Wednesday, June 29, 2005

No drop left behind

"Our water system violated a drinking water standard." So begins the report on two double-sided pages in today's mail from the Tarentum Borough Water Plant explaining that monitoring requirements had not been met.

Borough bulletin boardAt the end of the notice, in fine print, is the following message:
"Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly. You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail."
It is interesting that although the Borough had this notice mailed to all its water customers, it has not published the notice in the same public place where a poster for a rabies clinic 18 days ago is still on display.

The mailed notice says that there is no emergency, and no need for anyone who drinks the local water to do anything.

The gist of the notice seems to be that three required tests of the water were not done in a timely manner. The water plant was required at least once between June 25, 2000 and June 26, 2004 to test for Gross Alpha, but did not do that test until December 7, 2004. The plant was also required to test for Synthetic Organic Chemicals at least once between April 1, 2004 and June 30, 2004, and at least once between July 1, 2004 and September 30, 2004, but did not do these tests until December 14, 2004.

The report makes clear that "There were no exceeded levels of Gross Alpha or Synthetic Organic Chemicals detected at this time." But it also says, "we cannot be sure of the quality of our drinking water during that time [when the testing should have happened]."

A summary report will be available at (keyword:"DEP source water"), but the PADEP website is currently being updated and does not have the reports available now. I guess I'll need to wait for the state site to get updated in order to learn what Gross Alpha and Synthetic Organic Chemicals are. Or for more information I could contact Jeffrey A. Adams at 724-224-9688.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Tarentum lively on a Sunday evening

While I was in the middle of some final preparations for a Service of Witness to the Resurrection to take place Monday morning, I made a Sunday evening trip back to the Central Presbyterian Church in Tarentum.

After doing half of the printing job I walked over to Central Perk for a cup of coffee. From the crowd of young people I could tell something big was up. There was positive energy in the room with a lot of loud music coming up through the floor from the "Dungeon." This was one of the evenings when there was a series of local bands playing. It was great to see so many people interacting positively with each other while the lively music from below kept my feet vibrating.

I had some nice conversations while I drank my coffee. One of the teenagers present has been a volunteer with the Vacation Bible School at Central Presbyterian Church in years past and was talking with me about her excitement at helping again this year. I also met for the first time a pair of youth ministers from Christ Community Fellowship, in Natrona Heights. They were in the neighborhood to talk to some of the bands.

Drumming on Fourth AvenueOn my way home I caught sight of something that exemplified the positive feeling of the evening: a drummer with one of the bands waiting to play was warming up, with the wonderful sounds of percussion filling the narrow Fourth Avenue.

As I travelled a little further I met up with friends going home from the Tarentum Campground where the Zion's Men's Chorus had been performing.

Tarentum is indeed a lively place on a Sunday evening.

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Grandview Playground Cleanup

Plans are being made for a cleanup day at the playground across from Grandview Elementary School in Tarentum. The project will begin at 11 AM on Saturday, July 23. The young people from Central Perk will be among those who help with the cleanup project. For more information about the cleanup day, call 724-226-0324. Pray for good weather and a good turnout.

Monday, June 13, 2005

2005 Tarentum Concert Series

It looks like there is some good music coming to Riverview Park this summer. When I walked into Central Perk today I found a stack of fliers for the 2005 Tarentum Concert Series, which is sponsored by the Tarentum Borough Recreation Board and Old Friends Guitars. This is the lineup:

Wednesday, June 22. Curt Marino, Pop/Country Singer.

Wednesday, July 13. The Four Dots, 50's DooWop a capella.

Wednesday, July 27. AmberAlexis, Female pop group.

Wednesday, August 10. Guaranteed Irish, Contemporary/Folk Irish.

Wednesday, August 24. Glitz, 80's Rock Music.

All shows begin at 7:00 PM.

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Neighborhood beautification plantings complete

a view of part of the gardenOn Saturday June 11, another group of volunteers gathered to finish planting the garden between Central Presbyterian Church and its parking lot.

Between and around the shrubs planted earlier, they planted red petunias, and put down mulch. The petunias are hoped to provide a blanket of red flowers below the new shrubs that will have bright colors later in the year.

a view of another part of the garden

Thursday, June 09, 2005

neighborhood beautification next steps

Thursday evening a group of volunteers gathered again behind Central Presbyterian Church to plant some colorful shrubs between the building and the parking lot.
russian sage
Russian sage

euonymus and rudbeckia hirta
Burning bush and black eyed susan

spiraea and euonymus
Spiraea and burning bush

spiraea and ninebark
Spiraea and ninebark

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Neighborhood beautification preparations

preparationsA few more steps were taken Tuesday evening in getting ready to plant the new shrubs and annuals in the soil between Central Presbyterian Church of Tarentum and its parking lot. Volunteers put down black plastic over the soil where all the weeds had been pulled. At the end of the evening the volunteers experimented with the placement of the various shrubs that would be planted on Thursday evening.

Watch for the next update Thursday evening!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Domestic Violence hits home for Presbyterians

The title of this blog entry was not intended as a grim pun, but simply as a comment on the fact that sometimes events force us to recognize nearby realities that are far too easy to imagine as distant, as someone else's problem. I am writing in response to two recent news stories, first that a minister’s killing rocks Florida community, and second, that many pastors are in denial about domestic abuse, family violence.

I never met the Rev. Cheryl Rosenberg Malcolmson, who was was murdered in May by her husband, and discovered by her nine-year old daughter. But I cannot hear her story without recognizing the destructive reach of domestic violence into the life of someone with whom I shared a bond of calling and collegiality. Not even clergy families are exempt.

From time to time women who are staying at the Alle-Kiski Hope Center come to events at the church near Central Park. They receive our hospitality, and their presence reminds us of the importance of the occasional gift our church gives to the Hope Center because of the good work being done there. I can't speak for the members of the church, but I am aware today that each one of those appearances was a missed opportunity for me to see a deeper reality, to recognize an easily denied dimension of the problem: that it can affect people close to me.

I was present in Louisville, Kentucky in 2001 when the PCUSA General Assembly adoped its lengthy report on domestic violence, Turn Mourning into Dancing! I thought it was a great report, and significant that the church had taken steps to make this information available. And yet, when I went home from Louisville it was far too easy to fall back into thinking of domestic violence as a problem affecting other families, in some other place.

In the second news story, the Rev. Bonnie Orth, pastor of the Mayfield Central Presbyterian Church in upstate New York, is quoted as saying "in every church, there is at least one victim, probably one perpetrator and at least one observer who are actively watching violence but don’t know what to say or do."

There are resources available to help each of these people, and I intend that this blog entry will be only the first step that I take to make sure that the people closest to me can know about those resources and the things they can do to be safe and to make homes safe.

UPDATE 6-07-05 I added the link to the amended and adopted version of the PCUSA report "Turn Mourning Into Dancing."

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Parade in Tarentum, June 3, 2005

The Memorial Day parade in Tarentum took place late in the week, on Friday, June 3 at 6:30 PM.

Various drill teams prepared for the parade near Central Park in Tarentum.

Top Hats preparing
Top Hats from New Kensington getting ready.

Top Hats preparing
More of the Top Hats getting ready
Men with a Vision preparing
Men With A Vision Christos Performance Troupe from Pittsburgh getting ready.
Christo's Performance Troupe preparing
Christos Performance Troupe from Pittsburgh
Renaissance preparing
Renaissance Baton and Drum Corps from Penn Hills waiting for the parade to start
Renaissance preparing
Renaissance Baton and Drum Corps warming up.
When everyone was ready the Allegheny County Sheriff led the parade.
New Kensington truck
What parade would be complete with fire trucks? This was one from New Kensington.
Summit boat
River rescue boat from Summit Hose Company of Tarentum.
Darth Vader and Dora the Explorer
Darth Vader and Dora the Explorer
New Kensington Fire Dept color guard
New Kensington Fire Department Color Guard
Ford City Drill Team
Ford City Drill Team
Ford City Drill Team
Ford City Drill Team marching.
Renaissance Baton and Drum Corps Penn Hills
Renaissance Baton and Drum Corps marching.
Christo's Perfomance Troupe
Christos Performance Troupe marching.
Top Hats
Top Hats marching
Men with a Vision Christo's Performance Troupe
Men With A Vision marching

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Neighborhood beautification in progress

quinceIt has been a busy week around the church beside Central Park, where church members have come together to spruce up the area. On Saturday the main project was to trim back the quince in Central Park. Some people commented that it has not looked this good in years.

planting left prepped with liliesThe next stage of the project, on Wednesday, was to pull the weeds that had taken over a narrow area along the back of the building beside the parking lot. In the process of pulling we discovered that some lilies planted there two years ago were still alive and ready to thrive.

The project is not complete. On Thursday evening, June 9 people will gather again to loosen up the soil and prepare it to receive some new plantings. The planting party will happen on Saturday morning, June 11.
planting right prepped
When I came home on Wednesday night from working with others on clearing this area, I was moved to read about another clean-up project halfway around the world, in a place close to the heart of the church near Central Park. Beth Merry writes in the Merry Mission Journal about the discovery of a forgotten missionary cemetery in the foothills of Mt Mulanje in Malawi. A volunteer workcrew from the Waynesburg College Service Learning trip took a couple days to clear away the overgrowth and restore the various stones to their proper positions.