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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Monday, April 26 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster


Every city has good and bad sections or prospects. Those stuck in the Bronx may perceive New York as "Fort Apache" or the end of the world. Those in the neighborhoods near Battery Park at the lower end of Manhattan or near Central Park may feel New York City is as close to paradise as it's possible to get on earth. People often tell me they hate Greater Los Angeles, but my experience when living there was positive both in Burbank and Marina del Rey. Even nearly perfect San Francisco has its "projects" that would be scary and destructive of a positive mental attitude if you had to live there, even if escape might be only a 15-minute walk to better perspectives.

In many cities, including San Francisco and my present home, San Jose, one-time down-at-the-heels neighborhoods have been "gentrified" or renewed by lots of refurbishing, repainting, decorating and landscaping, to turn rundown neighborhoods into preferred ones. Homes sold in the 1940s for under $10,000 may now fetch half a million and even double that. The perspectives in such neighborhoods have changed in our generation.

My impression is that the whole of Blacklick Valley has gone through a metamorphosis since I've moved away. Most of Blacklick Township now appears to me as a preferred neighborhood to live in, and the proliferation of beautiful spacious new homes on equally beautifully manicured lots seem to second that notion. Nanty Glo now seems lightyears away from the ugly, over-crowded, streets of often unshingled frame houses of the '40's. Though the economic "prospects" are much lower there than when the local industries were booming, the lifestyle seems to me much more amenable. And what is true for Nanty Glo seems to apply to Cambria County in general.

San Jose by most accounts is generally less amenable now than in the '50s (though now nearly a million in population, in 1950 the population of San Jose and that of Johnstown were about the same). Back then the Valley in which San Jose is central was called the "valley of the heart's content" and the blossom valley, not the Silicon Valley. The endless miles of blossoming orchards are long gone, replaced by housing and high tech industry "campuses." But like the Ghost Town Trail, there are some notable developed trails criss-crossing the modern valley, which provide much improved perspectives of the varied neighborhoods to those who are able to hit the trails by foot or on bicycle.

Last year San Jose received a new kind of development, a very upscale "center" of 40 acres, occupying what was three years ago an out-of-date Town and Country Shopping Center. Now it's Santana Row. a combination shopping and living district with many places to eat, free parking, free entertainment in the park-plazas in the center of the main boulevard, and ambience to spare. It's a cross between a Parisian neighborhood and a theme park, the closest thing I've seen in this part of California to Universal City Walk (adjacent to the original Universal Theme Park in Universal City, LA), except that the latter is all shopping and entertainment (not residential) and, far from having free parking, visitors pay $7 to get into its self-parking garages.

Living in a decidedly different part of San Jose than Santana Row, visiting it for dinner and a twilight free concert in the plaza is the cheapest getaway I can get. My sons and I were thinking about that on Saturday night while doing just that. People who move to Silicon Valley from back east to take six-figure-salaried high tech industry jobs, would have an entirely different experience of what San Jose is like than those who've lived here all their lives, like my sons, or more than half of theirs, as in my case.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

A pipeline to God

I had been teaching my three-year-old daughter, Caitlin, the Lord's Prayer. For several evenings at bedtime, she would repeat after me the lines from the prayer. Finally, she was ready to go solo. I listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word right up to the end of the prayer: "Lead us not into temptation," she prayed, "but deliver us some E-mail."

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewicz 

Thought for today

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.

— Winston Churchill
Sent by Trudy Myers 

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