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Woohoo! Time to Party!

daylin-leachSo the state senators just passed a bill to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania! I know there’s a long way to go (Corbett seems to be causing trouble as he’s no fan), but this is the first step. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s a great one!

All the Democrats voted yes and a somewhat high number of Republicans (27) did as well.  I don’t know about these nay-sayers. I mean, there are so many people out there suffering. And why? Because of college students getting high from it? That’s just crazy. I personally am wholeheartedly behind Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, who said at the debate: “It is cruel and heartless to deny people the best medicine that is available. And it’s time to stop treating this irrationally and saying, ‘we’re not going to let you have this, we’re going to instead make you take far more dangerous and less effective drugs.’ That’s just not how we would want to be treated; it’s not how we want our families to be treated.”

And if at the same time we can use it recreationally as well…

Harrisburg Organ Donation

I like the idea of organ donation.  I even have a donor card; you know, one of those cards you carry around with you so that when your number’s up they can dissect you and take anything useful left inside of you, out, and give it to some deserving soul lying on an operating table somewhere.  Anyway, it thus made me happy to learn that Donate Life Pennsylvania is starting an organ donor campaign for this year to try and boost the amount of registered donors in Harrisburg, and ultimately, the rest of the country.  They made the announcement yesterday which apparently was National Organ Donor Day.

Anyway I hope it works because right now there are around 8,000 people in the state of Pennsylvania alone who are waiting for an organ transplant but only 45 percent of our licensed drivers have the card to say they would like to donate an organ, should they end up in a fatal car accident.

What’s particularly troubling about this is that nearly 20 years ago it was our city, Harrisburg that was the model for other states.  But now we’ve taken a somewhat large step down especially when compared to states like Alaska and Montana, almost eight out of ten donors are registered.

Cutting Crime in Harrisburg

In general Harrisburg is a great place to live. But there is always some kind of crime, no matter where you live.  So I was particularly delighted to discover the new app – Docket In Your Pocket – that can help do a quick check of criminal records throughout the state of Pennsylvania.  Apparently one has been able to check out criminal records on line before this app, but it is not the kind of site that makes it easy to check out a Harrisburg resident’s criminal record on the go for example.  This is going to make life much easier now for all those who want to be aware of criminals in the area.

It’s not like I’m exactly paranoid or anything but I am definitely going to get this app – I just like to know these things.  As well, I read a review that said information on the app is updated twice a week.  It’s also cool to know that it was Pennsylvania to first get the app…but then I was thinking that maybe it’s not such a good sign – perhaps it indicates there’s more crime in Pennsylvania than I thought! Oh well, at least there’s a cool Irish pub here now!  If worst comes to worse I’ll just drown my sorrows at the thought of crime on the up in Harrisburg.

Have a great Wednesday! Do some Christmas shopping for me.  It’s going to be hard the first year without the ex and the kids so I’m not so into the shopping this time but I will for sure try to somehow get into the spirit.

Cutting Crime in Harrisburg

There is now a new way to eliminate certain – minimal – crime, in Harrisburg.  A security hologram has been created by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that facilitates the recognition of fake drivers’ licenses and identification cards.  It is first being tried out by the state of Pennsylvania – no other state in America has used it yet.  According to Barry J. Schoch, PennDOT Secretary, these identity cards have always been “a trusted source for establishing a person’s true identity [and the state is now determined] to combat counterfeit forms of identification, which ultimately jeopardize lives and hold great potential for harm to our national security.”

The hologram works by suppressing the “rainbow” colors that are common with holographic images and thus the hologram seems to switch between black and white as the image is moved.  As well, since the new image has a much higher resolution, it is very easily visible in bright, moderate and low-light environments.

For sure Harrisburg – especially as of late – could do with cracking down on crime; there have been far too many criminal incidents in the city like burglaries and break-ins.  So hopefully this will be the start of something good for the city and Harrisburg will be able to finally crack its crime problem.

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.

“Third in the Burg” Celebration

Harrisburg residents have been invited to attend a preview of the State Museum of Pennsylvania’s exhibition “Making It Better: Folk Arts in Pennsylvania Today.”  The preview will take place on November 18 from 6 to 8 in the evening, featuring artist Ken Ely constructing a stone wall that will appear in the show.  Karla Armstrong and Friends will be performing gospel and country music with an autoharp made by George Orthey (whose harp will also appear in the exhibition).  It is to be part of the “third in the burg” celebration.

The actual exhibition will open two days later until April 29 of next year.  It will comprise photos and videos; music and interactive areas for visitors to experience Pennsylvania folk art traditions through all their senses.

Exhibition Features

There will be many different features at the exhibition.  The art displayed will come from throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania and represents all different traditions from around the world including a Slovenian accordion; an Aztec ritual flute; Italian bobbin lace; Tibetan sand mandalas and much more.  What can be learned through the exhibition is that while so much art has such a long history, it is still relevant in 21st century modern times.

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.