This is Ligonier's friendly neighborhood blog and an attempt to recapture our lively opinionated debates in a free speech zone.

Please join our conversations. Contributors welcome.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 was the year politicians seemed to have agendas differing from many who live in the borough and township - leaving residents deeply divided and some heartily discouraged.....

Ligonier Township appointed attorney Mark Hamilton in January as its representation for matters involving Foxley Farm, to avoid a conflict of interest with its new solicitor Scott Avolio. The farm's owners, Maggie and PJ Nied, want to host weddings and other events at the farm, which are not permitted on their property under the current ordinance. The Nieds, Ligonier Township and several neighbors of the farm have been involved in an ongoing dispute in Westmoreland Common Pleas Court over the issue.
In January, the Nieds appealed the decision of township Zoning Officer Shelly Kaltenbaugh to deny occupancy permits for two events at the farm in December 2013. The appeal was denied in May.
In February, Ligonier Township filed a civil complaint against the Nieds, alleging they violated a township ordinance by holding a wedding at their farm on the weekend of Dec. 27, ignoring a cease-and-desist order.
In May, Hamilton resigned as special counsel to the township after the supervisors voted to shut down an “agritourism” zoning amendment he proposed to allow farms to hold social events in certain districts. In June, the supervisors appointed attorney Gary Falatovich to the post.
Also that month, Ligonier Township supervisors denied the Nied's request to operate a bed and breakfast and social recreational club.
In July, Westmoreland County Judge Christopher Feliciani heard arguments as to whether the farm can be classified as a bed-and-breakfast under the township's zoning code, and its neighbors filed a zoning appeal in which they asked Feliciani to uphold a township ruling that rejected the Nieds' request to have their farm approved as a bed-and-breakfast. Also that month, Feliciani ruled that a 2-13 consent decree that set a limit on the weddings that could be held at the farm was valid.
In September, Feliciani again upheld the consent decree, stating that the Nieds could appeal that decision while other matters are legally contested among them, township officials and neighbors of the farm.
The proposed Ligonier Valley YMCA expansion plans reached a snag with Ligonier Borough Council in January regarding a land use issue to use its commercially zoned property for professional medical offices and adding a surface parking lot.
Borough council withdrew an appeal to Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas in February, to avoid continuing litigation and expense and approved the parking lot in March. Ligonier resident Gay Wasserman filed an appeal against the decision on April 2.
The YMCA board of directors appointed Larry Stormer as its new chief executive officers in May, replacing Ben Wright, who resigned in February.
Council approved an ordinance in March to abolish the planning commission and establish a planning committee comprised of three council members. Two council members, Judy Hoffer and Jim McDonnell, challenged the action in March, claiming council did not follow the state Municipalities Planning Code's procedures for making the amendment. Westmoreland County Judge David A. Regoli dismissed the case and denied a motion for reconsideration from attorney Richard Flickinger, representing Hoffer and McDonnell. They later filed an appeal of the decision in commonwealth court.

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congrats to Tom Beck and nicely said.....

I’ve heard the Monongahela rush through wooded glade
And smelled the richness of your soil as it’s turned by spade.
I’ve walked your verdant valleys and climbed your gentle hills.
Been told tales of “revenuers” hunting for “shine” stills
Where few of your farmers still walk behind horse and plow.
I’ve seen tired miners trudge home with coal dust darkened brow.
Pennsylvania, your rivers were gateways to the west,
Your wilderness was haven for those who were oppressed.
Your mountains rise as monuments to all who were slain
In lands purchased with sacrifice of blood, sweat, and pain.
I’ve walked the Youghiogheny, fishing her small streams too
Awed as bright morning light sparkles on blankets of dew.
I’ve eaten buckwheat cakes in golden-brown steaming stacks
And walked in fertile fields cleared of trees by sweat and axe.
I’ve been to Ohiopyle and rafted waters white,
Visiting Fallingwater and Kentuck; homes built by Wright.
Your lands are rich with history’s strong cultural mix.
Your life blood still flows in your rivers and “cricks.”
You’re a diverse land born of your people and places,
A heritage that’s etched in your son’s hearts and faces.
I’ve walked the land at “the Point” where three rivers meet,
A land where the French and English trod with marching feet.
Great beehive ovens were built to bake huge piles of coke.
Steel was forged in your factories, amid flames and smoke.
Mountain laurel grows with pale blooms and dark leaves.
I’ve watched women working their looms, making rag rug weaves.
Your daughters and sons dared to live in wild frontier lands
Carving homes and farms from the wilderness with bare hands.
The harshness of their world was deeply etched on each face;
Hunting, clearing, planting, fighting: all to claim their space.

The Growing Level of Environmental Awareness

"As the planet's population continues to urbanize, and as technology continues to develop, our daily exposure to the natural world will be significantly reduced. Nevertheless, our reliance on those natural systems will continue as long as we need to breathe air, drink water and eat food. If technology someday makes it possible to supplant those natural systems, then we might be able to create a world devoid of nature. We are nowhere near that stage of technological development now, and if we move in the direction of a renewable economy, there will be no reason to develop technologies to do the work now done by natural systems. But there may come a point where the survival of natural systems will depend on our ethical sense of right and wrong and a culture valuing nature for its own sake. Some day we may be able to live without natural systems--but would we want to?
The cultural shift now underway leads us in a different direction. Just as the forests of Costa Rica are being replanted*, we are slowly moving in the direction of harmonizing economic development and ecological well-being. This requires that we pay more attention to our use of energy, water and other material resources. It also requires that we learn enough about our planet's ecology to project the impact of production and consumption on natural systems. Once we learn what those impacts are, we need to develop the organizational capacity to manage them.

The goal is a high consumption economy that protects the planet while it enables economic security, leisure time and personal growth for people everywhere. For this to happen we need to change the definition of consumption. In essence, we need to increase the proportion of software (ideas, education, social interaction and entertainment) to hardware (material goods) in the economy. We need to ensure that the material part of the economy reduces the one-time use of non-renewable resources and increases the use of renewable resources. The value change we see in Costa Rica and China** indicates the potential to develop a political, economic and organizational management approach built on the principles of sustainability. The potential exists--we just don't know if we can live up to our potential." 

*On Costa Rica's restoration of forests:
**On Chinese public's environmental concern:

PS If you want to be a contributor to Ligonier Living.....

shoot me an email. This Blogger site supports up to 100 contributors and it's FREE!

If you want your business, blog, or organization listed in one of the link sections, send me an email with a LINK to your web site. If you don't have a web site, I can make you a contributor here and you can create a web presence by making a post on Ligonier Living that explains your business.  We can then create a LINK back to that post.

Remember that NO EVERYONE USES FACEBOOK and if you are only promoting your business on FACEBOOK you are missing lots of people.

As the year 2014 comes to a close, I am thinking about Ligonier Living....

and whether to keep it up because there are other more active Ligonier sites that are really doing a wonderful job of providing places to chat or promote Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

Many moons ago when Ligonier Living was born, it's primary purpose was to give folks a place to get a taste of living here.  It was also born to provide a place where folks could openly and with very little censorship say what's on their mind.

I've decided to keep Ligonier Living going, even though it's less active than it was in the past because it really does serve an important function of being a place of free speech.

Ligonier Living is also a place for business owners to promote their businesses without having to pay a fee or join an organization.

So, for those reasons, it's here to stay.  Happy New Year, Ligonier.  We'll see you on the other side.  ;)

gathering in love and celebration

Throughout the year people gather in love and celebration---for holidays, for family events, for fun.
Photos are visual spaces where shapes and lines, objects, and people (and creatures) come together. The November 28, 2014, WordPress photo challenge asked us toexplore the ways…people; lines and shapes can converge in interesting ways through photography.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A dozen families evacuated due to fire at pipeline

''About a dozen families have been allowed to return home after they were evacuated late Wednesday when a fire broke out at the Williams Ohio Valley ethane pipeline meter station in Chartiers Township, Washington County. Five fire departments and a hazardous materials team were called to the scene of the fire at 933 Western Ave., a Washington County dispatch supervisor said. There were no injuries. The fire occurred about 10 p.m. John Poister, a state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman, said it resulted from the over-pressurization of a gas line into the facility. The company, however, has not announced a cause.''

Shrimp Youcai Special!

Mountain Palace is offering a post-Christmas special of Shrimp Youcai with Rice this weekend. We will be open for our normal business hours of Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 12 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 6. For those who may be saturated with the holiday ham and turkey, we are presenting this as a refreshing alternative. Youcai is often described as a "baby bok choy" and is remarkably healthy as well as refreshingly tasty. Come to Mountain Palace this weekend to enjoy this special or any of our other happy healthy menu items. Eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road directly across from Mirror Lake.
Traditional Chinese Medical Exercise DVD is now available for $35. Experience this ancient Chinese low-impact exercise that is sure to improve your wellness. Lacy demonstrates the entire exercise routine from Bone/Joint, Active Motion and Self Acupressure in a three segment 46-minute video. Call 724 288-3872 or email to order.
Chinese Medical Exercise Class will be conducted 11 Saturday morning at Mountain Palace.

Be Happily Gluten Free Community Supported Bakery

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Ligonier! Can you believe we are almost into 2015!! We are beginning our third season of the CSB on Thursday, January 15, 2015.  Current members be advised the pickup site in Ligonier may be changing.  A site has not been determined as of yet but will still be in Ligonier, and you will be notified once it has been chosen.  Items will be delivered and will be ready for pickup beginning at 3:00 pm Thursdays, and latest pickup times will be posted once the pickup site has been determined.  We will accept late entries into the season, but please call to discuss your options. 866-835-4948. (Our bakery will be closed from December 23, 2014 to January 2, 2015, but please leave a message and we will get back to you.)

*Please note that we MUST HAVE AT LEAST 5 MEMBERS signed up by January 8, 2015 to continue the CSB in Ligonier. 

To sign up for the CSB or for more info, please visit our web site at

Inventory Reduction Sale

@ Dovecote Ligonier
Christmas Merchandise is 50% off!
Sale now thru December  31st!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

peace on earth...every child....

Monday, December 22, 2014


This is Pookie, a male cat who is now 1 year 3 months.  This is the only photo available.  Pookie was last seen in the Nature Run area on December 8th.  He is shy and sweet and has not been neutered.

If you see Pookie or have information , please call Barbara at 724-238-7729.

Tis the Season

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Fracking now being considered close by, where *your* air and *your* water will be affected...

Quote from Professor Tony Ingraffea, civil and environmental engineer, professor emeritus at Cornell University, president of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, Inc.. (Dr. Ingraffea's research concentrates on computer simulation and physical testing of complex fracturing - fracking - processes. In 2011, TIME Magazine named him one of its "People Who Mattered".)

"(S)hale gas, unlike previous conventional gas developments, is extremely intense. We have to have many, many wells per square mile—eight, nine, 10 wells per square mile. That means entire regions would have to see tens of thousands of wells. The prospective was that upstate New York was going to be patterned, checkerboard pattern, a pad every mile in one direction, every two miles in another direction, as far as the eye could see. And that means that we increase the risk of all the bad things that can happen when you drill a hole in the ground and when you try to extract enormous amounts of natural gas. There can be leaks. There can be failures. There can be transportation problems. There can be pipeline problems, compressor station problems, processor unit problems, storage problems. All of these lead to potential contamination of water supplies, underground drinking water supplies for people in private water wells, which is quite prevalent in upstate New York, and air contamination.

We all breathe the same air. We’re all downstream, as Dr. Steingraber’s book points out. You can’t isolate shale gas from the people. It makes the people be part of the shale gas-industrial operation. And the people of New York state, using their democratic powers, informed the governors of New York state that they wanted the science to declare whether a policy allowing shale gas development in New York was appropriate—19.8 million people in the state—on the one hand, their health; on the other hand, the potential, and now unrealizable, wealth of a few hundred people and a few foreign corporations. I think the decision became very clear for Governor Cuomo this week. [...]

(S)hale gas development, despite what the president of the American petroleum association says—American Petroleum Institute says, is a new process. Developing shale gas is not your grandmother’s and grandfather’s oil and gas well in Texas. It’s an entirely new process. It’s orders of magnitude large in scale. The number of wells, the time it takes to drill wells, the amount of fracking fluid that’s used to stimulate the wells, the amount of waste that’s produced, the amount of ancillary infrastructure, pipelines, compressor station, processing units—all of that makes it different."

Ingraffea, one of the country's leading experts on hydrofracking - a Cornell professor, a civil engineer - says fracking is not safe, that the science now available is proving our health is at risk given current fracking practices... . Wake up, folks living in is time to follow the New Yorkers who pressured their government to stop this before it gets truly started in our backyards.

Mary calls out the LVSD board for deception. What do you think?

During the public meeting on the selling of LVMHS to a drug rehabilitation center ,a stone's throw away from LVE , the board was asked the amount of the bond indebtedness on LVMHS . Mr. Rafferty and Dr. Oldham replied they could not figure out the remaining bond issue on that building because of refinancing.

On the contrary PDE reports "Laurel Valley MS project 2393- Based upon PDE’s calculations the Ligonier Valley School District still owes $5,391,281.66 on Laurel Valley MS building."

It is quite apparent they did not want it known because in court they must show the district is not giving away the school for $1.7 million to Capital Coal who in turn is leasing the school to Mr. Schorr a partner in Coal Capital.

Mary Raich

Friday, December 19, 2014




This is all I could find:

These streets will be closed beginning at 8 a.m. Friday to make room for police car staging: Walnut, Vincent, Bunger, Fairfield and West Main.
• The funeral procession will start at Walnut Street, then head to Route 30 east, Route 711 south to Donegal, and go onto Route 381 and into Snowball Cemetery.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wealth Gap

'The gulf between rich and poor people in America has hit a new record. An analysis released Wednesday by Pew Research Center finds that the wealth gap between the top 21 percent of families and everyone else is the widest since the Federal Reserve began collecting such income data 30 years ago. Last year, the median wealth of upper-income families ($639,400) was almost seven times that of middle-income families and nearly 70 times that of lower-income families.

Measured as the "difference between the value of a family’s assets (such as financial assets as well as home, car and businesses) and debts," wealth is an "important dimension of household well-being because it’s a measure of a family’s 'nest egg' and can be used to sustain consumption during emergencies (for example, job layoffs) as well as provide income during retirement," the report notes. "The latest data reinforces the larger story of America's middle-class household wealth stagnation over the past three decades," the report states. "The Great Recession destroyed a significant amount of middle-income and lower-income families' wealth, and the economic 'recovery' has yet to be felt for them."

The findings follow another Pew analysis published last week which finds that U.S. wealth inequalities along racial lines have dramatically worsened since the Great Recession, with the gap between white and black people at its highest in 25 years. According to that study, which also looks at Federal Reserve data, in 2013 white household wealth was 13 times that of black households and 10 times that of Hispanic households.'' 


Stand out this holiday season!

Dovecote Ligonier is now offering custom gift baskets. Bring us your items, or purchase in store and, we will shrink wrap gifts into a bespoke basket to suit any budget.  Impressive design themes for weddings, raffles, and other special occasions. Baskets start at a base cost of $20.   Additional charges for add ons such as wired twinkle lights, greenery and other special embellishments. Call us for a free consultation at 724-238-3181.  Happy holidays!

township residents voice concerns over drilling

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was the chief worry of Ligonier Township residents who commented on a draft of a zoning ordinance under review by the township planning commission.
At its meeting Tuesday, the board received a draft zoning ordinance and draft zoning map, which have been put together by solicitor Michael Korns, zoning officer Terry Carcella and zoning consultants.
An overlay placed on the draft map shows that three portions of the township that are agricultural zones will be designated as areas where fracking will be permitted. Those area are on the northwest corner near Idlewild and Soakzone; the southwest; and the southeast, near the Laurel Mountain ski area.

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Families flee out-of-control natural-gas leak

"About 25 families in eastern Ohio have been unable to live in their houses for the past three days because of a natural-gas leak at a fracking well that crews cannot stop. Bethany McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the state agency that regulates oil and gas, said crews lost control of the Monroe County well on Saturday. Families were evacuated from about 25 houses within a 1.5-mile radius of the well, located near the Ohio River about 160 miles east of Columbus.

The well is not on fire, but the gas could be explosive. “There’s still a steady stream of natural gas coming from the wellhead,” McCorkle said yesterday. The well is operated by Triad Hunter, a Texas company that also has offices in Marietta in southeastern Ohio. The company did not return a call yesterday but said in a statement that the well had been temporarily plugged about a year ago while the company drilled and fracked three more wells on that site.

“Despite numerous precautionary measures taken in connection with the temporary plugging and abandonment operation, the well began to flow uncontrollably while recommencing production operations,” the company said. Triad Hunter workers tried to bolt the cap back into place but couldn’t, the statement said."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's official. New York state will ban fracking.

''After years of lobbying and aggressive public protest by state residents to make permanent a short-term moratorium on the controversial oil and gas drilling practice, NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo cited harm to public health as the key reason for the decision to announce an all-out ban. "The potential impacts of fracking on water, air, land resources, community and local services are significant," Cuomo said in a tweet just after the decision was made public.
In response to the news, Wenonah Hauter, director of Food & Water Watch, which has fought aggressively against fracking in New York and across the country, declared the development as the "Biggest fracking victory ever!" "Our growing national movement has persevered," Hauter added in a statement. "We applaud Governor Cuomo for acknowledging the overwhelming science that speaks to the inherent dangers of fracking to public health and the environment. Fracking has no place in New York or anywhere, and the governor has smartly seized a golden opportunity to be a real national leader on health, environmental protection and a future free of polluting fossil fuels."" 

And more at the Post-Gazette:
''State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said there is no solid scientific basis to show that hydrofracturing drilling, known as fracking, is safe. He said the little reliable evidence available would keep him from letting his family live near a well. “If you don’t believe your children should live there, then I agree; your duty is to suggest that no child live there,” Mr. Cuomo told Mr. Zucker at a public Cabinet meeting.

Mr. Zucker said: Prevention is the cornerstone of public health. … Once damage is done, it is extremely hard to fix it.”

Christmas Mental Health Discussion Expanded to Virtual Classroom

Pleased to Announce
Expanding this evening's live presentation to browser-based machines.
Christmas Mental Health

6:00 this evening we will begin the broadcast Internet and Comcast permitting.

Link as follows:

This is a free Holiday service from Happy Healthy :)

We plan live video/audio real-time interaction. The Forum Discussion is open. It is Christmas. Get the barrel of that gun away from your head.

We wish everyone a blessed and wonderful Season!

The Happy Healthy Inc Team


Tonight, WTAE covers effects of fracking in WPA, 10pm

WTAE Channel 4's Chronicle is an ongoing series of hour-long news specials dedicated to in-depth reporting on relevant topics to Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania. Action News icon, Sally Wiggin, is the host.

Preview tonight's edition (10pm) "Drilling Down" at

large gathering expected for funeral in Ligonier

A multitude of police and emergency responders are expected Friday in Ligonier to pay their respects to a Perryopolis officer killed in the line of duty.
“For a small town, it is a logistic nightmare to find places for all of these people to park their vehicles,” said Ligonier Mayor Ormond “Butch” Bellas, among the many local and county officials involved in planning for the influx of traffic and people. “It's going to be big, but how big, we don't have a clue.”
Officials estimate that hundreds of police officers, firefighters, medics and others could travel to the borough of 1,560 residents Friday morning for funeral services for Officer Richard Champion, 35, of Ligonier Township.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

sweet and funny...

    Three frogs cling comically to a branch in Borneo, Indonesia

Other stunning photos of wildlife from around the world can be seen at

Merry Christmas!

Happy Healthy Inc
Christmas and Seasonal Mental Health
Pre- Christmas/Seasonal

All welcome!
Please check us out, Christmas can always get hairy :)

Wed. Evening 6:00 Live Virtual Meeting Room Internet Wide
DSM-4 and 5 Variations
Pressing emotional conflict of Seasonal Affect :(
What have we got to loose?

Best wishes,

The Happy Healthy Team

Link through

Check Us:


724 288-3872

senior citizens invited to holiday lunch and choral performance

Ligonier Valley School District will host an annual holiday luncheon for senior citizens on Wednesday.
A brief choral program at noon in the high school auditorium will entertain guests before lunch is served about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in the cafeteria, 40 Springer Road in Ligonier Township.
Reservations may be made by calling the high school at 724-238-9531 between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Seating is limited and reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Protecting children from monsters under the bed...and the real ones

tragic accident kills Ligonier man

State police investigating the crash say Champion was headed south on Route 51 with his emergency lights and sirens on, when an SUV coming the opposite direction turned in front of his cruiser. The SUV and the cruiser collided, and Champion's car burst into flames.
Champion was a member of the Perryopolis Police Department for only eight months. The 36 year-old from Ligonier leaves behind a wife and a 16-month-old son.
"Excellent officer, outstanding officer. He was a great asset to our department. I was very proud to work alongside of him. I was very proud to have him as an officer with the Perryopolis Borough police department," said Chief Roger Beadling, with the Perryopolis Police Department.

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first in Pennsylvania

Steve Clark bought a piece of history.
His decision to buy one of Ford's new aluminum body pickup trucks was an easy one, made in a matter of minutes after arriving at a Ligonier dealership.
Clark, 33, of Ligonier is just the third person in the country, and the first in Pennsylvania, to buy one of the much-talked-about aluminum-body F-150 pickups, viewed in the industry as one of the biggest risk-taking moves in Ford's 108-year history.

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

DVD Availability & Holiday Schedule

Thanks to Marianne, Diane and Diane for a wonderful musical experience at Mountain Palace last night!
DVD of Traditional Chinese Medical Exercise is now available in time for Christmas and makes an excellent Happy Healthy stocking stuffer! The DVD is over 46 minutes and contains sections on Bone/Joint, Active Motion and Self Acupressure. Email, call 724 288-3872 or go through to order. Cost is $35.
Mountain Palace will be open through the holidays on its regular schedule of Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 12 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 6. 
In regard to classes over the holidays, we have made the following modifications: We will not be having acupressure class on Friday Dec. 19. We will be taking a break and resuming the acupressure classes on Fridays at 1:30 beginning January 9. That class will be in regard to High Blood Pressure. January 16 will be Obesity and January 23 Diabetes Session 1 and January 30 Diabetes Session 2. We plan to continue through February with the subjects to be announced later.
We will continue Saturday morning Traditional Chinese Medical Exercise sessions at 11:00 here at Mountain Palace through the holidays including Dec. 20 and Dec. 27.
Lacy will continue to provide individualized acupressure treatment sessions by appointment.
Have a Happy Healthy Christmas!
Lacy & Clay