Thursday, June 28, 2012

Happy Blogiversary!

Several of our NEPA Bloggers have celebrated significant Blogiversaries lately and I thought it would be fun to do a post and call attention to their accomplishments.  We often find that we are the kiss of death in NEPA Blogging.  Bloggers will delete their blog or stop posting right after we add them to our blog roll.  Maybe its because we have drawn attention to their blog, or maybe the blog author simply got bored with it, we can never be sure.  Harold, Gort and I have seen many a blog come and go over the years.  Which is why I think keeping a blog around for a year or longer, shows dedication and should be celebrated.

Congratulations!  We hope you keep blogging for many more years to come.

 (Check out the awesome cake I baked for you all.
Yes, that's really me.)

NEPA Blogs founder and co-admin Harold recently celebrated his blog's 8th anniversary, we celebrated his milestone by making him the PA Live! Blog of the Week on Tuesday, May 15th.  You can read more about it in his post here:

NEPA Blogs co-admin Gort42 celebrated 7 years of blogging at the end of April.  In the past, he's had parties for these occasions, but this year, we had BlogFest right before said anniversary.  The Blogfather had a sappy post about it (kidding).  Gort also took the time to thank all of his supporters and friends in his post:

Speaking of the Blogfather, I had to do my homework to find out when Mark started blogging.  I learned by reading his first post at the new blog "Circumlocution for Dummies" that he first started blogging at Wilkes-Barre Online back in December of 2000.  That officially makes his blog the oldest of the bunch -- 11!

Andy Palumbo, the bad photography expert and serial WNEP blogger has been blogging for 7 years.  He celebrated this milestone back in November of 2011 and is slowly working his way up to year 8.  Congrats!  Bonus points awarded for posting religiously every single day.

I just celebrated my 7th year of blogging on and off, across several platforms and nearly lost my job for it.  It's been a crazy fun and interesting ride that I hope will continue (as time allows!)

NEPA Blogs will be turning 7 years old on January 13th.  We're not getting older, we're getting better!

Shannon Nelson, who has appeared recently on our Blog of the Week segment on PA Live! told us on Facebook that she will be celebrating her 7th anniversary of blogging in October of this year.  Congrats Shannon, you make it look effortless!

Maybe we're amazed that Yonki's blog turned 6 years old in May.  Has it really been that long?  It seems like he just started that thing up yesterday!

Two of our newer added bloggers informed me of their blog's first birthday, they are:

- Kara Zoeller of Saving by Design (and also weekly Citizens' Voice columnist)
- Morgan Harding of Cashmere & Cowboy Boots

Congrats on your labors of love ladies!


Have you recently celebrated a blogiversary and we missed you in this post?  We're sorry!  Let us know in the comments!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

About the header image: June 27, 2012

This week's header image is by Guerrilla Historian and Urban Archaeologist Cheri Sundra, and is a view of some of the graffiti inside one of the structures at the abandoned Concrete City in Nanticoke.

Concrete City was once a small company town, a cluster of family residences, but was abandoned many years ago. Afterwards it was used as a training facility for local firefighters.  Even after all these years of abandonment, exposure to the elements, and abuse, the structures are still solidly standing. Now that local firefighters have a dedicated training facility, the old structures of Concrete City have become a playground for paintball enthusiasts - and a canvas for graffiti artists from all over the world.

The art there is inherently transient: the paintings present one week may be vandalized or painted over the next. I recently visited the place for the first time, and realized two things: you should always have your camera with you, and if you go to Concrete City, you should be prepared to deal with ticks.

Concrete City is one of the hidden treasures on Northeastern Pennsylvania that are appreciated by people from outside this area more than by lifetime residents. Cheri Sundra and people like her are doing a great job bringing these places to the attention of the rest of us.If you know of any other hidden treasure of NEPA that you'd like to see featured in our header, take a photo and send it to us at .

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

PA Live! Blog of the Week: Cool Blue Studio

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is local artist Jenn Danza's Cool Blue Studio (

Jenn Danza is a Nanticoke-based artist who specializes in meticulously painting horse figurines. Her work is detailed on a stunningly small scale, as demonstrated in this photo essay on the stages of painting a horse's hooves. Many of her horse figurines are painted on a commission basis - she is painting them to order for paying customers!

Jenn also paints extensively in watercolors. Often she paints found natural objects - a bird's egg, some flowers, even objects in states of decay that others might not find beautiful, but that Jenn transforms into works of art through her skill. She has a signature series of paintings of two little mice who frolic, sleep, get drunk - and even get carried off to be a bird's dinner. Many of these images are built around found objects - including fortunes from fortune cookies! Some of these paintings are available for purchase. If she has time, Jenn will even take commissions - just in case you found the absolutely perfect fortune that you want to see built into a work of art!

Jenn is a fan of found objects, transforming castoff pieces of furniture into works of art. And she has a special affinity for discovering hearts everywhere - heart-shaped stones, heart-shaped stains, even a marking on a green-eyed jumping spider shaped like a tiny heart!

Jenn Danza is one of the many amazingly talented and creative people who call Northeastern Pennsylvania home. In her Cool Blue Studio blog she shares some of that creative process with us. Read it daily, and see what she has to show us!

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Saturday, June 23, 2012


As you are aware from the previous post, last night was the NEPA BlogCon Launch Party.  I'm sure there will be a lot of photos flying around as soon as everyone wakes up (Pssssst - WHY AM I THE ONLY ONE AWAKE AT THIS HOUR?).  A good time was had by all who attended, and we thank everyone for coming out and showing their support of NEPA's first ever blogging and social media conference.

To ramp up excitement for our event, Darling Stewie worked with Jason Valenti who runs the blog "PwnVFaiL" to create a social competition relevant to the conference.  If you did not have an opportunity to attend, you did not get to find out who won the #BATTLE4THEINTERWEBZ on Twitter.

What exactly is PwnVFaiL?  PwnVFaiL is a social gaming space.  It's a social competition between two things played in real-time, using Twitter.  Its an extremely different and interesting take on blogging AND gaming.  Our competition for the #BATTLE4THEINTERWEBZ" pitted several popular Internet memes against each other in a March Madness type of bracket setup until there was one winner left.  As it would turn out, "Scumbag Steve" conceded to Nyan Cat in the final round.

Justin Vacula accurately predicted the winner of this Internet showdown, and won some fabulous prizes, including this hat:

You can also find PwnVFaiL updates on Twitter (@PwnVFail) and Facebook.

Thanks again everyone for coming out!  Look for more exciting updates about NEPA BlogCon in the coming months. 


Friday, June 22, 2012

NEPA BlogCon Launch Party is TONIGHT!

The Squirrel Girls of the Fearsome Foursome of NEPA BlogCon would like to invite you to their website launch party this evening from 5-7pm at the River Grille in Plains.  Directions and a menu can be found by visiting  RSVP on the Facebook event page here.

Disclaimer: This event is to get people pumped up for the actual BlogCon but this event is not the BlogCon itself :)

We’re ready to launch our website (*ahem* and give one of those super cool press releases about our event! Come get a drink and enjoy free appetizers, door prizes, and cool people!

The Launch Party is a free event but there is a suggested $5 donation. All proceeds benefit 2 local charities (The Arc of Luzerne County and the NEPA Veterans Multicare Alliance). But you don’t have to pay it! And we won’t make you feel guilty if you don’t!

Come socialize with the Fearsome Foursome, Michelle, Mandy, Karla and Leslie.

(Click above image for bigger pop-out version)

NEPA BlogCon is a day long conference held on September 29th at LCCC that’s so much more than your average “Hey, let’s talk about blogging,” event. If you’re looking to learn the REAL scoop behind what makes the blogosphere the place to be nowadays, then this is the event for you. Besides offering you a chance to network with your fellow post slingers, NEPA BlogCon will include panels and sessions related to blogging and Internet things. Don’t worry if you’re not old hat – NEPA BlogCon is for bloggers of all walks of CMS. Not a blogger? This may be the perfect event to get your start with.

We hope that we'll see you tonight!  


Night & Day: Parenting in shifts

Night & Day: Parenting in shifts is the Tumblr blog of journalists Steph & Mike Sadowski.  This is not your average "mommy blog", folks (not that there's anything wrong with that).  They are a Mom and Dad on a deadline....a deadline to two little girls.

From the about:  We're a pair of journalists raising two little girls. Dad works days as a reporter; Mom works nights as an editor. We're in a constant relay race against tight deadlines.

You can also follow the Sadowski family adventure on Twitter @sadowskifamily.

One other exciting sidebar to this blog post....

A few weeks ago Mike left a message in our NEPA Bloggers Facebook group:  "There aren't many places that would appreciate this, but just thought I'd pass this along that, yes, there are awards for bloggers.  This is from the Pennsylvania Press Managing Editors, who awarded the Poconos blog "PopRox" as best blog in its circulation category in the state Woo hoo!"  

You can read more about the award winners here:   (Several CV and TL writers received awards as well!) 

Congrats to Mike!  Keep on blogging!


Old Forge Tribune

via the Blogfather Since the repeated misdeeds at the hands of law enforcement officials in Old Forge exploded into the news of late, this new site might be worth checking in on.


 Written by Robert Hughes

  I root out corruption....Started online news source to let people know what's going on.....

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

About the header image: June 20, 2012

This week's header image is another one by Shivaun O'Donnell of the blog Sundays With Shivstopher.  It is photo of people enjoying Chalk Fest at the Wilkes-Barre Riverfront.  Chalk Fest is one of the many family oriented events that the Riverfront hosts throughout the year.  We decided to run with this particular image this week due to the upcoming Wyoming Valley River Fest event.

River Fest is running from June 22-24th.  More info about the event (including a list of activities, artists and musicians) can be found by visiting

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our First Contest/Giveaway

McDonalds of Northeastern PA (@MCDNEPA on Twitter) has graciously donated some coupons to NEPA Blogs to give away to our loyal blog readers.  The coupons are for the McDonalds cool and delicious new summer drink...the Cherry Berry Chiller.  I decided to try our hand at doing a contest/giveway.  We have never done this before, so this is a first.  Bare with us!

After racking our brains for a few days, your friendly NEPA Blogs co-admins decided that we would create some clues for an online scavenger hunt of sorts....

All of the scavenger hunt clues have to do with NEPA Blogs.  There will be five (5) questions (revealed below) and the first three (3) participants that email the correct answers to all five (5) questions will receive five coupons for the Cherry Berry Chillers in their snail mailbox.  The coupons expire on 8/31/12.  If you play your cards right, you can have yummy treat on your way home from work every afternoon.
Here are the scavenger hunt questions.  I hope you have been paying attention (pssst, even if you haven't the answers can be found by looking around our blog a bit)!  Think you know the answers?  Email your responses to 


1. When was the first post on NEPA Blogs?

2. What's the Twitter address for NEPA Blogs?

3. You can find NEPA Blogs at What's the shortcut address for NEPA Blogs? (Hint: it's mentioned every Tuesday on PA Live!)

4. When was the first NEPA Blogs Blog of the Week on WBRE's PA Live!, and what was it?

5. In March of 2012, what local weekly published a cover story on NEPA Blogs and Blog Fest?

All winners will be notified via email and announced on the blog.  The contest will go on as long as it has to, until we have our three winners!

UPDATE 06/22/12:  We have our first winner!  Justin Vacula of the NEPA Freethought Society blog correctly guessed our five questions.  We still have 2 more sets of coupons to giveaway and you don't have to be a blogger to enter!  Get your responses in! 

Blog of the Week will return Tuesday, June 26

Our Blog of the Week feature continues to be on hiatus this week, but we've resolved our scheduling issues and will be back on the air Tuesday, June 26 on WBRE's PA Live!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blog lists

A few months ago we ran into a problem with the updating blog lists along the right-hand side of the blog. The lists would lock up after a certain number of entries - how many seemed to vary - and after that you would no be able to add a new entry without removing an existing one.

So I created a second list. This was an imperfect solution: what we wound up with was two lists where the most recent posts would rise to the top. The problem was, the most recent post on list 2 would come after the oldest post on list 1.

Today I discovered that this limit seems to have gone away. I found I could add new blogs to the old list without locking up. So I began the tedious task of transferring blogs from list 2 to list 1.

I didn't run into the locking-up issue again. But what I did notice was that after a certain number of blogs had been added to the list, the list would begin mangling  blog feeds - both for newly-added and some currently-listed blogs.

So I went to plan B. List 1 would contain only the most recently updated blogs. List 2 would contain blogs whose most recent post was two months or more ago. A third list, "Non-Updating Blogs," would include all the blogs that had not been updated in a year or more.

It's still an imperfect solution. Blogs from list 2 could go to list 1 if  they updated; on the other hand, non-updating blogs from list 2 could fall off and onto the non-updating list. Even blogs from the non-updating list could jump onto list 1 with a single post. Also, newly listed blogs would go to list 1 by default, but might be moved to list 2 or even the non-updating list. And eventually list 1 will "fill up" again, unless the problem is resolved.

As of this writing list 1 contains 240 blogs, all updated between eleven minutes and one month ago (give or take a few days.) List 2 contains 88 blogs updated anywhere from two to eleven months ago, and 104 blogs count as "non-updating" for having not updated in over a year.

These bugs and limitations are a major part of the decision to look into other platforms to host NEPA Blogs. Michelle is actively exploring these options, while I will continue to try to resolve the problems with the current platform.

UPDATE: I think I'll follow these rules:

1. New blogs will be put onto list 1 provisionally, even if their last update was more than two months ago.
2. Blogs from lists 2 and 3 will be promoted to list 1 as soon as an update is noticed. (This already happened today.)
3. Blogs from list 1 whose last update was more than two months ago will be moved to list 2 on a monthly basis (more or less). (Two blogs that were showing a last update of "one month ago" yesterday just crossed the two month threshold today. I'm not going to shuffle them on a daily basis.)
4. Blogs from list 2 whose last update was more than a year ago will be moved onto the "non-updating blogs" list on a monthly basis.

Remember: the best way to have your blog seen is to update it frequently!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thelibrarywordfountain's blog

Here's another blog I found on the Scranton Zine Festival's list of participating zinesters. (Turns out Michelle had found out about it via different channels shortly before me!)

Thelibrarywordfountain's blog

From their "About" page:

Word Fountain is a cut-and-paste Zine originating from some creative minds within the Osterhout Free Library. Word Fountain was born in 2009 and has since expanded.

Rachael Goetzke
Iris Johnston
Ed Lupico

As of this writing, the Word Fountain zine is still accepting submissions for a special Hurricane Agnes edition. But hurry - cut-off date for submissions is the anniversary of the Flood of '72 - June 22nd! See here for more details.

Edit by Michelle on 07/31/12:  I found that the deadline for this submission has been extended via the 570Writers blog.  

You have until August 8 to get your submissions in for the Agnes/Irene flood issue of Word Fountain. From the Word Fountain post: “We hope to collect donations for this issue to create a special fund for flood victims. We are also looking for sponsors for this special project.”

See the details here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

About the header image: June 13, 2012

This week's header image is another one by Trish Hartman. It's a sunset seen from Montage Mountain. Our area is sometimes gifted with spectacular sunrises and sunsets, and Montage Mountain is a great place to see them!

If you have any spectacular views of Northeastern Pennsylvania that you'd like to see featured as our weekly header, drop us a line at!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Scheduling conflict: No Blog of the Week this week

Due to some scheduling issues, our Blog of the Week segment will not run today on WBRE's PA Live! This will be the first time we've missed a week since the show started in September of last year. Our apologies to the blogger scheduled to be featured this week. We plan to be back and on the air next week!

Anthony Antonello

LuLac tells us that Tony is the son of a friend of his from Pittston.

From his about page:

Following six years in the military, and much time as a medic and firefighter, Anthony Antonello has witnessed the ups and downs in life. From spending time fighting for the United States Military, to the everyday horror covered on the local news, Antonello was there, witnessing events most only see from the comfort of their homes on a TV screen.
Not allowing those images to simply absorb in the noise of main-stream media, there was only one thing left to do for the man from Northeastern Pennsylvania – become politically active. Antonello now travels the country, and covers stories and events showing people first hand what the mainstream media refuse to show, asking questions mainstream media refuse to ask and using whatever means possible to get people thinking.

Anthony Antonello

I watched his video of his pursuit of Nancy Pelosi in Scranton  on YouTube.   It was herky jerky and she ignored him. The Capitol Police warned him to back off because they thought he was stalking her. The Yonk told him to wear a tie next time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Two by Debbie Dabble

By way of a comment she left on a recent post, here are two blogs by a NEPA crafter and bon vivant who goes by the name Debbie Dabble:


A Debbie-Dabble Christmas

From her about page:

I am an R.N. by profession and have worked 30 years on night shift in a hospital based Physical Medicine( REHAB) unit. I am married to a great guy for 33 years and have 2 sons who are out on their own but live right down the road so we are finally empty nesters!!! We live in North Eastern Pa. in the Pocono Mountain region....My blog is a reflection of what I love in life so I hope you would be so kind to follow me along my journey!

Debbie loves crafting, decorating, Christmas...her blogs are about all these these things and so much more! It's hard to describe them in a few short sentences. You must visit them to see for yourself!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Scranton Restaurant Blogs

Blogs?  As in plural?  Yep.  There are two of them that I stumbled across while reviewing a bunch of new Twitter followers on our @nepablogs Twitter account.

Scranton Restaurant News Blog

Scranton Eats Food Blog 

Before you head out for a bite to eat in Scranton, check out these blogs for reviews, deals, and upcoming festivals which are sure to tantalize your taste buds!


Saturday, June 09, 2012

Colin Devroe's Blog

Colin Devroe is a perpetually fascinated NEPA blogger residing in Jermyn.  I learned about his blog through Jason Gaylord, Karla Porter and the lovely Darling Stewie.  Colin is also known in our circle as "the Viddler guy".  Colin was one of the founders of Viddler an online web video content management platform.  More details can be found about the Bethlehem, PA business by checking out their website here

Colin's blog can be found at:

Colin blogs about technology, photography,  his diet, and live in general.  He has a little something to interest everyone. 

We are looking to invite Colin to be one of the speakers at NEPA Blog Con which is happening on Saturday, September 29th 2012 at the Technology Center of LCCC.  Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about the event. 

Don't forget to follow him on Twitter (@cdevroe) as well! 


Friday, June 08, 2012

S^%* Under the Counter

My brother, Russell, decided to take another stab at blogging.  He had a blog some time ago which he stopped updating.  The title of his new blog is somewhat....shall we say PG-13?  Children cover your eyes.

Shit Under the Counter

I can assure you that there is a funny story behind the title of the blog, and he's not just being obscene to be obscene (although, he is good at that).  Hopefully, he'll tell the tale of the title of his blog soon, it is hilarious and I don't want to ruin the surprise for his readers.  From his words:

"I was born and raised in NEPA, Originating in Wilkes-Barre, and later moving to the Poconos. I'm 25 years old and I've seen a lot of this world in the short time I've been on the planet. I figured it's about time i get my point of view out there for people to read."

He's also on Facebook and @rhryvnak on Twitter.  Follow at your own risk. 


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

About the header image: Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Our header image this week is another in a series of photographs provided to us by NEPA's first (and so far, only) three-legged dog blogger, Ada Mae Compton. This image of Sanguinaria canadensis, also known as Bloodroot, was taken at Ives Run State Park, Tioga County.

If you have any photos you would like us to feature as the NEPA Blogs header for a week, please drop us a line at!

The Starkville City Jail

Starkville City Jail is the blog of Robbie Ward, a native of Starkville, Mississippi who recently moved north to NEPA.  Robbie is a Journalist/Writer for the Scranton Times Tribune.  He also likes to run barefoot!  (Ouch)

The Starkville City Jail
If it was good enough for Johnny, it's good enough for you.

Ward has written for wire services, daily newspapers and an alternative news weekly. He also created the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival in Starkville, Miss., and has a master's degree in public policy and administration.

If you didn't already know, "Starkville City Jail" is a song by Johnny Cash.  If you are so inclined, you can listen to the song and the story behind it on Youtube right here.

You can follow Robbie's adventures in NEPA on his blog located at, also on Facebook, and Twitter (@rscottward1).

Have a happy hump day!


Tuesday, June 05, 2012

PA Live! Blog of the Week: Sundays with Shivstopher

NEPA Blogs will be presenting a "Blog of the Week" on the WBRE's PA Live! every Tuesday. PA Live! airs weekday afternoons on WBRE from 4:00 to 5:00.

Watch this episode on the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is Sundays with Shivstopher (

Many people in Northeastern Pennsylvania are already familiar with the folks behind Sundays with Shivstopher, Shivaun and Christopher O'Donnell, from their work with the comedy troupe One Laugh at Least. (They were the featured students in the wildly popular Heynabonics sketch.) Chris and Shivaun share a video a week (usually, but not always, on Sundays.) As Shivaun notes on their "About" page,  “In five or ten minutes, we catch viewers up on the week’s happenings of Northeastern Pennsylvania as well as our little microcosm of the world...We started ‘Sundays with Shivstopher,’ to stay connected with friends and family, and people are enjoying it so much, it’s free, and can be seen at anytime, so it fits in everyone’s schedule.”

Sometimes people can get pretty down about this region, focusing on the corruption and the economic hardships, fearing that an exodus of talented, educated people to greener pastures has left us at a significant disadvantage. Chris and Shivaun, like so many other talented bloggers in this region, show us that this is not true, that talented and educated people do make the choice to stay here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Tune in every week to catch their latest adventures on "Sundays with Shivstopher!"

If you have a blog you would like us to link on NEPA Blogs, or know of a blog you think we should link, please let us know! You can always drop us a line at!

Monday, June 04, 2012

NEPA Freethought Society Podcast

Back when we added the NEPA Freethought Society blog in December of last year, we noted that the site contained a link to their archived podcasts. Justin Vacula of the NEPA Freethought Society has just informed us that these podcasts have their own RSS feed. So we can actually treat the podcast page as though it's a whole other blog! I've added a link to the NEPA Freethought Society Podcast page to our second set of Live Links. Now you can see immediately when a new podcast has been posted.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Radio Blogger

Tom Borthwick of NEPArtisan has a radio gig every Sunday on WFTE, 90.3 Mt Cobb / 105.7 Scranton at 12:30PM.

The show is called Politics with Borthwick. Go like the Facebook page  and lend him an ear friends, Romans, countryman. He's an English teacher so I couldn't resist the Shakespeare reference.