Local Commentaries

Far from home

You know, I have a pretty interesting job here at the Times Observer. As night editor, I get to observe the goings-on quietly from behind a computer screen. Although my name may not appear as often as the journalistic powerhouses of Brian Ferry, Stacey Gross, Josh Cotton or ...

National Cheese Month

Nearly everyone I know loves cheese! Often, we have cheese and crackers at church for our snack along with some fruit. It is also something that I frequently serve to guests as well. I remember my husband’s aunt and uncle who visited at his parents’ home. They would always spend at ...

Time to hit the road

This new life status called retirement has its perks. Oh boy, the freedom – who knew? Aside from not setting the alarm or scrambling for dinner after a day at the office, it’s the weekday availability that I am discovering – the ability to go anywhere in the middle of the week. Wow. ...

By the time I returned…

In a strict sense of the word, our cabin on the river is not “inhabited” for much of the year ... basically from the time the leaves are clear of the trees and the woods start to ring with gunshots until the early spring when the trees are again green with leaves. But in a looser sense of ...

Too much can kill; the scourge of antibiotic excess

The discovery of antibiotics in the 20th century represents a pivotal moment in human history. Prior to this, the doctor could only sit at the bedside, with a look of concern, prescribe a malodorous poultice, and dab something on the forehead to “break” the fever. None of this did any ...

Silver lining

As the baseball season was ending for this Yankees fan, I found myself accepting that 2018 wasn’t going to bring New York its 28th World Series championship. Down 4-1 at the seventh-inning stretch, I was bumming pretty hard. The previous night, the Yankees were smoked 16-1, and this was ...

Beautiful shadow

There were two very large trees on our 50-foot-wide lot bordering the Allegheny River when we acquired the property some 25 years ago. There is just one now. The tree that went down was a very large oak, similar to those that line the river in small plains that are covered with rich soil ...

Name it to tame it

Mental health. Physical health. We hear these words a lot. We know what physical health is. We hear how to take care of ourselves physically such as eating well & exercising. Do you know how to take care of your mental health? Mental health is the well being of yourself inwardly, ...

Nothing roundabout about it

What’s in a name? I couldn’t have picked a better time to move back to Warren County than at the dawn of “Roundaboutgate.” Not only am I impressed with the positive changes that have been made in my hometown for over 20 years, but I’m also impressed that we are continuing to ...

‘Great day’ for Warren General and community

On Monday, September 24, Warren General Hospital entered into partnership with Allegheny Health Network, LECOM Health and Highmark Health. The agreement provides funding to improve services and advance medical care in our community. It was agreed by our new Partners and our Hospital Board of ...

Flathead catfish still hitting down-river

Mid-September was about as late as we have fished for flathead catfish in Pennsylvania, so there was a fair amount of curiosity attached to this fishing trip. Our destination, on the Allegheny River at Kennerdell. Herb Wagner said we were getting started too late. He would have preferred ...

Potato Head

When you don’t have the expertise to fall back on, sometimes you have to cheat. No, wait. That was in my younger days and before I had children who might read about me cheating in the newspaper. ... sometimes you have to work harder and/or smarter. Three years ago, Jim Goodling and/or ...

It’s Halloween (month)

Happy first weekend of Halloween, y’all! You start talking about Christmas before this month is over I will knock that gingerbread latte right outta your hand, Valerie. You know I’ll do it. This is our time. The weirdos and wackos, the delinquents and devils and droogs. The first day ...

Autumn is beautiful

Autumn arrived last weekend. I look forward to this beautiful season each year. Actually, I look forward to the change of all of the seasons. We live in a wonderful area. I have talked to a lot of people who have gone through this area commenting on its beauty. When I was working with ...

Survey me not

I am occasionally annoyed at how frequently my inbox contains a survey. No, that’s not completely true. I am often hacked off at these relentless idiots. I know they need marketing feedback to run their business, but daily? Enuf already. Everybody wants my opinion. I never realized ...

Discover YOUR superpowers

With superheroes dominating worldwide box offices, I get a kick out of the irony— that as a young comic-book fan growing up in Warren County, I was lucky to have two or three friends with that shared interest. Now, it seems pretty much everyone has seen or at least gets the gist of, many ...

Landscape stories

When I drive back and forth to my parent’s house in North East, I pass an old homestead on the ridge. Now, all that remains are old trees, roughly in the shape of a square. When I was growing up there, a house and barn were part of the footprint. Now the trees stand stoically, alone, no ...

Hard to believe we’re into fall

October is getting almost too close to avoid this September being one of the warmest on record for Northwest Pennsylvania. Yet we did have a fall cool-off. Unfortunately, it was a cool-off from the 90s. The temperature did dip into the low 50s one night while sitting in the backyard by the ...

Going home

Last weekend I went back to my hometown for a class reunion. Our class decided to have a seventy-fifth birthday reunion. It was so much fun. Our foreign exchange student from the Netherlands came back for the first time since we graduated. That meant we had not seen each other for ...

The Tooth Fairy fiasco

“Mommy, she didn’t come.” It was in the cool gray light of early morning on Tuesday that those words jolted me out of a particularly deep sleep. The sleep was particularly deep because it was fueled by my having ingested a nice strong dose of the sedative/hypnotic benzodiazepine Halcion ...