Archive for the In Pennsylvania Category

Weekend…

Posted in In Pennsylvania, Photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2012 by Mj Rains

This weekend we took a ride and visited some amazing antique and gift shops. I simply can’t get enough of looking. After eating chocolate cherry ice cream (two scoops of heaven) we ventured into this unique store which featured all American made products, from jewelry to candles to home decor. I especially love these bracelets made from antique typewriter keys…

We loved this sign…so did Grandma. She said, “What exactly happens at my house that I don’t know about?”

?

Hand-made soaps. The smell was amazing.

Words to live by…

All images by me, taken with my iPhone.

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Centralia Websites

Posted in In Pennsylvania with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by Mj Rains

For those of you who haven’t heard of this abandoned town in Pennsylvania, here’s a quick rundown of its story. First and foremost, for those of you who also don’t know this, I am not a promoter of coal mining, clean coal, or any of that other bullshit we are hit with saying that coal is the alternative energy source we are looking for.  My dear grandfather was a miner for most of his life here in America, and he died from black lung, a disease from breathing in coal dust that literally makes your lungs turn black. I realize that now, though I’m not sure, regulations and protections of miners may be more advanced, but I’m still not a supporter. And this small town in PA, once thriving and simple and pretty is an example of the greed, and just general stupidity when it comes to coal in this region of the world.

Centralia is best known for the fire that is still burning underground since 1962. It all started when someone got the bright idea to create a pit to burn garbage. The garbage fire burnt through the ground eventually, igniting a large vein of coal that was underneath, a common thing in this coal rich area of the world. Eventually this doomed the town, for the coal continued to burn beneath the surface, causing hot spots, smoke and steam rising. The local people thought the fire was a problem, but did not realize the magnitude of what would happen. Although steps were taken to extinguish the fire, and for a short time was thought to be a success, the fire continued to burn through the vein, under the town and some of the outlying area.

In 1982, two decades after the fire started a boy fell though a sink-hole and was pulled to safety quickly. This was a tragic awakening for the town and drew attention of the state government who decided to consider “shutting down” the town of Centralia. Throughout the next decade over $3.3 million was spent trying to control the fire. The Office of Surface Mining estimated that it would cost much more to do the job, like $663 million to put the blaze out entirely. Instead PA spent $42 million dollars to buy out and relocate most of the residents of Centralia. More than 1,000 residents were relocated and 500 homes were destroyed. The population today stands at 10.  And these 10 people are fighting. You see, they don’t want to leave their homes which they’ve lived in for decades, nor have they experienced any bad health effects from living in this coal fire region. These residents have formed their own plan to take back the condemned town, which has now been officially taken off the map, no area codes, zip codes, etc.

Centralia in 2006. photo: Daniel Shumaker

This core group of residents have maintained that the fire is all but completely out. They have done their own studies, and their own law suit, saying that the area is safe to live in. There seems to be no smoke coming out of the ground. They contend that the fire has either burned itself out or has moved away. The thing is, there may have been some alternative reasons why the state did not go forth with getting this fire completely under control. It is estimated that the coal vein beneath the ground where the fire start would be worth over a billion dollars if mined, and a coal company had shown interest in purchasing the land once the residents of Centralia cleared out. So you see, people homes are less important than this filthy source of energy, one that made coal barons in PA at the turn of the century some of the richest people in the world. If the government is masking these ulterior motives and wishes to claim rights to the thousands of acres of coal so that it can be sold for an inestimable amount of money, well, we truly live in greed-filled times.

Centralia in 2008, looking pretty green…though abandoned….
photo: Donald Davis

In May of 2010, the last residents fought to keep their homes after an eviction notice was given by Governor at the time, Ed Rendell. The Centralia zip code was officially revoked, and a state appeals court told the group he had no jurisdiction to hear arguments for the residents to stay. As a last ditch effort, the people plan a federal lawsuit, and the Supreme Court may be asked to review the claims and intervene.

There is a church that remains in Centralia, in which priests outside the area come each Sunday to hold mass; St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church.  It is one of the few public buildings still standing in Centralia.  A 100th anniversary of the church is planned for later this year, and I’ve read that the plan after that is to tear it down.

For this incredible story and well-presented information and photos on Centralia visit Carolyn Marteinssen’s website at
oscette.com/centralia.htm

For more information and images of Centralia, visit centralia.offroaders.com

Article source: Burning Down the House by Rich Pietras for dtown Magazine (Doylestown PA.)

Groundhog Day

Posted in Culture, Current events, In Pennsylvania with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by Mj Rains

Yeah, so we live in Pennsylvania, and the half of us think this is such a stupid thing…though it makes one wonder how a day, which is not a holiday that celebrates a country’s liberation, a religious saint, a religious holiday, a famous person who changed world, nor a President, could actually exist…and honor a rodent no less….but here we have it in western PA, Groundhog Day.

I’m not sure if this is a nationwide celebration, or if anyone from other parts of the world know of this holiday…strange. Perhaps Katie can let us know if you guys down under have ever heard of this furball, Punxsatawny Phil.  These top-hatted dudes get up way before sunrise in Punxsatawny, Pa,  and hoist the sad little creature from his well cared for domain (meaning cage) and see if he sees his shadow.  How does one know if the rodents sees his shadow?  It is a mystery, a mysterious mystery that only handler John Griffiths is keen to I’m sure. I’ve heard that the 14 members of Phil’s club are the ones that decide our mysterious fate.  If the rodent see his shadow, we get 6 more weeks of winter, if not, an early spring is forecast.

This Pa tradition is based on an old German superstition that if a hibernating animal comes out on Feb. 2, a holiday called Candlemas, and sees his shadow there will be 6 more weeks of winter.  Well, today, February 2, 2011, Phil officially did not see his shadow, which could be due to the rain, sleet, and snow, and constant cloud cover we are experiencing today due to that double wammy storm.  Very mysterious….

In any case, I love animals in general, and even though I call him a rodent, I think he’s darn cute.  I think these stupid top-hatted guys are pretty cool anyway, and admire the tradition, strange though it is, which is perhaps why I admire it, and all those people who fight the cold and weather and come out in wee hours of the morning on this one day a year, without liquor mind you, it’s a dry celebration by law, and see Phil make his appearance.  What can I say? I love the weird in Pa.

And, this means we get spring in a few weeks!!

Ah, fat chance people….

Love the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. Very funny, and brought fame to this strange little sort of kinda almost holiday.

Peace…and Happy Groundhog Day.

Snow on Tuesday

Posted in "Wit"icisms", In Pennsylvania with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2011 by Mj Rains

 

Snow Walk by Dream Traveler

 

So yet again, we are inundated with snow…and this is only the first wave on Tuesday….with more snow and ice tonight into Wednesday….It seems like every week there is a new weather event…but it is winter….and even though I’m not looking forward to that ice, I still am liking the season….Well, it is February now….winter is running out perhaps…

Snow by eXXeQt

And so after blogging…and writing work on my new novel…and chipping away at what is covering my lovely car, I may be doing this….

Fanus II by Cren

or….not….

Peace….

Iced in January…

Posted in In Pennsylvania with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2011 by Mj Rains

So we are surrounded by ice here in Pa, and I just thought I’d share some of the images I took Sunday afternoon…something about icicles fascinate me…and scare me at the same time…


photos © The Wit Continuum

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