Friday, December 23, 2011

History of Festivus


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Commonwealth Medical College, Good Work if You Can Get It.

The Commonwealth Medical College based in Scranton, PA recently handed out some hefty Christmas bonuses to their top people.  The start-up was funded with public money from the state and private money courtesy of insurance premiums of Northeast Blue Cross. 

Here is what Lulac had to say.

Here is what the Coal Region Voice said back in 2007.

Back in 2007, the surplus was 175 million.

Monday, December 19, 2011

That's a Wrap, the High School Football Season Ends In PA.

Southern Coaching Staff
The long Pennsylvania High School Football season came to an end with one local team making it all the way to Hershey.  Although Southern was an underdog, I thought they had the stuff it takes to win a game like this.  I knew Clairton was going to have a big play or two.  I think the limit was going to be three but 5 plays accounted for 300 yards. 

Lost in a 35-19 score was how tough Southern actually played.  17-10 in first down, nearly 31 out of 48 minutes possessing the ball and 70-39 in plays run.  The only one that does matter is the one on the scoreboard.  Clairton had enough speed to put points on the board.  They also had enough to keep points off the board and dug down deep when they were tired in the 4th quarter.  Tip your hat to the Bears.

All are local teams did well in respect to the season itself.  First of all, the weather was something we haven't seen for almost 40 years.  Due to flooding in the early season, practice and game schedules were turned upside down.  Then add the Halloween snowstorm.  Strange enough the bad weather held out most of November and December.

Southern, Mount Carmel, and Shamokin all have something in common.  They overcame adversity to win their respective district and almost win a state championship. Southern lost 2000 yards from the line of scrimmage in the first 10 minutes of double sessions.  Mount Carmel had to overcome negative press and player suspensions that could have torn a team apart.  Finally, Shamokin pulled itself up and made a strong playoff run which electrified a community. 

Even though these were the headlines that followed the teams most of the season, all three teams saw tremendous player and team improvement from week one until the season was over.  We often see wins, losses and championships as a measure of success.  You may want to add overcoming adversity to mix.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Who will win?

Southern plays Clairton this afternoon at Hersheypark Stadium at 1pm.  Who will win?  Well, Southern Columbia won there first trip to the state final back in 1994 in easy fashion over Western Beaver.  The Tigers then when on to lose six in a row.  The big problem was failure to overcome another team's advantage in the speed department.  Southern learned from those six losses. 

Last year Riverside went out to a 24-0 lead against Clairton, but got away from a power game and tried to play a school yard game.  Southern's coaching staff is much better than this.  If Southern could dominate the line of scrimmage, they can control the game.  The wind may be a factor kicking up to 25 mph affecting the deep pass. 

I like Southern, 35-27 with strength of schedule paying off in a dividend today.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The War is Over

Today the US Flag will come down for the last time and the troops will be leaving Iraq.  The costs were some 800 billion in money, nearly 4500 KIA, and over 32,000 US casualties.  History will judge if it was worth the cost. 

For the record, I was against the war.  If anyone cares to remember, we entered the war looking for weapons of mass destruction. 

What I will take from the conflict is how once again over a million troops volunteered to serve our country.  Your sacrifice can never be measured.  PA National Guardman, Sherwood Baker became the first PA guardsman killed in action since World War II.  Also, locally Captain Rober Scheetz and Sgt. Matthew Sandri were killed in action.  Jessica Lynch who served with honor will receive her teaching degree tomorrow.

For all the troops leaving Iraq and heading back to the USA, welcome home!!!!!!!

Who Would Have Thought?

With ongoing issues at PSU and Pitt's coach heading to the sunset, heading in 2012, the most stable college football team in PA is Temple?  Go Owls!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dad........10 Years Gone

There are days on life's calendar that you always have in the back of you mind.   Today, December 12th marks the 10th anniversary of my father's passing.  Hard to believe how fast time the time has gone.  My dad but was relatively young by 2001 standards, just 68 years old.  However, a lifetime of smoking eventually caught up with him even though he had quit about eight years earlier.  When he did smoke it was the "high test" Lucky Skrikes unfiltered. 

Even though his death was sudden, it was not unexpected.  This part of the end of his life tortured him a bit, not knowing when or how and the thoughts of a nursing home weighed on him heavily.  For all the worrying and anxiety, he passed away in his chair watching the mid-afternoon news.  I didn't get the news until I came home from work that day around 4:30 pm.

What did he miss in the last 10 years?  When he passed 9/11 was still in the news and the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan had not started or were in it's infancy.  He would never see a grandson serve in a forward combat area.  He would never see the Phillies make it back to the top.He would never see and I-pod or smart phone and the internet was a relative new concept for him.  He wasn't much up no technology and going past channed 13 on the dial was a big thing. 

When he passes George O'Leary was the head coach at Notre Dame, if only for a few days.  He would never see Ty Willinghan and never hear of Barack Obama.  He still wouldn't believe JoePa got fired, but he never cared for Joe. My children were 2 and an infant when he left and would never experience my battle with cancer.  That was probably a good thing on both of our ends.

With a death in the family, there is something you find out that you never knew or you do get an education.  The story about my dad that I never knew until after his passing was the of the religious medal he wore.  He wore it everyday I knew him unless the chain needed repair.  I had always assumed it was of the Blessed Virgin.  My grandmother gave it to him to wear when he entered the Marines in the early 1950's.  Later did I find out that it was actually a medal of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  About two weeks before his death, he had a dream that the Our Lady appeared to him.  He passed on December 12th, the American feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

Ten years later, he is always in my thoughts as I wind my way through life. Though always preaching to his children, there is always a situation in which I come across that he did offer an opinion.  The advice is there forever. 

I miss you dad.  Semper Fi, Biddy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Be Careful When They Say You Are Doing a Good Job

Steve Reiner Director of Public Safety was fired on Tuesday by the Northumberland County Commissioners. 

Reiner was lauded by the commisioners just two months ago for efforts during the flooding of September.  Reiner was second person in this position in 2011.

Others that have terminated in recent years after they were doing a "good job" include a planning director and chief clerk. 

Who else is doing a "good job" in Northumberland County?????

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Southern's Jim Roth Talks About Penns Manor

Southern Columbia head coach Jim Roth talks about upcoming game with Penns Manor.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

70th Anniversay of Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941

Lest we forget the sacrifice. Godspeed!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Winners Never Quit

It has been an interesting last 5 weeks for Shamokin Area football.  The Indians were sitting with a 2-6 record going into week 9.  They were to square off against a Shikellamy team who at that time was the number one seed for the playoffs.  Flash forward five weeks.  Not only did Shamokin beat the Braves that night, but they are 4-1 since including two 4th quarter come-from-behind wins in the playoffs. In high school football, one 4th quarter comeback is rare. Completing the task twice in the playoffs in consecutive weeks is a miracle.

Five weeks ago, the only ones left believing that this was possible were the players and coaches left in the lockeroom plugging away week by week.  The town, the fans, the students, teacher and even this writer had given up hope.

The Shamokin Indian football team may not finish the season with a winning record, but for the community, fans, students, teachers and this writer, they have taught us that anything is possible upon this journey if you believe in yourself and stick together.  They have inspired a community.

Good luck Indians!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being Thankful

So far this year has been tough on many people.  Depending on one's perspective, many have been devastated due to job loss, environmental catastrophes or the loss of their health or loved one.  I was with hardship crowd this year having lost two close relatives and my health was once again sidetracked.

Thursday November 24th, will mark the 40th anniversary of the Thanksgiving snowstorm of 1971 that dumped close to two feet of snow in the northeast part of Pennsylvania.  I was five years old at the time and we spent Thanksgiving Eve at my paternal grandparents house.  My uncle's family from Texas was there along with my aunts family from Michigan plus all 6 young cousins.  The only thing I really remember is the trip home.  The 1966 Chevy Impala would not climb the hills of the Springfield section of Shamokin.  My sisters and I were the beneficiaries of a night sleigh ride home courtesy on my uncles Larry and Ray on the mount.  Legend is they had a great ride back down the hill.

Looking back it may have been the last time the paternal side would be together again until the funerals of my grandfather in 1973 and grandmother in 1977.    The family kept in contact but visits were rare.

Thanksgiving ten years ago in 2001, would be the last holiday spent with my father. He passed away suddenly on December 12th, 2001.  Less than a year later, I would be diagnosed with cancer at age 35.  One of the things that I am thankful for was the cancer bringing my family somewhat back together.  My cousin Lynn and Ray's daughter Lynn and I became very close after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.  We became each other's support for three years.

Lynn passed away on June 19th of this year at the age of 52 and her father passed away suddenly just a week ago November 15th.  For my cousin that survives, he loses a sister and father within 5 months.  My own health took a turn in October when surgery an infection caused a four day hospital stay and month long rehab.

What does it all mean?

I am thankful I had all these people in my life.  Even though they are now gone, memories are forever.  I had the opportunity to visit Lynn a week before she passed to tell that I love her.  I also got to spend quality time with my Uncle Ray and even got to do some shopping. 

With my own health issues, I got to how much people cared through visits and phone calls.  Four days in a hospital seemed like an eternity. 

Be thankful for the memories and little things in life.  Be thankful for the friends and family around you, the sunrises and the sunsets, the butterflies and breeze. Be thankful for the people around you.  These things are taken for granted everyday, but can be gone oh so quickly in the world we live.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shamokin and Milton Will Battle for the Title

Who would have thought this match up in the district final?  A few weeks ago Milton was 0-5 and going nowhere.  Shamokin was starting to play good defense and their offense was struggling.  The turnaround in an ironic way came in Week 6 when both teams faced each other.  Milton used a great second half to start the beginning of a six-game winning streak.  Shamokin on the other looked in the mirror, didn't fold and continued to plug away.

In Week 12, you have a Shamokin defense forcing turnovers and punishing would be ball carriers.  Milton will also pound the ball.  Who will win in the trenches will win this one.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shamokin Looks to Avenge Last Year's OT Loss at Shikellamy

In what is starting to add some luster to a local rivalry, Shamokin will travel to Shikellamy to face the Braves in a rematch of a 30-13 Indian win two weeks ago. Shamokin started to pick up the pace on their season with a 20-point second quarter against the Shikellamy two weeks ago and rushed for over 300 yards and picked up 20 first downs. 

The Indian defense kept pace the following week giving Mount Carmel all they could handle.  Don't bank on this one yet.  Benny Delgado and Tyler Pratt will have to be dealt with again plus some players have returned from injury. 

This one will be a little tighter.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Long Road Back to Happy Valley

“This is more than just a program, this is more than a football legacy. This is about people and if we can’t protect our kids, we as a society are pathetic. So, that’s where I stand on it." - Matt Millen
For those of you who forgot, Matt Millen was part of the "Salt and Pepper" combination along with Bruce Clark who played defensive tackle for Penn State back in the mid-70's and those were his words earlier this week. 

Whether you were connected to the university or the football team, it was tough week to be a citizen of the Commonwealth.  I have known no other coach at PSU in my lifetime being born in February of 1966.  Joe Paterno came to Penn State in 1950 and in his life transformed the university into a national brand.  He saw Beaver Stadium grow from the stadium in pasture to the 2nd largest in the country.  All came crashing down this week.  In a place where doing what was right was the rule of the land, the Board of  Trustees made a business decision to in effort to save that image.

There are many to feel sorry for in this scandal.  To many of my friends, there faith in humanity has been shaken to the core.  PSU was part of their life where they enjoyed the triumphs and losses with their family for generations.  It has been a place that has molded their characters and careers.  Many met their future spouse as undergrads.  To many, it was opportunity.  To generations across the years, Joe Paterno's firing was like losing a brother, father or grandfather.  It has been that tough. 

There are people at the Second Mile Charity who thought they were working and fighting for something they believed in.   

All week battle lines across the state and country have been drawn in support for or against Joe Paterno. This week is just a small chapter of many in coming years about PSU and football.  Yes, I said years. (See Len Bias and SMU). 

Major college football has become a cesspool with the advent of the BCS and perpetuated by the NCAA.  Do you believe we actually use a computer and vote to see who will play for the national championship? Even though not a fan nor graduate, at the end of the day,  Penn State University and their football program was something I could hang my hat on as a citizen of Pennsylvania and still be proud.

Joe Paterno's time at PSU has ended.  The nation and world will never look upon the program the same way in long time if ever.  We need to get used to that as citizens, graduates and alumni.  The road back to that image will be long.  Hopefully, Joe will live long enough to see some luster restored to his legacy or live with the torment of not doing enough as further developments come to light.  The numbers we should be concerned about are NOT 409-136-3 or 24-12-1.  The numbers that matter right now stand at 9-9.  Nine victims and nine years of a suspected pedophile to have free reign to roam.   The truth will be waiting. We need to find it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Northumberland Count Makes History With Election

For the first time ever, Northumberland County has elected an independent candidate to the Board of Commissioners.  Steve Bridy of Elysburg becomes the first independent candidate to win the office. He will join Vinni Clausi (D) and attorney Rick Shoch (R).  Ousted was Frank Sawicki (D) of Mount Carmel seeking a 3rd term and long time state rep, Merle Phillips who was appointed to fill the term of Kurt Masser who won when Phillips retired from his state house seat.

Phillips was an easy mark collecting a huge pension and saying he would only serve out Masser's term.  Sawicki did not get along well with Clausi.  As Democrats they never ran as a team, possibly costing Clausi a seat on the board 8 years ago. 

Bridy comes from a finance background and once again as the DA's race in Luzerne County, incumbency was a weight to bear. 

Northumberland County is looking for financing for a 5 million dollar OHV Park in the southern end of the county while facing a projected budget deficet.  The solid numbers aren't in yet.

Mark Anonia lost his bid at reelection for the Shamokin Area School District Board.  He was the only incumbent to survive the primary, but ended up losing in the general election. 

The question of the election will it still be anti-incumbent in 2012?????

Monday, November 7, 2011

P$U........Where Have Our Heroes Gone????

In the movie Jaws, Chief Brody gets the mayor to sign a voucher that may bankrupt Amityville in hopes of killing a shark.  Detective John Book knew there was no tomorrow when the Amish boy ID'd another policemen in the murder of a narcotics detective in the movie Witness.  George Bailey stood up to greed of Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life.  However, these are only the movies.  More recently, Luzerne County in northeastern PA had their "Kids for Cash" scandal.  In all of the above cases good people stood up for the higher moral or ignored it.

For the record, I have gone to one PSU game in my life.  The game was the Kickoff Classic at Giant Stadium when PSU played Georgia Tech.  The college game for me has gone by the wayside for me since the advent of the BCS system and the corporatising of the game.  My car now travels as far as Bucknell, Susquehanna or the occasional trip down to the Main Line and Villanova.  That being said, the football program has been a cash making machine for the university and the sports program for over the last 30 years.

A 23-page indictment against former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was released on Friday prompting perjury charges against Athletic Director Tim Curley and  Vice President Gary Schultz.  As hard as the accusations against the former defensive were to read, it became clear what had happened between the lines.  Nothing!!!!  This story should have broke 10 years ago!!! JoePa should have been at the podium saying he is deeply hurt by a long time friend, but protection of children matters here.  Sandusky would have received due process.  The money route was taken be JoePa and Spanier's confirmed by their weak statements to the press.

Greed and trips them up every time.  All of a sudden, Barry Switzer and Jackie Sherill don't look too bad.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Worthy of the Coal Bucket

The annual game for the Coal Bucket had become a "ceremonial" event for Mount Carmel to retain the bucket the last 5 times with an average score of 33 to 7.  This past Friday's game with an 8-1 Mount Carmel game and 3-6 Shamokin team seemed like another ho-hum event at Kemp Memorial Stadium. 

The Indians gave Mount Carmel all they could handle for a 20-7 win for the 16th straight time for the Red Tornadoes.  It also gave Mount Carmel the number one seed in the district tournament.

With no score at the half, Mount Carmel scored 3 times to Shamokin's one.  In the end, it was the seniors and the leader who rose to the top.  Myerick Lamb had 32 carries and earned everyone of his 170+ yards.  But the MVP for the Red Tornadoes had to be Eric Joraskie.  The Indians were held to 7 yards rushing and only 5 first downs.  The big part of it was Joraskie no one wearing purple could block or run away from him.

Shamokin entering district play has to be please with the defensive performance.  Players that stood out on Friday once again were Mike Yucha (how many tackles did he have), Andrew Hasuga and Jarrod Shurock on both side of the ball.

The stat of the weekend was by Dan Burda of the News-Item. The last time Shamokin won the Coal Bucket in 1995.  There were only 1 million users of the Internet in 1995.

Photos above were provided to me courtesy JJN Productions.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Shamokin vs. Mount Carmel for the Coal Bucket

I was a little surprised this week when Mount Carmel hopped on a bus and headed down to Lourdes Regional to practice on Tuesday.  It was two days and high temperatures past the 7 inches of snow in October.  Looking at one or two home playoff games after this week, I am guessing the practice part of the Silver Bowl wasn't that great and Lourdes was just a little bit better.

When I interview Coach Foor about a half hour later for his weekly radio bite, he was a little surprised.  In maybe on of the best quotes in a while Coach Foor said, "I wish I would have known they were up there (Lourdes), I would have asked them to come down to scrimmage."

Once again, Shamokin will be big underdogs when trying to reclaim the Coal Bucket for the first time since 1995.  They do not have the size or speed that the Red Tornadoes posses on either side of the ball. One of the things the Indians have improved on since Southern is turnover ratio which right now sits at +5.  They were near hitting double digits on the negative side.

Mount Carmel comes into the game on the heels of big come from behind win against Southern Columbia with a two-point conversion with 36 seconds left to win 22-21.  However, in week going into week 10, the Red Tornadoes really haven't settled on personnel and have been inconsistent on offense all year.

The match up of the evening will be if Shamokin will be able to play man coverage on Mount Carmel.  The Indians employ Southern's defense to a tee and blitz aggressively.  If the Indians have a coverage problem it can be a long night.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Mount Carmel Regains Top Spot in Heartland Fab Five

By coming from behind from two touchdowns down in the last 10:58 to pull out the win over Southern, Mount Carmel regains the top spot in the Heartland Fab Five.  Southern drops back to number two.  Lewisburg remains in the third spot. While Mifflinburg who will close out the season with the Green Dragons remains number four.  Bloomsburg with the win over Danville is back in the countdown at number 5.

Games of interest this week will be Mount Carmel at Shamokin. The Coal Bucket Game always is a draw for the fans and homecoming for some.  Lewisburg and Mifflinburg tangle for a part big part of the AA playoff picture and the winner of the Milton and Shikellamy should decide who the number one seed will be for the District IV AAA playoffs.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week 9 Will Have Teams in Playoff Mode

Shamokin Area comes into Week 9 losing three in row since a 42-0 win over Loyalsock at home in Week 5.  In losses to Montoursville and Danville, the Indians allowed the playmakers of those teams respectively to beat them.  In fairness to Shamokin's "D", not too many teams in the Heartland were going to stop Danville last Friday.

District IV AAA is still wide open with Shikellamy on top and will remain there if they could win out. They will be tested against the Indians and next week against a surging Milton squad.  The formula is easy for Shamokin. Keep Tyler Pratt and Benny Delgado from making big plays and they have a chance to win the game and make the playoffs. This will be a big "if".

In other big game around the Heartland, I like Southern over Mount Carmel, Milton over Jersey Shore and Mifflinburg to rebound over Selinsgrove.  The think I like about Southern of the Red Tornadoes are turnover.  Southern has stayed away from them most of the season.  The other thing I don't like is in Week 9, the Red Tornadoes will only be in their second week of a set offense.  I'm sure Coach Carm isn't going to be too happy about two hour bus ride to Northern Tier with a loss to Southern.  Mount Carmel will be ready.

Playoffs start now!!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shamokin in for Tough Game at Danville.

The Shamokin Indians find themselves at 2-5 going into week 8 at Danville this Friday.  Although only down 6-0 going into the 4th quarter against Montoursville, the Indians fell short on a 26-7 score.  Shamokin failed to capitalize on 3, 1st quarter Warrior turnovers.

Danville played a good first half on Saturday at Southern, but the offense was shut down in the 2nd half.  What did impress me about Danville was that the defense was able to stop Southern's straight offense rather easily and were a littler undersized.

Interesting stat last weekend for Shamokin was rushing defense.  Take away the 30-yard TD run late by Montoursville and the stat was 32 rushes for only 29 yards.  Could they keep Dressler in check like Southern?  We will find out on Friday night.

Monday, October 17, 2011

All the Right Moves

This past week Mount Carmel Area had a chance to get their 800th win in school history. Like with their first attempt for win #700 against Selinsgrove, this attempt fell short against North Schuylkill.  The senior class of the Spartans have become the only one to beat Mount Carmel three in a row. Hats off to the Spartans.

Off the field, 3 players returned to the field after serving suspensions for off field incident involving alcohol and marijuana.  The story keeps garnering top press and was the lead in last night's WNEP 16's 11 pm news.  One of main things keeping this story alive were that charges were filed just on Friday with the incident occurring late in September.  According to published reports, tests had to be done and the officers was away.  With Mount Carmel losing last night, hopefully everyone involved can learn from this and move on.

On the field for Mount Carmel, they had a hard time moving the ball against North Schuylkill.  The Red Tornadoes have a two-quarterback system that isn't working. They have run spread, option and wildcat.  Do they really need for all that???  Mount Carmel needs to get back to work and be Mount Carmel.  Another home showdown looms in Week 9 with Southern Area coming to town.  An 8-2 Red Tornado team in District IV AA faces some long bus rides in post season.


Shamokin Area once again couldn't take advantage of three first quarter turnovers in losing to Montoursville on Friday, 26-7.  The Indians trailed the game 6-0 entering the 4th quarter.  The Shamokin "D" has been stellar against run the last few week.  Take a later 30-yard TD run off the board, the Indians hold the Warriors to 30 yards on 33 attempts.  

Shamokin will have trouble against Danville and needs a win against Danville or Shik to make the playoffs.  

The Heartland Fab 5 has a few changes this week.  Danville comes in at #5 with a great first half against Southern.  Defensively, the Ironmen were able to stop the Tigers straight up stuff.  It wasn't until Southern made some adjustments that they were able to pull away.  Also, Southern takes the #1 spot away from Mount Carmel.  They will play for #1 in Week 9.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Heartland Fab Five

The only change in the Heartland Fab Five is Mifflinburg moving up to 4th and Bloomsburg dropping to 5th.  Other than that the top 5 remain the same.  Mount Carmel stays number one, followed by Southern and Lewisburg with Mifflinburg and Bloom rounding out the Fab Five.

Yonk and the Voice Go Down

Last week a blog that I like to follow called the Lulac Political Letter's author took a fall, but his blog kept on going.  This past week, I was put on the four-day DL. Bursitis that reared it's ugly head in my knee put me in the hospital with surgery to boot.

I am home now, but missed my first high school broadcast since 2002 with illness.  By the way, the Phil's lost.  I didn't watch one pitch and saw it coming.  More later on the Phillies.

Hospital stays are never fun, but my roommate (cellmate) was a man from my old neighborhood.  I got to reconnect with his family who I haven't seen in awhile.  Not everything was that bad.  For the reunion, I am grateful.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What is the Correct Suspension?

This past week several football players from Mount Carmel have been suspended for two games for violating teams rules with an underage drinking incident.  As a local broadcaster and covering high school sports for 21 years, it seems like this issue is a topic of discussion. 

Selinsgrove Area chose to suspend 9 players for the season with a similar issues.  Shamokin is a less publicized event lost a few players for code of conduct issues.  Finally, it is Mount Carmel's turn to be in the spotlight. Drinking and high school football in this area have around since high school football started.  Does that make it right?  Once I read the late George Homiak's account of playing in the 1927 state championship game against the Western Conference.  He did say it was cold at the game that players drank some whiskey at half time.

When did it become a problem?  Often times before modern DUI laws came about in the early 1980's, the problems wear looked the other or swept under the rug.  In the 1970's, officers would ID offenders and tell them to get the hell home and get ready for their next game.

Now we live in a society were if the first call by the student is to the parents, the second phone call being made in the equation would be to lawyer.  I really don't have skin in this game at all.

For the most part all schools can do is define a policy.  But for the most part, it is a policy of "ask no question, and I won't tell you any lies."

The bigger question to ask every year is why does only the football team get singled out. Is it because it is the first sport on the school calendar?  You never hear of mass trouble for basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, band, golf, cheerleading, cross country and track?

Good luck!!!

Heartland Fab Five Remains the Same

Even with Lewisburg's one-point loss to Southern on Friday, the Fab Five remains the same.  The Green Dragons are simply the third best team in the conference with 2 losses.  They are also an eyelash away of being undefeated at 5-0.

Here is the Fab Five as follows:

Mount Carmel
Southern Area

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Shamokin Preview for Loyalsock

Shamokin Area's defense nearly did it's job on Friday night against Selinsgrove.  The Indians gave up 182 yards on 3 plays and 40 yards the rest of the way.  Shamokin couldn't not get it's offense going.  Loyalsock has not scored in three weeks and has quarterback problems.  Hopefully, the Indians could get off the bus, don't give up the big one, and pitch a shout out. 

This was a wild one last year with Shamokin winning 35-33 in the final minute.

Southern at Lewisburg

This one will be a hard call.  Throw the scouting report from Mount Carmel away.  Back in Week 2, those two teams were knocked out of sync.  Lewisburg was still a little banged up from the preseason and Mount Carmel wore them down on both sides of the ball.  Southern has been improving defensively with new personal at new positions. This version of the Tigers seems very quick to put things in cruise control.  They can't allow this to happen on Friday.

Heartland Fab Five

The only change comes at the bottom with Mifflinburg with their win over Danville takes the #5 spot.  The top four remain the same with Southern and Lewisburg squaring off on Friday.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Remembering Southern Assistant Coach, Tim Snyder

Many years ago, I was a young broadcaster and part of my routine was to check out what was going on and talking to some of the coaches during pregame. While doing Southern Columbia games I would talk to Tim Snyder before the game.  Tim was four years ahead of me in school, but he was fierce competitor playing in the line with what today would be considered and undersized frame.  Tim was Shamokin grad and former Ron Raker Award winner and we were able to strike up a conversation.  Saying hello to Tim eventually became part of my routine when covering Southern Columbia.

Ten and half years ago, Tim suffered injuries in a car accident that left him having to be cared for by family members and loved ones.  This past Saturday, Tim passed away peacefully with his family by his side.  At the time of his accident,  I did not know his family before the accident. I met his wife Lynn who turned out to be wonderful caregiver and outstanding mother.  I watched Tim's daughter Brenna grow up into a loving wife and mother to her husband Nate and Tim's grandson, Landon.  Tim's son Colby grew up from an outstanding high school football player to a fine young man.

Over 10 years ago, the family had to say good-bye to their husband and father that they knew.   This week will be the final good-bye until they are all together again.  Tim may have passed for now and his pain is now healed, but his spirit truly lives on. 

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. -unknown author

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In a Loss, Shamokin Found Some "D"

As losses pile up, it gets harder and harder to get a team to play hard the following week.  In Friday's homecoming game against Selinsgrove, Shamokin had a brutal time moving the football against the Seals with under 100 total yards and no touchdowns.

Selinsgrove amassed 223 yards and two touchdowns for a 14-7 win.  Inside the number, 182 yards came on 3 plays.  The Seals managed only 41 yards the rest of the way.  In the second half, I did watch a defense that had the confidence to win the game by scoring another touchdown or forcing a turnover.

The Indians go on the road to Loyalsock and Milton in the next two weeks and are home against Montoursville.  These games are winnable before the final 3 games against Danville, Shik, and Mount Carmel.

In a loss, it is still nice to see someone play with pride and determination.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shamokin's Week 4 Preivew

Not much has changed in the past year for Selinsgrove and Shamokin.  Selinsgrove is coming into Week 4 with back-to-back 0-3 starts while Shamokin is coming in after losing big to Southern Area.

What will the numbers bring?  Hard to say.  Shamokin has given up 32, 20 and 46 points in three games.  In the meantime Selinsgrove has played Mount Carmel and Manheim Central with also a loss to Danville.  Do the Indians have a chance?

Southern rushed for around 300 yards against the Indians and only complete one pass for 23 yards.  Southern had big rush plays of 80, 32 and 37 yards go for touchdowns.   This was about 60 percent of their total.

If Shamokin could stay away from the big, their game becomes much more manageable.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 3 Wrap Up in the Heartland Conference

Broadcasting the Southern at Shamokin game, you can tell how far the programs have pulled away from each other.  When the series first started in 2005, Shamokin had enough athletes to compete with two D-1 recruits and one who would go on the NFL and pull off a 19-16 win in overtime.  Much has changed in the last six years.  Shamokin quickly found themselves down 18-0 and trailed 25-7 after the first quarter. 

For a brief moment, the Indians were within 25-14 with the football and 3 minutes to go in the first half deep in their own territory.  The punter botched an easy snap inside the 10 and Southern scored getting the opening kick of the second half. In a few minutes of game clock it was 40-14 over!!!! Southern started to insert the JV's with 5 minutes left in the 3rd.  This is with Southern's defense struggling at times.

Say what you want, the Indians problems don't start on the high school level.  But once they arrive, they tend to grow.  One thing really missing from the Indians program is not program coaches but programs kids.  Although Brad Fegley is a first year senior starter, he guided the Tiger offense overcoming 3 years worth of injuries and set backs.  Matt Moore another senior is seeing his first action on offense and making big contributions to the Southern running game.

Call it a case of Tiger pride.

Favorites around the Heartland are beginning to show in week 3.  Mount Carmel and Southern still remain as the the top two teams.  Lewisburg is still number 3.  Bloomsburg remains at number 4.  Danville is the new team in at number 5 replacing Selinsgrove.  Milffinburg (3-0) remains a team to watch.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Shamokin vs. Southern Columbia

Shamokin Area hosts Southern Columbia this Saturday night at Kemp Memorial Stadium.  Right now Southern is hot from scoring 84 points in their first two games.  Shamokin picked up a road win the in the slop surviving 4 turnovers. 

The key to this game is if Shamokin could move the football while hanging on to it.  Southern know they can do both.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering September 11th, 2001

Jeff Dingle - Villanova University

September 11th, 2001 started out as one of those crisp late summer, pre-autumn days.  It was sunny and crisp with little humidity in the air.  The day was almost perfect until a little after 9 am in New York City.  I was working at my regular gig calling on former owner of WISL 1480/95.3 Mick Haggerty about the upcoming Mount Carmel-Southern Columbia game.  Haggerty informed me that plans flew into the both towers of the World Trade Center.  Not being near a television or radio, I did not comprehend that these were jet liners.  Life as we know in the US, did change forever.  

Note:  The games did go on Friday, September 14th.

After the days and weeks settled down, I found at that anyone I had a friendship with from Villanova University who worked in NYC did survive.    Months later I did get to read the story of Villanova football player Jeff Dingle.  In my years at Villanova (1984-1988),  Villanova was trying to resurrect a football program that went through 3-year hiatus in the early 80's.  Jeff Dingle was running with exceptional ability and contagious smile that you would see around campus.  I was later to find out the Jeff basically became the stay-at-home dad while his wife was completing her studies to be a practicing pediatrician.  

On that Tuesday, September 11th, Dingle was reentering the workforce at a new job and was at a company breakfast at the Windows of the World Restaurant.  I found this online about Jeff while at Villanova, he had a great day on September 10th, 1988.

The story of Jeff Dingle has taught me try not to take things for granted and try to get the most out of life that we can. 

Since 9/11 our nation has held great regard for all of military which had taken a back seat since the end of the Vietnam War.  We still have men and women who may have been under 10 years old on 9/11 still volunteering to serve.  Hopefully, this will be a positive as our nation goes forward.

On the other hand, our political leadership on both sides of the aisle have adopted a "scorched earth" policy of the other side bordering on childish.  

Like the ordinary citizens who stepped out of September 10th and became heroes on September 11th, 2001, we are seeing that same spirit displayed as the worse flood in nearly 40 years comes to visit this September.

Mount Carmel - Lewisburg Round 1

In a week where the Susquehanna Valley was revisiting June of 1972, there was one football game played in Central Pennsylvania.  Lewisburg hosted Mount Carmel at Christy Mathewson Stadium at Bucknell University.  The Red Tornadoes scored 27 unanswered points for a 27-16 win over last years District IV AA Champions.  The Green Dragons were attempting to beat Mount Carmel 3 games in a row.

You can read the coverage of the game here and here.

Some observations from the sidelines:

Merle Moscarello is the best player in the Heartland Conference.  Runs like Ricco Rosini alum of Southern Columbia.  Moscarello has that rare combination of power and speed.

Mount Carmel although highly touted at this time still has a long way to improve.  Right now, too many fumbles and turnovers on offense very sloppy tackling on defense for a Red Tornado team.

The Mount Carmel O-line was very good in pass protection and very good in the second half.

Lewisburg is very quick on turf and maybe more athletic in week 2 than Mount Carmel.

Mount Carmel should scrap the old option play with Varano trying to read the defensive end.

In team spirit, it was great to see the team rally around Zach Wasilewski especially without Shustack and Lamb in the backfield.

This is a rematch worth seeing sometime in November.

As far as the decision to play football last night.  It was totally up to Lewisburg.  They have to look in the mirror today and wonder if it was worth playing with university students being evacuated and part of the town being flooded a few blocks away.

For the players, it was still hard to gauge, how the weather affected each squad.  I guess we will have to hold judgement until November.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Shamokin Preview for Jersey Shore

With Tropical Storm Lee affecting most of Eastern PA this week, this week's preview will be brief.  Both squads were so out of their routine for week 2.  It will be the team and staff that could pick up the fastest and get their respective teams ready to play Monday night.  As of now Jersey Shore has had the least disruption.

Shamokin also has to clean up the turnovers and score touchdowns.  Maybe with the disruptions this might be easier said than done.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

GOP Contenders 2012

Two years ago this man talked about seceding from the Union.  For the love of country, where is my $2.00 a gallon gas. I guess corn dogs go well with tea.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day

Yesterday was Labor Day.  The chance to celebrate the economic and social contribution that the labor force is making to this country.  There are somewhere between 14 and 25 million Americans sitting on the sideline(unemployed) this Labor Day.

Read these post  by Gort42 and Walt here and here.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 1 Wrap Around the Heartland Conference

Although the stats don't jump out of a newspaper and on to your lap, Brad Fegley (7-46, 1TD on the ground and 4-8, 48 yards through the air) had a great game on Friday night against Line Mountain.  Fegley making his first start at quarterback as a senior, led an all-rookie backfield to 6 touchdowns and 460 yards of offense against a very good Eagle team in a convincing 42-25 win on Friday night. 

The story on Friday night was not so much about the Friday performance but more about perseverance.  Fegley often injured since his freshman year not only directed the Southern "O", but played outside linebacker on a very stellar Tiger "D".  Hopefully, Fegley will be rewarded for his hard work with a solid senior year.  If Friday's performance is any indication, the Tiger's will be in good hands.


In Hughesville's OT victory over Warrior Run on Friday, the Spartans kicked a 24-yard field goal.  The attempt was a little more than a chipshot for most high school players.   But when you look at the name of the kicker, Greta Newhart, is a first-year female kicker for the Spartans.  Great job by Greta.


Shamokin Area came into Friday's game with Mifflinburg knowing they would have to rely on their defense.  With the score tied at 3 with under 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the Wildcats scored 29 unanswered points as the Indians committed 4 turnovers.


Mount Carmel used a few big plays to beat Selinsgrove on Friday night at the Silver Bowl.  Which leads me not make any changes in my Heartland Fab 5.  Two years removed from the AAA state title, the Seals will be a good football team.  The win by the Red Tornadoes sets up a showdown at Chrisy Mathewson stadium at Bucknell University which will be the biggest crowd their this season. 


Former Southern Columbia running back is officially a New York Giant making the 53-man roster.  Depending on offensive sets, the rookie fullback should see plenty of playing time in the season opener.  Good luck and congratulations to Henry and his family.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Afternoon Pep Rally!!!

Listen to the Southern Columbia vs. Line Mountain Game here.

If you can't get excited for tonight, listen to this!!!!  Are you afraid of the Thunder???

Southern vs. Line Mountain Preview

Southern Columbia hosts a very talented athletic Line Mountain squad in a non-conference opener for both squads.  For the Tigers, the Eagles will be their only "A" team on the schedule until November.  Big losses for Southern from graduation include Jake Townsend and Jake Morton.  Morton was a big horse in the playoffs the last two years for the Tigers.  The Tigers also lost Tyrell Thomas in the opening minutes of the first preseason practice.

Any coach worried about replacing their entire backfield would be worried, but over the years Southern has been able to plug in athletes.  The Tigers have lost Henry Hynoski, Ted Heitzman, and Tom Schetroma all to injury at key times of the season.  The coaching staff knows how to get through the loss of Thomas.  It does help if you have 6-2, 200 lb. senior Matt Moore.  Moore has been a special teams terror and great defender, now it is his time to shine on offense.

For Line Mountain, the Eagles will fly on how far Marty Beninsky's wings or shoulders will take them.  The Line Mountain quarterback did not play in a playoff loss to Southern his sophomore year. Opening day last season saw Beninsky leave the game after putting his team up 20 - 0 with 200 total yards in the first quarter.

How good are the Eagles?  Coach Mike Carson thinks this year's group of receiver are ahead of last year's at this point in time.  To beat Southern, you have to be good up front.  Can Line Mountain be up to the task?  If scrimmages are any indication, the Eagles did very well against a highly touted Lewisburg Green Dragon squad.

I still like Southern by 2 touchdowns at home.

In other games around the region.  I like Mount Carmel over Selinsgrove.  Mount Carmel has been waiting for a team like this since 2002.  Shamokin over Mifflinburg.  Last year, Mifflinburg scored their only TD in the waning moments against the Indians.  The Indian "D" is tough. If they get some "O", this game could be won easily. My alma mater, Lourdes Regional, will be idle this week.  Salute to the OLOL Class of 1981, they will be celebrating their 30th reunion over the weekend.

Here is Coach Roth's take on tonight's game, turn up your volume.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Heartland Fab 5

For the second year, I have decided to have my Heartland Fab 5 football poll.  Here they are with no scientific reason other than what teams I will believe will be the last ones standing in the playoffs:

  1. Mount Carmel
  2. Southern Columbia
  3. Lewisburg
  4. Bloomsburg
  5. Selinsgrove

For the first time since 2008, Mount Carmel will have the same person at the helm that they had the previous year.  In Tornadoland, this is hard to believe.  The Big Red has 16 starters returning from last season.  The team improved as the season went along.  Should be a favorite for the District IV title game.

Southern Columbia lost their only returning running back when Tyrell Thomas went down 10 minutes into two-a-days.  This team however is loaded with athletes plus the line has more experience than in recent years. Sure Jake Morton will be missed, but out of central casting comes Matt Moore to pick up slack.  How quick the Tigers 8 new position starters transition on defense will go a long way.  Tiger pride was hurt in the playoff loss last year not being in the game at all.

Many have Lewisburg at the top of the heap, but their are some nagging and off the field injuries starting to pile up.  Merle Moscarello may be the best player in the conference, but will surely miss Nate Brown who was a tackling machine on defense and provided solid leadership.  Moscarello will have to play more defense and will his supporting cast be as good as 2010.  Hats off to the Green Dragons for believing in Coach Tilford.

With Bloomsburg, how much of a supporting cast do they have around Blake Rankin, a Rutgers recruit.  Selinsgrove were state champs in 2009, they need to be here somewhere.

Teams to watch if they catch a break will be Mifflinsburg, Jersey Shore, Shamokin and Danville.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene and the National Guard

First of all, for those who suffered the lose of a loved one you will be in my prayers. 

For the rest of us that didn't notice, I just had to wonder.  After watching numerous local and national news stories......did any state's National Guard get called?  Are they all deployed overseas?  They are supposed to be in case of a domestic emergency.

In case of an emergency, do not follow the pictures below.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Joy in Mudville

 Strike Three!!!

In Ernest Lawrence Thayer's memorable poem Casey at the Bat, there is no joy in Mudville because mighty Casey has struck out.  This past summer, I was able to find some joy in my Mudville.  With the loss of the Keystone All-Stars last night at the Little League Series, I was able to put a season behind me.  More importantly, I have come away on a positive note even in defeat.

When Carl Stotz tripped over his lilac bush in 1938 in Williamsport, what he created out of necessity has become the largest organized youth organization in the world with 2.5 members. Carl's vision of providing a safe place for young boys to play baseball is the lasting one.  He wasn't a big fan of the corporate version.

The Shamokin-Coal Township Little League had been laughing stock for District 24 for nearly 30 years.  Small miracles were making a game last to the 5th inning.  This is not a knock against the kids that played, but an indictment over adults in the area having two leagues over a money issue. I knew the only way to South Williamsport was going to be by hopping in the family car and driving up Route 15.

I got to watch my son grow up through Little League baseball and facing it's trials and tribulations.  He was fortunate enough to be on 3 league champions when his team was only considered a favorite once.  He settled into the catcher's position for his league team and all-star team knowing his dad once played the position.  His all-star team ended up with two victories.  It was the first time since 1980 that his team won 2 games in districts.

As pictured above, his Little League career came to end on July 4th.  He happened to be the last out.  We were able to catch Keystone in the Section 3 tournament as fans.  Keystone has been playing a long time since July 4th.

It was nice to watch a local team make it to the Little League World Series.  Back in 1997, I watched a coworker coach his Railway Park league to the South Williamsport's paradise.  Whether you struggle to win a district game or have the talent to go all the way, most of the characteristics of the teams are the same.  Fathers trying to coach and be examples for the sons.  Boys and some girls playing a simple game of baseball with the neighborhood friends. Boys getting a chance for the first time to represent their community.  Players taking their swings and chances at fielding a ball. Take away all the fanfare, this is most basic part of the game.

Keystone will be remembered in their community forever.  Lost over time will be who they played and how many games they won.  What will be remembered is the efforts by the kids, coaches and parents coming together and uniting a community and state. Although my son only won two games in the local district tournament and he was the last out to end the dream, there was still joy in Mudville.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where is My Shamokin?????

Recently a page came to be on Facebook called "You Know Your from Shamokin When." It talks about all the things that people grew up with in Shamokin and it's surrounding Coal Township.  It is a little skewed to do most social media users being under a certain age.  Most of the memories come from the last 40 years but there were a few like that went a little further back.

It is hard to pinpoint why such things now so dear to our memories have been lost and to the reason why.  The reasons really don't matter.

Here are some of the things Shamokin had at one time:

  • Edgewood Amusement Park.
  • Three movie theaters called the Majestic, Capitol and Victoria.
  • A drive-in movie theater.
  • Trolley service
  • Passenger train service
  • A vibrant downtown that included clothing, shoe, and sporting goods stores often with multiple selections of stores. Anything a person wanted could be found downtown.
  • The F&S Brewery.
  • 2 major industries were coal and textiles.
  • One radio and one television station.

It is hard to comprehend, but this phenomena wasn't unique to Shamokin.  It happened all over northeast Pennsylvania.  Pick any town from Shamokin to Scranton.  You can see what happened for better or worse. Are there remedies?  Only those of us left can decide.

One Week and Wake Up Until Kickoff

Yes, it's hard to believe.  A little more than one week away from the kickoff of the high school football season.  Once again, Clear Channel Williamsport will be covering Shamokin Area, Mount Carmel Area and Southern Columbia on the BILL95 and VARIETY 99 stations. 

What's cooking after a week of practice?  On the very first day of practice Southern took a big blow with Tyrell Thomas being sidelined for the year with a knee injury.  The Tigers are going to lose over 1500 yards from scrimmage from the talented senior.  Tom Schetroma returns after sitting out the 2011 campaign with a knee injury. According to newspaper reports, Matt Moore looked good on the offensive side of the ball for the Tigers.

Mount Carmel looks to have their best team since 2008 when the Red Tornadoes lost in the state playoffs to Lancaster Catholic.  Once again, the Red Tornadoes look down both barrels with the opening two weeks against Selinsgrove and Lewisburg.  Reports out of the Green Dragon camp are that they are little dinged in the preseason.

Shamokin will be trying to implement more of a platoon system and also strengthen the secondary.  The are looking for a leader in the backfield in trying to replace Jared Montgomery.  They also need to find someone to take up the scoring slack.  A strong experienced offensive line and opening games against Mifflinburg and Jersey Shore may take some of the pressure off the young Indians.

As time permits in the following weeks you will see our radio schedule. Previews and interviews about upcoming games and a salute to the 1991 Shamokin Area Indians.  In 1991, they are the only Shamokin Area team since the jointure to finish the regular season undefeated.  The Indians lost to Conestoga Valley in the AAA state semifinals at Bucknell University.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Celtic Festival is Upon Us!

On Saturday, the 8th Annual Celtic Festival will take place at Spyglass Ridge Winery near Sunbury on Saturday. Here is a sample of my favorite bands:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Silence on Clinton Avenue

With the start of official practice for scholastic football players in Pennsylvania, there will be at least one team gone from the annual August event.  Lourdes Regional will not field a football team and entered into a co-op agreement with Mount Carmel Area High School.  Economics and numbers finally caught up to the Red Raiders. 

This is kind of a far cry from the early 70's when Mount Carmel, Lourdes Regional and Shamokin won 3 consecutive Eastern Conference titles which was the only championship to be won.

Lourdes Regional has fielded a football since the early 60's when Leo Mulhall was the first head coach and is the namesake for the current stadium.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic!

Shamokin Area football boosters held their annual preseason picnic on Saturday in a downpour at the RCA grounds.  With many first year starters at the skilled positions and seven starters returning on defense, Coach Foor talked about being "cautiously optimistic"

Mike Gurski returns to be defensive coordinator and Paul Stehman returns to coach the offensive line.  The Indians will take the field this week at 8 am and 5 pm. with a 10 am scrimmage on Saturday against Williamsport.

Could this be the last year for two-a-days?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Only Four Weeks!!!

Kickoff for the 2011 season is just four weeks away.  Start the countdown!!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Look Out Below!!!!

Today, the Dow tanked 500 points.  If your cashing your retirement out Friday,  you could have a problem.  On July 21st the Dow closed at 12,724.41.  Today, the close was 11383!!!!  A loss of 1341 points in two weeks!!!

It is interesting how it parallels with the debt-ceiling debate.  The real crisis is jobs.  WE HAVE A JOB CRISIS!!!!!!

Since coming to the majority on January 3rd, 2011, the House GOP has yet to introduce a jobs bill.  I have made a little counter on the left to remind them how long they have had the power to do so. 

This guy has some good ideas:

And the best way to get jobs and growth back is for the federal government to spend more right now, not less – for example, by exempting the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes this year and next, recreating a WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, creating an infrastructure bank, providing tax incentives for small businesses to hire, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, and so on.

Good night and good luck!!!

Geisinger in the News

Geisinger Health Systems have made the headlines in our area recently.  They have to pay 1.3 million back into Medicare for overcharging.

The next day, the health system thought it was a good idea to give 5 million to 10000 employees as a bonus.

There was a great article about the charges by Geisinger for a baby delivery by News-Item reporter Julie Nicolov in her "Don't Get Me Started" column, but it seems the scrubbers were at work.  The article appeared on July 22, 2011.  Geisinger seems to want her first born as payment.

I am not against anyone receiving a bonus at all. However, with revenue being collected from insurance and Medicare, one just has to wonder where the system is going?

Monday, August 1, 2011

MTV Turns 30

MTV turns 30 today.  For better or worse, they have moved away from showing music videos.  In it's heyday, they gave bands a new format for promotion.  Today, they give us Snooki.  Here is the first video that aired and some of  my favorites for no particular reason.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The US Postal Service Says Goodbye to "The Gap"

The US Postal Service has announced the possible closings of the following post offices in the country including Locust Gap and Aristes in our immediate area.  Close to 3700 offices are marked for possible closure. Other some notable places in PA include: Rebuck, Shunk, Lopez, Troxelville, and Weikert.

Here is the full list of closings.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Alpe d'Huez, the Mecca of World Cycling!!!

Today's 19th Stage of the Le Tour will be the legendary Alpe d'Huez stage. Twenty-one hair pin turns highlight the last 9 miles going up an 11% grade. It is hard to believe it has been 10 years since Lance Armstrong through down the gauntlet to rival Jan Ulrich.

In 2004, Armstrong passes Ivan "The Terrible" Basso in the time trial!!!!

Here is some video of Lance Armstrong's ride in 2001 and 2004:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

End of an Era Today

The space shuttle is coming home for the final time today.  This marks the end of the shuttle program plus it will be the last manned mission sponsored by NASA in the near and maybe far future.  Thinking back to when I started kindergarten in 1971, the space program was all the rage and you were taught to think big and have an interest in science and the cosmos.

Simply Left Behind has a great post that I will reprint:

Enjoy and Godspeed

It is with deep sadness that I take note of this:
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. A space shuttle left the International Space Station for the very last time Tuesday, heading home to end the 30-year run of a vessel that kept U.S. astronauts flying to and from orbit longer than any other rocketship.
Atlantis slipped away after performing a partial lap around the space station. Ten pairs of eyes pressed against the windows, four in the shuttle and six in the station.
All that remains of NASA's final shuttle voyage is the touchdown, targeted for the pre-dawn hours of Thursday back home in Florida.
The last NASA manned mission, possibly ever. Since my childhood, with the launch of Alan Shepard, American men & women have been in space or preparing to go. Now, no, at least sponsored by the government.
Many would point out that space has become a boondoggle of cost overruns and incremental returns for massive investments.
Perhaps that's true. It's also true of war, unless you want to fight a war for survival or to acquire an empire, none of which is exactly a concern right now, yet here we are in three different theatres, bankrupting the nation and for what? Oil?
The promise the space program held for me as a child is the same promise it holds today: enormous knowledge, the most precious, priceless thing man has invented. 
Think of what has come out of the space program: from TANG to transistor radios to computers to GPS to the Internet, all of these come from the space program. Technologies unheard of prior to figuring out how to protect a man in space, from dry suits developed out of space suits to the metal ends of thermometers that more efficiently transfer body heat for more accurate readings. Hell, baby foods have become better because of trying to work out how to feed an astronaut. MRIs, folding walkers, titanium eyeglass frames, pacemakers, all these can trace their roots to figuring out how to help an astronaut in space.
The many triumphs and too many tragedies of the space program have led up to the world we have now, and that program has had a far greater impact on your life than anything, ANYTHING, else of the past fifty years.
We should go back to space. We NEED to go back to space. There are too many problems down here that require us to find solutions out there.

Tom Marino Marches to Johah Goldberg

Pot Meet Kettle

Both Congressman Tom Marino and syndicated comlumnist Jonah Goldberg talk about "Ideology."  When will the new regime begin to talk about jobs?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Selinsgrove Hops and Vines

I plan on attending the Festival located in Selinsgrove on Saturday. I can't  wait to try the Blue Ball Porter by the Intercourse Brewing Co. I promise to enjoy Intercourse responsibly.

I should have time to begin ramping up blogging and post some interesting pictures.......I'm slowly coming out of pit road.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

So Long Lynn Marie 1958-2011

I remember the call I received around three years ago in August of 2008.  My cousin Lynn Marie Fracalossi and my uncle had been searching for a home outside of Dearborn Heights, Michigan since the passing of my aunt in 2003.  The call that I thought I was going to get regarding selling of the home and impending move was nothing of the sort.  "Hi Eddie, it's Lynn and now we have something else in common.  I have been diagnosed with cancer and start treatment soon."  The diagnosis came one week after they closed on a home in Monroe, Michigan.

It was only a month earlier that Lynn and I spent the 4th of July holiday golfing together at Indian Hills Country Club.  Lynn showed no signs of impending illness when she easily shot in the low 80's that day.  "I have been through all this was my reply over the phone. I will try to get you through this cancer too."

In life, Lynn Marie was one of the most simple yet one of the most complex people I have ever known.  Each one not in a bad way.  She was simple in the fact that she could visit Pennsylvania and find some unique place to visit or market to explore while I never knew they existed.  She was complex in the way she talked about her illness.  She would tell me about every intricate detail of her treatment, but would not tell anyone at what stage was her cancer.  Intimate while remaining private.  Sometimes it was hard for a person to understand.

Lynn was the happiest in the midst of nature whether it was at the shoreline of an ocean or in the garden right outside her kitchen window.  She saw beauty among nature and never lost her appreciation for all things living.  At the hospital less than 9 days away from her passing, she was giving out instructions on how to care for some of her favorite plants. 

Lynn spent her adult life single and never really dated.  She had the best features that Tyrolean and Ukrainian genetics could offer and would not have a problem attracting someone.  Through a lifetime of phone calls, emails and personal visits, I never asked the question of her choosing to remain single.  I figured that I have witnessed many couple split over the years, the question itself became less important over the years. In the end the question would never be asked and I'm sure Lynn would have never wanted to share an answer.

I went to visit Lynn Marie on June 9th in the hospital in downtown Detroit.  I cried immediately when I entered the hospital room. Instead of seeing the eternally young 52-year old, I saw the eyes of my 76-year old grandmother who had passed nearly 35 years earlier.  The cancer had taken it's toll.  She still had the same voice and told me that she put up a great fight and is at peace with what was happening. At that moment, I was composed enough to have a normal conversation.  We talked about the past and somethings about present. 

The conversation even got light-hearted.  My father and Lynn's mother were brother and sister and took "worrying about everything" to new heights in modern human history.  My father who was the youngest of three siblings passed in December of 2001 while Lynn's mother passed in June of 2003.  I told Lynn that she will see them soon and then I asked, "I wonder if they stopped worrying by now?"  Lynn laughed as hard as her physically limitations would allow.  I thought we were going to have to call a nurse for assistance.

We left Michigan on Saturday June 11th before Lynn came home to hospice.  In my last conversation over the phone (which she sounded great) I told her that we are still 2-0 against cancer.  You didn't let it get you down and it brought our family together.  Before my voice started to crack the last thing I simply said was, "Lynn, I love you."

I knew there was going to be an impending phone call coming from Michigan in the near future.  I attended my local Relay for Life, but couldn't escape the thought that Lynn was in her last hours.  I was hurting inside inside wondering if anything really if it was worth any effort.  I had to find a way to heal myself and started to think of all the people who would travel down this path once again.  As the sunset, I left the Relay in better spirits.

The call I knew I had coming shortly after I left Michigan came Sunday afternoon.  Lynn passed away 8 days later on Sunday, June 19th.  It was 8 years and 12 hours since her mother's passing on June 18th, 2003.  We never know how much time we have on this earth.  We just need to make every moment count.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th, 1776

235 years and counting.............

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Dog Louie

My dog Louie and my neighbor's dog Murphy having some summertime fun!!!! Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inequality Anyone???

If you are a working stiff, the chart should be of great concern to you.

I have been off the blog trail for a little while with some personal things that needed attention some good, some bad!!!!

Some thinks to think about as the summer goes on Tommy and Louie are camera shy if they don't know ya.

June is usually a good month for teachers.  Not so much this year.  That ax you hear outside is not the long overdue landscape project, but being a teacher under Tom Corporate.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making the Grade

I haven't posted much lately.  I have been very busy with many things. With the weather situation in Pennsylvania the last few weeks, I have been very busy as an baseball/softball umpire.  Being an official in any sport is part vocation, part volunteer, part hobby and maybe part occupation.

A few years ago at the urging of a friend, I took the PIAA high school softball test to be an umpire.  After a cancer diagnosis in 2002 and baseball in some form being part of my life for most of my years at that point.  I wanted to figure out a way to get back in the game ( I grew up less than 200 yards from a baseball field). The way back came in the form of being an umpire. 

Like with any sports related, the next level doesn't come easy.  You may have been a good player, but that does not guarantee success as a manager, coach or official.  You have to work at it!!!!  You have to practice your trade.  Often times you question why you chose to officiate. 

After umpiring hundreds of games over the past few years from high school softball down to Little League baseball, I was rewarded with my first playoff game week.  I worked the bases in Bloomsburg's upset win over Mifflinburg.  On Sunday, I got the call that I would be part of a 4-man crew working a District IV semifinal between defending state runner-up Montgomery and state semifinalist, Northeast Bradford. 

It was only fitting that each man in that crew had a part in me being there.  I was chosen to work 1st Base. The home plate umpire and crew chief Duff Ripka has been a great influence and believed in me getting me started in summer ball and working elite travel tournaments.   Art Rovito was the 2nd Base umpire.  I worked my first high school game with Art.  Dave Fetterman was at 3rd base and gave me some great advice working together when starting out.

The best reward we received after working a 2-0 Northeast Bradford win was nothing.  The final out was made and we walked off the field while the fans cheered both teams.  Our exit was not noticed and that's the best reward of all, it's all for the players.

In a vocation where you only are as good as your next call or next game, one quote sticks out in my mind:

So many people want to make it to the top, but are not willing to start on the bottom.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Post Election Wrap, the "Team" is Gone.

A field of 13 candidates got whittled down to 6 for November as 4 candidates received double nominations in the race for the Shamokin Area School Board.  Bernie Sosnoski, Robert C. Getchey, Ron McElwee and Charles Shuey were nominated on both ballots.  Jeff Kashner and incumbent Mark Anonia will square off in November.  They will join incumbents Tracey Witmer, LaRue Beck, Ed Griffiths, and Brian Persing when the board reorganizes after the fall election.

Incumbents Todd Hockenbrock, Charles Carpenter, Barry Rebuck and Daniel Venn who ran as the "The Team" in 2007 were ousted.  

The new board will have most of 2012 to prepare for what could be a 4.3 million dollar shortfall. Shamokin Area is fine for 2011-12.

As much as people want change at the SASD, things stayed boring for now in Northumberland County with incumbents Vinny Clausi, Frank Sawicki (D-I)) and Merle Phillips (R-I) joined by newcomer Rick Shoch (R) for the 3-member board.

Some of the issues facing Northumberland County are funding an OHV Park near Shamokin and ongoing employee lawsuits.

Some winners on Tuesday were Tracey Witmer and Myron Turlis.  Witmer led the charge to oust "The Team"  on election day.  Turlis, the mayor of Kulpmont, had a great showing finishing just behind Sawicki.

Olive Branch?

The ink has not been dry on the results and the first shots were fired at the Shamokin Area School Board meeting on Thursday.   In some business:

Pre-K was dropped. 

It is a sad day," commented Shamokin Area Superintendent James Zack after the board voted to eliminate the K-4 program that affects more than 100 students. "This isn't something we recommended or want to do, but we really have no choice. It hurts to cut K-4. It's not an easy decision, but we had to move in this direction."

Zack, who noted the district is facing a potential $4.3 million deficit in the near future, said a proposal was made to Shamokin Area Education Association to increase class size at the elementary school in an effort to retain the K-4 program, but he said the teachers' union did not accept the offer.

The superintendent, who did not blame the union for the board's decision to eliminate the K-4 program, said the four teachers currently involved in the program will be reassigned within the elementary school. He noted five elementary school teachers are retiring at the end of the school year. "The only good thing about this is that the K-4 teachers won't lose their jobs," Zack said. "We will have enough money in the budget to cover their salaries."

In a strange irony, the measure passed on a 6-2 vote with Witmer siding with "The Team."

Later in the meeting, the first shots were fired between Charles Shuey, Director Griffiths and Superintendent James Zack.

At the beginning of the meeting, Charles Shuey, who earned the Democratic and Republican nominations for a seat on Shamokin Area School Board in Tuesday's primary election, asked Zack why he didn't attend a recent meeting in Harrisburg with state Sen. John Gordner to discuss proposed drastic cuts in education in the state budget.

Shuey said Zack was one of two superintendents in the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit who did not attend the session.

Zack told Shuey he had a conflict with another meeting that day and was working in the district. "I didn't think that was a priority since I have met with state legislators Kurt Masser and Lynda Culver in the past to discuss the proposed cuts," Zack said. "I thought my time was better spent working in the school district. I was here at work doing my job."

Griffiths criticized Shuey, who has lodged numerous complaints at school board meetings in recent years, for "attacking" Zack for doing his job.

"Why is Mr. Gordner so concerned about our superintendent not being present at a meeting?" Griffiths asked. "He hasn't brought much industry to our area over the years."

Griffiths' response prompted Shuey to reply, "Maybe that's why the election went the way it did." Shuey's comment was in reference to the four incumbents (Venn, Hockenbrock, Rebuck and Carpenter) known as "The Team" being defeated in the election.

Griffiths then said, "You got your shot in, now sit down."

With a project 4.3 million dollar shortfall for 2012-13, and the "spineless one" still being in office,  the new board should not waste time on the following:

-Running the superintendent out of town.

-Firing the football coach.

-micromanaging day-to-day operations.

-reignite old political battles.

These have all been "oldies, but goodies" but the clock is ticking.