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.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Taking to the Streets for Our Future

 The 20,000 shoes represent the climate campaigners who were banned from marching during the COP21 summit in Paris.

"On the biggest day of climate change activism ever seen worldwide, millions of of people are joining in on Sunday, at more than 2,500 events all around the globe, using people power to put pressure on world leaders to unite in fighting global warming at the COP21 summit opening in Paris on Monday. Over 20,000 pairs of shoes were laid out in the Place de la Republique in Paris to symbolize absent marchers after France banned Sunday's march that was meant to be at the heart of the global action. To find a Climate March event near you, click here for's list or here for Avaaz's list. An estimated 50,000 people took part in a march in central London, where opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed crowds."

"Thousands of shoes, including a pair belonging to Pope Francis, had been symbolically laid in the square to represent a climate march that was cancelled by authorities after the terror attacks."

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Josh Ben is my piano teacher and I recommend him highly. Terrific teacher.

Remember it's never too late to start piano lessons!!! If you're interested in giving your kids or yourself the gift of music please feel free to send a message! or you can email me at I live right in Ligonier and I'm currently taking students of all ages and experience.

Josh Ben

Alyssa Hankey---- Roots

Friday, November 27, 2015

Soy Bean Special & Upcoming Acupressure Class - Anxiety

Pork, Soy Bean, Chinese Radish & Carrot with Rice Special
Mountain Palace
A new special at Mountain Palace includes locally grown soy beans for a healthy, tasty dining option this weekend. Soy beans provide anti-cancer properties, reduce cholesterol in both its arterial plaque forming capacity and its free floating in the blood stream, and benefit menstrual function. We believe Mountain Palace may be the only restaurant within about 8,000 miles offering a soy bean special this weekend.

Acupressure Class - Anxiety
Saturday, December 5 11:00  $15
Learn to treat your own anxiety using the 2,000 year old Chinese Meridian System method. Apply pressure to the points related to blockages contributing to anxiety and find relief. 

Mountain Palace is located eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road directly across from Mirror Lake.
Friday 5 to 9, Saturday 12 to 9 $ Sunday 12 to 8
724 717-8614
724 288-3872

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gray Goose Lakeside Lounge

When Michelle Kent took the keys to the old Colonial Inn property, she found a basement filled with 4½ feet of water. Two years later and a lot of hard work, the Gray Goose Lakeside Lounge officially opened its doors to host the November Business After Hours event for the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Community Chamber of Commerce. The area chamber conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its Nov. 11 outing.
“This has truly been a labor of love for Michelle. We are excited to see what they have done here,” said Allen Martello, the chamber's director of marketing and events. “We are excited to help promote and be a part of their success.”
The dining area and lounge look out over a lake will a 33-foot panoramic view of geese, which is how Kent came up with the name of her restaurant. People have come to feed the geese for years. Kent hopes that tradition will continue before or after dinner at the Gray Goose.

Read more: 
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Monday, November 23, 2015

oldie but goodie...recognize the voice of Eric Harris?

Call for reservations now. Ring in the holidays with JAZZ TRIP at Myriam's Table


Friday, November 20, 2015

Cumin Lamb with Vegetables & Acupressure Point Self Treatment Class for Anxiety

Mountain Palace Weekly Special
Cumin Lamb with Vegetables & Rice
Lamb increases kidney qi (chi) which increases energy and improves hormone functioning - makes your hormones jumping!
Eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road across from Mirror Lake
Firday 5 to 9, Saturday 12 to 9 & Sunday 12 to 8

Acupressure Class - Anxiety
Saturday December 5 11:00 $15
Get ready for the Holidays and Winter Stress!
Learn to treat your anxiety with massage of Chinese Meridian System pressure points
Make Reservations Early!
724 717-8614
724 288-3872
Warning - new pellet stove may result in comfortable dining!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hysterical Corporate Media Fueling War Fervor, Xenophobia in 24/7 Cycle

 "There is no doubt the Republicans are getting ready to launch a full blown campaign of paranoid bloodlust which, if successful, would have devastating consequences." —Heather Digby Parton, Salon

""The outpouring of no-context, ahistorical sympathy after 9/11 helped pave the way for a violent reaction that killed in Iraq alone roughly 150 times as many people as died in Lower Manhattan that day—an opportunistic catastrophe that did more to mock than avenge those deaths," Naureckas argued.Political analyst and media critic Heather Digby Parton, writing at Salon on Tuesday, agreed that the media has been complicit in pushing problematic foreign policy. "It was well documented that during the run-up to the Iraq war there was tremendous pressure coming from the executive suite of the news networks to cheerlead for the administration," she argued. "Those who resisted were marginalized and fired if they refused to go along. It's unlikely that the word went forth on Saturday that reporters should get on a war footing and issue demands that the president use 'the greatest military in the world' to 'take out these bastards.' But they don’t have to say it explicitly do they? Everyone knows the drill." [...]

"With that knowledge and understanding that we should look at what the French president is saying when he calls for—and I quote—a 'pitiless war'," she said. "Who will die next....given that it seems that the French government is unfortunately going to follow in the footsteps of the U.S. government?" "Hundreds upon hundreds of Iraqis have been dying in Iraq every month since the U.S. invasion in 2003," she said. "That recognition is criticial. Because we need to understand ISIS was born out of Iraq. ISIS was not born out of Syria. It was born from the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. It was that anger, that humiliation, that destruction of Iraq, that fueled the environment that led to ISIS.""

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Toxic Chemicals, Carcinogens Skyrocket Near Fracking Sites

A Pennsylvania farmhouse sits below pipes and pumps used for hydraulic fracturing in 2011.  

“The way fracking’s being done in these five states, it’s not being done safely,” Carpenter says.

"Oil and gas wells across the country are spewing “dangerous" cancer-causing chemicals into the air, according to a new study that further corroborates reports of health problems around hydraulic fracturing sites. “This is a significant public health risk,” says Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany-State University of New York and lead author of the study, which was published Thursday in the journal Environmental Health. “Cancer has a long latency, so you’re not seeing an elevation in cancer in these communities. But five, 10, 15 years from now, elevation in cancer is almost certain to happen.”

Eight poisonous chemicals were found near wells and fracking sites in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wyoming at levels that far exceeded recommended federal limits. Benzene, a carcinogen, was the most common, as was formaldehyde, which also has been linked to cancer. Hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs and can affect the brain and upper-respiratory system, also was found. “I was amazed,” Carpenter says. “Five orders of magnitude over federal limits for benzene at one site – that’s just incredible. You could practically just light a match and have an explosion with that concentration.

It’s an indication of how leaky these systems are.”''

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fracking chemical plant explosion leads to evacuation

"In the latest briefing, Allegheny County Emergency Services says has been in contact with its Beaver County counterpart, which is monitoring the smoke plume that has shifted its way. The two buildings on fire are releasing ammonium persulfate and sodium chlorite*, which are an inhalation hazard. Because of the smoke plume’s path, Beaver County’s emergency services has advised Hopewell High School to dismiss its students.

"The best thing you can do is not inhale the smoke if you can help it," said Chief Henderson. The blaze at Weatherford Engineered Chemical Co., 180 Leetsdale Industrial Drive, was reported at 10:10 a.m. Four people have been injured as a result of the fire — one firefighter being assessed and three individuals who were taken to Sewickley Valley Hospital with non life-threatening injuries. Ralph Black, 51, of Leetsdale said he was awakened by the sound of several explosions at the plant. He lives in the Tom Moore Apartments on Beaver Road, a couple of blocks away on a hill overlooking the industrial park, and watched the fire from his back porch. "Every few minutes you hear cans exploding — boom, boom, boom," he said. "You can see the firemen squirting water on them, but they explode and the fire gets worse." Mr. Black described the thick, blue-colored smoke coming from the fire with flames rolling on the roof of the structure."

*“Ammonium persulfate and sodium chlorite ... can have an impact if inhaled in high doses. Any individuals who are experiencing trouble breathing or intense coughing, especially those with an existing chronic condition, should seek medical attention."

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bombing they expect. What they fear is unity.

From a French man held hostage for 10 months by Isis:

"With their news and social media interest, they will be noting everything that follows their murderous assault on Paris, and my guess is that right now the chant among them will be “We are winning”. They will be heartened by every sign of overreaction, of division, of fear, of racism, of xenophobia; they will be drawn to any examples of ugliness on social media. Central to their world view is the belief that communities cannot live together with Muslims, and every day their antennae will be tuned towards finding supporting evidence. The pictures from Germany of people welcoming migrants will have been particularly troubling to them. Cohesion, tolerance – it is not what they want to see.

And yet more bombs will be our response. I am no apologist for Isis. How could I be? But everything I know tells me this is a mistake. The bombardment will be huge, a symbol of righteous anger. Within 48 hours of the atrocity, fighter planes conducted their most spectacular munitions raid yet in Syria, dropping more than 20 bombs on Raqqa, an Isis stronghold. Revenge was perhaps inevitable, but what’s needed is deliberation. My fear is that this reaction will make a bad situation worse. While we are trying to destroy Isis, what of the 500,000 civilians still living and trapped in Raqqa? What of their safety? What of the very real prospect that by failing to think this through, we turn many of them into extremists? The priority must be to protect these people, not to take more bombs to Syria. We need no-fly zones – zones closed to Russians, the regime, the coalition. The Syrian people need security or they themselves will turn to groups such as Isis.''

Saturday, November 14, 2015

So we tax grilling, but not drilling. Is this a great state or what?

House Democratic Whip Mike Hanna, D-Clinton, said it may be hard for Democrats to support a deal in which companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. — a major gas-exploration company — will not pay more, but every resident will when they buy everything from a car to an outdoor grill.
"Here's the thing: When it comes to fracking for natural gas in Pennsylvania, there are two ways we can go. We can follow the lead of our neighbors to the north, New York State, and ban fracking altogether. And there's a powerful argument for doing that. Over the summer, a series of scientific studies -- including two in Pennsylvania -- found that living near a fracking rig is linked to increased cases of cardiovascular hospitalizations, low birth weight and congenital heart defects. That these reports didn't generate bigger headlines speaks to the fact that most of us have already come to accept the idea that fracking is bad for you. But it's not realistic to expect Pennsylvania to ban fracking at this stage -- the industry is too entrenched, and too politically connected. To justify its continued existence in the Keystone State, however, Big Oil and Gas needs to 1) accept much tighter regulation, amid signs that the Wolf administration is doing exactly that and 2) pony up and pay their fair share in taxes. It's been said many times before, but let's re-visit this: Pennsylvania is the only one of the 15 biggest energy-producing states without a severance tax on natural gas production. The fact that it still isn't -- even at a time when lawmakers want YOU to dig deeper in your wallet every time you go to Costco -- simply boggles the mind. 
Aerial view of a Marcellus Shale drilling operation near Waynesburg, Pa.

How does that happen? It's easy. For a number of years, Pennsylvania has a governor and legislature that was bought and paid for by the energy lobby. Then in 2014, Gov. Wolf was elected with a promise to impose a natural  gas severance tax and use some of the proceeds for our underfunded public schools. Which means we now only have a legislature that was bought and paid for by Big Oil and Gas. Which is more than enough. I mean, maybe if YOU had flown Sen. Joe Scarnati to see the Steelers in the Super Bowl in 2010, then you might now be the one saving a few bucks on your new gas grilll. But you didn't send Scarnati to the Big Game. Consol Energy did. As some have pointed out, the fracking industry is in a downward trend right now, thanks to falling energy prices. It's pretty obvious that a severance tax would never have raised all the money that's needed to achieve the goals of boosting school aid while lowering property taxes. But it would have mitigated the sales tax hike on consumers. And there's a bigger point: Fairness. Right now, the politically wired natural gas industry is hitting the Daily Double of polluting our air and water while not even paying taxes even as it does in ultra-conservative "small-government" states like Texas or Wyoming. 

 Face it, Pennsylvania. You can change the governor...but you're still getting fracked." 


Friday, November 13, 2015

The Tides Are Turning: A powerful sign that the the fossil fuel era is beginning to come to an end

Opponents of the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in Portland take part in a rally on Nov. 4.

"In what climate activists are celebrating as a "landmark" win, the Portland (Oregon) City Council on Thursday unanimously voted to pass a resolution opposing the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure in the city and its adjacent waterways. "This is a huge victory for the movement and for climate stability," stated Mia Reback, climate organizer for 350PDX, which joined groups including Rising Tide, Columbia Riverkeeper, and Portland Audubon Society in supporting the resolution. Brett VandenHeuvel, Executive Director of Columbia Riverkeeper, writes (pdf) that the Oregon city's resolution "takes a strong stand against this fossil fuel infrastructure and has the teeth to succeed." Explaining the specifics, he adds:
Due to federal preemption, Portland cannot block all fossil fuel transport. Federal law, for example, limits city regulations of trains and interstate pipelines. Portland is taking a smart approach by asking city planners to do everything they can, within the law, to stop fossil fuel transport and infrastructure. Example: While Portland cannot block all oil trains, Portland does have the authority to deny an oil shipping terminal if the project violates land use zoning or fire codes. This would have the effect of preventing all the oil trains needed to serve the terminal. The resolution, therefore, is not just symbolic.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, as well as climate campaigners, said the city's stand showed it taking exactly the kind of approach needed in this moment of climate crisis."

Laurel Mountain news

A ground-breaking ceremony to mark the beginning of the yearlong $6.5 million restoration of state-owned Laurel Mountain Ski Area fell victim to the Pennsylvania budget stalemate in Harrisburg.
Instead of state, local and resort officials digging into pre-softened dirt with ceremonial spade shovels last month, Ligonier Construction Co. of nearby Laughlintown started the work with growling yellow bulldozers biting into the rocky topography.
A traditional ribbon-cutting “still may happen — if we get a budget,” said Terry Brady, spokesman for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Ground Beef, Hot Pepper & Shredded Potato - Yuzhen Home

Mountain Palace Weekly Special
Ground Beef, Hot Pepper and Shredded Potato with Rice
Enjoy this favorite cold weather special at Mountain Palace this weekend.

High Blood Pressure Acupressure Class
Saturday Nov. 14 11:00  $15
Learn to benefit yourself by applying this ancient Chinese Meridian System knowledge.

Yuzhen Arrives Home
Yuzhen is back home in Changchun, China after two days of traveling beginning with a non-stop flight from Washington Dulles International and ending with an 18-hour train ride from Beijing to Changchun. She is sorely missed. We will remain forever grateful for her efforts to make Mountain Palace a reality. 

Mountain Palace is located eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road across from Mirror Lake.
Friday 5 to 9, Saturday 12 to 9 and Sunday 12 to 8
724 717-8614

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Airline chicken breast

New on menu

Ligonier tavern Friday's

Do you enjoy the singer songwriter genre? Great show planned for this Saturday in Johnstown. Come on out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

township selling assets

Ligonier Township — like other smaller municipalities finding it hard to make money in the water and sewer business — is looking to sell the assets of its municipal authority.
The township's utility provides about 1,500 residents with water and 800 with sewer service. While the services are a long way from being sold, the township has an interested buyer in the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.
“A couple of weeks ago, we sent a letter to Ligonier Township supervisors and asked for information,” said county authority Manager Chris Kerr on Monday. “We've looked at a lot of water and waste water systems that interest us.”

Read more: 
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Monday, November 9, 2015

Specials today at Ligonier tavern

Lobster Sensations Salad. kale and mixed greens  with a scoop of lobster salad on top....

Baked ziti and homemade bread....

Grilled cheese of the day .....meatloaf pepper jack 
Soup of the day ....chili

We deliver

joy Scalzo-Monticue 
Banquet/Events Manager
cell 724-600-9476

Sunday, November 8, 2015

This Changes Everything

"First, a disclaimer: If you don’t accept the scientific consensus that global climate change is a serious threat, you won’t like Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.” In fact, you should probably steer clear of nonfiction books entirely. But I kid climate-change deniers. After all, this sharply argued book suggests, addressing climate change requires restructuring our whole consumer lifestyle – just as Fox News has been warning us. Deniers are “completely wrong about the science,” Ms. Klein writes, but “when it comes to the scope and depth of change required to avert catastrophe, they are right on the money.” By contrast, she writes, some who do recognize the threat of warming are, well, lukewarm about taking the action necessary to solve it. Ms. Klein argues that runaway capitalism got us into this crisis, and won’t get us out of it. “There is a direct relationship between breaking fossilized free market rules and making swift progress on climate change,” she writes."

                             Naomi Klein, wonder woman.

This Changes Everything (2015) 


What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we'll ever get to build a better world? Filmed over 211 shoot days in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change.

Directed by Avi Lewis, and inspired by Naomi Klein's international non-fiction bestseller This Changes Everything, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana's Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.

Showing this week:
McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania - Parkway Theater, November 13, 2015644 Broadway Ave, McKees Rocks, PA 15136

11/13 - 7:00pm
11/14 - 4:00pm
11/15 - 12:00pm

Apparently it is also at Pitt on Wednesday night, 7-9pm, details:

Wednesday, November 11th, 7 pm to 9 pm
William Pitt Student Union
3959 Fifth Ave Room 538
Sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center, Fossil Free Pitt Coalition, and AID Pitt/USAS Local 31.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Ligonier taverns lunch special

Todays lunch special at the the 
Ligonier Tavern  

Mandarin orange salmon superpower  salad 
A mix of baby spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, radicchio, and cabbage .....full of antioxidants and omega 3..... Top it off with our lemon ginger vinaigrette for one healthy meal!

joy Scalzo-Monticue 
Banquet/Events Manager
cell 724-600-9476

Friday, November 6, 2015

Pork, Wood Ear & Chinese Cabbage Special and HBP Acupressure Class

Pork, Wood Ear & Chinese Cabbage with Rice
Mountain Palace
Weekend Special
Wood ears, a variety of mushroom that grows in trees, are known to provide many health benefits including research established anti-cancer properties. Chinese cabbage helps to remove toxins from the body. Come to Mountain Palace this weekend to enjoy this unique healthy, tasty treat!

Hypertension Acupressure Class
Next Saturday November 14 11:00 $15
Based upon 2,000 years of Chinese Meridian System study, blockages of Qi (chi), energy flowing through our bodies, reflect disease states in the human body. Learn the theory and location of the pressure points related to high blood pressure and how to stimulate the points to facilitate your own health. 
Reservations Requested

Yuzhen returning to China this coming Wednesday
Stop by Mountain Palace this weekend to say "Zai Jian." She is planning on giving free her special salad this weekend. 

Mountain Palace is located eleven miles north of Ligonier left off of Route 711 onto Creek Road across from Mirror Lake
Friday 6 to 9, Saturday 12 to 9 & Sunday 12 to 8

724 717-8614
724 288-3872

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

music's Mellow Mike night!

Ligonier Tavern
6:30 to 9:30

low key open stage for acoustic music, sing along & poetry reading

It's a beautiful day in the voting neighborhood, people!

Get out and vote, folks!

Here's a resource for you on the very important PA Supreme Court race, showing all candidates in the spirit of covering every candidate:,_2015. (My easy-to-remember prompt for the Supreme Court race will be "Ds and Ws"...that is, the candidates to go for have names beginning with D or W.)

As for local elections, here are some candidates with the county's best interest in mind:

Judges: Scott Mears, David Regoli

Controller: Dreskler

Register of Wills: Dipiazza

Sheriff: Cycak

Commissioner: Kopas

Monday, November 2, 2015

music notes.........West Holliday Trip with Josh Ben at Mr. Toad's