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.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

KDKA-TV, Sunday, 1130am...water contamination with fracking activity

Dr. John Stolz of Duquesne University will appear in an interview with Stacey Smith on KDKA-TV Channel 2/CBS on Sunday at 11:30am. Dr. Stolz has done extensive research on water contamination related to drilling and fracking in ‘The Woodlands’ north of Pittsburgh near Evans City, as well as many other places. 

**For background on what happened when fracking destroyed the Woodlands' water, how the residents dealt with water buffaloes and the water assessment questionnaire Dr. Stolz compiled:

Today's special at Ligonier Tavern

Today's special grilled chicken, cheese and bacon with a Cajun mayo on a new homemade pretzel bun! Yum.

Friday, February 27, 2015

runaway hashtag...and llamas!!

''(At this week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAQ), the organizers' invitation to ordinary Americans for sample questions for CPAQ speakers went) horribly, gleefully, predictably awry. Sample questions that came in at hashtag : Which leading Republican will be indicted next? Since you insist it's safe, may we frack in your backyard? Will Obamacare make me gay marry ISIS? I've heard people will not be allowed to drink their coffee black at the conference - is this true? Since I'm only a woman, can you explain what being pregnant means?

Ahh, entertaining.

Egg Plant, Potato & Ground Beef with Rice

Mountain Palace weekly special is:

Egg Plant, Potato & Ground Beef with Rice

Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 12 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 6

Traditional Chinese Exercise Class will be 11:00 Sunday rather than Saturday for the next three weeks.

Eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road directly across from Mirror Lake.
724 717-8614

anti-fracking faction wins concession from planners in new ordinance

Ligonier Township's planning commission is suggesting to the supervisors several changes to the proposed zoning ordinance.
During its meeting on Thursday, the board voted to recommend increasing the 200-foot buffer zone around unnamed perennial streams to 325 feet, increasing the setback from a well site to a protected structure from 650 feet to 750 feet and removing cell phone towers as a conditional use in the R-1 residential zone.
Board members Scott Gongaware and Eric Schreiber were absent.
Township manager Terry Carcella and solicitor Michael Korns outlined changes that had been made to the ordinance and map since a meeting for public comment on the ordinance was held Feb. 17. Carcella said an area previously zoned industrial across from the Sheetz along Route 271 was changed to C-2 highway commercial and the R-1 residential zones in Waterford and near the Valley School of Ligonier were expanded. The Ligonier Valley High School and Valley School of Ligonier now have a half-mile “no-drill zone” around them. The natural resource protection overlay has been expanded by Laurel Ridge State Park and Laurel Mountain ski area. He said the permitted width of billboard signs has been decreased from 700 feet to 250 feet.
Korns said the unconventional drilling provisions are now included in the body of the ordinance under conditional uses. It was previously a separate section of the ordinance.

Read more: 
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

archaic laws and dinosaur politicians...and feats of magic!

Out of an abundance of caution around potential sensitivities to certain words and topics, I refrain from posting what could be excerpted in this space. But don't miss this piece about "the fairy tales conservatives have told themselves about women’s bodies and abilities''. It is truly a winner.

on neutrality...

End the chokehold, stop the erosion of democracy

 "As a matter of basic democratic principle, we need to make clear that We the People have the authority to set the rules for election spending as we see fit. We must overturn the Supreme Court-created doctrines that “money is speech” and “corporations are people.”

"The American political system is facing an existential crisis. Do we aim to be a democracy – meaning a system of rule by the people – or do Americans stand down and permit a very narrow elite class to operate a functioning oligarchy? Our Constitution begins with the powerful words “We the People” and elaborates a political system in which the people are sovereign. Yet in a series of decisions, of which Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is the most notorious, the US Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment of that document so as to erode our democracy. Now it’s time to amend the great document to re-establish democratic principles.

Man wise-wise...really?

"Even though people keep using the famous simile — “the fatally slow human response to climate change makes us like a slowly boiling frog” — it is not quite right. As Wikipedia puts it, German physiologist Friedrich Goltz “demonstrated that a frog that has had its brain removed will remain in slowly heated water, but his intact frogs attempted to escape the water.” Other 19th Century studies appeared to have different results, but modern experiments (!) show that frogs with brains are in fact smart enough to leap out of water as it is heated up. James Fallows of The Atlantic, who I am quite certain holds the world record for boiling frog posts, has one from Michael Jones who cites “Sensation in the Spinal Cord” from Nature, Dec. 4, 1873: “Goltz observed that a frog, when placed in water the temperature of which is slowly raised towards boiling, manifests uneasiness as soon as the temperature reaches 25° C., and becomes more and more agitated as the heat increases, vainly struggling to get out, and finally at 42° C., dies in a state of rigid tetanus. The evidence of feeling being thus manifested when the frog has its brain, what is the case with a brainless frog? It is absolutely the reverse. Quietly the animal sits through all successions of temperature, never once manifesting uneasiness or pain, never once attempting to escape the impending death.

Even so, I am inclined to agree with Jones that this should not be fatal to the metaphor.  It just needs to be tweaked. Technically, we are the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, as I’ve said before (see “Is the global economy a Ponzi scheme?“).  Such are the privileges of being the only species that gets to name all the species, so we can call ourselves “wise” twice! But given how we have been destroying the planet’s livability, I think at the very least we should drop one of the “sapiens.” And, perhaps provisionally, we should put the other one in quotes, so we are Homo “sapiens” sapiens at least until we see whether we are smart enough to save ourselves from ourselves. If we destroy a livable climate, which means “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse” and are renamed just plain Homo, then in fact we will  have demonstrated we are dumber than frogs (who were, after all, doing just fine until we came along).

At that point, we will be brainless frogs."

Protect Ligonier Valley

The proposed Ligonier Township zoning ordinance changes conservation and RA areas to zones where the industrial process of fracking will be permitted. This will expose residents to toxic chemicals and bring pipelines, compressor stations, and other industrial processes to the community.

Why should we be concerned?

*Nuisance: Each well requires thousands of heavy truck trips. Drilling operations continue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, exposing residents to sustained noise and light pollution.

*Leaks, Explosions: First responders in Greene County could get no closer than 900 feet to the ongoing fire and the explosion at a fracking site. In Ohio, families within a 1.5-mile radius of a well leak were evacuated. Act 13 ruling.. Post-Gazette, February 2014.; Families Flee, Dispatch, 2014

*Groundwater Contamination: "Pennsylvania regulators found an array of contaminants in the roughly 240 private water supplies that were damaged by oil/gas operations during the past seven years.” Chemicals now being found in our water supplies have been linked to cancer and kidney, liver, and neurological damage. (DEP releases updated details.. Post-Gazette; September 2014 American Nurses Assoc. House of Delegates)

*Air Pollution: Carcinogenic benzene, formaldehyde, and hydrogen sulfide were found at fracking sites sometimes at levels thousands of times federal limits. They can affect nearly every tissue in the human body, leading to acute (dermal allergies, asthma) and chronic (neuro, reproductive, hematopoietic, genetic and pulmonary toxicity and cellular damage) health effects, eye and respiratory irritation, fatigue, irritability, poor memory and dizziness . Six samples were taken near compressor stations- all contained formaldehyde levels with increased lifetime cancer risks.“ Carpenter et al, Environmental Health”

*Health: Of the 300 chemicals presumed in fracking fluid, 40% are endocrine disrupting, 1/3 suspected carcinogens, and 1/3 developmental toxicants. Over 60% can harm the brain and nervous system.(Colburn, Endocrine Exchange) Babies born to mothers living in areas with the highest density of wells were more than twice as likely to have neural tube defects and a 38 % greater risk of congenital heart defects than those living with no wells within a 10-mile radius. Environmental Health Perspectives, McKenzie

*Waste: The average well produces 1000 tons of drilling waste that must be transported through our community.

*Property Value Depreciation: Properties having water wells that are within 1 km of shale gas wells dropped 22% in value. The Journal of Real Estate Literature showed that people bidding on homes near fracking locations reduced their offers by up to 25 % . (Muehlenbachs, Duke U; Boxall, U. Alberta; University of Denver; Joe Dyer, Fracking/Real estate conundrum.)

For more information:
Facebook: Keeping Ligonier Frack Free
Citizens To Preserve Ligonier Valley

Want to promote your business or ideas with a blog? Come to the Ligonier Tavern this Saturday 10 to noon for a FREE how to.

Bring your laptop and I'll show you how Ligonier Living works and will help you start your own blog.  We'll also show how using Pinterest and other social media works with your blog to build your business or audience.

elected officials doing their job of protecting their constituents...

"If companies are loathe to come to a state because they will be held responsible for damage done, that's good to know before they come." 

''(Maryland) Attorney General Brian E. Frosh entered the fight over hydraulic fracturing in Maryland on Wednesday, urging state lawmakers to pass a bill with liability standards so tough that critics and some supporters consider it a de facto fracking ban. In the absence of "gold standard" regulations to monitor the industry, Frosh said, Maryland would need to find another way to protect residents and the environment. "If we're not going to have those regulations adopted, then it makes sense to have strict liability," Frosh said. "I'm not sure it's a de facto ban. But it poses to drillers: if this really is safe, go ahead and do it."

Legislation moving through a (Maryland) Senate committee would set some of the toughest legal standards in the country for drillers. If anyone near a gas well became sick, the drillers would carry the burden of proving their innocence. The legislation also would require that drillers carry at least $5 million in insurance coverage. It would provide very limited protection for trade secrets and impose triple damages for negligence. Business representatives said the cumulative effect would be to outlaw fracking in the state."

K9 unit gets new camera

The Ligonier Township Police K-9 Unit is adding an extra level of safety to its operations.
Thanks to grants from the Ligonier Valley Endowment and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Lt. Eric Eslary and Blek have added a $9,000 Flir H-Series thermal night vision camera to their array of equipment.
“When we're on a track or something like that, especially in a wooded area, the distances that it can detect a person — it is a great, great tool for the K-9 Unit safety-wise and detecting the bad guy or a lost person,” Eslary said.

Read more: 
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Virtual Happy Healthy - SUCCESS! :)

Happy Healthy News!

Live Virtual performance works beyond expectation and caused flaws.

High Blood Pressure - Silent Killer!
Conveyed by Dr. Lacy Cai to two on-line participants.

Lacy will undoubtedly remain tired throughout the night. She did a remarkable job. Given the crash of the facilitator's computers with loss of Internet access, she functioned through her "remote" location in Swissville, Pa.

724 288-3872

56 minutes! :)

Live - from the Happy Healthy!
Live Virtual Classroom
7:00 pm Soon!

WKRP in Cincinnati
Dr. Johnny Feaver et. al.

Present: High Blood Pressure - Silent Killer!

Dr. Lingzhi Cai
and her traveling road show!!!

Get it while you can!

Updated direct Internet browser link:

Special Added Feature:
Hypertensive Crisis Recovery - Life on Video
Part 1

"Les, you're crossing the line into my cubicle!"

Farmer John Clay asks some questions about the food we eat...

Burning Questions from a farmer who grows for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture, meaning food direct from a farmer to the people eating it...not industrial food from the supermarket, trucked in from far away.)

"It was only a few years ago that my questions about food began.  At first I could brush them off or put them aside. Over time, they nagged, eventually demanding answers. I was living in Brooklyn running a small catering business with two close friends. While I had always cooked at home, I was not a classically trained chef. I simply knew that I loved to eat and I really loved to feed people. As food became central to my daily life, the same pesky questions faced me every day:

*   Why do I feel better when I eat food grown in one way and not in another way?

*   Why do we receive more compliments about the food we prepare when I know where and how it's produced? Even if the customer didn't know these things.
*   What is agriculture doing to our planet and is it right?
I was changing from someone who grew up eating healthy but didn't think about how the food arrived on my plate to someone who was questioning every product I consumed. The questions began to burn, and a desire for answers led me to an apprenticeship at Longview Farm. Within weeks, I was answering my questions and asking even more profound ones that have transformed into a fire that fuels a passion for food and agriculture that will not be satisfied anytime soon.
As you read this, I hope you begin to wonder, "What are my burning questions about the food I eat?""

Greener Partners CSA (Collegeville, PA)

Find a CSA in our area for good eating this coming season. Support a farmer and be part of a shift away from the industrial food system that affects the soil and water and ultimately, our health.

Who Slept In? NOT The Instructor! Failed to show for his first class? :)

Happy Healthy Inc
Proud to Announce
First Live
Virtual Classroom Only

Wed. 2-25-15
7:00 pm
Enter Early or Throughout

Updated class link:

Sorry about this morning. Apparently the computer preferred to have the class 6:30 am rather than evening  :)


Topics: TBA
To Include: High Blood Pressure - Silent Killer!
                    Traditional Chinese Medicine - Acupressure Point Treatments
                    Proper Food Content

Facilitated by Clay Shirey, Chief Executive Officer of the Happy Healthy Inc endeavor

Life is short!
Lingzhi Cai, M.D., Ph.D.

gas well chemical release fight

(Q: What's wrong with this picture, taken of an area that looks a lot like our own? A: That industrial operation dead-center, where industry doesn't belong. 
This is what's coming to Ligonier, folks. Stop holding your breath and get busy, before it is too late.)
PITTSBURGH – A Range Resources attorney argued in Superior Court Tuesday the natural gas drilling company should not bear the burden of producing a full list of products and chemicals it used at a well site in Amwell Township. A three-judge panel heard arguments stemming from Range’s appeal of a Washington County Court order from last June that held Range responsible for obtaining a list of all chemicals, including proprietary products, from its manufacturers. Range requested that the issue be argued separately from the main case, in which three Amwell families alleged that Range’s operations at the Yeager well site contaminated their water supplies and caused bodily harm.

Kendra Smith, who along with her husband, John, is representing the three families, said their request for the products is “so intertwined with the heart of the case” that it would be impossible to separate the two – and thus the issue is not appealable. The Smiths represent Stacey Haney and her two children; Beth and John Voyles and their daughter; and Loren and Grace Kiskadden. Smith said the information they requested as part of the pretrial discovery period is needed in order to pursue the families’ claims that certain chemicals allegedly migrated from Range’s well pad or impoundment into the families’ drinking water." 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

the shining sun....

In the winter, when things are this cold, I am especially glad to see the latest edition of The Sun magazine arrive, as it did yesterday afternoon. Ahhh. Another friend then left us last night, suddenly. (Goodbye, MO, thank you.) This, happening in the context of life being generally on the challenging side - in that way it especially is when short-sightedness and greed try to prevail over wisdom and truth - this means I am especially ready for an injection of unfiltered, respectful communication about the world.  The Sun arrived just in time.

And it's deceivingly sunny out there, as well. The chickens are stuck in their henhouse, the poor ones, bored but warmed by their collective body heat. One more week if this, and spring may show herself.

The Sun is a monthly magazine of writing, poetry and photographs, and it is completely subscription-driven. No ads. Repeat: No advertising. (In this March issue, a former editor writes that there was a firm rule in his/her unnamed magazine that nothing could be printed that would offend self-censorship as a guiding principle. Hm.) In The Sun, "...the personal essays, short stories, interviews, poetry, and photographs that appear in its pages explore the challenges we face and the moments when we rise to meet those challenges."


The Sun. Past issues can be read in part online, by the way. Treat yourself. Subscribe.

Missing the Big Picture

"That one death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic, is as true of animals as it is of human beings. It’s a lot harder to mourn a potential loss of an entire habitat — as is threatened now for birds like the chestnut-collared longspur — than it is to mourn a golden eagle struck down by a turbine blade, or a warbler scorched in a solar farm. The technology for wind and solar farms can still be improved, but they are among the few remedies we have to the biggest problem humanity has ever faced.'' 
To grasp climate change, you have to think in terms of species and their future. To know how things have already changed, you have to remember how they used to be, and so you may not notice birds disappearing from the skies, or hotter weather or more extreme storms and forest fires. You need to look past the sparrow and see the whole system that allows — or allowed — the birds to flourish. The swallows, the chinook salmon, desert tortoises, manatees, moose and us. Addressing climate means fixing the way we produce energy. But maybe it also means addressing the problems with the way we produce stories. Supporters of fossil fuel and deniers of climate change love to trade in stories like the one about Ivanpah, individual tales that make renewable energy seem counterproductive, perverse. Stories cannot so readily capture the far larger avian death toll from coal, gas and nuclear power generation. Benjamin Sovacool, an energy-policy expert, looked into the deaths of birds at wind farms (where the blades can chop them down) and concluded that per gigawatt hour, nuclear power plants kill more than twice as many birds and fossil-fuel plants kill more than 30 times as many. He noted that over the course of a year fossil-fuel plants in the United States actually kill about 24 million birds, compared to 46,000 by wind farms. His calculations factor in climate change as part of their deadly impact.

A northern rough-winged swallow with scorched wings found near the site of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert.
Over all, climate change tends to be reported as abstract explanations about general tendencies and possible outcomes. It’s a difficult subject to tell and to take in. The scientific side is complicated. Understanding it requires the ultimate in systems thinking: the cumulative effect of all of us burning coal and oil impacts things far away and yet to come. A lot of it is hard to see. If you didn’t pay attention to a species beforehand, you won’t have noticed its decline. There’s no direct, tangible way for you to know the ocean is 30 percent more acidic than it used to be, or that it is expected to rise several feet in this century and then keep rising. For a while our eyes were on the photographs of oil-soaked pelicans, victims of the 2010 BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. The devastation of the region is no longer news, but scientists, who track data for long unnewsworthy swathes of time, have found that the spill has killed more than 600,000 birds. It is still killing sea turtles and bottlenose dolphins and contaminating the seafood in areas where human beings fish. You have to look past what can be photographed — individual cases, incidents in the past — at the broad patterns. A recent Audubon Society report on climate change concludes: “Of the 588 North American bird species Audubon studied, more than half are likely to be in trouble. Our models indicate that 314 species will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080. Of the 314 species at risk from global warming, 126 of them are classified as climate endangered. These birds are projected to lose more than 50 percent of their current range by 2050.”"

Monday, February 23, 2015

Health impacts of fracking

Center for Health, Environment & Justice is a national, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that provides organizing and technical assistance to grassroots community groups in the environmental health and justice movement. CHEJ was founded in 1981 by Lois Gibbs, who helped win the relocation of over 900 families from their neighborhood which was contaminated by chemicals leaking from the Love Canal landfill in Niagara Falls, NY. Through this effort, Gibbs and her neighbors woke up the nation to recognize the link between people’s exposures to dangerous chemicals in their community and serious public health impacts.

A multi-page presentation by CHEJ on the health impacts of fracking can be found at:

High Blood Pressure - Traditional Chinese Meridian Acupressure Point Theory & Treatment - Wed. 7 pm - Live Virtual Class Only

Remember this guy?
He's back!
Get it while you can:
Traditional Chinese Medical Theory & Practice
Acupressure Point Treatment
Wed. 2-25-15
7:00 pm
Live Virtual Classroom Only

High blood pressure --- Silent Killer!!!

      Lingzhi Cai, M.D., Ph.D.                         

     One of every 3 adults is affected by high blood pressure which causes many health problems such as stroke, heart attack, blindness, heart failure and kidney failure. Most people can live for years unaware that they have this life threatening disorder. That is why it’s known as the ”Silent Killer!”  

    Anti-high blood pressure medicine can help you temporally, but their side effects will affect your health to put your body system out of balance and it will become resisted if you take the pills for a long time. This class will teach you basic knowledge of causes of high blood pressure and how to treat high blood pressure with traditional Chinese medicine methods including pressure point, anti-high blood pressure herb tea and food content and preparation issues to help you easily prevent and cure  this health problem living in happy healthy!
724 288-3872



I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun's energy. ... If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago. — Sir George Porter (Born 6 Dec 1920; died 31 Aug 2002),
English chemist, who was awarded a share of the 1967 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

The Observer, London (26 Aug 1973).

Too risky, and *they know it*...will greed prevail?

 'There is no such thing as safe or responsible offshore drilling in the Arctic, and the federal government knows it,' campaigners warn

"(People) are sounding the alarm after the Obama administration unveiled the first-ever guidelines for drilling in the Arctic. Released by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Friday, the proposed guidelines are being touted as a protective measure to "ensure that future exploratory drilling activities on the U.S. Arctic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) are done safely and responsibly, subject to strong and proven operational standards." However, as green groups were quick to note, the best way to prevent a catastrophic oil spill from threatening the dangerous and pristine waters of the Arctic is to issue an outright drilling ban in that region.

"There is no such thing as safe or responsible offshore drilling in the Arctic, and the federal government knows it," said Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Marissa Knodel. According to the government's own environmental analysis, one lease sale in the Chukchi sea poses a 75 percent chance of a large oil spill, with no effective method for cleaning up or containing it. "Even with new standards the chances of an oil spill are high, as is the threat to our climate if we fail to heed scientists' warnings to keep these dirty fuels in the ground," Dan Ritzman, Alaska Program Director for Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign, said in a statement following the announcement."

My big dilemma......
     After six years of living in beautiful Ligonier we are moving to Eastern PA due to a career change.  I had a wonderful time creating and basically it was a fun hobby- I only charged vendors for the initial page set up. What to do now? Should I take it down? There are charges involved for me in keeping it up. Should I sell it? Would someone who is as passionate about the wedding business as I am like to take it over? I would be sick about taking it down after all the work that went into it. It needs someone who lives in the area to adopt it and make it even better than it is. My worst fear-someone takes it over and then can't keep it up and then takes it down. That would break my heart.

Your thoughts?

Maria Carr
cell 610-247-3671

More of this, please...

In Gesture of Solidarity, Norwegian Muslims Form 'Ring of Peace' Around Oslo Synagogue

 "More than 1,000 Muslims in Norway joined together in sub-zero temperatures on Saturday to form a protective circle around Oslo's sole functioning synagogue as a gesture of solidarity with the city's Jewish community following last week's attacks on a synagogue in neighboring Denmark. Chanting "No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia," the group, made up of both Muslim and Jewish participants, stood in what they called a "ring of peace" around the building. The gesture comes shortly after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters in Paris, which left 17 people dead, as well as the more recent shooting at a free speech event at a Copenhagen synagogue.

"There are many more peace mongers than war mongers," Zeeshan Abdullah, one of the organizers of the event, said on Saturday. "There's still hope for humanity, for peace and love, across religious differences and backgrounds." Another organizer, Hajrah Arshad, said the gathering also shows that "Islam is about love and unity." Ervin Kohn, one of the leaders of the country's small Jewish community, said the vigil "fills us with hope... particularly as it's a grassroots movement of young Muslims." He added, "Working against fear alone is difficult and it is good that we are so many here together." Abdullah continued, "We want to demonstrate that Jews and Muslims do not hate each other. We do not want individuals to define what Islam is for the rest of us."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Inside the food industry: the surprising truth about what you eat

Think you eat only healthy, unprocessed foods? Think again. Joanna Blythman went undercover and discovered that even your fruit salad is not what it seems

"The precautionary principle doesn’t seem to figure prominently in the industry’s calculations, nor – such is their lobbying power – does it loom large in the deliberations of food regulators. If it did, then steering clear of manufactured products would be a lot easier.

The pace of food engineering innovation means that more complex creations with ever more opaque modes of production are streaming on to the market every day. Just last month, a dossier for a new line of dairy proteins dropped into my mailbox. Alongside a photo of a rustic-looking, golden pan loaf, the explanation read: “Many bakers are now turning to permeates, a rather new ingredient in the food ingredients market. Permeate is a co-product of the production of whey protein concentrate (WPC), whey protein isolate (WPI), ultrafiltered milk, milk protein concentrate (MPC), or milk protein isolate (MPI).” Permeate, apparently, “contributes to the browning of baked goods” and produces bread that “retains its softness for a longer period of time and extends shelf life”. How clever. But I would prefer that my bread was browned solely from the application of heat. I’m prepared to accept that it will stale over time, rather than eat something that owes its existence to ingredients and technologies to which I am not privy, cannot interrogate and so can never truly understand. Am I about to hand over all control of bread, or anything else I eat, to the chemical industry’s food engineers? Not without a fight.

What your food label really means

Added vitamins One-dimensional factory versions of natural vitamins found in whole foods: ascorbic acid (man-made vitamin C) is usually synthesised from the fermentation of GM corn, while artificial vitamin E is commonly derived from petrol.
Soluble fibre A healthier-sounding term for modified starch, which is widely used to reduce the quantity of more nutritious ingredients in processed foods, and keep down manufacturers’ costs.
‘Natural’ colourings The only difference between these and artificial ones is that they start with pigments that occur in nature. Otherwise, they are made using the same highly chemical industrial processes, including extraction using harsh solvents.
Artificial ‘diet” sweeteners Several large-scale studies have found a correlation between artificial sweetener consumption and weight gain. Accumulating evidence suggests that they may also increase our risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Enzymes Used to make bread stay soft longer; injected into low-value livestock before slaughter, to tenderise their meat; and used in fruit juice processing to create a cloudier, more natural appearance.
‘Packaged in a protective atmosphere’ Food that has been “gassed” in modified air to extend its shelf life. It delays what food manufacturers call “warmed over flavour”, an off-taste that occurs in factory food.
Beef/pork/poultry protein Collagen extracted from butchered carcasses, processed into a powder and added to low-grade meats. It adds bounce, increases the protein content on the nutrition label and, combined with water, is a substitute for meat.
Washed and ready-to-eat salads “Cleaned” by sloshing around in tap water dosed with chlorine, often with powdered or liquid fruit acids to inhibit bacterial growth. The same tank of treated water is often used for 8 hours at a time.
‘Pure’ vegetable oil Industrially refined, bleached, deodorised oils. Food processors often add chemicals to extend their “fry life”.
‘Natural’ flavourings Even the flavour industry concedes that “there isn’t much difference in the chemical compositions of natural and artificial flavourings”. They are made using the same physical, enzymatic, and microbiological processes."

events by Ligonier Radio

  • FEBRUARY 22: On Sunday, February 22nd  at 2 PM Fort Ligonier will present Elegance and Taste: Dressing for George Washington’s Inaugural Ball. The lecture will be given by Erica Nuckles, Fort Ligonier’s Director of History and Collections. Suggested donation is $5 per person. Reservations are requested and can be made by calling 724-238-9701.
  • FEBRUARY 28: Holy Trinity School is having an indoor yard sale and vendor sale on Saturday, February 28th  from 8AM-  1PM  in the school cafeteria. This is a great way for you to spring clean and make some extra money…table space can be purchased for $25 each…which goes directly into the school fund. If you don’t want a table, stop by and find some treasures. For more information on the yard sale call Maria at 412-303-1712.
  • MARCH 3: The Powdermill Sunday Lecture series continues on March 8th at 1 PM with the program…Into the Sugarbush—Explore the process of making maple syrup, including why the sap flows and why some trees are better than others for syrup production.
  • MARCH 22: The Ligonier Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Soups On on Saturday, March 22nd from 11 AM- 4 PM. Sample over 20 delicious soups from local restaurants and vote for your favorite. Various Ligonier shops will have the best soup from a particular restaurant available to taste. Tickets can be purchased at the Chamber Office for $10 per person and are only sold in advance. No tickets will be sold on the day of the event. There are limited tickets available so get your ticket soon.
  • MARCH 29: The Rotary Club will hold its annual Palm Sunday Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, March 29 th in Town Hall. Enjoy a hearty breakfast and fellowship with family, friends and members of the community. Tickets are available at the door. Proceeds benefit the Rotary’s Scholarship Fund.

It's like a heat wave. Nice to have a respite this weekend from the frigid air.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Prominent climate change denier was funded by energy industry

'‘What did API, ExxonMobil, Southern Company and Charles Koch see in Willie Soon? What did they get for $1m-plus? Did they simply hope he was on to research that would disprove the consensus? Or was it too enticing to be able to basically buy the nameplate Harvard-Smithsonian?”" 
"A prominent academic and climate change denier’s work was funded almost entirely by the energy industry, receiving more than $1.2m from companies, lobby groups and oil billionaires over more than a decade, newly released documents show. Over the last 14 years Willie Soon, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, received a total of $1.25m from Exxon Mobil, Southern Company, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and a foundation run by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers, the documents obtained by Greenpeace through freedom of information filings show. According to the documents, the biggest single funder was Southern Company, one of the country’s biggest electricity providers that relies heavily on coal. The documents draw new attention to the industry’s efforts to block action against climate change – including President Barack Obama’s power-plant rules.

Unlike the vast majority of scientists, Soon does not accept that rising greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial age are causing climate changes. He contends climate change is driven by the sun. In the relatively small universe of climate denial Soon, with his Harvard-Smithsonian credentials, was a sought after commodity. He was cited admiringly by Senator James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who famously called global warming a hoax. He was called to testify when Republicans in the Kansas state legislature tried to block measures promoting wind and solar power. The Heartland Institute, a hub of climate denial, gave Soon a courage award. Soon did not enjoy such recognition from the scientific community. There were no grants from Nasa, the National Science Foundation or the other institutions which were funding his colleagues at the Center for Astrophysics. According to the documents, his work was funded almost entirely by the fossil fuel lobby. [...]

Both Harvard and the Smithsonian acknowledge that the climate is changing because of rising levels of greenhouse gas concentrations caused by human activities."

Fracking Industry Distorts Science To Deceive Public And Policymakers

"... manipulated science can pose serious public health harms. Manufactured data, concealed conflicts of interest and misleading conclusions are evident in influential research on vaccination, organic food, secondhand smoke and industrial chemicals. Fracking apparently is no exception."
"The oil and gas industry sponsors and spins research to shape the scientific debate over horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. That's the conclusion of a watchdog group's analysis of more than 130 documents distributed to policymakers by industry representatives. "Research and statistics can be manipulated to say whatever the person using them wants to say," said Robert Galbraith, an analyst with the nonprofit Public Accountability Initiative and co-author of the report released on Wednesday. Public Accountability Initiative, which describes itself as a non-partisan advocate of corporate and government transparency, receives some financial support from groups opposed to fracking. Energy in Depth, the oil and gas industry's education and public outreach arm, presents its list of documents as evidence of the safety of a process that has been "closely regulated and extensively studied." The industry used the documents to persuade the Allegheny County Council in Pittsburgh in May to lease mineral rights under its Deer Lakes Park for gas drilling. Public Accountability Initiative's analysis determined that only one of the industry studies was both peer-reviewed and explicitly addressed public health concerns. That study was funded by the industry. Also on the industry's research list: retracted studies, industry PowerPoint presentations and blog posts. Omitted were hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific studies of fracking and potential impacts to the environment and public health.[...]

Energy in Depth's "hollow attempt to discredit one of those 447 peer-reviewed studies is clearly an effort to distract and deflect from the significant weight of evidence showing health and other serious impacts of drilling and fracking," Nolan and Buskin-Bedient said. Overall, the Public Accountability Initiative report found only 10 of Energy in Depth's highlighted studies had been both peer-reviewed and void of industry ties. And with many of those 10, said Galbraith, it was a stretch to say the research even addressed the possible impacts of fracking. One of the studies, for example, was a survey of trace elements conducted in the 1990s and early 2000s, before the shale gas boom had begun. "This shows how important it is to have a full picture," said Galbraith. "Where is your information coming from? What does it really say?" Energy in Depth's Brown told HuffPost that the list Public Accountability Initiative attacks "is in no way exhaustive." When asked if the industry group had a more exhaustive list to point to, Brown replied, "Ah, we don't at the moment.""**

**Of course they don't have "an exhaustive list" of studies purporting to show the safety of the fracking industry. Those studies don't exist. The gas industry and its apologists use smoke and mirrors and a lot of fingers-crossed-behind-their-backs. Amoral, unethical and "if-we-wish-real-hard, nothing-bad-will-happen (to us)" thinking. Meanwhile, check out the 7,000+ entries of those harmed by fracking in the US...a list that is growing

NIMBY...and my backyard is Pennsylvania.

Blog class today was great

Only a couple people showed up because of the snow but had a great class with Diane
She taught us about Pinterest ! Next week how to design a Blog! Its free! Try to come next Sat. Feb 28th 10am

Saw this on Facebook. What a great idea!

Want to promote your business or ideas with a blog? Come to the Ligonier Tavern today 10 to noon for a FREE demonstration.

Bring your laptop and I'll show you how Ligonier Living works and will help you start your own blog.  We'll also show how using Pinterest and other social media works with your blog to build your business or audience.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Lend me a Tenor at Ligonier Theatre

Welcoming the Tenor Jon Lunn plays Max left Dominic Camarote center plays the Tenor Tito and Barry Shirey is Saunders in Ligonier Valley players show “ Lend Me A Tenor”. The show continues Feb 20,Friday at 7:30 pm Feb 21, Sat. 7:30 pm and Feb. 22, Sunday 2:30 pm Tickets 724-238- 6514 or

when the denial of reality and evidence doesn't make it go away...

"Oklahoma House Republicans on the Common Education Committee voted on Tuesday to ban advanced placement US history courses, because they think it shows “what is bad about America”. If I were Oklahoma, I’d want to forget about “what is bad about” American history, too, especially in my corner of it!
In its “good” history, Oklahoma can boast being the basis of a Rogers and Hammerstein musical and the home of Oral Roberts University. But if Oklahomans were to purge all their local stories which reflect “what is bad about America”, their history pages would be wiped as white as a Tulsa klansman’s hood. Oklahoma was the extremely violent home to a number of lynched African-Americans, as chronicled by America’s Black Holocaust Museum; the Native American men, women and children slaughtered at what is now the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site; and the white people who killed them and likely went to church that very week. It is where Timothy McVeigh committed the largest domestic act of terrorism in recent years and blew up, killed and wounded hundreds of people in the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building. Oklahoma is chock full of former reservations where Native Americans were forced to relocate. It’s where, just last year, a botched execution took 45 minutes and left condemned Clayton Lockett “a bloody mess”. And it’s where the violent fracking of its natural resources may be the reason why Oklahoma has gone from having “one or two perceptible earthquakes a year” to “averaging two or three a day.”"

This town wants to leave New York and become a part of Pennsylvania because they want to use their natural resources.

"The Southern Tier is desolate," said Conklin Town Supervisor Jim Finch (R). "We have no jobs and no income. The richest resource we have is in the ground."
Finch said the ground in Conklin is rich with natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. However, that shale is unable to be tapped. He described this ban as a violation of his natural rights as a property owner.
There are 15 towns interested in the secession, according to the Towns Association. These towns are in Broome, Delaware, Tioga and Sullivan counties. The association declined to name the towns without their permission and also declined to comment on specifics at this time. As of now, research is ongoing. The group will be updating Action News with all of their findings in the coming weeks.
The association said it's comparing taxes and the cost of doing business in the two states. It says the facts show there is a huge difference between the two.
Also being considered are things like workers comp, surcharges, unemployment and health insurance. The association's understanding is that the secession would have to be approved by the New York State Legislature, the Pennsylvania State Legislature and the U. S. government.
"We're comparing the taxes in Pennsylvania compared to those in New York," said Finch. "There's a great, great difference. Right now, we are being deprived of work, jobs and incomes."

current FAA chat on drone use

The FAA stated that it has two primary safety concerns associated with small UAS operations: (1) the craft's ability to "see and avoid" other aircraft since no pilot is on board; and (2) the operator's possible loss of positive control of the small UAS. To mitigate these safety concerns, the FAA proposed to retain its existing requirement that small UAS operations be conducted within the visual line-of-sight ("VLOS") of the operator, meaning the operator's vision aided by no more than glasses or corrective lenses. (Technologies, such as "First Person View," which replicate the view from the craft on a handheld screen, do not qualify.) The FAA also proposed to restrict small UAS to daylight-only operation and speeds of less than 87 knots (100 mph), to limit the operating altitude of commercial small UAS to below 500 feet above ground level in conditions that ensure three‑mile visibility, and to prohibit operations over any person not directly participating in the operation. Unless these proposals, particularly the VLOS requirement, are modified in the comment and review period, they will effectively prohibit use of small UAS for delivery services.

The FAA did, however, also seek comment on possibly adopting a "micro" UAS classification for craft weighing fewer than 4.4 pounds. The FAA would allow these microcraft, given their smaller size, to be flown over individuals not directly involved in the operation. The FAA also sought comment on emerging technologies that might lessen the agency's concerns about eliminating the VLOS requirement, but the FAA reiterated its view that such technologies do not currently exist.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chinese New Year - Year of the Sheep!

In the 4,297th year after the vanishment of the Gold King, prior to the Emperors, Mountain Palace again brings you The Chinese New Year!
Lacy prepared the following menu pictures to capture her thinking for this weekend:
This weekend:
Fri. 6 to 9, Saturday 12 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 6.
724 717-8614
724 288-3872

Obesity Repeated: Happy Healthy Inc/Mountain Palace Tomorrow Friday at 1:30

Traditional Chinese Medical Approach to Current Problems

Lingzhi Cai, M.D., Ph.D.

Friday 2-20-15
1:30 pm

Mountain Palace
Live Virtual Classroom

Windows, Android & Apple Accessible
This is a repeat of the session provided last Friday.
Happy Healthy Inc