Monthly Archives: October 2011

A Case of Mistaken Identity

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No, not cherry pie…apple pie.
Chris Arbisi was not in Warrant, nor was he friends with Jani Lane who fronted the hair band and passed away this summer.
Chris even received condolences from people for “his loss”, a loss he never had. What did have is a song called “Apple Pie.”
Chris was 18 when he joined 1990s metal band White Trash as part of the Badass Brass section of horn players, he toured the country, had a music video on heavy rotation on MTV, he  played showcases in New York City ( Queens to be exact), and did it all before his 22nd birthday.
After White Trash disbanded in the early 90s, Arbisi stayed in music as a sound engineer. “To be successful in music you have to be great… I was good and needed to be great.”
You know the Six Flags commercial with the dancing old guy? Yes, that was one of his projects.
Now at age 40, he has an iPhone, but no music on it. When asked what he’s listening to now he responded with: “Two kids, yelling Daddy, daddy, daddy.“
A Myspace music search of him now paints a different side of Arbisi. There’s no flannel. His hair is not long and unruly. It’s purely Chris, the father and husband.
But how does one go from funk metal with a brass section, to stripped down acoustic songs reflecting on life?
Arbisi grew up.
One of the big misconceptions about Arbisi is that he was in to heavy metal because of the sound stylings of White Trash. “ True at heart, I’m a rock and roll guy… a music lover,” Arbisi says.
“I’m glad I got it out of my system at 19, I don’t think I ever would’ve gotten that out of my system, if I hadn‘t done it then” Arbisi says of his Trash days.
Arbisi’s second solo album, which he is currently working on,  focuses on his experiences as a father and the joy his children give him.

He’s starting to sound all-American. Just like apple pie.

Let me attempt to explain myself (Introduction)

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I am a journalism student at Luzerne County Community College, born October 27 which makes me a Scorpio.From my understanding of my zodiac sign, Scorpios are insufferable intense people which brings me to my next point. I live by myself because no one else could stand to have CNN or National Geographic on 24/7. I am a huge fan of horror movies, namely the really, really bad ones like Santa’s Slay which stars the wrestler Goldberg as a serial killing sadistic Santa Claus. Fall is my favorite season, and my house is decorated with Halloween garb, and 1960’s music memorabilia. My bill paying job is at a convenience store (unfortunately nothing like the one in Clerks), but my fun job requires me to look at pretty houses and write nice things about them.

Rolling Angels

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Trisha Reznick                                 Beat Assignment #1

 

(This assignment was one of three in a series, as a Hazleton Area beat)

As a platoon sergeant, Warren Hunsicker had his fair share of close calls while serving in the National Guard. He lived on an outpost Northwest of Taji, Iraq where he says, “you don’t hear nothing about what what’s going on stateside.”

Hunsicker was responsible for 20 other troops. “You don’t do it for yourself, you do it for the soldier next to you,” he says of his job. The third day he was in Iraq, an improvised explosive device, more commonly known as an IED, hit the platoon working opposite of his. No one was severely injured, but it “put a whole new perspective” on his stay.

One year later, he was on his way back home to Pennsylvania, after completing a “very meaningful job,” he did not expect such a grand welcome home. Fire trucks, complete strangers, friends and family, greeted his arrival, all thanks to The Rolling Angels.

Amy Crego, of Hazleton, started The Rolling Angels after she attended a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the first wounded soldier in the Afghanistan war in 2003 were in attendance. She notes that the veteran was “completely ignored” and “not one person thanked him, not even the President.”

Crego, along with four other people started going to funerals of fallen soldiers in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Williamsport areas.

Soon, their group had 37 members, and peaked at 97 members. The Angels have a diverse group of people that range from having no military history to veterans, avid motorcyclists and children that are dubbed Junior Angels.

Vice president Jon Houser was “there from the beginning” of The Rolling Angels. According to their website, the group formed in 2005. He says he “didn’t get a chance to serve, but I can show appreciation for those who did serve.” During the Vietnam War years, Jon was enrolled in college, which prevented him from serving. Jon says The Rolling Angels, “basically support our troops, whether here or abroad.”

The Angels recently donated money to a returning veteran, David Calhoun, to renovate his home, just in time for Christmas. Calhoun was wounded three times while serving in Iraq. Fellow Angel members took the two-hour trip from Hazleton to Calhoun’s home and saw it needed some work. Determined to help a veteran, the Angels made sure Calhoun’s holiday would be a bit brighter. Between November 18 and December 24, the veteran’s Wyalusing home got new floors in the bedroom and living room.

Lois Houser, treasurer, said she “feels the same way” as her husband Jon, when it comes to helping veterans. She lived in West Germany from 1965-1967 with her husband, at the time, who served in the air force, during the Vietnam War. ”Vietnam was tough,” She says “even when they returned they did not get a warm welcome.”

They lived with a German family, whose home had no running water and “you would get a bath once a week. It taught me to appreciate everything we had in the states,” she says of her experience.

Her daughter was born on a military base in Germany; coincidentally her son, who now serves in the Air Force, was stationed at the same base.

Usually the Rolling Angels purchase gifts for children whose parents are deployed, but this year they were lucky enough to not have any local children in need. Instead, they purchased Christmas gifts for military veterans in nursing homes.

The veterans were “giddy with excitement,” says Lois Houser, when The Angels presented them with big-faced wristwatches. They were “happy that someone remembered them.”

When a call goes out for a Rolling Angels mission, Andy Snyder is the middleman between group members and officials. Snyder comes from a long military history in the National Guard, and is also the vice president of The Riders For Child Protection group. As a squad leader, Snyder brought attention to a motorcycle run in September to benefit cancer research in memory of a reserve officer training corps, ROTC, high school student who passed away from cancer.

The Rolling Angels has a full calendar when it comes to aiding soldiers from boot camp send-off s to welcoming them back from deployment, and everything in between. For upcoming events, consult the group’s website rollingangels.org.

Hazleton Area School Board Meeting

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Mary Ann Thomas, of Hazleton, presented school board members with a petition Thursday night with nearly 1,000 signatures against the cutting of middle school sports programs and clubs.
About 200 students, faculty members and parents were in attendance at the meeting, which began at 6 P.M in the McAdoo-Kelayres Elementary school. The first two hours of the meeting consisted of public comment and board member discussion of the proposed cuts.
The Hazleton Area School District is trying to overcome a $7.1 budget deficit, while also trying to ease overcrowding of about 1500 students with a proposed $4.4 million magnet school.
Mary Ann Kay, parent of a Hazleton Area High School graduate who now attends Brown University, noted the deficit and said “now you want to purchase magnet school we don’t have money.”
Kay’s son was a wrestler from youth, participated at the middle school level, and went on to compete for the high school.
She suggested board members to start with a smaller magnet school, and to keep sports programs intact because “the kids keep their grades up just to be able to participate in sports.”
Deb Carr was recognized for her research and time put in to the magnet school concept, along with Donald Bayzick, director of middle schools. Carr who is retiring at the end of the current school year, said of her job “I appreciate the challenges these years have brought me.”
“[The magnet school] will be used as a motivating tool for students to do better,” Carr said. Eliminating rumors of the magnet school being “elitist” Carr explained “if they have the grades, they can attend.”
Robert Childs also defended the purchase of the $4.4 CAN DO building in Drums. “From a taxpayer’s point of view, we get 1500 seats at the cheapest facility,” Childs said. “quit calling it a magnet school, I’m looking at numbers for the taxpayers, you could put it in the [existing] high school if you wanted to.”
According to business manager Tony Ryba the school district would receive a 66 percent reimbursement for the purchase price of the building, and an additional 22-25 percent for any construction done to the building.
Several students within the district spoke on behalf of sports programs, including 2012 class president Hailey Price.
“If sports and clubs are eliminated, our very futures have been put at stake,” said Price.
“Clubs provide countless scholarship opportunities,” said Price. Mentioning her younger brother, “if sports and clubs are cut what happens to him or the others henceforth down the line?”
Barry Jones, Conyngham said “I feel sad knowing someone will have to hear the words sorry we can’t afford you anymore,” referring to students not being able to participate in sports.
Board member Bob Mehalick said “ I will not support sports or extracurricular cuts, thank you for showing us what we did not see two weeks ago. I will not support anything that takes away from these kids.”
Board member Steve Hahn said “we need department heads to sit down with personnel to discuss cuts. We need to pass the pain around to everybody. We need input from unions. We need input from unions. We need a plan that works without burdening taxpayers.”
Hahn’s statement was met with applause from the crowd.
On a vote to rescind middle school sports team cuts, the board was unanimous in their decision to keep the teams intact.
Thomas also mentioned the former Hazleton High School castle  as a “waste of money.” Thomas said “the building is falling apart. They want to have productions, plays, and concerts… give it back to the kids, it doesn’t have to be a public façade.”

Location location location

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It’s the first thing I ever got all by myself. A place to call my own without Mom and Dad’s approval, because I am now a “responsible adult” which sounds strange but when put in to context I guess it holds true.

My mother’s jaw dropped when she opened the door to my new apartment. Shag carpeting, velvet wallpaper, and 30 years of cleaning the previous occupant had ignored.

I saw the potential for a good thing under the disintegrated wallpaper. A week that seemed to last a lifetime later I had it all figured out, with a little help from my friends.

During those seven days, the earth and it’s inhabitants were not created, but a bachelor pad was converted to chick-friendly living quarters.

Even though it was MINE and mine alone Mom still had tons of direction she intended me to strictly follow.

  1. The broom should go in the closet in the living room so it is out of sight
  2. Keep this place clean
  3. No matter what I will insist on doing your laundry
  4. I will send home cooked meals over but I expect my Tupperware back in a timely manner
  5. If I don’t receive my Tupperware back you get nothing (as if I had stolen “fizzy lifting drink”)
  6. Expect visits from us, your parents
  7. Dishes should be done daily
  8. Make sure you sleep enough

These rules were not written, they might as well have been but they were advised in a very motherly way, using the power of suggestion.

Rules in motherly terms:

  1. “You know a good place for this would be in this nice little closet.”
  2. “Your aunt, grandmother, and I helped a lot with getting this place ready.”
  3. “Since the laundry mat across the road closed, you’re just better off having me do it for you because you get busy.”
  4. “Here’s leftovers that I don’t want to go bad, and I just got these nice new containers for them…”
  5. “If you don’t give me the containers back, I’ll have nothing to put stuff in for you.”
  6. “We’ll have movie nights and such once you get settled in, or if we’re near by we will just stop by.”
  7. “You live by yourself so if you just keep up on these plates and such you’ll be good.”
  8. “if you stay up late, you’ll pay for it the next day, and you don’t want to waste an entire day sleeping… unless you need it then it is fine.”

I, of course had my own set of rules:

1.The broom can go anywhere because this is my home( the middle of the kitchen floor, just so I could see the look on my mother’s face)

2.I clean when I have time, mostly after I have a few friends over and we knock a few back

3. I will suggest I will come over and do laundry, but it is expected you’ll just end up doing it anyway

4. Home cooked meals are great even though I know how to cook , but I intend on forgetting your containers

5. I will continue to forget your containers, but eventually I will get them back to you

6. I will be more than happy to see you and Dad but you are not getting a key to my house

7. I will leave at least one dish in the sink at any given time, because it is my God given right

8. I stay up too late “studying” and sometimes pay for it in the form of a headache

My mom summed it up the best when I thanked her for doing my laundry, picking up a few little groceries, dropping off dinner, and coming over for a movie, “that’s what moms do,” and me letting her do my laundry is my way of saying I may be grown up but I still need her.

Tenth anniversary

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Since September 11,2001 much has changed… but nothing more than me.  I have grown up in countless ways, bittered by the trials and tribulations of the “oppressed” life as an American college student, working two jobs, only to have my net pay consumed in fossil fuels , but this is still the country I am proud to call home.

As the tenth anniversary had come and gone, I got to thinking. The death of about 3,000 people can be commemorated by a collector’s coin, coffee mug, and American flags made courtesy of China.

One could even view it as capitalizing on misfortune. The same people who made our clothes, children’s toys, shoes, and flag pins also help our unemployment rates rise.

There were talks of a 20-something dollar admission price at the Ground Zero memorial. The moral of the story is that you can pay your respects in tears, but we prefer cold, hard, cash.

When I think back to that day, not many solid details stick out from before the first tower fell, but what I do remember is the resurgence of patriotism after all was said and the damage was done.

I still remember the first time I saw footage of the towers falling. I had returned home from school, still excited for the beginning of my fourth grade year, and my parents were glued to the television.

My heart ached. I suddenly felt unsafe in my own home, my own country. I felt helpless, because there was nothing I could do to change the reality of the situation, and then I went outside and played.

Initially, I moved on from the situation quickly, yet ten years later the wound is re-opened worse than ever. Our safety had been compromised, two wars later I’m still unsure of what other attacks might be forged on our soil.

With all the news coverage, it feels like the Twin Towers fell just yesterday, my grieving process had just begun. I felt sick to my stomach and lethargic, until I thought back to my nine-year old self.

The fourth grade me dealt a lot better than the second-year college student me. Sometimes you just need to go outside and play.