Legislation was approved last week by the state House of Representatives to expand gambling into bars and taverns in Pennsylvania. Social and fraternal clubs would also gain increased control of gaming revenue.
I personally am quite delighted by this. I believe gambling goes on in the region anyway, so why not make it proper? Legalize it. It’s fun and doesn’t harm anyone. And it’s about time. As executive director of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage Association, Amy Christie pointed out, they have worked really hard on just this for over two-and-a-half decades to give small businesses a “more level playing field.”
Put the power back in the hand of the little guy I say, and give us all a great place to go – legally – to have fun at the end of a long working week. The only fear is that other places that offer it legally will lose out. Well, to them I say, rise to the challenge and make your legal gambling place better and we’ll choose that.
Increase competition and everyone benefits, and it seems like House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods agrees with me. He described gaming expansion as being a “matter of fairness for businesses holding restaurant liquor licenses.” And still, there will be limits. Tavern games will have to institute single prize limits of $2,000 per chance and licensees won’t be allowed to offer more than $35,000 in total prizes per week.
Bring it on!
In a couple of days from now, Harrisburg will be hosting its annual half marathon for Children’s Miracle Network and Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Starting at Hersheypark Stadium and going through Hersheytown and Chocolate Town, this event will certainly be one way for runners to burn calories and get in shape even if they happen to stop for a snack along the way!
In recognition of their efforts all races and volunteers will be given complimentary passes to Hersheypark’s attractions. But ultimately, apart from increasing Harrisburg fitness on a personal and communal level, the real reward is the knowledge of helping out these kids through the money raised.
I feel like I need a bit of a laugh. I’m tired and I’ve had a long summer. Things at work have been challenging. In addition the kids were pretty bored when they spent a couple of weeks with me. That got stressful. So now that things are back to normal, I want to do something for me and something that will take my mind off things. Harrisburg clubs have definitely improved in the last few years so I’m excited to check out what’s going on.
I was glad to see that Gilbert Gottfried is performing this week at the one of Harrisburg clubs. The Second Street Comedy Club also hosted Carmen Lynch last Saturday and I know that was a real hit. But I particularly liked Gottfried when he was a Saturday Night Live cast member so I’m sure it’ll be a blast.
I know that he’s been criticized for his somewhat dark humor at times (true, he probably did go over the top with the 9/11 digs) but I feel like it’s just what I need right now. So I’m going to see if some of my mates want to join me this Saturday. Here’s hoping for a good laugh this coming weekend. I sure do need it.
Racism terrifies me. Ever since I was a little kid I was aware of the brutality of what racial hatred – or any other baseless prejudice – could cause because we lived in a neighborhood of blacks and whites. It always seemed so crazy to me, even then. I guess that’s why the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington – which my mother actually remembers and still talks about – is so important to me. It is scary for me to think that at one time in our history women and blacks didn’t have the vote. But Abraham Lincoln was fighting for this. In a letter in the possession of the Shapell Manuscript Foundation to Michael Hahn, (the first Jew who was elected governor in American history), Abraham Lincoln “gently but firmly pushed for Black suffrage – and surprisingly, without making any distinction between the free-born and the freed…”
I am planning to board the PennLive bus to Washington with the others on Saturday. It’s so weird to think that it’s been 50 years since the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place. What’s even weirder for me is that we’re still encountering racism and prejudice. All in all it is expected that around 100,000 will be at the march and rally for this commemoration, in part sponsored by Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network (Martin Luther King III’s eldest son). According to AP, the event is meant to be a tribute to “the significance of the original march and the ‘galvanizing’ of support for civil rights during that time,” the result of which was laws to protect people’s rights.
But as Homer Floyd, Chairman of the Labor and Industry Committee of the Greater Harrisburg NAACP and Pennsylvania NAACP, accurately noted that this event is “to kind of celebrate the successes and, at the same time, recognizing that there are many challenges that remain.” And a Harrisburg resident, Junior Howard said that the march marked “another step on a long journey to the final destination” of racial equality and freedom. It’s a part of history. It’s a part of who I am.” And, truthfully, that’s exactly how I feel.
It’s not so easy figuring out how to keep one’s kids occupied for the whole summer. That’s probably why my ex-wife has sent the three boys to me for a fortnight! But I’m determined to make the most of it. So I’ve been scouring the papers and the web for things to do with kids in Harrisburg in August. So far I’ve taken the little one to Preschool story-time at Wildwood Park where he got sticky fingers making a bunch of cute crafts. Then the other two joined us in the park just hanging out. I was surprised how much they all enjoyed the play time in the park. I must take them again because it’s really beautiful out there.
Today there’s also The Wiggles. I’m not sure if my kids are really too old for this but the little one for sure wants to go. He keeps saying “Wiggles, Wiggles, watch me giggle” and runs around giggling! It’s really cute. His older brothers might enjoy just watching him watch it. Anyway we don’t have tickets yet but we may take a stroll down to the Hershey Theatre later on and see what the situation is as we have nothing else planned for the day.
So it’s true. It’s not easy to find things to do with kids in Harrisburg, or indeed anywhere during the summer. Stuff is expensive and crowded. But with a bit of research and a good attitude, we may just manage to enjoy the last two weeks of the school vacation.
I so wish I would have been there. What a great thing to do, to take part in the Millers Mutual Harrisburg Mile. Even a 10-month-old “ran” the race! I just read that Elyse Byers was carried in a sling by mom Kelly Byers all the way from Maclay to Boas Street. Now that really puts me to shame. If she managed it, I for sure should have been able to do it. Just didn’t get my act together really.
In a sense it wasn’t the first time Kelly Byers had carried her baby in a race. The year before – at 8 months pregnant with Elyse inside – she also did it! This was the first time ever though that Kelly had run with her baby (who weighs 19 pounds) not inside of her. It was only a day earlier that she actually even bought a sling. But, of the little package, Byers said, “she was great. She had her sippy cup, so she was happy.” Apparently there were close to 1,800 participants. Well, I’m definitely going to do it next year.
Today is Father’s Day. It’s a little tough for me as the ex-wife had asked a while ago if she could have this weekend (which was scheduled as hers anyway) as her boyfriend had planned a family trip for them. Although I did feel a bit put out and like he’s taking away my role as a father – especially on this day – I agreed as I need to keep things as smooth as possible So I’ve been spending a lot of the day reading all the papers and I came across this random piece about Abraham Lincoln as a father. I found it particularly interesting as all I ever heard about his personal life was his reputation as “honest Abe.” I knew nothing about his relationship with his kids though.
Abraham Lincoln was like me in one way at least – he was the father of three boys. Unfortunately though, tragedy struck, and the middle one passed away at 11-years old. He was apparently the one who was most like him. I cannot imagine going through something like that, losing one of my boys.
Anyway, he became very close to his other boy, Tad. No matter what the boy did – and it sounds like through documentation archived in The Shapell Manuscript Foundation that he was quite the troublemaker – daddy Abraham would come to his defense. Tad would come and interrupt meetings; go along with him to the White House and even share his bed. One of the pieces archived at Shapell is a letter Abraham wrote three days after his second Inauguration saying: “Will Gen. Delafield please allow the bearer, my son, to have a map or two for which he will ask? A Lincoln.” This letter was written just five weeks before Lincoln was assassinated.
So really, having read all of this, being on my own for Father’s Day didn’t seem so bad at all. In fact, after I read Lincoln’s tales I realized just how fortunate I am. I am even more excited to spend next weekend with my kids!
Since I am trying to not only get myself fit, but also my kids, I was delighted to read about the grants being given to improve the overall levels of Harrisburg fitness. While of course the schools’ program won’t affect my kids (since they go to schools by their mom’s), the community-based groups initiatives do have the potential to help them reach higher levels of fitness when they come on weekends.
This initiative was established by the Department of Health in the region and the Penn State Hershey PRO Wellness Center. The idea was to give community groups funds for sporting activities to enhance overall Harrisburg fitness. The long-term goal is to encourage all students – even those with disabilities – to walk or cycle to school and other activities.
I totally agree with the statement made by Michael Wolf, Secretary of Health on enhancing Harrisburg fitness. He said, “the administration’s goal of a healthier Pennsylvania starts with our children. While we encourage all Pennsylvanians to be more physically active, we know the importance of instilling healthy habits in our children, as they are more likely to become healthy adults.” Close to $90,000 is being put into this program. I think it’s wonderful.
So our city is now mourning Naomi Davenport Green who passed away age 88, at the end of last month, at the Harrisburg hospital. She was Harrisburg’s first ever African-American police officer, served in the Air Force and Navy, and was an usher at Camp Curtin Memorial Mitchell United Methodist Church, where she was the Uptown Soup Kitchen’s director. The funeral – described as a “celebration of her life” – took place on May 4.
Since I didn’t know all that much about her but kept reading little snippets in the local news, I decided to do a bit of research. I learned that she gave a lot of her time to the community, volunteering to help those less fortunate. It seems thus that she will be very missed as a lovely lady, having been described in her guest book by Harrisburg citizen George Mehaffie, as being “No. 1 on my list of amazing people.”
IMHO, Harrisburg can never have too many people like Naomi Davenport Green. May she Rest In Peace.
Finally the state is going to help us. We’ll be getting more than $1,500,000 to help us rebuild our city. The country’s Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration has awarded $1,645,200 in Disaster Relief funding because of all the crazy floods we encountered in 2011 as well as last February’s EF4 tornado. I totally agree with the Mayor (Eric Gregg) who described this as “a godsend,” and crucial to our city’s maintenance and growth. Furthermore, it gives Harrisburg the chance to solve some of its long-term problems.
Some of the money will be put towards making improvements in our city’s water treatment plants; local industries and of course taking measures to safeguard against future floods.