Monthly Archives: February 2008

Just call him The Love-meister

Jeff NatalieI’m really proud to be a part of a big Italian-American family. I’m proud of my siblings and nieces and nephews for not only what they do, but who they are.

My little brother Jeffrey had received some significant media attention lately for his work as a family counselor, including his use of media to help kids with dealing with their emotions. His ErieKIDS.com website is full of helpful material for families. A couple weeks ago, he received special recognition from the Young Erie Professionals. Today, he was featured in the Erie Times News/GoErie.com Q&A article just in time for Valentines Day, giving advice to married couples. You can read it here.

Congrats Jeff! Thanks for all you do to help families and kids…we are all proud of you!

Erie in the eyes of its ex-pats

My blogging buddy Peter Panepento at Outside Erie gives voice to Erie expatriots; those bright young minds raised by hard working, many union-card carrying parents who gave their kids a good education, only to find little opportunity to use their new skills in their hometown. The kids eventually took their talent and Erie values to places like Cary, NC, Fairfax County, VA, Cupertino, CA, Aurora, CO, and Seminole County, FL.

Of my close friends who graduated with me at Mercyhurst Prep over a quarter-century ago, only a couple of us are raising our families here. The rest are doing quite well, using their Laker high-achievement capabilities in management or team-leading capacities in their chosen fields. They live in growing, progressive communities with rich schools and sparkling shopping centers, miles and decades away from their community of origin.

This past weekend many of them flew or drove into Erie on a lark, basically to view a hockey game. The story goes is that my buddies John and Tim (brothers) live in Colorado, and they will go and cheer the Mercyhurst College men’s hockey team when they play several games at hockey schools in that region. When they found out that the Air Force Academy was coming to Erie to play the Lakers, they called for a road trip, convincing Joe to come up from FL and Mike from VA to catch up with family and friends in this neck of the woods. We all had a great time getting reconnected, which always happens when we get together.

Although Mercyhurst split the two-game series with Air Force, what was more fascinating was my friends’ reaction to developments (and lack there of) in Erie. Maybe it is best described by the following random quotes:
• “I’m surprised what the hotels are able to charge for a room in Erie!”
• “Joel, what’s the deal with upper Peach? Where are they getting the money to spend on all those stores?”
• After a trip down lower Peach and State: “Wow, things are looking pretty rough.”
• “That’s strange that they don’t offer a ‘No Smoking’ section, there’s whole states banning smoking in restaurants and public places.”
• Opinions on Bayfront Convention Center: “Who’s going to come here? Looks like a white elephant to me.”
• On the Tom Ridge Center: “Can you believe that something as nice as this is in Erie?”
• On the Ravine Flyer II being constructed at Waldameer: “That’s going to be cool!”

Don’t misunderstand me, my friends really do love Erie and are proud to be from here. But when your point of reference are some of the most “fashionable” areas to live and then you come to Erie for the weekend, in the winter, the town confirms your deep-seated take on the place of your childhood, a place where it is great to grow up, get an education, and then get out.

Back from hibernation

Wow…it’s been over a month since my last post! Miss me?

I don’t know if my “seasonal affect” kicked in, I got too busy, or just needed a break from blogging. I’ve not caught on to the notion that you should post at least once a day, even if its just a couple sentences. Insta-pundit I’ll never be.

Let’s see what’s happened…McCain has knocked off nearly everybody since his win in New Hampshire; Hilary’s machine has failed to stop Barack and now even Pennsylvania will be in play for the Dems; the Giants outplayed the Patriots in what was a very exciting Super Bowl; County Exec. Mark DiVecchio forgot that Erie is not Newark or Philly and taxpayers care about overreaching executive privilege; and finally, there’s nothing in Gov. Rendell’s new budget that speaks to the real problems of PA’s cities and urban school districts and the absolute municipal insanity that is reality in this Commonwealth.

Maybe I should weigh in on some of these topics…