The marriage of Maisy and Oscar: Puppy love!

Wedding of the summer 026

Family and friends attending the Aug. 10 wedding of Maisy and Oscar said it was one of the most beautiful of the summer.

The ceremony was conducted by Scarlett Vesely, 8, daughter of Jon and Karly Vesely, and Ella Henry, 9, daughter of Tim and Letty Henry, all of Greensburg, Pa.

Vows were taken at the Vesely home under a tent illuminated by lanterns created by Scarlett and Ella.

Maisy, the bride, a black Labrador owned by the Henry family, wore a gown made by the girls, but she managed to wrestle free of it walking down the aisle.

Oscar, the groom, a mastiff owned by the Vesely family, waited patiently at the altar.

After a greeting and an opening prayer, a silver chalice (a stainless steel dog dish) was placed on the ground for the Loving Cup Ceremony.

“We now take a special moment for these two to toast their love, devotion and friendship,” Scarlett said. “From the Celtic tradition, we use a ‘loving cup,’ from which these two will share their first sip/slurp as a married couple.”

After the vows and a final blessing, Maisy and Oscar were pronounced “two pooches in love.”

Guests gathered for wedding cake while Maisy and Oscar had their first spat over a biscuit.

Some of the smaller guests took the celebration out into the yard by building a bonfire from tree bark and the battery-operated candles taken from the ceremony lanterns.

Scarlett is the granddaughter of Kathy Burkley, executive director of the Humane Society of Westmoreland County.

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Victory for landowners and Clean Air Council against Sunoco’s Mariner East

Mariner East June Victory Press Release

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Larimer Mansion: 225 years of history

These are pictures and a video from the basement of Larimer Mansion on its 225th anniversary celebration on Aug. 15, 2015. Owners Larry and Lynnette Moisey said it was the last time the basement would be open to the public, but they will continue to host ghost tours during Halloween. They encourage visitors to take pictures and make recordings, and the group Hauntings Research investigates regularly.

While they always try to debunk any “paranormal” evidence brought to them, “Larimer Mansion never disappoints,” Lynnette Moisey said. She’s been in the basement six times since they bought the house in 1985.

“I don’t like the feeling down there,” she said.

According to a pamphlet published by the Moiseys, the house, a bed and breakfast, was built in 1790 by William Larimer Sr. on grounds used in 1755 as a military camp by Gen. Edward Braddock.

The house is on Maus Drive in Irwin, Pennsylvania, just up the hill from Calvin Presbyterian Church, formerly Long Run Church. The red brick building that replaced earlier church buildings was built in 1865.

Land for Long Run Church and cemetery was donated by William Marshall, who with his entire family was massacred by Indians on the property in 1780.

Lynnette Moisey says a recording made at the family’s mass grave in the cemetery says “Ojibwa,” another name for Ojibwe or Chippewa, Indians said to be in the area at the time.

The Moiseys have found correspondence in the house written by a Larimer decendant indicating the house may have been part of the Underground Railroad. Other research done by the Moiseys points to unscrupulous activities at the house during Prohibition.

The Moiseys plan to open a museum at Larimer Mansion in 2016.

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10 Life Lessons You Can Learn From the Smartest Older People


I’ve posted before about research into the most important life lessons we can learn from older people, taken from Karl Pillemer‘s excellent book, 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.

Here’s another take on the same subject:

Before the 50th reunion of Harvard Business School’s class of 1963 they asked them what lessons they would pass on to younger people.

This isn’t firm scientific research — but we ignore it at our peril. We can learn much about life from those who have seen it to the end.

The site has a lot of content but I’ve gone through and curated the bits that I felt were most useful and insightful. Hat tip to my friend Nick for the pointer.



I would have been a better leader if I had been less cocky in my early career, and more…

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Here’s Why Amazon Is More Ruthless Than Walmart


The recent dust-up between Amazon and publisher Hachette reminds us that retail is a brutal business—tough on employees, really hard on suppliers. Walmart, the largest physical retailer, and Amazon, the largest retailer online, illustrate the pain produced in the effort to make consumer’s prices as low as possible.

Consider the plight of those working in retail. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retail salespeople and cashiers were the two largest occupations in the U.S. in 2013, together employing almost 8 million people. These are low-paid occupations under the best of circumstances. While the median hourly wage for all employed people was $16.87, cashiers made just 58% of the median, and sales clerks just 60%.

Numerous news articles document the tough working conditions for both Amazon and Walmart employees. Both employers face suits for not paying employees for all of their required time at work, including time waiting…

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In defense of grammar, spelling and punctuation

I was just reading a post on LinkedIn about how different generations in the workplace communicate – or not.

I didn’t finish it. It got really long, and I admit, I lost interest. In the comments (sometimes I like them better than the post) there was criticism of improper contractions and spelling. Nitpicky? Maybe. But not wrong.

One commenter – an intern – bashed those concerned about writing quality. He suggested the mistakes were intentional and reflected the way a younger person would speak. This is the internet, he said, get used to it. He added the day the word ain’t was added to the dictionary, the English language died.

I think he was saying if we are too concerned about quality, we might miss out on great content. I know I’m not the only one who thinks that to be taken seriously, you can’t have one without the other. And I don’t believe the English language is dead.

These days, anyone can publish, but it doesn’t mean they should.

At least use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling when using a professional networking site.

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Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Lowe Hotel lobby

Lobby of the Lowe Hotel. It was built in 1901, and initially was called the Spencer Hotel until it was acquired by the Lowe Family in 1929.

Mothman statue

The 12-foot Mothman Statue, visible from my room at the Lowe Hotel. Created by West Virginia artist Bob Roach.

Point Pleasant River Museum

The Point Pleasant River Museum. Within walking distance of the Lowe Hotel.

Silver  Bridge Memorial

One of the memorial plaques describing the collapse of the Silver Bridge that killed 46 people on Dec. 15, 1967.

Last Monday, I jumped in my car and drove to Point Pleasant, West Virginia. I’ve always been fascinated with the tragedy surrounding the collapse of the Silver Bridge and the mystery of Mothman. Finding Daniel Boone’s trading post and Chief Cornstalk’s obelisk were bonuses. Incorporated in 1833, Point Pleasant, with a population of about 5,000, is situated at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers in Mason County. In 1774, on the future site of the city, Virginia militia defeated an Algonquin confederation of Shawnee and Mingo warriors led by Shawnee Chief Cornstalk. Point Pleasant citizens celebrate the Battle of Point Pleasant as the first battle of the American Revolution. Spur of the moment trips are my favorite, but they come with disadvantages. After four hours of driving, my GPS app had drained my phone, so my car charger was serving as life support. I drove straight into town and parked on Main Street in front of the Lowe Hotel, and called. The hotel, built in 1901, is owned by Rush and Ruth Finley. Ruth answered the phone, and quoted me rate of $79. Ruth and Rush ran the bar that opened at 6 p.m, and it appeared the couple babysat grandchildren between duties. A sign indicated the hotel was inhabited by spirits, so I asked for a haunted room. I got 302. I later read on Tripadvisor the rooms around 314, 315 and 316 were the ones with the most activity. When I walked by later, I could hear televisions and laughter. I tried going up to the fourth floor, which was supposed to have a ballroom, but it was dark, and mattresses were piled over the railing. I could see the 12-foot statue of Mothman from my room, but the only scare I got was when the window AC rattled to life. The next morning, in attempt to charge my phone, I drove to Tudor’s Biscuit World, an apparent institution in West Virginia. I got the Mary B: thick bacon, a hard-over egg, and cheese on a giant buttermilk biscuit. If a plain biscuit is 500 calories, I guess I ate a thousand. The woman at the counter also had to deliver trays of food to the dining room and lamented to co-workers they were busy because Gallipolis, across the Ohio, didn’t have water. I checked out the Riverfront Park and the Silver Bridge memorial, which had a misty view of the “new” Silver Memorial Bridge. This bridge was built in 1969 to replace the original that fell two years before. I bought a T-shirt at the Mothman Museum, which was five doors from the hotel. It had the original manuscript of John Keel’s book, “The Mothman Prophecies,” and props from the 2002 movie of the same name. At the Point Pleasant River Museum, Ruth Fout and her sister Martha autographed a copy of the book “The Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967,” compiled by the Fouts, Stephan G. Bullard and Bridget J. Gromek. The connection between Mothman and the Silver Bridge began in November 1966 with two young couples, who were driving in the TNT area, north of Point Pleasant. During World War II, TNT had been used by the military for chemical and explosives storage. The terrified four returned to Point Pleasant and told police that a large, flying creature with glowing red eyes had chased their car. Other sighting were reported over the next year, but they ceased – in Point Pleasant at least – after the collapse of the Silver Bridge on Dec. 15, 1967. Some believe the appearance of Mothman served as a forewarning of the disaster that dumped 31 vehicles into the black 44-degree water, killing 46, and injuring 9. The eyebar suspension bridge was an engineering marvel and the first of its kind in the United States when it was completed in 1928. Located on U.S. Highway 35, its span across the Ohio linked Point Pleasant with Kanauga and Gallipolis, Ohio. The bridge’s own design prevented inspectors’ ability to see the corrosion on the single eyebar that broke on the Ohio side. After the failure, the rest of bridge collapsed in rapid succession. At 4:58 p.m., the bridge was packed with holiday shoppers and people on their way home from work. Forty-one of the people killed were from the immediate area, and the loss is still palpable in Point Pleasant.

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