I hope that everyone has a safe and very happy New Year’s Eve!

Article posted on December 31, 2011

I ran the Hollidaysburg YMCA Twilight Race this afternoon.  I’m not sure of my 5k time or how I placed.  We’re having friends over tonight for dinner, and I had to get home, so I’ll find out later.  I didn’t win overall, however, that much I know.  I hope that everyone has a safe and very happy New Year’s Eve!

-John

They are the front line of public service

Article posted on December 30, 2011

I attended the Inauguration Ceremony for the Blair County officials this afternoon.  I don’t think that I’ve missed one of these ceremonies in the past 16 years and I think that I attended one or two prior to that.  The service was nicely done and lasted about an hour, I appreciate brevity.  I enjoyed seeing county officials and staff that I haven’t seen for awhile.  I have been out of that building for just 5 years and I was surprised how many new faces I saw.  My best wishes go out to all of the local government officials in this Commonwealth.  They are the front line of public service.

-John

More changes may be in the offing

Article posted on December 29, 2011

Today, Senator Mary Jo White announced that she will not seek another term.  This is the third Senator in the past few weeks to announce their retirement.  Mary Jo, Jane Earl and Jeff Picolla contributed a lot during the time they served in the Senate.  They took the lead on various issues that were controversial and pushed the Commonwealth forward in some ways.  Over the two and a half sessions I’ve participated in, I learned that the personality of the Senate changes each time with a new mix of players.  More changes may be in the offing either voluntarily or at the ballot box.  We won’t know for sure until next November.

-John

Thanks for all you’ve done, Charlie

Article posted on December 28, 2011

Today was the last official day on the job for Charlie States, my District Director.  I knew Charlie as a Huntingdon County Commissioner when I was a Blair County Commissioner.  We worked together on the board of Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission where he gained my respect.  Charlie was with me for my entire tenure in the Senate and will be missed by everyone.  He is one of those people who always helps out.  From all of the organizations he belongs to, including his church, to his work with the Senate, he goes the extra mile.  Given that work ethic, Charlie will continue to volunteer for awhile until we get reorganized.  Thanks for all you’ve done, Charlie, and best wishes to you and Judy as you spend more time with family and good friends.

-John

Hopefully, I can say the same at the close of next year

Article posted on December 27, 2011

We might get a little bit of snow tonight.  It’s been raining all day and if the temperature was a few degrees lower, we’d have at least a few inches.  I ran 6 miles in that cold rain this morning.  That’s about as unpleasant a run as you can have. The only thing that’s worse is to have a strong head wind in the cold rain.  I think that I’ll have time for the New Year’s Eve 5K the Hollidaysburg Y hosts every year.  I usually do it.  We’ve had all sorts of weather on those nights.  One year, it was so cold that they cancelled the awards ceremony following the race.  I consider myself fortunate that at 53, I’m still putting in my 24 miles per week.  Hopefully, I can say the same at the close of next year.

-John

The usual year-end wrap up stories are out

Article posted on December 26, 2011

The Senate offices were closed today.  I worked around the house for awhile then got some office work done.  There didn’t seem to be much in the news.  There were no clips yesterday and today’s were sparse.  The usual year-end wrap up stories are out, and there are more pieces on the Congressional redistricting, especially from papers in the southeast.  Other than that, it’s been a pretty uneventful time, as it should be.  

-John

Merry Christmas to all!

Article posted on December 25, 2011

I hope that you had a day filled with family and worship.  We were at my mother’s, as usual.  Charlotte got through all of her music this morning at her two churches, including one cantata.  She does a great job, if I say so myself.  It’s a little different with Christmas on a Sunday, it’s busier.  I also don’t remember being this far into winter without snow (barring the several inches we had in October).  I’m sure the kids don’t like it, but the roads are safer.  Have a great time with what’s left of your holiday.  Merry Christmas to all.

-John

I hope that everyone has an enjoyable and inspirational Christmas Eve

Article posted on December 24, 2011

I thought that we were in pretty good shape for Christmas, but we had a few more things to get at the last minute.  I told Johnny that we’ll know tomorrow morning if he was good or not while he was away at school, Santa knows all.  We’re headed to church shortly.  I hope that everyone has an enjoyable and inspirational Christmas Eve.

-John

Ready or not, tomorrow is Christmas Eve

Article posted on December 23, 2011

Many offices were closed today.  Ours wasn’t, but we had few calls or visits.  I got out a letter, made some calls and took care of more emails.  I went into Altoona to have lunch with Charlotte, and the stores were packed.  Fortunately, Johnny and I finished up my shopping list last night.  I had a dinner tonight in Hollidaysburg and need to take care of some things at home for Charlotte.  Ready or not, tomorrow is Christmas Eve.  

Maybe I’ll see you at the mall!

Article posted on December 22, 2011

This close to Christmas it’s harder than usual to get things done.  Everyone and their brother is off work and the folks that are left are on cruise control until early January.  My goal is to catch up on emails, letters, phone calls and do some planning.  With redistricting, I have a lot of changes ahead.  I also have staffing issues that need immediate attention.  As the Senate’s budget gets tighter, we need to work smarter and harder.  On a better note, Johnny and I always sneak in a night of shopping close to Christmas.  Tonight is the night.  Maybe I’ll see you at the mall!

-John