mine for many years. He was good at what he did, good to his family and a heck of a nice guy. Cancer took him at the age of 66 about 5 ½ months after he was diagnosed. He will be missed by many in our area and will be tough to replace as a District Magistrate. Please keep his family in your prayers at this difficult time.

– John

It is fitting to take one day and thank God for our blessings

Article posted on November 25, 2009

On a day when many businesses are closed or close early, you don’t get too many commitments. So, I got some things done at home and at the office. I finally caught up on my backlog of letters and took care of more emails, still back logged. Tonight, I’m headed to the Juniata Methodist Church for a multi-denominational Thanksgiving service. Charlotte is playing the organ and I can be there with her for a change. Johnny is coming home tonight and we are looking forward to a great weekend. We all have a great deal to be thankful for even in these difficult times. It is fitting to take one day and thank God for our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving.

– John

The pressure will be on this weekend

Article posted on November 24, 2009

As it turns out, I still have to go to Harrisburg one day next week for a hearing. My schedule has been so volatile lately that I’m not sure from week to week where I will be. Most people have been very understanding when I need to change a meeting or call to say that I can’t make their program or dinner. Changes in my schedule are always part of this job, but this year has taken things to a different level. I got out some letters today, and got the Christmas decorations from the basement. My plan is to decorate the office in Hollidaysburg this weekend. Since this office was a former retail store, there is a display case out front. I bought a tree for it a couple of weeks ago and am keeping my fingers crossed that it fits inside nicely. The pressure will be on this weekend.

– John

We really can’t afford this mess again

Article posted on November 23, 2009

I met with constituents this morning and took care of some odds and ends. We have been regularly rearranging my schedule since July because of the budget mess. Today we learned that our scheduled session days next week have been cancelled. The House is still holding up the remaining budget bills and there is nothing for us to do with the budget until something moves in that chamber. This scenario is reflective of how the whole year has gone. In the interim, not much else is happening legislatively. The budget problems have affected that too. We really can’t afford this mess again.

– John

I guess the lack of new story lines is a good thing

Article posted on November 22, 2009

I worked on office matters all day after church, with the exception of a trip to Sam’s Club with Charlotte. She doesn’t really want me tagging along when she shops, but she needs me to carry the 40 lb bags of dog food we buy at Sam’s Club, so I have to go. She complains that two things happen when we go to the store together, I talk to lots of people and we get behind schedule and I look at too many items and we get behind schedule. She might be right. I didn’t see anything of interest today in the papers. There were a few stories about the indictments that occurred last week and there were a few about next year’s gubernatorial election. I guess the lack of new story lines is a good thing. There is plenty of work to be done on the mess we already have.

– John

What a tremendous facility and caring organization

Article posted on November 21, 2009

I got caught up on a lot of work today after my men’s fellowship group this morning. Tonight I attended the Miracle League Ball. This annual event benefits the Blair County Miracle League, an organization that provides a custom designed baseball field for special needs children who would never, otherwise, have an opportunity to play an organized sport. I have been to a few games at the field and seen the joy playing on a real team with uniforms and coaches and an announcer and an umpire brings to the kids involved. We are lucky to have this field in our region, the next closest is in the Pittsburgh area. We lose sight sometimes of how fortunate most of us are to be able to run and play. This field gives that opportunity to others who never experienced it. What a tremendous facility and caring organization.

– John