Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Clairton History

If Everything’s Coming Your Way, You’re in the Wrong Lane!

A horse is a horse, of course of course: That is how the Mr. Ed theme song on TV began but it needs an update. Mrs. June Rooney owns her, Sir Mark Prescott trains her and Scott Donoho is the jockey who rode Miss Clairton to victory at the European Breeders' Fund Maiden Fillies' Stakes in Lingfield, UK. She beat the favored Jambo Bibi. Miss Clairton is the product of a mixed marriage between Marju of Ireland and Spirito Libro of the USA. The marriage took place on the Grove Stud Farm in Newmarket, Suffolk, England, north of London and not far from Cambridge, so she is well educated. We know very little about horses or horse racing or how the filly got her name but are confident that Miss Clairton will continue her winning ways. The photo shows Miss Clairton and Jockey Donoho (second from the right).

An international flavor of Russian hands and Roman fingers: Our favorite Clairton librarian Odessa Ellis was the subject of an interview when last we visited our hometown. She was busy setting up a book display that featured Clairton authors, that is, authors with roots in the community. We have written in the past of Joan Cutuly, David Pergrin, Annabelle Bucar and other former Clairtonians who have published books, but Odessa has provided us with a fresh list of current Clairton authors which includes Boice-Terrell Allen, Bernice DeBois, George B. Berry, Eklectyk, Frank Gerace, Leslie Harper, Denyse I. Johnson, Joyce Milton, Barry K. Nelson, Paul Paolicelli, Robert J. Pollick, John A Russo & George A Romero, Julia Tolliver, Rose M. Williams, and Stanley Yarulis. These should make your summer reading list.

Things are tough all over: The recession has hit Clairton and the City government is doing their best to cut the budget. Accorting to the Tribune Review, the City has combined the positions of city manager and finance director, a move that will save the city $38,000 a year. City Manager Ralph Imbrogno will receive six weeks of accumulated vacation and retain health insurance benefits until Aug. 31 for his 11 years of service. In April, three secretaries and three public works department employees were furloughed; volunteer fire Chief John A. Lattanzi had his pay cut 10 percent. While in Clairton last week we made an effort to reach Mayor Richard Lattanzi and spoke to him briefly. The mayor has some excellent ideas regarding the upgrading of the city but seems overwhelmed. We also had a chance meeting with Rex Cole, an energetic 29 year old CHS grad and lifelong Clairton resident. Mr. Cole has some excellent ideas to improve the community including searching for grants that would make Clairton a model in the area for refurbishing buildings to make them more efficient and greener. Here’s hoping the mayor and Mr. Cole are able to get together and see the ideas be implemented.

Paging Marcellus Shale: We did several posts on Marcellus Shale and the natural gas deposits that many touted would be the economic savior of the Mon Valley and other locales. They may be retrieved by typing in Marcellus Shale in the box to the left above the word, “Labels” then hitting the “Enter” button on your keyboard. Exploration on the project continues but the big boys seem to be moving in. In a recent Post Gazette article that some say was placed by the politicians who to not want exploration, “According to fishermen, there are noticeable declines this year in local fish populations in watersheds that have just begun to recover from industrial pollution, acid mine drainage and sewage overflows. Requires emergency response personnel to be provided information on the identity, quantities and placement of toxic chemicals and requires that an emergency plan be coordinated with local community fire and emergency response organizations.”

The article continues, “As recent gas well explosions in Texas, Clearfield County and Moundsville, W.Va., illustrate, the soothing platitudinous reassurances of slick public relations men and the politicians who have stuffed their campaign chests full of gas money are to be accorded the same weight and credibility as those relentlessly green energy ads foisted on us by British Petroleum for the past several years. With the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by green-washed BP revealing lies, criminal negligence, self-delusion, disregard for worker safety, obstruction of justice, total indifference to environmental health ... for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we can do better, we must do better.

Without adequate regulation, without serious taxation that strengthens environmental enforcement and helps support vital public services like education and public transportation in a time of economic crisis, without clear uncapped liability rules that assign and enforce responsibility for irresponsible actions, without preservation of property rights by blocking the indirect destruction of the value of people's homes and lands, without significant public money to repair the roads and bridges that will be damaged by the invasion of heavy equipment bearing down on us, without protections for fish and wildlife, we must stop the drilling.”

Translation: Big companies want rules and regulations that will freeze out the little guy who owns an acre or two under which natural gas might exist. The big companies have the legal means to buy politicians who will create legislation favorable to them. Am I a little paranoid with this suggestion? I give you two words… B P. Wait, here is another, EXXON. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Just back from a Clairton trip: We just returned from a week in Clairton and the surrounding area. Had a wonderful time visiting old friends and making some new ones. While there we met with Jim Hartman, President of the Mifflin Township Historical Society. He was kind enough to share with us scads of information and photos of Clairton’s history. We will be featuring much of it on this blog and will credit it appropriately. We encourage you to go to their web site listed at the end of this post. Thank you, Jim.

A little blogging music Maestro... “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye.

Dr. Forgot

1 comment:

Jenepher said...

My brother, Morgan Reynolds, CHS class '58, told me about your blog. Love it. Will continue to read. You mentioned the librarian Odessa Ellis. I had a good friend Odessa HInes in Clairton during the 50's. Is she the same Odessa? How many Odessa's can there be in Clairton? Thank you for all the fun info about my old home town. By the way, does anyone else remember taking tap dance or ballet lessons from Mr. Van Iype (?).