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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Saturday, July 7 2001

Home again

My short week "home" to Pennsylvania ended just over an hour ago, as this is being written, when my flight from Baltimore via Atlanta landed after a smooth flight and ahead of schedule. Though it's already after midnight in Pennsylvania and I got out of bed earlier than usual Friday morning to begin my return journey, the jetlag is nowhere nearly as bad now as it was most of the time away. I'm hoping it will catch up with me shortly after this is completed and sent off (so I can get some badly needed deep rest).

Just to extend the feel of "back home," I'm doing this with the PC on my lap on the swing on my front porch. I've often wanted to do this, but normally the connections of the computer to all the support hardware has dissuaded me; it wouldn't be worth it. But since everything was disconnected so I could take the computer along on the vacation and I haven't reinstalled it at my desk, it seemed a good opportunity to work at one of my favorite places. Across the street a partly clouded sky is brilliant in crimsons and greys...the sunset is well along and, looking in any direction but at it, you'd think it's already dark.The light in the dining room falling through the window next to the swing is enough to make out the keyboard and, of course, the PC screen is "backlit" so it's entirely readable in the dark.

The trip was wonderful but too short. I'll report more later on the hospitality and expressions of appreciation for the Home Page that were received. But for now, once again, I'll try to make the postcard brief and pointed to get on to my more pressing personal issues (getting unpacked and into bed).

On the plane I tried to recall any "new" developments in the Valley and larger area that haven't been reported in the recent Jonals and my search uncovered only four.

1. CamTran service to Nanty Glo. Last summer when I checked, the county transit served Ebensburg but not Nanty Glo and the north county towns beyond the countyseat. I was told the CamTran has now been extended to those other towns in support of the development of the Cambria County Area Community College. I hope it's successful and becomes a permanent addition to suburban life there. As I get time, I'll add more prominent coverage of the transit route into Blacklick Valley to the Page as a support of the tourist development that I believe is the key to any future prosperity the Valley's economy may have.

2. The BP gas station at the bottom of Pergrim Hill has been converted from a Robyn's to a Co-Go. David Caldwell reported that Co-Go is a Pittsburgh outfit that's attempting to take on Sheetz (in a market-share battle). If so, that effort is likely to help the local economy by keeping gas prices competitive and, if Co-Go is anywhere nearly as successful as Sheetz, may provide more jobs as it grows.

3. This one is tied to 1. One of the most (of few) encouraging developments was seeing the renovation of the historic Glosser's Department Store in downtown Johnstown. The community college apparently occupies most of the building, above ground level, with a General Dollar store occupying part of the ground floor and a new cafe, Cafe@Central Park, anchoring the main corner of the building. This latter is encouraging just because it looks like a slight imitation of the onetime Johnstown institution, Tops Diners, as the places (there were three of them for most of their existence and up to five locations before their demise) to meet and mingle with the local culture. Of course the Cafe won't be a 24-hour-a-day operation like Tops (which had a reason to stay open all hours when the mills were running three shifts working 24 hours a day) but does offer an attractive place to mingle in the city's very heart. And obviously it is hoping to serve that general public clientele and, probably more importantly, the students in the floors above it. Though its name suggests that it's an Internet cafe, I looked for but found no evidence of that (a place where you can drink coffee and nosh on pastries and more while paying for time on the Internet on computers provided by the cafe). That would be an even more encouraging development which, I hope, will come later.

4. The fourth item is the most discouraging "new" development or pair of related developments that I observed. The Ghost Town Trail access at Nanty Glo, which should be its most important access of all, has lost the bicycle rental store that was there (though it's still advertised on signs, the building was empty when I went there to look into renting a bike). And, the portajohn that was there in 2000 was gone this year with, apparently, no restroom facility for trail users available at all in Nanty Glo now. Both of these bode ill for the only growth factor for the Valley's economy on the horizon. Dilltown has run away with the business end of the trail, even though it's at the tail end of the trail's route. Nanty Glo could catch up, but appears to be retreating in these previous efforts to do so.

Not only Dilltown but Vintondale and Redmill are both more poised than Nanty Glo to develop the trail's potential for them. It's true that Vintondale, like Dilltown, benefits much by contributions by the Indiana Parks Commission, which seems to have more foresight and optimism than anything comparable (with the exception of Joe and Karen Gordon's enthusiasm and hard work for developing Red Mill) in Cambria County. But the lack of that political support in Cambria County of Nanty Glo and Twin Rocks should spur locals to work that much harder to seize the opportunities the trail offers. It may seem that their little hike and bike trail can't hope to compete with big-time attractions like the Inclined Plane, Flood Museum, Portage Railroad, Glendale Park, and Seldom Seen Mine. But, in fact, it has already been demonstrated that the trail is a tourist magnet and it can compete, but it must have lots of "stroking," and stoking, to keep it growing and bringing new users.

Someone mentioned that, when the trail first opened, it had a lot of users but that has trailed off, so to speak. That's why constant promotion and tweaking are required. There should be something new of some significance every year, and a whole range of smaller new developments each season. The opening of the Red Mill branch of Blacklick Creek to fishing and potential swimming were a major development last year. The Vintondale AMD and Art project this year is a major development that will be even more important once it's brought to fruition. Similar projects are sure to come, up river in Nanty Glo and Revloc. But those must be publicized and celebrated, even out of proportion to their innate significance, so they'll be noticed and have the effect of drawing repeat and new users of the trail.

I know that the faithful readers of this department are the Nanty Gloers (in both fact and in spirit) who least need to hear such a "sermon," and I really don't mean to be "preaching to the choir." I am hoping that the choir might join in the chorus and make the song (sermon?—well, I guess there the metaphor fails) so loud that the pew sleepers won't be able to continue dozing through it.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Funny or true or not, who knows? But interesting

Q. What's the only food that doesn't spoil? A. Honey

Q. On what day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year? A. Father's Day

Q. What trivia fact about Mel Blanc (voice of Bugs Bunny) is the most ironic? A. He was allergic to carrots.

Q. An activity of 40 percent of all people at a party? A. Snoop in your medicine cabinet.

Sent by Zan

Conspiracy theory

Most men are not evil, but those who are guided by evil have the gift of organization.

Attributed to Leo Tolstoy

Sent by Bishop Seraphim Sigrist

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