Home › Monthly Archives › November 2011

Harrisburg Wins Award!

Yes, that’s right.  Our city has something to be joyful and proud about.  Just today, our very own Harrisburg Senators received the annual Bob Freitas Award from the Baseball American magazine.  It is only top Class AA franchise in the minor leagues that get such an award but our Senators were described as “an outstanding franchise” with “long-term success in Minor League Baseball.”

It has been over the last year that the Harrisburg Senators have been doing so well, following the completion of a longtime home ballpark renovation (costing $45m).  Today it looks fabulous and there attendance levels have increased accordingly; it’s a great place to go so the people of Harrisburg want to be there.  According to Kevin Kulp, the Harrisburg Senators president, “what makes this Freitas Award so special is that the winning organization really has to prove itself over a long period of time.”

Having Fun in Harrisburg

Enough talk about flooding and finances, Harrisburg and its residents need to chill. And that is exactly what is on offer this week as a bunch of national acts begin emanating the city.  Get your ticket now for tomorrow’s event – the multi-instrumental act from Ra Ra Riot is coming to Harrisburg and really shouldn’t be missed.  The American-Indie rock band is still in its youth, only having started performances five years ago. But within six months, the band already secured a spot at the CMJ Music Marathon. If you’ve never heard them before and enjoy the tones of Fleetwood Mac and the sounds emanating from some of the more recent Honda commercials, you really should go check them out in Harrisburg.  Get your ticket now or if you’re running late, pay the extra $2 at the door (if seating is available).

The next day you might want to enjoy some Philadelphia talent from the Indie rock band, The War on Drugs, which will be performing at the Abbey Bar located on Cameron Street.  Tickets are on sale for $10 if purchased in advance.

The Good People of Harrisburg

The people of Harrisburg seem to be really showing their (good) true colors as of late.  Just last week Susan Corbett – Pennsylvania’s first lady – decided to really put her words of kindness into action when she gave her staff the day off!  It was Thanksgiving and she wanted the employees of the official Governor’s Residence to really have a jolly good time, without having to worry about work. So, she took to the kitchen and prepared her own Thanksgiving meal – so that her staff could truly enjoy theirs – in a really relaxed way, spending lots of quality time with their families.

More goodwill was seen in the Harrisburg community by the Jewish congregation of Kesher Israel.  Since not everyone is able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with family, a project was developed by the congregation to feed first responders.  Seven turkeys and many pounds of sides were donated to these hardworking, dedicated individuals.  A local chef who was in charge of the project – Mark Powers – said, “it is a sacrifice – no, it’s a pleasure.”  Another volunteer said that they deserve this as they are giving up being with friends and family and instead, keeping the neighborhoods safe.

Harrisburg has now been providing a Thanksgiving dinner to fire and police departments for a decade, following an inspiration from the 9/11 tragedy.  It was a way of saying “thanks” to these crucial, helpful workers on Thanksgiving.  According to Synder, Harrisburg Bureau of Fire Battalion Chief, “it’s a special day and they take time out of their own lives to provide a nice meal for us.  We are very grateful for that.”

Harrisburg: A Decade in the Movies

Harrisburg’s Midtown Cinema will next week be celebrating 10 years in the business. To mark this milestone, it will be offering discount tickets and free refreshments in the lobby.  This is obviously fun, but there is some concern as to what will become of the cinema within the next year and whether celebrations will abound for its 11th anniversary.

According to the co-manager of the theater, located on Reily Street, Kevyn Knox, “we are doing drastically less business this year than we did last year.  I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s all the stories about the supposed crime wave in Harrisburg.”

Currently up for viewing is a Lars von Trier film called “Melancholia” that could be up for an Oscar.  There are some film buffs who go and catch a movie or two as well, like Clark Nicholson who is also the director for Harrisburg’s Gamut Theatre Group.  Although in theory everyone would like to go to the theater, when it comes down to it, it’s usually more talk than action and thus finances are very tight and unstable for the movie-theater.  However, according to GreenWorks Development senior VP Matt Tunnell, currently there are no plans to close it down.  GreenWorks Development bought the theater five years ago in an effort to revitalize midtown Harrisburg.

So, if you happen to be scouting around Harrisburg for something fun to do whilst supporting a worthy organization, on December 3 you might want to visit the Midtown Cinema and take in a movie for a mere $5.  And, while you’re there, munch on a bucket of popcorn as you check out upcoming performances that are coming to town.

Harrisburg Getting New City Hall?

It seems a bit strange, given all the recent budgetary dilemmas the city of Harrisburg has been facing, to now make plans for a somewhat pricey new city hall.  But that is exactly what news on the streets is; the city has revealed tis plans for such a construction at an expense of $3m.  It was earlier this week – during a city council meeting – that plans for the new building which will comprise a community room, police department, a new city council chamber and more, were brought to light.

New Building Necessity

So the question may thus justifiably be asked, why is it so important to engage in such an expensive construction, especially given the city’s current financial woes?  Well, apparently, predictions indicate that the city’s populace is due to increase by 10,000 individuals over the next decade-and-a-half and this move is just one part of the growth preparation. The current venue for Harrisburg’s city hall – the American Legion – just won’t cut it with such a large population growth.

According to Toby Morris, a Harrisburg financial consultant, funds will be taken from an existing sales tax or a new tax.

Which River is Best?

This is a fun thing to do. In the world of chaos in which we live, it’s nice to just sit back and take your mind off everything by selecting the best river in your region!  That’s exactly what residents of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania are being invited to do with the 2012 Pennsylvania River of the Year competition – pick the best river around.  The choice is between the following four rivers: the Kiskiminetas River, Middle Monongahela River, Upper Juniata River or the Stonycreek River.  Last year the Delaware River took home the award.

This marks the second consecutive year that the decision will be made based on the public’s say.  The competition has been in place since 1983.  It is a way of increasing the public’s awareness of rivers in the region.  According to Richard J. Allan (secretary for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources), “we think the spirit of competition rallies community support for our waterways and helps to highlight the many great rivers we are fortunate to have in Pennsylvania.”  To place your vote, visit: http://pawatersheds.org/vote before December 31, 2011.

Harrisburg Encounters Excessive Carbon Monoxide Levels

The Pennsylvania Farm Show complex was forced to close the Mid-Atlantic Antique Tractor Super Pull event over the weekend, after extremely high levels of carbon monoxide made tens of people sick. Thereafter, one test showed that the levels were up to four times of what is considered safe.  One of these individuals even had to be treated at the hospital, but was released the same day.  According to Michael Horst (the city’s Bureau of Fire Battalion Chief), it was caused by the modern fuel that was burning from the antique tractors.  Indeed, as soon as these tractors entered the building, the carbon monoxide sensors were ignited.  Currently, Harrisburg’s Agriculture Department is looking into what happened and will be filing a report on the matter.

Harrisburg Holiday Fun for All

It really is an event for Harrisburgians not to miss – the annual Harrisburg Holiday Parade.  And, just a few short weeks ago, due to major budgetary issues plaguing the city especially since its flooding – it really looked like it wasn’t going to happen.  But when it did, everyone in Harrisburg was sure glad about it.  People were lounging around in garden chairs, enjoying the music emanating from the marching bands and really having a jolly good time.

Harrisburg’s Budgetary Concerns

So it really is good that it took place.  But just a month ago, the city’s Mayor, Linda Thompson issued a written statement insisting that city events were not to use taxpayers money – if they were to go ahead, they needed to ensure their own funding.  Despite the obvious joy and frivolity in the air, it is a shame that sponsors are not coming forward as much as they should for such events.  At least, that was the case before Mayor Thompson issued her statement.  Following that, a bunch of sponsors provided funds amounting to $39,000 so that the parade could continue downtown.  Attendees were delighted and said it showed real “community spirit.”

BAM! Comes to Harrisburg

Books-A-Million – otherwise known as BAM! – has arrived in Harrisburg on Jonestown Road.  A wide range of books, magazines, toys, bargain products and more will be available at the store.  According to the store’s GM, Michael Danilowicz, the aim of the new store is to provide excellent service and quality products to the people of Harrisburg.

BAM! For Kids and Tekkies

At the new Harrisburg store there will also be a special kids’ selection, called ‘Kids-A-Million,’ boasting a large array of kids’ books, educational games and toys and lots of fun products from Lego etc.  The store also has a lot of cool electronic gadgets for customers such as the NOOK Simple Touch and NOOK Color, iPod and more, as well as various popular electronic accessories.

Best Buys at BAM!

As well, there is the Millionaire’s Club through which members can get a 40 percent saving off bestsellers, 20 percent and 10 percent of various other items. These members will also get great specials at various sales and promotional events.

So with all the great offers, it’s definitely worth taking a mosey-on down to Jonestown Road, to check out what great deals you can get from the new BAM! in town.

Harrisburg’s Best Bull Rider

Harrisburg’s 19-year-old Devon Weaver is one of the city’s top bull riders.  He explains though that no matter how much you study a bull it will not help you become any more expert in your sport since bulls are inherently unpredictable.   The only way to get real wise according to Weaver, is getting thrown off – as then you’ll try whatever you can to stop repeating that event!

The man is pretty much addicted to bull riding.  In an article in Penn Live he said simply, “it’s something I have to do. I can’t tell you why.”  He talks of the challenge and the adrenalin but not so much about the enjoyment of it.  He has  been thrown a bunch of times but it seems he feels that is just par for the course.

Rodeo Finals

Just yesterday, Weaver took on one of his biggest challenges at the Rodeo Finals at the Farm Show complex.  For most, it could be pretty nerve-wracking, but for Weaver, it was all in a day’s work; the same as any other competition. As well, it is so much more than just about winning.  He’s there, simply because he “loves it.”