Happy Easter!

Article posted on March 31, 2013

Happy Easter! I hope that everyone had an opportunity to attend church and spend time with family and friends. My family got together this afternoon at my brother Todd’s house in Bedford. The entire family was there, with the exception of Johnny, who couldn’t get back from school. We had a great meal and enjoyed our time together. There really wasn’t much in the newspapers today. Stories on who is running for what next year and a couple of pieces on the corruption at the PA Turnpike. I have said for years that the Turnpike Commission should be dissolved and the operation folded into Penndot, but that reform doesn’t seem to get much traction in Harrisburg.

-John

It’s nice to get a weekend that isn’t quite as busy

Article posted on March 30, 2013

Finally, some sunshine! I had a meeting this morning after The Lighthouse then caught up on a little office work then went home to work on the house. It was the first nice day we’ve had for awhile. Charlotte took the dogs for a walk and we cooked on the grill for supper (cheeseburgers). I didn’t see much in the news today, and I doubt if there will be anything too hard hitting tomorrow, since it’s Easter. It’s nice to get a weekend that isn’t quite as busy.

-John

I don’t know what the rules are on something like this, but I’m going to find out

Article posted on March 29, 2013

Our office was closed for Good Friday. I got caught up on a few things, but didn’t have any appointments, except for joining some friends for a fish dinner tonight. The last of this Lenten season. We went to the Geeseytown Fire Hall. They did a nice job and had a good crowd. I talk to a lot of people at these dinners about many issues. Tonight I was asked about liquor sales privatization, gun control, Salarygate, tax exemption for Grange Halls, and other things. A friend told me that one of the local state stores had a petition to stop the privatization legislation. I don’t know what the rules are on something like this, but I’m going to find out.

-John

Thanks, Les, for your service to the people of Huntingdon County

Article posted on March 28, 2013

When you’re this close to a holiday weekend, it’s tougher than usual to get things done. Some people were off today for a 4 day weekend, and some were in holiday mode. I got most things done, regardless. Tonight, I attended a dinner to honor Les Cregger for his 33 years as a board member of the Huntingdon County Conservation District. Les is a friend from The Lighthouse and all around good guy. You don’t find too many people who are willing to commit 33 years to a voluntary position of any kind. Thanks, Les, for your service to the people of Huntingdon County.

-John

What happened here?

Article posted on March 27, 2013

The news this morning about the Altoona School District superintendent being put on leave by the school board last night was another step in this long and costly process. The superintendent lawyered up when asked questions about his involvement in padding people’s salaries. Only the board knows what he told their solicitor about the allegations, but it must have been something that warranted his suspension from duty. The question that I haven’t heard discussed in the press is, why. Initially, he admitted that he changed certain people’s salaries without board approval, but said there was no malice on his part. That in itself is a serious issue, perhaps a criminal one, but I ask why someone would be singled out for a secret raise. What did they do for that to occur? In the Bonusgate Scandal, the people who authorized the bonuses of taxpayer money received a direct benefit for what their employees did. What happened here?

-John

Since the flood maps were changed last year, the people who were never in a flood zone, but now are, aren’t happy

Article posted on March 26, 2013

Ag Secretary George Greig was in Everett today for a lunch meeting of the Bedford Blair Crop Management Association. This guy has been to the area more than any cabinet official I’ve ever seen. He always takes time to speak with everyone and stays to answer questions. He’s a nice person. Tonight, I had a town hall meeting in Huntingdon. We had a packed house. The issues discussed were the budget, the lottery contract, Marcellous Shale, liquor store privatization, Senate Bill 505, public pensions, small games of chance, transportation funding and others. It was a nice group of people. Immediately following the town hall was a public meeting on the new flood map affecting Huntingdon County, especially the Warriors Mark area. Since the flood maps were changed last year, the people who were never in a flood zone, but now are, aren’t happy. The program tonight was a workshop, sponsored by the County Planning Dept. They assembled a panel of experts who provided a lot of information about the history of the flood program and how to get relief from the current map if someone feels that they shouldn’t be in a certain zone. They did a good job delivering difficult news to many in the room.

-John

It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances for everyone

Article posted on March 25, 2013

Okay, enough with the snow. We had at least 6 inches at my house this morning and two of my appointments today changed their time slots. I survived, but I’m really ready for some sunshine. I have done more media interviews than usual lately. I was interviewed today by a national news service on a bill I sponsored. You never know what someone might be interested in. The big news in Harrisburg was that convicted Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin announced that she was resigning from the court effective May 1st. Since she hadn’t resigned previously, the House started the preliminary steps for an impeachment proceeding. That is resolved, but according to an article I read, there is a question about how a replacement for her will be handled. I’ll try to keep my blog readers advised about this process when I learn more. It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances for everyone.

-John

They spent a fortune and lost

Article posted on March 24, 2013

Happy Palm Sunday everyone. The two subjects written about most often in the Commonwealth’s newspapers today were the Turnpike Commission scandal and liquor store privatization. Former Democrat Senate Majority Leader Bill Lincoln resigned his Turnpike Commissioner’s position this past week. Media reports say that he was given immunity during the Grand Jury investigation and decided that the current scenario was too much for him to handle. Rumors have it that there will be other people charged as the current players cut deals and squeal on their colleagues. And speaking of corruption, one story today cited how much various groups spent lobbying on the liquor issue last year. It was pretty astonishing. The numbers aren’t out yet for this year, but they should be even higher. Unfortunately, money talks in Harrisburg. The unions have to be reeling over the recent votes in the House. They spent a fortune and lost.

-John

I appreciate the work they do and wanted to let them know

Article posted on March 23, 2013

After the Lighthouse, I headed to the Altoona Kiwanis Club’s Annual Pancake breakfast. I didn’t hear about any numbers, but as someone who as gone to the event for years, I can say that I never saw it that busy. I got some office work done and a few things at home. I even made time for a long overdue haircut. Tonight Charlotte and I attended the Shade Gap Fire Company’s Annual Banquet. Their speaker got tied up, so the County Commissioners and I were pressed into service. We did a quick presentation on 911 service. After the dinner, we stopped by the Pride Telethon and said hello to all of the folks gathered at a crowded Smithfield Fire Hall. I couldn’t get a band put together for the event, but I appreciate the work they do and wanted to let them know.

-John

Her message was powerful and made a real impact on the crowd of the 1,000 pro-lifers in attendance

Article posted on March 22, 2013

I was out early to a pre-school breakfast then spoke to a group of nonprofits in Blair County at 8:00. We talked about the budget, the related initiatives and how they relate to the budget’s bottom line. Later in the morning I was part of the announcement of a new project that is coming to Blair County. This plant, at a cost of $200 million will convert natural gas to gasoline and propane. This is a huge project for our region and the state. Tonight, I attended Precious Life’s 28th Annual Banquet. The speaker was Mrs. Pam Tebow (Tim’s mother). She spoke about her son’s life and how she was counseled to have an abortion when she was pregnant with Tim and very sick. Her message was powerful and made a real impact on the crowd of the 1,000 pro-lifers in attendance.

-John