Tag Archives: Centre Daily Times

Oh, what a storm we had

Greetings, readers. In central Pennsylvania this past Monday evening we had a one of the worst thunderstorms I’ve experienced in a long time. The clouds grew dark, the wind whipped up to past 50 miles an hour, and there was a torrential downpour. At its worst, the rain was coming down sideways. I was certainly glad that I was inside.

We had known about the coming storm all day and I caught many people throughout the morning checking out the weather apps on their smartphones to keep track of the impending storm. These folks wanted to get all their chores done and get home. I was with Traci at a doctor’s appointment and luckily, though it was windy, the rain waited until we got home.

Around 6pm the rains came. The power in my building flickered, went off for 30 seconds, and came back on. People in my building were lucky. Others around the area, such as Rebecca and Darren, not so much; they lost power for almost 3 hours. Some folks in the outlying areas had to wait until the next morning for their power to be restored, and in other areas, according to the Centre Daily Times, it might still be off until later today. Rebersburg, PA. got a F1 tornado.  Many trees and power lines blew down. A friend of mine who is a CATA bus driver told me that her daughter lost all the big trees in her back yard. I remember as a child how much I loved our big old trees at my house. I would have been devastated if a storm blew them all down. The bus driver also told me about her eerie ride home after work where all the businesses and street lights were dark where she lived. Years ago in a different power outage, I drove in the same conditions and it was strange. I had arrived at Denny’s just after the lights went out and I had to go back home without the aid of street and traffic lights; the intersections had been extremely dangerous.

After the rain the cooler temperatures rolled in and it is going to remain cool all week. Now I’m not complaining, but it is May. We should be in the 60s and 70, not in the upper 40 and mid 50s. This blogger is not very happy. But as I told the bus driver last evening, Mother Nature is fickle and can do anything she wants, we have no control over it.

Briefly, I saw a diagram on the Weather Channel depicting that the cool temperatures will be with us all week. There will a stalled low pressure system over our area because a high pressure system in the Atlantic ocean is not letting the weather system move off the East coast. Cool and rainy, not good unless you are a flower. Lol.

Switching gears, I’m taking a personal day tomorrow and Rebecca has agreed to post a From Rebecca entry for me, which I am sure will be a good one. Please look forward to that tomorrow. Take care, and until next week, happy reading.

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Well wishes to family of local construction worker

Greetings, readers. Something was on my mind this morning and I just had to share it. I found out yesterday that there was a power outage near where I live. The local Panera Bread, across the street, went dark for half an hour. I found out later that the loss of power was caused by an unfortunate accident down the street.

A construction worker at a site nearby was electrocuted. From what we can learn in today’s local newspaper, the Centre Daily Times, he did survive. If this is incorrect, I will update this entry. The power had to turn off the power to extricate the man from the building site. He was life-flighted to a hospital.

When I learned of the severity of the situation, I admit it really distressed me. I was not certain rather that person had been killed or just seriously injured. I started to think what it would have been like if it was one of my relatives or even me. It is such a violent thing to go through and I can only imagine the long-term effects that a body would suffer after such an accident.

Again, my thoughts are with the family. If any of my local blog or Facebook readers know the family, please do let them know I am keeping them in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Until tomorrow, take care and be well, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Libraries and Schlow Library

Joe is having dental work today, so you are hearing from me. He may be in some pain today and tomorrow, so the next blog post might be next week.

Libraries have been on my mind lately. I visit my local library, Schlow Centre Region Library, three times a week, and I love it. I use their public computers to be on the internet. I borrow two or three books, and three to four DVDs, from the library every week. I am a regular user. I know a lot of the staff by sight, and they are all nice, patient, and helpful. Someday I hope to have enough extra money to donate to the library that gives me so much.

Libraries have been in my thoughts lately because of two recent news items. The Centre Daily Times issue on September 27, 2013 reported that the East Penn Valley Branch Library in Millheim, Pennsylvania would close the following week, due to budget cuts in the county library system of which they were a part. I feel bad about any library closing, although in this case it is possible there will be a good ending. The community might open it up again on their own after the materials and resources from the library were donated to the Friends of the East Penn Valley Branch Library. And on September 17, 2013, the CDT reported that Schlow Centre Region Library may have to close for a week next year, to off-set money lost from state aid.

Libraries do so much for people. They are sources of information on government agencies, how technologies work, and they have manuals, non-fiction works, plus entertainment materials too. Often the local history archives for the area are in a reference section. They can provide a meeting place for organizations, and often put on events of interest, in a community room. The staff is usually able to assist people in finding information, on databases and websites, as well as navigate through the library system. They have newspapers and magazines available to read on-site, which may be especially helpful to someone looking for a job who cannot afford to buy a newspaper every day. I don’t know about other libraries, but I know that Schlow has made free downloads of ebooks available to patrons, something that costs the library a bite out of their budget for each e-book copy. On top of all that, they provide the latest books by popular authors, sometimes with multiple copies for books with long waiting lists, so that more people can read them sooner. They provide older books too, including the classics. Many people discover authors new to them in the stacks. The libraries have photocopier machines at either the same prices or cheaper than other places. They might also have printing available from the public computers, perhaps with a small fee to off-set the paper and ink costs. A community without a library within an easy visiting distance is poor in ways beyond money.

I remember going to Schlow library when I was a kid in the 1970s. It was called the Schlow Memorial Library then, in honor of the library’s founder, Charles Schlow and his wife Bella S. Schlow. It was, and still is, at the corner of Allen Street and Beaver Avenue. I loved being able to take out any of the books in the children’s section. At that time, there must have been a certain kind of cover for children’s library books, with a textured cover, a certain font, and muted colors, because whenever I hold a book like that now it takes me back to happy memories of books in my childhood. The children’s books were in the room downstairs, and stairs and an elevator led up to the room upstairs with the adult collection. I think there was a check out counter on each floor, or the checkout was downstairs in the lobby outside the children’s collection room. I am just not sure now.

When I was older, I became familiar with the adult collection too. The adult section had the reference books that no one could take out, photocopiers, (computers in the 80s and 90s), maps, records (later with tapes and CDs), and, in the back of the room, the fiction books. The non-fiction section was in a loft area over the fiction section, reached by climbing stairs. If you couldn’t get up the stairs, a librarian was available to get your selection for you. The children section and the adult section each had their own card catalogue, with cards for each book in long trays; a patron would write down the location information on paper provided. Now, of course, the catalogue is on computers.

Schlow went through a couple of renovations in the 70s and 80s. Then sometime before 2004, it was decided to rebuild the building from scratch. As I recall, a long fundraising project raised the funds they needed before they put the plans in motion. In 2004 the library materials and operations were moved to the old borough municipal building while the library building was torn down and the new building built. In 2005 the new library building opened, with the name Schlow Centre Region Library. The children’s collection in still downstairs, with a room with computers and a collection of video games, as well as the books and puzzles. The first floor also holds the circulation desk. The upstairs is the adult collection, non-fiction on the same floor as the fiction section and other resources. If you want to read more about the history of Schlow library go their website at schlowlibrary.org or click this link to their history page on their website. [Oops. The history page link doesn’t go there anymore. It does go to the website, if you want to click it anyway. – 4/24/15]

It all looks different from when I was a kid, but I still get the same warm feeling of home inside the walls.

Chris Rosenblum CDT article about my memorial lip sync show

Greetings, readers. This is the write up by Mr. Chris Rosenblum of the Centre Daily Times newspaper concerning my memorial show for my late friend Erin Beish. It was an incredibly enjoyable experience and most rewarding. I’m certain that she would have been pleased. Erin always wanted to see KISS but it just wasn’t to be.

This was the first time ever in my lip syncing air guitar “career” that I went all the way by including make-up and black fingernail polish. What follows is the reporter’s actual article from the on-line late Saturday night CDT. What is included is the two-minute video promo of me talking. The photos did not transfer to this blog entry, so you will have to follow the links to see the work of Nabil K. Mark.

Update: 10/11/13 – We just discovered today that these links to the CDT pages do not go to the video or article. Update: 8/26/16 – We removed the links to the CDT pages since they did not go to the content anymore.

Chris Rosenblum | Tribute sealed with a little Kiss

Published: June 15, 2013/

By Chris Rosenblum —crosenbl@centredaily.com

Joe Kockelmans rocked out, his invisible guitar slung low on his hips.

Black and white makeup covered his face like the members of his favorite band, Kiss. His fingernails shone black, the same color of his Kiss T-shirt.

No longer was he a mild-mannered 48-year-old writer.

He was Ace Frehley, lead guitarist, slamming out the solo to “I Stole Your Love” in the community room of the Arnold Addison Court apartment building in State College.

He was a grieving friend remembering a lost soulmate.

He was the Mimic.

That’s his alter ego, his stage persona for the air guitar, lip-syncing performances he’s been doing since childhood. He loves rock, but mild cerebral palsy keeps him from playing real guitars and drums.

For his latest show, he wore a black M on his face, Kiss-style, not for himself.

He did it for Erin.

Erin Beish, an Arnold Addison Court neighbor of his, died in May from cancer at only 34. Also a diehard Kiss fan, she always wanted to see a concert but never had the chance.

Kockelmans, in her memory, filled in the best he could.

“I’m going to give her spirit a show that she would be proud of,” he said the day before his performance.

He chose 18 songs for two sets and downloaded them to his laptop. Studying Kiss concert videos, he picked up mannerisms of original members Frehley, bassist Gene Simmons, rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley and drummer Peter Criss, as well as musicians from later lineups.

In a backroom of Panera Bread downtown, his second home, he rehearsed for weeks. He shaved off his beard.

On the big day, a friend at a salon painted his face. About a dozen friends from the building gathered in the community room. Kockelmans arranged his laptop and two tiny speakers on a table in front.

Then it was showtime.

His audience wasn’t treated to spurting blood or pyrotechnics — just good, clean, rock ’n’ roll theatrics.

Singing sometimes, lip-syncing other tunes, the Mimic furiously strummed as he shifted from Frehley to Stanley in midsong. He shook his shoulders and head, strutted, nodded, grimaced and glared. One minute, he pointed skyward and then the next, he wagged a finger at his audience or, after slashing power chords, raised his fist.

During some numbers, he switched to drums, laying down a crunching back beat, rolling fills and riding a cymbal.

He even showed some tongue, a Kiss staple.

Of course, no concert would be complete without song introductions.

“Some people like to have a little wine. Some people like to have a little beer,” the Mimic said, playing to the arena. “Some people like a little something harder. And some people like a little …”

And he kicked into “Cold Gin.”

Before “Nothin’ to Lose,” he offered a dedication.

“Some of these songs I chose just because I like them. Some of them are just great Kiss songs,” he said before explaining his next selection.

“Because to me, it signified what Erin had to go through to fight her cancer. She had everything to gain, and she just put up one hell of a fight.”

To applause, he added: “She had everything to gain … and nothing to lose.”

Two more songs honored his friend directly.

Opening his second set, the Mimic sat and gently sung his only non-Kiss song, “Yesterday.” Six months before to the day, he had rehearsed it in front of her for a Beatles show he and friends were doing.

“Why she had to go, I don’t know,” he sang.

Then came the classic “Beth,” only with a twist.

“Sister, sweetheart, this is for you,” he said. “It’s called ‘Erin’ today. If they want to sue me, go ahead.”

Rock ’n’ roll is hard work, and the Mimic needed a few breathers. During one, a boy in the audience came up, curious about the middle-aged guy in makeup. Like a pro, the Mimic gave him a few minutes.

“I’m Joe — usually,” he said. “Today, I’m the Mimic. I know I can’t sing. I know I’m all over the place, but, hey, I’m trying.”

Toward the end, the tribute began taking its toll. His solos grew less frenetic. He stalked the stage more slowly.

But he rallied for the anthem “Rock ’n’ Roll All Night,” waving his arms and urging his audience, in true arena fashion, to sing the chorus.

After a rousing “I Love It Loud,” he closed the performance with the showstopper “Detroit Rock City.”

He pulled out all the stops: a hip-shaking, head-tilting, tongue-extending song from the heart to a fan dearly missed.

“We love you, Erin,” the Mimic sang.

He windmilled a chord.

“Thank you so much, Addison Court,” he said.

With a last resounding strum and the time-honored two-fingered rock salute, he said goodnight to State College.

“Thank you.”

Chris Rosenblum can be reached at 231-4620. Follow him on Twitter@CRosenblumNews.

Read more here: http://www.centredaily.com/2013/06/15/3654857/chris-rosenblum-tribute-sealed.html#storylink=cpy

Yes, an actual blog post from Joe

Greetings, readers. While I wait for permission from a reporter who works for our local paper to get back to me with permission to post his article about me, we are doing this entry in case we don’t hear back from him today. I know it has been forever since I put up a new post and I want to get back in touch with my readers.

First off, we’ve had multiple technology grrr days regarding the new book. The good news is those seem to be solved. Also, with the performance and the hours of practice for it over with, we can get back to a routine that is more normal.

State College is in the throes of its second mini heat wave of the summer with temperatures, starting tomorrow, forecast in the mid-80s. Well, I suppose that this being June 21st we are now indeed in summertime. I say thumbs up to the warmer weather.

Rebecca has done a wonderful job, in not only solving the technical difficulties in the book, but also in putting in the material in the formatted blank with her usual speed and efficiency. I am still hoping for a mid-to-late July release date, but whether I will have enough time to order books to take to Maine in August is debatable. Right now that is the least of my worries. Three new books in three years? Yeah, I’m loving it.

Well, we will put this blog entry up and if I hear back from the reporter with the go ahead I shall publish that one as well. As always, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Quick post about Joe

Joe gave a performance today, Friday June 14th, in tribute to his friend Erin who passed away earlier this year from cancer. He did some lip-sync, some singing, air guitar, and air drums to KISS songs (and one Beatles song) in the community room of the Arnold Addison court building. He did a great job and it was a fantastic show. The local newspaper, the Centre Daily Times, covered the show and will put the human interest story in this Sunday’s paper, probably the front page.

He had to do a lot to get ready for it, so he was not able to blog this week. We also had a couple of technology glitches to work on, so that took time too. We will get back to regular blogging next week.

Have a great weekend. Thanks.

The absurdity of State Patty’s Day

I’ve been living in Central Pennsylvania all my life. As I was growing up, State College was a relatively small college community which seemed to grow every year. As Penn State University offered more and more curricula, an increase of students came to Happy Valley.

Penn State has always been a huge football school, and downtown bar activity on football weekends is loud and boisterous. I’ve been living downtown for six years and have come to appreciate the serenity of where I used to live much more.

State Patty’s Day, as it is known, is a “holiday” tradition begun six years ago. As a writer, I love to observe people. I choose that day to walk downtown to various coffee shops, looking at all the young college students as they bar hop. Bar hopping, as I understand it, is when a group of college kids band together wearing their green State Patty’s Day attire and romp around downtown from bar to bar starting at 9 or 10 in the morning.

Personal point number one: Unless I’m mistaken, the only students of legal drinking age would be seniors, age 21. This makes me question why police in this town are even allowing this holiday to happen. It seems rather obvious that underage drinking is occurring.

Personal point number two: The fact that the bars open in the morning gives the students the rare opportunity to get an early start at inebriation. The only thing I like about that is that by 5:00 in the afternoon everyone is so plastered, they are all either at private parties or at home sleeping it off already. Downtown is usually as quiet as a ghost town.

Will State Patty’s Day ever be banned completely? Personally I doubt it. Unfortunately it is good for the economy. I know that sounds silly to say, but bars and pubs are businesses, too.

Last year I heard that students from other schools came to join in on the annual party day. It seems to get bigger and bigger every year. This frightens me. Last time I checked, going to school meant getting an education, not pickling their livers. I can’t quite recall the source, but I heard six months ago that Penn State University is now one of the top three party schools. I want Penn State to be proud of their academics, not their drinking prowess.

Personal point number three: Steps are being taken this year to curb the event and I applaud it. According to the Centre Daily Times article of February 5th, 2012, which you can read by following the link on the newspaper name  (this link no longer works), there were over 200 arrests of various charges on this day last year alone. I would surmise that the number goes up every year, though I cannot be certain. I applaud the Interfraternity Council, or IFC, for trying to deflect themselves away from the negative attention that this so-called holiday brings.

Whether or not State Patty’s Day will truly every die is debatable. The more students who abstain from the activity and voice their objections against it, the better off State College shall be. As for the bars that participate, what did you do before 2007? State College, Pennsylvania, before State Patty’s Day, was a happy thriving community. We would be able to do just fine without it.

For my next blog post, I shall be writing about the new United State Football league. Yes … it is scheduled to make a comeback. Until then, take care and have a good day.