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Harrisburg’s Wildlife

Harrisburg is no stranger to wildlife, environmental protection and sustainable energy.  It is thus not a surprise that out of every five acres of land throughout Pennsylvania, three of them are forest.  As such, the people of the state are privy to a whole slew of resources including: paper, furniture, wildlife habitat etc.  In addition, work has been undertaken by the Pennsylvania Forestry Association, since 1886, in this area.

I was thinking myself of becoming a volunteer. These individuals are working hard – but really giving back to the community at the same time – and successfully preserving nature in a sustainable way.  The tree farm sets up management plans to promote the advancement of renewable natural resources, protecting the environment with the benefits of a productive forest, for private landowners. These landowners can then decide what they wish to preserve – wildlife, wood, trees, harvesting, preservation of the habitat, etc.

Meanwhile, a recent live-stream of an educational event was organized by the Department of Environmental Protection and Game Commission.  Joining together three young peregrine falcons that had made their homes on the 15th floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building, students who attended got to identify the dangers of DDT to birds and take part in the advancement of modern environmentalism.   When the nest was installed back in 1996, falcons appeared and since then there have been 64 which have hatched and banded, assisting the institute’s work on recovering the peregrine population in Pennsylvania. Given that Pennsylvania’s peregrine falcon is endangered this action is greatly beneficial to the cause.


Harrisburg Landmark

A Harrisburg landmark is being resurrected by retired US Navy veteran Brian Dennis Douglas.  He felt the need to bring a Shanois Street tree “back to life because it was dying.”

So, a few months ago, together with his wife Grace, Brian bought the hotel.  At one time this 19th century building was home to the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania.  The Douglas’ were distressed by the fact that most people know little about the rich history of the building which is in an obscure spot off South Cameron Street near where the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is located.

The Douglas’ plan to reopen and rebrand the hotel as the 901 Lounge and Restaurant which will serve as a multi-purpose venue offering lunch, dinner and entertainment. Before they do this though they need a liquor license transfer.

Earlier this month they hosted an open house for the public where they asked for ideas on food, drink and entertainment options to be offered at the lounge when it opens.  They are looking to target the over-35 crowd and “will provide whatever the customer wants.”

The hotel closed in 2006 following the death of its owner, Dushan ‘Sonny’ Mudrinich Jr. and renovations are now being undertaken.

Harrisburg in History

harrisburgActually in pictures.  Thanks to PennLive.   Harrisburg is being featured in a series of old photos dating back to the 20th century.  It will use its own archives as well as photos from the Historical Society of Dauphin County.  The photos will not follow any set agenda; but rather just be whatever the journal happens to have in its hard copy files and digital collections, some with detailed information, others not.  They will be published according to date, and started with photos from 1900-1919, then 1920-1929, etc.

So now we can all learn a little bit about what made the capital city of Pennsylvania as great as it is!

Go Harrisburg!

fire-truckWell, I always knew my home was a great place to live. And now it’s pretty much been proven. According to one of the most recent reports from the US News and World, Harrisburg ranked at number 25 out of top 100 metro areas to lay your hat.

And why is that exactly? According to the report, Harrisburg’s cost of living is below the national average (great for divorcees like me paying alimony), one of the most affordable housing markets (see above), and “more of a small-town atmosphere than many of the East Coast’s larger cities” (definitely appreciated when I first moved into the area and didn’t know a soul). But truthfully, divorced, single, married or widowed, Harrisburg is great for everyone. And I’m going to tell you a little bit more about that in a moment.

What do we have? Well known is Hershey Park, but there is also the Gettysburg National Military Park and Amish country. And then, Travel Writer Malerie Yolen-Cohen pointed to a bunch of other cool places. These include:   Pennsylvania State Capitol, National Civil War Museum (where you can watch Roosevelt address elderly Civil War veterans at the 7th Anniversary of the War in 1938), Fort Hunter Mansion (getting an education on Victorian artifacts and rituals), Pennsylvania National Fire Museum (to meet Bert and Charlie – made up horses to depict the real ones that pulled the fire wagon), Midtown Scholar Bookstore (one of the largest bookstores nationwide), parachute at the US Army Heritage and Education Center, and so much more.

So personally I think we have it all!

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

walkingOr just in Harrisburg, if Harrisburg residents have anything to do with it. He seems to be on a mission to make our city more walk-friendly. There were a bunch of people who came to the City Hall meeting a couple of weeks ago to discuss how to shape the future of our city. And it seemed that making it a more walkable-friendly hood was quite a popular one.

Another idea was to incorporate the old Bishop McDevitt stadium into Reservoir Park. Cornelius Johnson argued that this would “create opportunities for musical concerts and festivals that could generate tourism and summer jobs.”

I personally backed the idea of building refreshment kiosks along the Riverfront Park. It’s a perfect place for me when my kids come to visit. But if there was food available for purchase too, that would give a whole additional new element to our visits.

Anyway whatever eventually goes down I think it’s just fabulous that people are taking such an interest in improving facilities and options throughout our city.

Save Our Susquehanna

In an effort to protect the Susquehanna River, SOS – Save Our Susquehanna – was just organized by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). It is hoped that the campaign will help protect the young smallmouth bass population, which, over the last ten years or so has encountered illness and increased fatalities.

At the end of the day I would be devastated if the Susquehanna River didn’t make it. My kids have enjoyed hanging out there for years. And I agree with John Arway, the Executive Director of PFBC who noted the importance of preserving our “aquatic resources so they may be enjoyed by future generations as guaranteed by our state constitution.”

It really would be a terrible shame if my grandchildren are the last generation to benefit from these waters…

The campaign coincides with the upcoming start of bass season on June 13.

Cleaning Up the Post-Christmas Streets

christmas-treeI was happy to learn that the Department of Public Works is going to be collecting old Christmas trees this month. It’s a great way to deal with the situation. Apart from cleaning up the mess, this is a truly educational endeavor as they are recycled for other uses. And, the best part is that there are no fees for this service either.

Another initiative the city is engaging in to enhance the environment is the new Regional Transportation Plan. This seeks to both support bus transit and various other transportation methods while improving traffic conditions. The city has already made some headway with this. For example I read recently that there has been a reduction in the amount of vehicles traveling on the roads by 6.4 percent between 2009 and 2013. But the West Shore still needs work in this area. Part of this project is to help people find alternative modes of transportation that are better for the environment.

It’s great to live in Harrisburg.