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Pride Festival in Harrisburg

At the end of this month, from July 29 to 31st, The Pride Festival of Central Pennsylvania will take place in Harrisburg. This year, the theme of the festival, is going to be “Making Strides for 20 Years Strong.”  The Festival is an annual event.  For anyone in Harrisburg or the surrounding cities who would like to volunteer their time, check out www.prideofcentralpa.org for details.

The Mayor of the city, Linda D. Thompson, in a letter to Mr. Martin earlier in June, began by stating that “the city of Harrisburg welcomes all those who have come to enjoy the Pride Festival of Central PA.”  Indeed, anything that is able to promote “mutual respect and human understanding,” as Thompson pointed out “is of great value to our community and we all share in the celebration of human dignity.”

As well, the festival is a great contributor to “the struggle for equal rights under law.”  With intolerance comes a diminishing of “guaranteed civil liberties we all have worked so hard to achieve in our nation.”  This has to be unacceptable.  All forms of discrimination must be fought against.  At the end of the day as Thompson notes, “we all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and as the Mayor of the City of Harrisburg I will not deny these rights.”

Rick Ross to Grace Harrisburg

Anyone who is into the rap scene could be pretty familiar with Rick Ross and his Miami rap music.  He released his no. 1 debut album just five years ago, and since then has gone on to record three more hit albums.  He is currently working on his fifth.

Widely-known as the “Teflon Don,” Ross has another name too.  Born as William Leonard Roberts II in 1976, this American rapper founded Maybach Music Group (a record label).  So far, two of his four albums have been released through that: Deeper Than Rap and Teflon Dan.

Ross will be coming to Harrisburg this month to perform.  For those interested in catching one of his performances, sign up for either 26 July at Hersheypark Stadium or the following night at the Giant Center.

Harrisburg’s Act 47 Fiscal Recovery Plan

Harrisburg’s City council has approved a federal grant worth $1.5m which will finance the hiring of eight full-time firefighters from now until 2013. This move was contrary to the recommendation from the Act 47 fiscal recovery plan.  Had the city followed that, five firefighters would have been “fired,” excuse the pun.  But according to an article in Penn Live, the recovery plan’s coordinator was said to have expressed “surprise” that there are only around 70 firefighters in Harrisburg (which is eight less than the plan calls for).

Firing Not So Easy

The bottom line is however, even if they had to, firefighters couldn’t be so easily let go.  They have a union contract that only expires at the end of next year.  By then it is likely “there will be enough attrition to allow for more hirings.”  As well, since the plan was introduced last month, five firefighters have already filed their retirement paper work.

Financial Woes Worry Harrisburg Independence

It seems that Harrisburg is in such a poor financial state that the political big-wigs have gotten on the bandwagon now. A group of state senators just last week said that if the city’s plans for financial recovery fails, the state should take over its running. This of course, really wouldn’t fare well for Harrisburg and its independence and would have a direct impact on all its residents and their institutional dealings.

It was Senator Jeffrey Piccola who was behind Senate Bill 11-51.  He is the representative for parts of Daupin and York counties.  According to Wgal if the Act 47 plan isn’t conceded to, “Piccola’s bill would create a three-member management board for the city.”  This should be a step in the right direction.

As well, according to Senator Mike Folmer of R-48th District, “it’s a good lesson to say to elected officials in these other cities, ‘You better pay attention. You may want local control.’ I don’t want local control to be lost. But if you don’t do your job, then you should get fired.”

There is still time though for this not to happen.  In reality, it has to first clear “the Senate community, economic and recreational development committee,” and only then arrive at the House and Gov. Tom Corbett.  Much could happen between now and then.

Go Indie in Harrisburg

For anyone who likes a bit of Indie music, D & M is going to be in Harrisburg at the Harrisburg Stage on Herr as part of its ‘Every State of the Union Tour.’  The band’s fan base is funding the tour which is celebrating the release of its EP, ‘Delawanna.’  The lead vocalist is Danny Fornasa.

As well as singing their own songs D & M will be performing popular sings by Maroon 5, The Beatles nad John Mayer.

For those interested in a great performance from these awesome locals, check out www.harrisburgarts.com/stageonherr Fee is only $5 and doors open at 7pm.

 

 

Let Your Harrisburg Garden Grow

It’s great to make meals with fresh ingredients. It’s even greater if these are to be found right outside! Well, apparently that’s exactly what’s been happening in our neighborhood. According to a recent Penn Live article, chefs all around Harrisburg – as well as the layman just wanting to make a nice tomato and basil salad from home grown herb plants – are now picking “herbs and vegetables from a garden beside the Olmstead Building, home to Stacks Market, the campus food court.” This is where Paul Motter is the head chef. The garden was planted by the campus Conservation Committee but is now available for use Motter is head chef there. The campus Conservation Committee developed and planted the garden, which students, professors and staff can also use.

According to assistance director of Housing and Food Services Greg Schiavoni, the garden is “sustainable, fresh and healthy.” Much produce can be found in the 25 by 45 foot garden, including parsley, chives, eggplants, dill, rosemary, thyme, peppers and more. As well, recycled materials were used and a home-made looking trellis ties four tree branches together. Planters have been made from old trash receptacles.

For those eating in the Penn State Harrisburg food court, there is encouragement to “compost appropriate foods and the compost eventually helps the herb garden.” So clearly, the garden in Harrisburg is set to benefit everyone…and looks to the future to protect the environment as well.

Hope for Harrisburg?

Will Same Sex Marriage Be Legalized in Pennsylvania?

Now that it’s legal in San Francisco and New York, the question being asked around all of America’s states, is will same sex marriages be happening everywhere? The political word on the street is a resounding no, pretty much since the General Assembly is controlled by Republicans. As well, according to an article in Penn Live, Penn’s own Gov. Tom Corbett “would almost certainly veto the legislation even if it reached his desk.”  It’s certainly no great secret that the Governor is against gay marriage.

In practical terms, given that marriage is codified as “the exclusive province of a man and a woman” through state and federal law, there is a greater chance that forces out of the Keystone State will decide the issue “here and nationwide before state legislators act definitively.”

Further, there could be  a case in which the Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act is challenged with a new, legalized NY marriage.  But even if this doesn’t happen, it is most likely that the US Supreme Act will decide on the issue for good.  According to senior legal counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund, Austin R. Nimocks, “there are at least 10 active cases in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.”

The truth is, gay rights are not new to Pennsylvania since there are many bills introduced that affect gay rights.  But, according to this article, “because both sides vigilantly oppose any legislation that undermines their position, gay marriage appears to be an issue deadlocked in the Legislature.”

Ultimately though, it seems there aren’t so many “state laws targeting gay residents,” which have been described here as “relics reminiscent of the Jim Crow south.”

 

So it remains to be seen what will be for us Harrisburg residents, but it doesn’t seem like we’re in such a rush to follow New York’s lead.

 

Jazzing Things Up

Things are getting jazzed up for the folk of Harrisburg as the town’s Jazz and Multi-Cultural Festival comes on board.  And what better time to do it than the 4th July weekend?  There will be tons of food stands, different types of entertainment and more. Just go along to Front Street and start celebrating this true style festival.

 

Although is it?  It seems that in comparison to years gone by, this year’s festival isn’t exactly the noise-maker for which it has been traditionally known.   Indeed, one just needs to take a look at which vendors are present to see just how low key this year’s event is going to be.  In fact, around 50 percent of those vendors that were at the event last year, just didn’t show up this year.  According to a Fox news article, this was due to the additional fees they were “being charged to set up shop.”  According to game vendor Donna Goodling, this additional fees are making people “think twice,” about setting up at the festival.

 

Of course, the ones who end up suffering are the Harrisburg public who look forward to this event.  As Harrisburg resident Valerie Waller laments, “I used to buy a chicken on a stick and it was 4 dollars and now it’s 6 dollars.”  For sure the bargains that used to be available and are now no longer in such big supply, makes it tougher for everyone.  But if the fees are increasing for the vendors, of course they too have to put up their prices which renders it a lose-lose situation for everyone.

 

In addition, since the festival is now only two days (as opposed to three), the vendors really feel like they’re getting shot in the foot since they are being charged extra, and getting less.  For additional info on the festival, visit: www.harrisburgevents.com/Events/Jass_Fest.htm.