Rules of the Road

The purpose of this blog is to share with you my thoughts on issues pertaining to Oil City and Venango County and to foster discussion.

However, that requires some basic rules. Personal attacks, inappropriate language and venom-filled postings will not be tolerated. Comments will be screened, and if necessary edited, before posting.

Disagreement and a variety of opinions are encouraged, but I ask that it always be in a respectful, positive manner. So fire away, but do so cleanly

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cleanin Up Feels Good

My son Noel and I spent Saturday morning with seven other people working our buns off.

It felt good.

We were participating in the PA CleanWays effort to clean up some roadside dumps along Deep Hollow and Aires Hill roads in Cranberry Township.

PA Cleanways is a nonprofit agency that attacks the problem of illegal dumping and littering across the state through cleanup of sites, education and adoption of problem areas. It works through local chapters. Venango County’s chapter recently reactivated thanks to Erik Johnson who took on the role of county chair.

Johnson of Franklin works in the Venango County Planning Commission and is the county’s solid waste and recycling coordinator. I met him for the first time earlier in the week at a planning meeting.

Another member of the work crew that I knew was Susan Hileman. The new folks I met were Ray Fry, Brandy and James Rhinebolt, a young couple from Oil City, Susan Carmichael from PA CleanWays home office in Greensburg and Paul a Cranberry Township employee whose last name I did not get.

It was quite amazing how much our small group was able to accomplish and is testament to what local citizens can do when they work together.

Of course, examples of that are common in Venango-land. We see it often, and it is one of our strengths.

Conversely, there is something of a weird dichotomy that seems to make it difficult for us to work together as effectively as we could on a municipal or government level. To me, that is one of our weaknesses. At least that’s my take.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

All things Ning -- New ways of staying informed

This might be an example of teaching an old dog new tricks, I being the old dog.

The Internet has opened up so many more possibilities for keeping the public informed and our citizenry involved. My hope is that this blog is one example of that, but there are many more ways and I’m just learning about them.

Many of you know that Oil City is embarking on a Main Street Program. Two members of the Steering Committee, Susan Williams and Trenton Moulin, decided we needed to find a way to have a Web presence where everyone could be kept informed and even participate if they so desired. Next thing I know, Susan and Trenton are Ning Masters, knowing all things Ning.

I had never heard of Ning before, but it is sort of along the lines of a social networking site (i.e. Facebook or MySpace) but far better suited for the intended purpose.

So, to keep up with the goings on of the Main Street Program go to:

And no more that I learn of Ning, I find out that the South Side Association now has a Web site:

Such Web sites and networking sites are a valuable addition to keeping up with important events in our community. If you know of a community group with a Web site or networking presence, please post them up. I hope we can develop a lengthy list here and that people will visit them and become involved.