May 13

Movie: BBQ at Jan’s

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Here’s a link to a movie (video slideshow) I made about a BBQ I went to at  professor/administrator’s house in Whitewater. Jan Bilgen threw us (NPHC Executive Board) a BBQ as a thank you for our work during the year.



“It was a good time.”

-Sammy the Corgi

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Mar 21

Mayor’s career coming to a screeching halt

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According to the Schuylkill County Sheriff’s Department, Kittatinny Mayor Gustavus G. Petykiewicz was involved in a car crash this Saturday at the intersection of Highway 117 and Fonebone Rd. in the Town of Frontenac.

Around 1 p.m., Petykiewicz’s 2006 Ford Explorer ran into 42-year-old Robert H. Doane’s 1997 Buick Le Sabre. Doane is a citizen of Kittatinny. The mayor is being charged with causing great bodily harm by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle. The charge carries a maximum 10 year prison term.

34-year-old Alice Q. Magarian was driving behind Doane’s car at the time of the accident. She reported that the Buick was driving the speed limit going north when she noticed the Ford coming from the West. The Ford appeared to pause at the stop sign, and then proceeded to run into the driver’s side of the Buick.

The Buick’s driver side door was unable to be opened and the vehicle was deemed inoperable.

The first officer on the scene was Deputy Gordon J. Slivovitz. After arriving on the scene, the responding deputy requested an ambulance upon seeing Doane bleeding from the head. According to the police report, Doane complained about abdominal pain and seemed disoriented.

Paramedics were concerned that Doane had suffered spinal injuries and was flown via Flight for Life to the Northeast Pennsylvania Hospital and Trauma Center in Wilkes-Barre.

The helicopter crew had to strap Doane to a board to minimalize further potential injuries, and pulled him through the passenger’s side of the vehicle. The Buick did not have an airbag, but Doane was wearing a seatbelt.

The police report also stated that the mayor did not seem to have sustained any injuries, but his speech was slurred and there was a half-empty bottle of Fleischmann’s vodka on the passenger-side floor.

Authorities say that the mayor consented to a breath test and blew a 0.14 blood alcohol content. The legal limit is 0.08. Front and side airbags deployed in the mayor’s vehicle, but he was not wearing a seatbelt.

“You’d be drinking, too, if you were me,” the 57-year-old mayor reportedly said to Slivovitz.

The mayor has been under serious pressure handling the Kittatinny budget.

After failing a field sobriety test and stumbling to the ground countless times, the mayor was handcuffed and transported to Schuylkill County Jail in downtown Kittatinny. He was bailed out by his wife, Gloria Petykiewicz, on a $500 cash bail.

According to a nursing supervisor in Wilkes-Barre, Doane is recovering from several broken ribs, a broken jaw, and multiple injuries to the head, chest and abdomen. He did not suffer from any spinal injuries.

The mayor’s preliminary hearing will be held in Schuylkill County District Court Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.

After several failed attempts to contact the mayor and his wife, there has not been any comment or statement given by either of them.

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Mar 14

Jobs’ advice on future jobs

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A man worth over $3 billion stood in front of the graduating class of 2005 at Stanford University to offer advice on success. This was as close as he would get to a college graduation, never having graduated from college himself.

Steven Paul Jobs, cofounder, chairman and CEO of Apple, Inc. told the students to keep looking forward, don’t settle, and stay hungry. He knows first-hand what it is like to be young, financially challenged and working tirelessly to reach goals you are unsure of. At only 56 years old, Jobs accomplished more in his lifetime by age 25 than most of us will accomplish in our entire lives.

In his speech, Jobs told a story about how hard his adoptive parents worked for him to attend Reed College in Oregon. After only a semester, Jobs dropped out of college because he was taking classes he would never use and he was wasting his parent’s life savings doing it.

It was at this point that he decided to drop out of college and drop in on classes he actually liked. His calligraphy class was what got him interested in design.

From that point on, Jobs knew that he would only be successful if he kept pushing ahead and didn’t dwell on what could have been.

At age 20, Jobs began working with Steve “Woz” Wozniak, a computer and electronics expert. Woz re-created the video game Pong in 1972. The two are very good friends who started their company in Jobs’ parent’s garage.

Jobs knew early on that he wanted to work with technology. Before founding Apple Computer Inc., he worked at the Hewlett-Packard factory when he was just 13. At 19 he was creating video games for Atari and at age 21, he and his business partners incorporated Apple Computer Inc.

Steve Jobs at Stanford University Commencement Ceremony

Steve Jobs at Stanford University Commencement Ceremony

Even with all of his knowledge and ingenuity, Jobs still had rough patches in his life, especially after building Apple Computer.

“How do you get fired from your own company?” he asked the crowd. He was met with silence.

Jobs went on to explain how he invited John Sculley, a man who used to work for Pepsi-Cola, to head Apple with himself and Woz. Sculley agreed, but after a while, he and Jobs began to think differently.

Sculley and Jobs had a falling out, and after an executive board meeting, it was decided that Jobs was no longer the shot caller for the company. He was supposed to be given a new position, but after a few months of not really having a purpose in the company, he resigned.

This was not the end of the road for Jobs.

He said that he found a fresh sense of newness and inspiration. He again created his own product, the NeXT Computer, and also helped start up Pixar Animation Studios. In 1996, Apple bought NeXT. Jobs was back to working for Apple again.

His story retained a hopeful reinforcement to the graduates.

“You have to do what you love. Keep looking, and don’t settle,” commented Jobs.

Last year, Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It was expected that he would live only three or six months after his diagnosis. The doctors told him his condition was fatal and there was nothing they could do. After a few tests and fluid samples, they realized he was savable. Jobs miraculously underwent surgery that saved his life.

This story left a lot of the students and faculty in tears. The thought of dying so young and after so much hard work was terrifying.

After a short moment, Jobs smiled the most encouraging smile in his speech.

“Death is the single best invention of life,” he said.

Jobs then explained how important death, both literally and symbolic, really is in our lives. The audience listened intently with slight confusion on their faces.

Jobs ended his speech by reminding the new graduates to “stay hungry, stay foolish.”

The man responsible for a vast amount of the continuous technological advancement received a standing ovation after his encouraging words. Several graduates were still in tears, and jobs stood behind the podium alongside Stanford faculty, smiling.

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Mar 7

Local chapter hosts lip singing event

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Performers, hosts and the Lambda Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Performers, hosts and the Lambda Alpha chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Last Thursday, the Lambda Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. held a lip singing contest in Light Recital Hall in the Center of the Arts as part of their Delta Week. The event served as an opportunity for students, regardless of vocal ability, to come out and have fun.

Delta Week was publicized throughout the campus with flyers posted in academic buildings and social media, and word of mouth. The rest of the week included community service, a budgeting event in collaboration with the National Association of Black Accountants, Zumba, and a women’s social.

The event was hosted by two University of Wisconsin-Whitewater alumnae, Zerenity Washington and Glenn Carson. The music was provided by another alumnus, Jose Massas. All three of the alumnae are also members of Greek organizations.

The annual contest serves as a fundraiser for the chapter. This year, between 47 attendees and 14 performers, the ladies raised $169 for a few chapter members to travel to their national convention in Texas.

Participants paid two dollars to be able to perform and audience members paid three dollars.

The doors opened at 6 p.m. and the groups were allowed to practice on the stage beforehand. The show started at 6:30 and went on to 9 o’clock.

Participants were allowed to sign up all the way up to the day of the event, and even during it.

“We had a lot of acts drop out yesterday and today, so it was great that there were so many last-minute additions,” stated Javeta Ward, chair of the event.

Performers were judged of how well their mouths matched the music, their energy, audience participation, costumes, choreography, and overall originality.

The event also featured several impromptu dance battles, keeping the audience on their feet.

In total there were 10 performances, 8 of which were judged, and 6 judges. The judges were all members of the sorority, including its advisors.

“The ladies have worked tirelessly since last month to have a successful week, especially this event. We are very proud,” said Monica Street, beaming with pride. Street is the chapter’s primary advisor.

There were a few performances done by members of the chapter, but their performances were not judged due to fairness.

Brittany Tate, first place winner of $50, sang Love on Top by Beyonce.

“I’m so thankful that I won!” commented Brittany. “I’m going to need this $50,” she said with an excited grin. Tate is expecting her second child in August. At the end of her number, Tate opened her blazer to reveal her small baby bump, similar to the way Beyonce did when she performed the song in concert.

Mykael Bratchett and Marcus McLin, second place winners of $25, sang All My Life by K-Ci and JoJo. Chad DeSean, Jamar Evans and Josh Lee, third place winners, sang Lovers and Friends by Ludacris, Usher and Lil Jon.

All participants received a certificate of participation.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a Historically Black Greek Letter Organization and was founded at Howard University on January 13, 1913.

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Feb 24

Mayor proposes new budget at press conference

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Today, a press conference was held at Kittatinny City Hall where the mayor proposed his tentative budget for 2016.

Due to one of the blast furnaces at Susquehanna Steel Corporation being shut down, the budget reflects the $103.8 million decrease in income from the industrial economy. The furnace shut down caused over 600 workers to lose their jobs.

In the budget, the mayor has suggested major cut backs in spending on garbage pickup and police wages to make up for the decline in income. Although there are several additions and subtractions to the budget, the city will break even between its spending and revenue.

Mayor of Kittatinny at press conference

Mayor of Kittatinny at press conference

The budget suggest firing two city police officers and using the sheriff’s department in emergency situations between 4 a.m. and noon.

“I cannot stand idly by and watch a city of this size be deprived of regular police protection for a third of each day,’ said Chief of Police roman Hruska.

Between 4 a.m. and noon is when the most dangerous crimes happen and the police department is worried about response times if the city calls on the sheriff’s department for help.

Instead of firing two police officers, Hruska challenges the mayor, city department heads and members of the city council to join him in taking a 10% pay cut. This would save the city over $25,000 in expenses.

Denelda Penoyer, president of the Kittatinny City Council, does not think the police protection plans are “doable.”

Although the city council has to vote on it, Penoyer agrees to take the 10% pay cut, as does the mayor and Bjarne Westoff, president of the Pennsylvania Police Association Local 34.

Included in the budget, the mayor proposes stricter law enforcement by increasing parking fees. He would also like the police department to write tickets and citations more frequently.

Westoff stated that the police “do not write tickets to make money,” and thinks the police cuts are “a poor way to solve a personal dispute.”

The mayor also proposed charging residents a separate bill for garbage pickup. This would give the city and extra $186,988 if residents paid an estimated $30 extra per month.

Penoyer suggested a higher tax increase than the mayor suggested. The mayor proposed an increased tax rate from 4 mills to 4.3 mills, while Penoyer suggested the increase reaches 5 mills.

This means that on a house worth $100,000, the tax rate would increase from $30 as proposed by the mayor to $100 as proposed by Penoyer. Westoff agrees with Penoyer’s tax increase suggestion.

Other plans for the city include purchasing a $100,000 weeding machine for the lake as well as gathering an economic development summit to help increase tourism. Kittatinny is not well known for its tourism, and the mayor admits the purchase is not necessary in next year’s budget.

The budget is not final and the mayor encourages citizens to contact city council or himself with any concerns and suggestions.

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Feb 10

Student takes Rastafarianism to the head

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After a faculty-lead travel study to Jamaica, Tatiana Gibbs gained insight on what it means to be a Rastafarian.

Many Americans think that being a Rasta means smoking a lot of marijuana, worshipping Bob Marley and having dreadlocks, but there is much more to it. Rastafarianism is a religion based on African principles, founded by Marcus Garvey in the 1930’s.

During her two week stay in Jamaica, Gibbs interacted with Rastas on several occasions. “They actually don’t like to talk about it. (Rastafarianism) is pro-black and they think all Black people should be Rastas,” Gibbs said.

Rastafarian playing music in Jamaica.

Rastafarian playing music in Jamaica.

The religion, like all others, has its own set of rules. Women are not allowed to wear make-up, color their hair or wear revealing clothing. Rastas are not allowed to cut their hair, but let it lock up on its own instead.

“They don’t drink alcohol, but they smoke ganja as a part of their religious meditation and reasoning,” Gibbs mentioned. “And when people die, no one is allowed to see the body,” she added, “but there are huge festivals and parties to celebrate the life of the person who passed.”

Reggae music helped to spread the Rastafari culture. The most famous Rasta is Bob Marley, musician and political activist.

The majority of Jamaicans are middle and lower class with poor living conditions. There is no plumbing for the middle and lower class, and doors inside their poorly-made houses are rare.

Although their living conditions are not ideal, Jamaicans as a whole eat better than Americans and believe in home remedies and herbal medication. They rely heavily on their vegetation for food, medicine and jobs.

A lot of Jamaicans don’t have the resources for showers, but there are several bodies of freshwater that are used for bathing and hand washing clothing.

The Jamaican lifestyle is similar to the American lifestyle. Jamaicans are deeply immersed in the family. Everyone takes care of everyone.

Rastafarian children go to school with other Jamaican children and although the schools are very small, hot and have no AC, Gibbs states “the kids there are very smart. They are more advanced academically at an earlier age than American children.”

In comparison to Black Americans, Gibbs reports that Rastafarians are more spiritually guided and all have the same values. “They really made me appreciate what I have. They make the best of what they have and are very happy with it, especially the kids.”

Gibbs has decided to further pursue research on Rastafarianism and is seriously considering taking on aspects of the religion.

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Jan 22

Hello world!

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Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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