Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts May 2011

While I was Gone ...

It's been almost six weeks since my last post, and a fair amount has happened between then and now.

Firstly, Chase Utley is back with the big Phillies - and none too soon. Utley rejoined the club today and will be in the lineup tomorrow night. Let's hope he can provide an offensive spark because the team really needs one. Without Utley, the Phils have managed to hang on to first place in the NL East, but that's mainly due to the pitching. The Phillies' offense has been pitiful for the past few weeks, it's not helping that Shane Victorino is now hurt, and the pitchers seemingly have to throw a near perfect game each time out just to give the team a chance to win. Again, let's hope Utley can provide some offensive spark.

Secondly, the primary election has come and, thankfully, gone. My station covered close to 130 contested races on Election Night, complete with almost continuous live coverage from 8-11:35pm. I was at the station until 3am updating results, then I went back a few hours later to update some more.

Not too many surprises, I don't think. In Bradford County, voters in North Towanda Township narrowly defeated - and by narrowly I mean by just three votes - a referendum that would have allowed liquor licenses in the township. The developer of a new hotel (which will cater to the gas drilling industry), was hoping for a "Yes" outcome so that he could add a chain restaurant to the place. Construction on the hotel seems to be well underway, and the developer says he'll now put in a restaurant that doesn't serve alcohol. I wonder if the "No" vote had more to do with opposition to liquor in general or if it came out of a more specific concern about the possible behavior of gas industry workers should they have easier access to booze (although there is a state store in the township already). I don't have any insight one way or the other. I'm just wondering.

In Lackawanna County, former state rep. Jim Wansacz and current majority commissioner Corey O'Brien won the Democratic nominations for county commissioner. The two were on separate tickets, and the campaign got rather nasty toward the end. Now, they'll have to make nice and run as a team against the GOP nominees William Jones and Patrick O'Malley. The county is overwhelmingly Democrat, so Wansacz and O'Brien should be able to win the majority vote in November.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about that primary race is that ELIZABETH RANDOL finished a close third in the Democratic primary. She had only about 500 fewer votes than O'Brien. Randol worked for a time as the commissioners' chief of staff, so she knows county government. She has connections at the state level, she's involved in the community, and she ran a positive campaign. It would be interesting to see what happened in November if Randol decided to run as an Independent. I don't know that she will, I'm just saying that it would be interesting if she did.

In Luzerne County, there are six seats open on the Court of Common Pleas. 16 candidates cross-filed. Five candidates each scored spots on both tickets. Molly Hanlon Mirabito got the sixth spot on the Democratic side, and Dick Hughes rounded out the Republican field. Hughes found himself in a similar position two years ago when there were two seats open on the bench. He won one of the two GOP nominations, but lost in November to the two Democrats. As in Lackawanna County, Democrats have a significant voter edge in Luzerne, so it will be interesting to see if Hughes can find a way to keep from being the odd man out once again.

Luzerne County also featured a race for the new County Council. In a previous election, voters opted to replace the three full-time commissioners with a Home Rule setup in which a part-time 11-member County Council will hire a county manager. In the primaries, 49 people (33 Democrats and 16 Republicans) sought nominations to the council. No one cross-filed. We provided results for the race but did not give it any live reporter coverage. I mean, how could you cover it fairly - or even adequately? I'm not sure that the strategy will be any different in November even though the field has been "narrowed" to 22 candidates.

The weekend before elections, a friend and I made the trip to Nay Aug Park in Scranton to see the CIVIL WAR ROADSHOW. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and the exhibit promised to be full of information about Pennsylvania's role in the war. I don't have too much to say about it other than that I was disappointed.

The roadshow consisted basically of a tractor trailer divided into smaller sections that each featured tidbits of information about various aspects of the war and Pennsylvania's role in it. My friend and I waited in line for about an hour. We were somewhat entertained by a lone musician playing songs from the Civil War era (and some that weren't, i.e. "ASHOKAN FAREWELL", which Ken Burns used in his Civil War documentary but which wasn't written until 1982). As we got closer to the trailer, there were some boards outside which provided a brief time-line of significant events leading up to the start of the war. To me, these boards proved to be the most interesting part of the experience.

Once inside the trailer, I found it uncomfortably crowded. The exhibits were located in separate recesses around the walls of the trailer. The crowds were such that I had difficulty gaining any clear access to a particular section and, if I did, I didn't feel comfortable lingering very long. However, I saw enough to realize a few things about the exhibit overall. Many of the items (such as clothing) were not authentic period pieces but were, instead, reproductions; the information provided at each stop was extremely general and lacked specifics; I did not notice any mention of Jennie Wade, although the section about Gettysburg did single out the only CIVILIAN known to have fought during the battle. On the whole, I found the Civil War Roadshow more geared toward children than adults. And, if you see it on one of its stops around the state (admission is, thankfully, free), try to go during an off-peak time when the trailer might not be so crowded.

One final note. I considered posting about 10 days ago, but that's when a friend alerted me to a local blog (and I use the term loosely since the owner didn't appear to actually contribute any material of his own) that, for all intents and purposes, seemed to be stealing the work of other local bloggers, including me. The setup was such that the bloggers whose work was appearing there were made out to be "members" of this other blog and purported links to the original author led back to a "profile" page rather than to that author's own blog. Basically, this site was using the work of other bloggers to generate hits and advertising revenue for the site owner.

Now, it seems that this blog (and again, I use the term loosely) had been around for a little more than two years. And, my friend discovered that one of my blog entries seems to have been the first one posted on the site. But, considering that I never caught on and that it took my friends until now to catch on, I have to wonder how many hits the site generated.

No matter. Stealing is stealing. Once my blogging friends became aware of what was going on, they put out the word to people whose work was being ripped off, including at least one author who blogs under the auspices of a media company (translation - his work is actually, legally, for real, copyrighted). Within a few days, the site had been taken down and I felt free to blog again.

I don't know specifically what prompted the owner of the site to take it down. Was it legal pressure from the media company that owned the actual, legally, for real, copyrighted blog? Was it embarrassment about being called out by members of the blogging community whose work was being repurposed in a way that was, I suppose, technically legal but which went against the general rules of blogging etiquette? I don't know. All I do know is that I'm glad he and his "blog" are gone.  

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