A once in a lifetime opportunity

Article posted on August 31, 2016

Posing on scaffolding sm. 8-31-16I had a few appointments in the office this morning then took advantage of an invitation to go up the scaffolding at the Blair County Court House and see the work that was being done to the 1875 structure.  We went to the top of the towers to see the new copper roofs and cresting (iron fence).  We looked at some of the windows that have been replaced and saw the old ones that are separating from the building.  We were eye-to-eye with the carved faces that line the 2nd story windows.  I learned that they are all different and include carvings of prominent people from Blair County as well as nationally known figures at that time.  The carvings were done on site using the building stone.  In other words, they were not done separately and affixed to the building.  According to the restoration contractor with us today, this unique piece of art work is seen at only two buildings in America — here and the National Cathedral in Washington.  Getting to go up and see the work in progress was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  (Additional photos are on my Facebook page)

-John

Expected to do a lot of good work in that time

Article posted on August 30, 2016

Bruce Beemer is now the Attorney General of Pennsylvania.  He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate this afternoon after a confirmation hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee, just minutes later, he was sworn into office.  Things don’t usually happen that quickly, but this was an unusual situation.  Learning a little bit more today about why we came down in August for just this purpose, instead of waiting till late September, it was explained that having two transitions in leadership for that office in a 45 day period didn’t make a lot of sense.  Bruce Castor, the Acting AG just maintained things for the past week, and now Bruce Beemer can go in and make more permanent decisions.  Of course, his tenure will be over in January when the elected AG takes over for a four-year term, but he is expected to do a lot of good work in that time frame.

-John

His “Holy Experiment” is under attack today

Article posted on August 29, 2016

I was in Harrisburg this morning to meet with a group of people who will be helping with tours of the Capitol before and after Franklin Graham’s speech on September 15th.  These tours will focus on the story of William Penn, as told through the artwork in and outside of the building, as well as the scripture inscribed or painted prominently throughout the Capitol complex.  Penn left England to find religious liberty in Penn’s Woods.  His “Holy Experiment” is under attack today as we see the left try to redefine what is acceptable to them, while casting aside the religious rights of others.

-John

It will take time for him to get it back on track

Article posted on August 28, 2016

The big story in the papers this Sunday was about the appointment of Bruce Beemer as Attorney General.  He is scheduled to be confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday and many of the writers opined about the mess he will inherit from Kathleen Kane and how much he can realistically be expected to fix in the four months he’ll hold that office.  There are still staff at the agency who were put in place to serve her personal and political agenda; they should go.  Morale in the office is reported to be at rock bottom, which should rebound with his leadership.  There appear to be investigations in limbo, which will require his immediate attention.  In short, the office has been severely damaged during the tenure of Kathleen Kane and it will take time for him, or anyone else, to get it back on track.

-John

It was a wild one

Article posted on August 27, 2016

I drove a fire truck in the Freedom Twp. Volunteer Firemen’s 10th Annual Parade this evening.  I’ve been allowed to drive it in their own parade for a number of years and look forward to it.  Charlotte and I had ox roast sandwiches after the parade and I was able to visit with a lot of friends of my family at the parade.  Growing up in that township and knowing people there all of my life, it’s a great opportunity to catch up.  Otherwise, I got a little office work done, but mainly worked outside all day.  The heat and humidity were brutal, but I got a lot done.  I had the Bucco game on tonight while I worked in my garage on a couple of projects; it was a wild one.

-John

Too bad legislation doesn’t always work out that way

Article posted on August 26, 2016

I attended the Williamsburg Farm Show Junior Livestock Auction tonight, my last sale of the year.  I bought a dairy beef.  The kids that raise these animals to market weight take on a lot of responsibility.  There is considerable cost involved in raising an animal, but if things go well, they can make some money at the sale.  Every young boy or girl I’ve dealt with has been very polite and appreciative of my purchase.  I’ve been thanked by almost all of them in one way or another.  Tonight, the young man came up to me at the sale and gave me a “Thank You” card and a hearty handshake.  I’ve been asked about what I do with all of these animals, and I’ve answered, have you ever seen Charlotte eat?  But seriously, I either donate the animal to a local cause, or go through the “buy back” program that gives the sale money that is above the market price to the student and a local butcher shop picks up the animal for the difference, which is the market price.  Everyone is happy with this arrangement.  Too bad legislation doesn’t always work out that way.

-John

I will support him, as well

Article posted on August 25, 2016

We were notified today that we will be back in session next Tuesday for the purpose of confirming the nomination of Bruce Beemer for Attorney General.  We have not been told about the committee schedule, yet.  There will have to be a Rules Committee meeting and a Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination before a floor vote is taken.  Since I serve on the Judiciary Committee, I will be watching to see when that will be scheduled.  It seems like Mr. Beemer’s confirmation vote will be smooth sailing.  I spoke with him on Tuesday and was happy with his answers to my questions.  I have heard from a number of current or former AG employees who support him and told them that I would, as well.

-John

The problem isn’t going away

Article posted on August 24, 2016

This week, I read more about the $160,000 of gifts the Philadelphia County DA has taken over the past several years and failed to report on his public Statement of Financial Interests.  The latest news is that the $160,000 figure seems to be a very low estimate.  That was the figure he admitted to.  That figure was simply repeated by the media until a closer look was taken, revealing that the value of some of the gifts, like trips, were estimated to be much higher than what he listed.  I don’t know what will happen to him next, but the problem isn’t going away.

-John

This beautiful summer evening

Article posted on August 23, 2016

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Had a town hall meeting in Fort Loudon tonight with a lively group.  For the first time ever, I was late for a town hall.  I was coming from the Capitol on the Turnpike and was just finishing a phone call when I hit the Fort Loudon exit, I thought about the “upcoming” turn just after I passed the exit.  I ended up being only 13 minutes late and the folks were very nice about it.  We talked mostly about school taxes; many of them were big fans of SB 76.  We also covered reassessment, large animal farms (CAFO’s), various school and school board issues, citizen apathy, redistricting, and some other topics.  I appreciated their attendance on this beautiful summer evening.

-John

Thanks to all who helped get us to this point

Article posted on August 22, 2016

I took part in an announcement this evening in McConnellsburg with Rep. Jesse Topper, Senator Rich Alloway’s Chief of Staff, a lady from the Governor’s office, the Fish Commission, and the Friends of Meadow Grounds Lake.  Although news leaked out a couple of weeks ago about the funding being approved to repair the Lake, we provided all of the details tonight, thanked everyone who worked on the project so far, and showed those in attendance the preliminary design work as well as where we are on the project timeline.  This was a better event than the one I hosted several years ago with the Fish Commission and DEP to explain that the Lake was deemed to be hazardous and would be drained.  Thanks to everyone who helped get us to this point.  Hope to see folks from Franklin County at my town hall meeting tomorrow night, Fort Loudon Community Center, 6:30.

-John