Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of the "Uh Oh's", Happy 2010!!!!!

It seems like someone tries to label a decade with a name. Looking back, I like columnist Leonard Pitts phrase, the "Uh Oh's". It seemed like every major event could have been explained with an "uh oh".

We lived through major events like 9/11 and Katrina. We continue to fight two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We suffered (ing) through two recessions resulting from meltdowns of an internet and real estate bubble. Politics has become a bloodsport. Each event brings America to examine itself and it's role in the world.

Like or not some of the innovations of the decade include this one called blogging, Youtube and social media. The US elected an African-American as president despite our past. I think we will be better for it.

The decade started off with democracy being tested in the 2000 presidential election and ended with the media trying to tame a "Tiger".

Locally, manufacturing may have waved goodbye forever with the closings of Paper Magic and Fleetwood and Paxinos. The Big Three Auto industry and their local dealers are hanging by a thread.

What will the next decade bring? Hard to say. Locally, we may become more of an energy provider in one way or another. Joe Paterno will probably not be coaching PSU in 2019. Hopefully, the BCS will be gone. Dental problems will be abundant with many plans eliminating dental coverage all together. You could also say the same thing for vision plans.

One thing I would like to see is more neighboring municipalities merge. Often local elections are going unchallenged due to declining populations and apathy. Mergers only make sense and hopefully the state could provide some incentive.

In 2009, Harry Kalas, Walter Conkrite, Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson all moved on and will all be missed in one way or another. I had the pleasure of meeting Kalas once. When he announced birthday's and anniversary's at the beginning of a broadcast it sounded like he lived next door or was your life long friend.

Say goodbye to the "Uh-Oh's" and 2009........these 3 things always seem to be the center of attention and whatever happened to Y2K?

Monday, December 28, 2009

MCA Football and the Constitution

In this past Sunday's News-Item, an online poll was conducted to see the MCA School Board was appropriate for firing Bob Chesney. Here are the results:

Yes: 2,905 votes ( 80.4%)
No: 641 votes (17.74%)
Not sure: 67 votes (1.85%)
Total: 3,613

Most of the comments had this theme:

Should have been fired after he forced them to attend Mass the
first time.

Appleton, Wis.
Why is religious freedom so misunderstood? No one has the "right" to force
anyone into unwanted indoctrinations. What if the coach was a Muslim and took
everyone to a mosque? Christians carp about their "freedoms," but are unwilling
to allow others to be free from them.

Nova Scotia, Canada
No football team should be compelled to attend
church simply for the sake of playing football, and any coach who makes such a
precondition is violating their fundamental right to freedom of belief.

Last week about 50 miles north in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County was sued by a King's College (Catholic) student for displaying a manger scene on county government property in front of the courthouse.

Citizens braved the weather to protest and finally the suit was withdrawn by the student.

One has to wonder what the reaction was if football players on the own, chose to go to a Friday service wearing their jerseys what the consequences would have been?

16-0 does erase alot of scrutiny.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Something is "Smellow with Mellow"

Ethics charges filed by two groups were dismissed against Senator Robert Mellow (D) of Peckville. The charges were dismissed "without prejudice" on December 16th the last day of session for the Senate.

Basically, they were dismissed on procedure and not content of the complaint and can be refiled. The complaints stem from the cozy relationship Mellow has for sitting on the Board of Directors at NEPA insurer. Mellow is currently minority leader in the PA Senate and was on the banking and insurance committee.

The ethic panel is not made up of an outside independent body but other senators. The committee is split 3-3 between Republicans and Democrats. The other members are Sens. Raphael Musto, D-14, Pittston; Jay Costa, D-43, Pittsburgh; Michael O'Pake, D-11, Reading; Charles McIlhinney, R-10, Doylestown, and Richard Alloway, R-33, Chambersburg.

Senator John Gordner R-27 chairs the committee.

The committee took 13 month to throw out the complaint on a technicality.

Carney Courted by the Darkside.

With Malcolm Derk of Union County being the first to throw his hat into the Republican Party, there are several questions to ask? Do the national Republicans have or want to throw any money into this campaign. In 2008, Dan Meuser and Chris Hackett were well funded and lost a district McCain won by 9 points.
Could they be strong arming Carney with a threat of big money? Stay tuned.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

The headline says it all!!! Enjoy the day!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Tom Kutza!!!!!

Shamokin's legendary "Morning Mayor" returns to the airwave tonight from 7 pm to midnight on Bill95FM. Tom Kutza was heard on the morings at the WISL 1480 AM now off the air. On the radio you could tune in at WBLJ - 95.3 Shamokin or WBLY 95.5 Saladaysburg. Click the highlighted link above to tune in online.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Festivus!!!!!

December 23rd marks the holiday of Festivus according to the Seinfeld calender.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Malcolm Derk Throws His Hat in 10th CD Race

Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk announced his plans to run for the Republican nomination in the 10th Congressional District in a seat held by Chris Carney of Dimock, PA. Here are some of the places you can learn a little bit about Derk:

Malcolm Derk


Draft Derk for Congress

In today's Daily-Item, Derk contends that raising money will be difficult and Carney is well funded.

In 2006, Kathy Scott came within 12 points of incumbent Don Sherwood for the GOP nod while only spending $5000. Although a late night neck massage made the race closer.

Some quotes from the Daily-Item article:

“I feel passionately that it’s not government’s role to create jobs,” Derk said. “That is something that businesses and entrepreneurs do.

“They are the engines that fuel the economy, and they will ultimately get us out of the recession.”

Throwing money at a problem hasn’t helped, Derk said.

“We were promised unemployment wouldn’t hit more than 8 percent; we hit 10 percent last month. This proves the funding priority of Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats didn’t work. And as a county commissioner, I know that the jobs we were promised never came.”

Derk, at age 27, downplays his age and cites his experience on city council and as commissioner.

It seems from GOP central, if we forget the last decade maybe everyone else will. While Derk was only 18 and entering college. George W. Bush signed The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. This was 1.35 trillion dollars out of the gate. When entering office the debt stood around 5 trillion which he doubled in 8 years.

Did we get any valuable returns out of the 12 billion a month(still counting) we are spending in Iraq and Afghanistan???

Here are some staggering investment numbers from the Wall Street Journal.

For those of you who like charts, here is a good one to compare income, net worth and job growth.

I have some ideas for Mr. Derk. Run against Chris not Nancy. Have some creative ideas for job growth and taxes. Don't take the daily GOP fax (Fox) marching orders. Stand up to the heathcare cartel.

In the end, I wish Mr. Derk well. As a young man of 27, he is a great example to get involved and not be apathetic about the country's plight.

I Kid You Not!!!!!

In reading Harold Raker's column in the Daily-Item, due to cuts the AP may not name an All-State squad in football.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Villanova #1 in FSC

Villanova University won it's first FCS Championship on Friday 25 years after reinstating the program in 1984. For 25 years they have been led by Andy Talley who was chosen to resurrect the program that was once coach by "Four Horseman" Quarterback Harry Strudheler, produced future Hall of Famer Howie Long, and current NFL star Brian Westbrook.

A future star in the making is junior Matt Szczur. Szczur rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. He also caught four passes for 68 yards and returned two kickoffs for 43 yards. He is also expected to be drafted in Major League baseball draft.

Read this story by Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News. Too bad FCS wasn't BcS, the story should be front page news.

Here is Villanova Band against Delaware:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Left No Doubt!!!!

"You win a championship game with championship people," said Pennsylvania's all-time winning coach George Curry after a playoff victory over Shamokin in the early 1990's. That quote was oh so true as the Selinsgrove Seals claimed their first PIAA crown and the first for District IV above the AA level ever.

With starting backfield Kyle Reinard and Matt Wenrich out with injuries in the second half and quarterback Cory Briggs suffering from illness, the Seals supporting cast dug deep and mined PIAA gold for the Seals. Stepping in for the backfield was Cameron Benner and Seth Lauver. Spencer Myers and Kyle Schuck switched in order to get helmet on Manheim Central's Dakota Royer.

What can you say about Ryan Keiser? Keiser didn't have a big stat night, but what a second half he had. Keiser recovered a fumble when it looked like Central would increase their lead in the 3rd quarter. He had a the key interception to set up the state championship drive and made a third down reception to keep the drive alive.

Bryant Troutman nearly in double-digit tackles and key sack late in the game.

Standing on the sideline on Friday night there are a few observations with the ebb and flow of the game. Despite scoring over 40 points in 10 of 15 games, there wasn't a sense of pressing by the Selinsgrove players or staff. That seemed evident when the Seals opted for the 21-yard field goal by Spencer Hotaling instead of trying to go for it in a fourth-and-three situation. Down at that point 7-3 with a whole quarter left, most of the Seals thought they would see the redzone at least one more time.

Most revealing moment for me was early in the first half, Manheim Central QB Justin Gorman rolled right toward his bench and looked to have plenty of running room evident by the sudden roar of the Baron fans. Out of nowhere, Cameron Benner came up stopped Gorman in his tracks for a minimal gain. The Baron faithful had to think they were in a long night.

Was it the 3-5 defense giving the Baron's fits? In an observation made by Dylan Elliot quoted by Harold Raker in the Daily-Item,

“The quarterback usually gave away what he was going to do. He peaked around at his receivers when he was going to throw, he did have that flaw.

He also crouched a little lower when he was going to run. You have to pick up on things like that when you have a good defense like Selinsgrove,” he said.

The other thing for everyone was the noise!!! Hersheypark Stadium was rocking. Hard to believe there were only 8155 there, but more on that later.

Sowing the seeds.

When you look at the official program of the PIAA finals, the past 21 years are filled with teams of great traditions making appearances in eastern or western finals, state finals and state championships. With the Seals you will only see the 2008 appearance in eastern final, but the seeds for this championship were sown in 1996 when the Seal added Mount Carmel to the schedule who picked up AA state titles in '96, '98 and 2000.

Although early success against the Red Tornadoes was minimal, the Seals now lead the series 9-5. In 1999, put the District IV on a notice with OT loss opening day to eventual district champion Danville and a shootout loss to a very good Blue Mountain team. 2000 and '01 were marked by state playoff losses to Manheim Central. 2005 and 2006 featured losses to Franklin Regional and Thomas Jefferson, as the Seals were shoved to the Western bracket while Pottsville represented the East. Although there were upset at the time, the Seals knew they would still have to improve. In 2008, the Seals broke through and made it to the Eastern Final which set the stage for this season.

One of the great thing about high school sports is watching players over the years mold and mesh together for a common goal. For the most part, the are no free agent signings and young men try their best to represent their school and community. This team recognized early on that they could be special only if they worked hard. You could see that commitment in other sports like in Spencer Myers or in the classroom with Corey Briggs.

The 2009 season for the Seals reminds me of quote from the late Philadelphia Flyer coach Fred Shero wrote on the blackboard for Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup clincher, "Win together today, and we walk together forever." The 2009 Selinsgrove Seals will be together forever.

PIAA Attendance

The announced attendance for Friday's game was 8155. Hersheypark Stadium has 33 seats in a row and 30 rows per sections. There are 8 sections on each side and both sides I had a solid 6 sections full. Central and Selinsgrove both had fans spill over in the final two sections. If you look at 990 people for each of the 12 sections were full and subtract about 100 from each section for clothing your still looking at over 10000 with spill over into four other sections.

Mount Carmel Board Problems

Chuck Souders once again points out the "Constititutional Crisis" in today's News-Item. We could only hope Mr. Belfanti doesn't seek higher office.

Friday, December 18, 2009

District IV rooting for Seals

If you look at the long road leading to the state finals in AAA, it has been said for years that District IV doesn't have chance. Geographically, there are not too many left in the district and area that would give strength of the schedule high marks. With state playoff losses to Manheim Central and Thomas Jefferson over the past decade, the Seals got a taste of the resume it needs to compete in Chocalatetown USA.

For all the problems District IV has geographically, District III has not done much better. This will only be the 4th team District III has place in the championship of AAA.

These will be the two best going at it tonight. I like Selinsgrove in a low scoring game.

Chesney Support

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No Heartbreak for the Seals

The Seal's Band performed their version of "Heartbreak Hotel", but this Friday night Selinsgrove will need more of a running game. Selinsgrove rushed for only 57 and although Ryan Keiser and the defense was spectacular, this effort may not be enough against the Barons.

Forget past games against the Barons, this Selinsgrove team knows what it takes from the 3 losses to Thomas Jefferson and are ready for the challenge.

Keiser may hold the key to the Seal's fortunes both offensively and defensively. I am predicting a Selinsgrove win in a low scoring close game.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Constitutional Crisis at Mount Carmel??????

On Friday the Mount Carmel School Board voted 6-2 to open up the head football coaching job at Mount Carmel. Chesney waived his right to an executive session with the board and chose to "air the grievances" in public.

When Chesney was hired after the departure of Mike Brennan, the choice came down to different factions that supported Carmen DeFrancesco and supported Chesney. (Why would anyone want the job?).

If you read the full context of the News-Item coverage by Chuck Souders, it makes you scratch your head. Having attended Supper Club (Boosters) in the past, the coach did give an injury update. If anyone who attends an MCA game and sees a player carted off the field, the coach could probably tell the audience the day before if said player will see action.

From the article:

Belfanti questioned the constitutionality of Chesney making players attend church, specifically Mass for Catholic players.

"Mount Carmel players have been going to Mass since the 1930s," Chesney countered. "I'm trying to bring back some of the traditions we've had here. People in this community demand success with this program. We're trying to do the things that have always made Mount Carmel win. If that includes hard work and dedication, the kids know what to expect."

I have known Bob Chesney for 25 years as a coach and also for one season as my colorman on BILL 95 FM. If I could sum up Bob in three words, they would be "No Short Cuts." If you gave him 100%, Bob would return 150%. Trust me, if your a slacker and want to play for Coach Chesney, I would suggest to anyone to evaluate your decision.

When board members accuse the head coach of HIPPA violations and violating the Constitution, reading between the lines, it means the board has nothing and caved in to whining factions.

What is the board saying to any future applicant when they stage "Friday Follies" and say it is OK for him to stay on as an assistant?

Every year around the coal regions, I hear the same thing. Our program needs discipline. This goes to prove some want to talk the talk, but in the end it is business as usual.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Grinch comes early to Northumberland County workers

To offset a 1.2 million dollar increase in the county insurance premiums, 115 employees will see their monthly share increase to up to $100 per pay reported by the Daily-Item.

This is while the county is cutting projecting cutting taxes. Workers have gone a few years without a raise and now this will be a big negative in the take home.

Neither the Daily-Item nor the News-Item reported by what percentage did the premium increase.

Once again you have the viscious cycle of insurance carries raising premiums because they can. The cost being passed on the worker. No one does a damn thing to change the system.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snow Bowl.....Pictures from the Loyalsock Game

A Good Idea???

Northumberland County plans to reduce taxes in 2010 according to their proposed budget. I am all in favor of reducing taxes, but is this a prudent decision at this time? The tax office itself is in disarray.

In this environment it is hard to predict shortfalls and state reimbursements in this climate. It will be harder calling for a tax increase after a tax cut if one is needed.

Dave Shinskie off to Emerald Bowl

Just a year ago, Dave Shinskie was trying to mimic Lancaster Catholic's Kyle Smith for Mount Carmel's playoff game with the Crusaders last season. On December 26th, Shinskie will lead the Boston College Eagles against USC in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.

Henry Hynoski will suit up against the Tar Heals at the same time in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Top Dawgs!!!!

Anyone going to this past Friday's game between Southern and Tri-Valley were probably expecting some excitement, some athleticism, but in the end Southern rolling to another playoff victory.

The script for Southern playoff football for the last 15 years has been watch teams take some gambles, try some trickery, and maybe survive the Tiger's size and depth. Usually when most high school football teams run 40 offensive plays Southern averages 60 or so with 80 percent being on the ground on good night.

So why is Southern's season over?

Anyone who was there on Friday that I ran into either Friday night or Saturday night will all say the same thing, Tri-Valley is very good football team. Covering high school football over the air or in print for over 21 years, there are not many times I am surprised by the outcome of a game especially in the playoffs. A game I could think of is North Schuylkill's win over Allentown Central Catholic in the 1995 District XI AAA title game. ACC had three players go to Penn State and one went on to the professional ranks.

If you look at the game within a game many will say Wyatt Straub was the difference. Straub is probably the best back I have seen since Jon Veach hitting a hole. Although none of this shows up on any box score, it was Tri-Valley winning on first down both offensively and defensively. Southern just could not get any consistency on first down while on offense and could not stop anything defensively. Credit the Dawgs gameplan in the second half. They broke the huddle in one formation, shifted to another (many times unbalanced) and then Tigers had to read option. It is difficult to make adjustments to this at the half let alone on the fly. The Dawgs offensive and defensive fronts were able to hold up for four quarters.

How about the bad call????

Southern got called for an assisting the runner penalty on an apparent touchdown. At the time it would have put the Tigers up 14-7 near the half. Southern had to eventually settle for a field goal with to lead 10-7 at the half. The Tigers scored on their fist possession of the second half to make it 17-7 and a ten point lead.

From our vantage point in the booth it looked like a full second or two ran off from when the side judge signaled toughdown to when the referee (white hat) threw the flag. It also looked like the side judge tried to get the flag picked up. The penalty stood. Would the play calling of Tri-Valley changed if they were down 21-7? Attitude? We will never know. Give credit to Zach Artz of Tri-Valley for saving the TD two plays earlier with a diving tackle of Jake Morton.

Give credit to Southern fighting until the last tick of the clock answering two Dawg TD's with touchdowns of the their own 46 and 40 seconds.

The Dawgs travel to State College to take on Bishop McCort. Good luck to Mike Kogut and the rest of the Tri-Valley squad, you earned the trip.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm Back in Town