Wednesday, February 29, 2012

We knew this blog was out there - or something like it. Geocaching is an amazingly popular activity that combines hiking, exploration, and navigation (including the use of a Global Positioning System device) to play a global game of hide and seek. I personally know many people who enjoy geocaching in NEPA, but no one could point me to a blog about it. Brute-force searches also came up empty. Then I stumbled across this blog while doing a location search for blogger profiles based in "NEPA, United States."

From the first post:

I’m still not quite sure what it is about geocaching that keeps me so interested? Maybe it’s the fact that it combines many of the element that I really like such as tech gadgetry, internet community, the great outdoors, exercise and let’s not forget the adventure of the treasure hunt. Even as a small boy while other kids wanted to play Army, I wanted to play Pirate. Seeking buried treasure using a map and clues was always appealing to me so I guess in a sense; I have always been a cacher.

If you're a geocacher in Northeastern Pennsylvania, or are just curious as to what geocaching is all about, be sure to check out Cache Crazy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

PA Live! Blog of the Week: Laughing At My Nightmare!

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 Laughing At My Nightmare! ( by Shane Burcaw.

Shane is a blogger who lives in Allentown, which is technically outside of Northeastern Pennsylvania. (We're using the Lehigh Tunnel as a cutoff point, and he's just on the other side of it.) But his blog came highly recommended by PA Live! co-host Monica Madeja after one of our weekly spots, and I took a look and knew we had to add it.

Shane is a nineteen-year-old college student with a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Type 2.) It has resulted in degeneration of all of his muscles, and will eventually kill him, most likely from pneumonia. He knows this.

Which is all tragic and stuff, but wouldn't earn him a spot as a Blog of the Week if it weren't for the fact that he is also an amazing blogger.

Shane's stories and videos will have you crying with laughter. His stories will also sometimes leave you crying with sadness and anger. Every once in a while he will just rip your guts out with his stories, because he can. He's that good. His writing is powerful, moving, and - when he wants to be - sometimes very, very funny.

Shane's not content to sit in his wheelchair at home and blog. He's currently a sophomore in college. He's also started a non-profit called Laughing At My Nightmare, Inc. (visit their official Facebook page here). Their first official project is a video that you can view here.  Eventually Shane intends to gather together many of his Laughing At My Nightmare! blog posts into a book. You can access a set of links to his story posts, in order, here.

Mel Brooks once said, "Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die." Shane Burcaw is up against a nightmare many of us could not even imagine, a death sentence that looms somewhere in his future. He's chosen to face it with laughter. He's wrapped tragedy and comedy up into one neat package, and posted it for all of us to see on his blog - Laughing At My Nightmare!

See this post for a news story from Philadelphia's NBC10 all about Shane, his blog, and his nonprofit.

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!

All are invited to meet the bloggers of Northeastern Pennsylvania at the Spring 2012 Blog Fest on March 30, 2012 at Rooney's Irish Pub in Pittston! Stay tuned for more details!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cooking with Booze

Some blogs have cryptic titles, titles that are based on quotes from literature or have odd little stories behind them or are otherwise incomprehensible without some explanation.

Cooking with Booze isn't one of those blogs.

Cooking with Booze
Recipes from Laura's Kitchen

Cooking with Booze is a recipe blog by Laura Herron, a Pastry Arts student at Luzene County Community College's Joseph A. Pagliante Culinary Institute, located in downtown Nanticoke. Every single recipe on her blog (as far as I ca tell) calls for some sort of booze - whether it's Veal Scallopini with Lemon-Sherry Sauce, or Cornish Game Hens with Lemon-Wine-Rosemary Marinade (made with Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio), or Grilled Mojito Chicken, or the somewhat more blunt Pork Roast with Beer (which opens with the statement "This recipe is so easy that you could train a monkey to make it.") If you like cooking and you like booze - or if you just like good food, and like finding delicious new recipes - this is definitely a blog you should check out!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

NEPA Blogs Pinterest

Local blogger/fashonista extraordinaire Shannon Nelson sent me an invite to Pinterest about a month or two ago, and I've only recently started to dig in and figure out what it is all about and how it can work for NEPA Blogs. Below is some of the research that I found online and through the help of some of my contacts. Hopefully this will help you get started with the latest social networking craze.

What is Pinterest?

To answer this question, I defer to the FAQ section of the Pinterest webpage:

Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard.

Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.

I'd also recommend watching Shannon's PA Live! segment which aired on Friday 2/24/12 right over here: (unrelated: I REALLY wish WBRE would make their videos embeddable)

How do I use Pinterest?

I found two very helpful articles at the USA Today and by one of our local bloggers "The Nest Effect", which you can read right here. These articles should get you comfortable with the basic terminology and use of the website.

What can I use it for?

Hubspot has a great article/pdf on using Pinterest for business purposes that you can read here. Mashable did some research on Pinterest, and found that Pinterest pins increases traffic to your website/blog more so than Google+, LinkedIn and Youtube combined which I found fascinating. I found that local business Refer Local is using it to attract people to their website to find the latest NEPA deals that they are offering.


Some website owners are blocking their content from being pinned due to copyright issues. Pinterest is currently following the Digital Millenium copyright act, but there are still ways around it. Mashable did a good article about it here, but you can watch the video below to get the gist of it.

NEPA Blogs and Pinterest...

I've created to share and showcase the talent of some of the photography of our local bloggers and photographers. I'm not sure where this will go. I already update Twitter, Facebook and blog, so adding another website to my already growing list of Social Networks is a bit overwhelming. I will add pins as I come across something interesting in my RSS feeds giving credit back to the original author. As you can see, I've added pinboards for New Header Wednesday, Local Blogger Photography, Books of Interest (with a NEPA influence), and NEPA Places of Interest. Hopefully, we can get some interesting content on each of these boards that will attract attention and traffic to your blogs and maybe...just maybe...attract more visitors to the Northeastern PA area.

I invite you to connect with us, if you are already a member of Pinterest.

Not a member?

Send an email to with your email address, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter and we'll be sure to hook you up with an invite.


A Jesuit's Jottings

During a recent location-based search of Blogger profiles, I put a stake in the heart of the notion that there are no bloggers in Scranton. There are LOTS of them. We now have a huge backlog of Scranton-based blogs, and hundreds more to check out. I don't know why they didn't show up in my previous "brute force" searches.

Here's one that definitely should have. It's by Rick Malloy, S.J (that stands for "Society of Jesus," indicating that he's a Jesuit,) a college professor and Vice-President for Ministry and Mission at the University of Scranton. He posts on, among other things, Catholicism, spirituality, social justice, the experience of being a Jesuit, and his favorite music videos.

A Jesuit's Jottings

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Trials and Triumphs: Lost Virtues and Captive Hope

Here's another blog from my location-based search. It's another one from Nanticoke, and it's by a young lady who describes herself as "an aspiring potential artist/photographer." (What is it about Nanticoke that seems to produce so many art blogs? Whatever it is, I'm not complaining!)

Trials and Triumphs: Lost Virtues and Captive Hope

My Trials and Triumphs I shall display for you. A story regardless of how grim or colorful it may seem. An adventure unknown, in a world unexplored. I will write you a story. Will you tell me yours?

Scott Sanfilippo

If the name Scott Sanfilippo sounds familiar, it's probably because you've seen him on the news a dozen times. Scott is the driving force behind the pioneer internet marketing site - and later, a little company known as Solid Cactus!

Read all about him here, and then visit his personal blog, Scott Sanfilippo, Curmedgeon @ large

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blog Roll Maintenance

It has come to our attention that one of the blogs on our main blog roll list has been hacked or has an exploit which has caused Google to flag our site as being potentially unsafe. I should mention that this is the same blog roll that we are unable to add or remove any blogs from due to an issue with blogger (which DB wrote about here). So since we are unable to remove the offending blog from the list, the only way to correct the issue is to remove the blog roll in its entirety.

I have already pulled all of the blogs from the list and have split them into two categories: ones that have a working RSS feed, and ones that do not have a working RSS feed. They will be split up and placed into a new blog roll accordingly.

This is going to be a very time consuming process, but once complete I will post another update.

We apologize for any confusion or issues this may have caused you. Google will unflag our site within 48 hours after the issue has been resolved.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pop Rox

Here's a pop culture / local entertainment blog by Michael Sadowski! Part of the family of blogs, Pop Rox is updated at least three times a week. Be sure to check it out for information and reviews of movies, things going on in the Poconos, Lindsay Lohan, and all sorts of other stuff!

Pop Rox: The latest in pop culture and Pocono entertainment

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Politics in Healthcare Blog

Here's a blog from Karin Spak, aka Mrs. Big Dan! From her "About" page:

Karin has a BA in Elementary Education, an AS Business Administration,10 years of life & health coaching, 7 years as an elementary teacher, 8 years private duty geriatric nursing, 10 years as a herbalist, and 3 years as therapeutic support staff. Karin was also the chairperson for Northestern PA Fresh Air Fund 15 years, providing vacations to underpriveledged minority children from New York City, which emphasizes education and new experiences, while giving them a break from crime and violence. In 2002, Karin was named National Fresh Air Fund Chairperson Of The Year for running the program from her hospital bed while undergoing a double mastectomy for Breast Cancer. Now cancer-free, Karin continues to raise awareness on health issues.

Politics in Healthcare Blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PA Live! Blog of the Week: No News Is...Good News?

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! page:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is No News Is...Good News? ( by veteran NEPA newsman David DeCosmo!

David DeCosmo is a familiar figure to TV viewers in Northeastern Pennsylvania. A longtime news reporter for WYOU, he now reports on NEPA in a different way - on his blog! Updated daily, No News Is...Good News? provides a relaxed and funny look at life in this area and beyond. From reminiscences about the days when coal was king - and the only way to keep your house warm was to make sure your furnace was well-fed! - to the totally true story of an on-air bear attack, to as-it-happened reporting on the Flood of 2011, No News Is...Good News? brings us tales of NEPA today and yesterday as seen through the eyes of someone who really knows how to report on a story.

A few months ago I heard a professor of Folklore describe folklore as "the history of the now," and I realized that blogs serve that same purpose. By having someone like David DeCosmo observing current events with his newsman's eye, and then creating a record of these observations and events on his blog, No News Is...Good News? is becoming a chronicle of the history of NEPA as it is unfolding today. As bloggers throughout NEPA look at these same events through different eyes, a complete history of the now is being created. The good news is, anyone can take part in writing this history! Just get yourself a blog and get started!

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!

All are invited to meet the bloggers of Northeastern Pennsylvania at the Spring 2012 Blog Fest on March 30, 2012 at Rooney's Irish Pub in Pittston! Stay tuned for more details!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mommy Knows Best

Here's another blogger that I've located from Twitter. I have to be honest and say that I've been sitting on this blog for a while now because I wasn't sure if the author was truly from NEPA or not. The blog does not have a very decisive profile or about me section. Today I received a response to a direct message I sent to the blogger awhile ago:

Sorry I'm just responding now! Yes, I'm from NEPA and I do have a blog: & . Thanks for asking!

Here's the tag line from Marissa's profile on Blogger: "A mommy, a wife, a daughter, a many life experiences, so little time. On, I am ThePracticalMommy, writing articles about practical parenting and other ideas of mine. "

You can also follow her on Twitter @PracticalMommy2.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Three art blogs from Nanticoke

A few years ago I had a vision of my home town of Nanticoke transformed into an art colony, as artists took advantage of readily available housing at very affordable prices. Whether or not something like this could even happen, I don't know. But it is interesting that three of the six active blogs I recently found from Nanticoke are explicitly about art! Check them out! Are we seeing the beginning of a Nanticoke Renaissance?

drawing a blank

Drawing inspiration and appreciation from many manners of art, I continue my journey to become an artist like my forefathers.

Cool Blue Studio

A peek inside an artist's studio and all that happens during the creative process of a regular day. My primary focus is on equines, but I love keeping my hands busy with illustrations and clay too. Join me daily, won't you?

Erika Baez Art

I am originally from New York City and I am currently an art apprentice at The Ani Art Academies-Waichulis in Pennsylvania. My posts are about Art, Books, Travel, Food, Movies... To view and shop for my latest work, please visit My Art Store.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

UGI Connection

Some NEPA utilities send out newsletters to the community from time to time. For example, PPL (formerly PP&L, for Pennsylvania Power & Light) sends out the newsletter "Inside Susquehanna" three times a year - which is odd, because it's presented as a seasonal publication, but every year going back to 2005 has skipped one season (frequently Summer, but occasionally Spring, and even one Winter.) This is useful because "Susquehanna" refers to the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant located at Salem Township near Berwick, which has been making local residents feel vaguely uneasy since 1982. The newsletter allows for corporate outreach, community involvement, and puts a human face on the utility by providing information about tours, tests, special programs, and other activities.

But how much more immediate would this information be if it were presented in blog form? Rather than waiting three or four (or more) months to get out information, a blog would allow information to be disseminated as soon as it is posted to the blog. It might not reach those community members without computers or internet access, but using a blog as an adjunct to rather than as a replacement for a newsletter would offer the best of both worlds - at no added cost, if the information presented on the blog is the same as the information provided on the newsletter.

Some corporations have opted for the online route. One of those is UGI, a natural gas utility that serves   customers throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Its blog, UGI Connection, also provides links to their Facebook page and Twitter feed. It also provides basic customer service information on the "About" page. (Unfortunately, while it does supply a link to the main UGI page, it's hidden in the blogroll, which might be confusing to customers who have come to the blog by accident,)

UGI Connection

Friday, February 17, 2012

Brian Fulton's Blogs

It's odd how natural disasters bring people together. As you may or may not know, Harold and I were administrators on the "Wyoming Valley Flood 2011" page on Facebook (which was a hastily organized resource to share information and resources for the residents of the Wyoming Valley about the flood of Sept 2011). This afforded us the opportunity to meet people from NEPA that we wouldn't normally associate with through social media. I gained a lot of new followers on Twitter and Facebook after the 2011 Floods. Brian Fulton was one of the new followers that I picked up after the disaster.

Fast forward to January 2012...I found out that Brian signed on to be one of the presenters at Pecha Kucha Night. I love meeting people in real life that I know through blogging and social media, so I was excited to meet him.

Brian's Pecha Kucha presentation was all about Library Crimes. As it turns out, library crimes happen more often than people realize. Harold and I chatted briefly with Brian after the show and exchanged blogging business cards.

Me (to myself): "SCORE! Another NEPA Blogger to add to our blogroll!"

Brian blogs professionally through the Scranton Times-Tribune at and personally through a Tumblr blog located at

You can also follow Brian's adventure's through Twitter at @bgfulton where he tags himself as a "Newspaper library manager, graduate student and candy enthusiast from Larksville, PA."

We welcome Brian to the blogosphere, and hope that you will as well by following his blogs.


Thursday, February 16, 2012


Here's a blogger from NEPA Michelle discovered through Twitter. It's a Tumblr blog, an image reposting blog from the looks of it.


"Design, Decor, Antiques, Dogs, Cats, Music, Inspiring photos & quotes, gay rights, noh8."

(Unfortunately, this blog hasn't been updated in a while. I wonder if it's still active? The blogger was also very active on Twitter but seems to have stopped posting there at the end of 2011. I hope everything is OK.)

Flood of 2011 plus six months

We're coming up on the six month anniversary of the Flood of 2011. For people affected by it, this flood was worse than even the legendary Agnes flood of 1972 and the St. Patrick's Day flood of 1936. For areas that were protected by levees, this was a time of tremendous fear as the levee system was pushed to its limits and beyond.

Driving through West Pittston and West Nanticoke I can see that there is still tremendous recovery work yet to be done. Not everyone has come back from this flood, or will come back from this flood.

The story of the flood was captured in dozens of blog posts written as it happened and in its immediate aftermath. What about the recovery? We're planning a special six month retrospective for the second Tuesday in March. If anyone has a story they'd like to share, or is planning to do a special blog post about the flood and its aftermath, please let us know and we'll be sure to add your post to the links!

NEPA Blogosphere Flood of 2011 wrap-up, Part 1
NEPA Blogosphere Flood of 2011 wrap-up, Part 2

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

PA Live! Blog of the Week: ada.mae.compton

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! website:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is ada.mae.compton (

We've covered quite a few blogs by quite a few bloggers, but this is the first one we're talking about that's written by a dog. A three-legged dog, at that. She didn't start off life like that. As she explains here:

I’m a three-legged rescue dog named Ada who’s living the country life here in northcentral PA. My name is short for Americans with Disabilities Act. I was adopted from the vet’s office after I was abandoned by some guy who works in the natural gas industry. So the story goes: I was brought to PA from TX and left here when he went back to TX. After I became a stray and was hit in the road, someone dropped me off at the vet.

The vet saved me by amputating one of my front legs. A month later, I was adopted by my new master and he gave me my name. He lets me blog, but moans about using too much bandwidth, whatever that is.

This is the blog of my life and the ongoings here in the country…

Ada blogs about a lot of things. The natural gas extraction industry and what it's doing to her home in the northwestern reaches of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The state of humanity as she sees it. The connections between critical citizenship, the literacy of power, and symbolic interactionism. And sometimes, just what it's like to be a dog.

Ada's been blogging for almost a year, which is, like, seven years of blogging in human years. Her story is sad and inspiring, and tells us about the cruelty and kindness of humanity. And the things she blogs about are important for all of us here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

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!

All are invited to meet the bloggers of Northeastern Pennsylvania at the Spring 2012 Blog Fest on March 30, 2012 at Rooney's Irish Pub in Pittston! Stay tuned for more details!

Monday, February 13, 2012

JUST ONE MORE THING: Wand'ring with Wizzy

Karen Rice, who writes the real estate blog Wand'ring Thru Wayne & Pike County, PA (which isn't just about real estate!), recently let us know through the NEPA Bloggers Facebook Group that she also has a personal blog that also involves wand'ring!

JUST ONE MORE THING: Wand'ring with Wizzy

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rick's Pocono Blog

One industry that has embraced the use of blogs is Real Estate. Real Estate blogs allow individual realtors to tell their stories, showcase their properties, and be both more personal and more persuasive when it comes to connecting with potential customers.

Rick Cordisco is a blogger and realtor operating out of the Poconos. His individual posts focus on specific properties, or show the wonders of the Poconos in general - all the things that might appeal to someone thinking about purchasing a property in the region. In doing so he paints a picture of the Poconos many of us are familiar with, but at the same time highlights features that may be new even to lifelong residents of NEPA. Check out his blog and see for yourself!

Rick's Pocono Blog

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Vote for Amber!

Amber Gates Roskos, the blogger behind "Country Baby Handmade", is auditioning for the Every Creative Endeavor's Creative Blogger's Got Talent competition. Details about the competition can be found at as well as all of the other talented people she's running against.

Ok, let's be honest. We want our NEPA girl to win this thing! First, Second and Third prize are a bunch of crafty things that Amber can use to help out her thriving online business.

Amber is entry #100 on the website, the Valentines Day Wreath. Here's the thumbnail of it:

All you have to do is click the "Like" text beneath the thumbnail, and that it's, you've voted! You don't have to sign up or anything like that. It takes 5 seconds.

Well what are you waiting for? Go do it!
Pretty please with cherries on top?


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Arc of Luzerne County Blog

I was employed at The Arc of Luzerne County for several months at the tail end of 2011 and working there was a humbling experience that made me feel like I was making a true difference in the community. It was an experience I won't soon forget. I also worked with some of the most amazing women I have ever met in my life. One of which I was exchanging text messages with earlier in the day....Karla Porter.

Karla, who is an avid human capital management blogger over at, alerted me to the fact that The Arc of Luzerne County now has a blog!

The Arc of Luzerne County Blog

The Arc of Luzerne County's mission: Dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities.

The Arc is celebrating its 60th year of advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities. They have many great resources to families that may have no where else to turn for information and assistance. You should also know that, specifically, The Arc of Luzerne County has just recently moved from the North End of Wilkes-Barre (near Wilkes-Barre General Hospital) to Downtown Wilkes-Barre for greater accessibility to those in need in the community. You can read more about the move in the Times Leader article here. Along on with the move, they now have a freshly redesigned website that features a blog. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

We <3 Non-Profits and Community Service groups at NEPA Blogs. If you know of any that we do not already have listed on our blog roll, please send us an email at and we'll be sure to get them listed.


About this week's header photo - Wednesday, February 8

When we create the NEPA Blogs header image each week, we're looking for an image that is a good deal wider than the typical-ish 4:3 aspect ratio of most cameras. All the header images are set to a standard width of 920 pixels at 72 pixels per inch. The goal is to have a header image which will also allow the Twitter updates and part of the most recent post to be displayed on a typical screen. Recent images, as submitted or after cropping, have had aspect ratios (width:height) of anywhere from 1.63:1 to 2.65:1.

Often photos - particularly casual snapshots, more so than professionally framed photos - have some elements that can be trimmed without losing the essence of the image. Different crops can actually be used to shift the focus of the photo. Is it about the central image? The ground below? The sky above? I advise people ahead of time that we will be cropping to try to get close to a 2:1 aspect ratio, though some people submit their photos in an aspect ratio that approaches this.

Lorraine from We are clamco recently submitted two images for the header. Both were breathtaking images taken on the Penn State Lehman campus right after the October 2011 snowstorm. They had aspect ratios of 1.595:1 and 1.566:1, respectively, and really could have been acceptable as-is - a few weeks ago we ran one at 1.63:1. But my knee-jerk reaction was to start looking for what I could trim without mutilating the photo.

And I couldn't find anything.

In the end I shaved an eensy bit off the top and a little more at the bottom, but I didn't feel good about it. I adjusted the aspect ratio to 1.75:1, which really isn't that big of a change.

So I am sharing here the original photo, resized a bit. It was originally 3264 pixels by 2046 pixels at 300 pixels per inch, which is pretty huge. This version is 920 pixels by 577 pixels at 72 pixels per inch. But it contains the entire gorgeous image as submitted by Lorraine. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

PA Live! Blog of the Week: Cheri Sundra's Blog

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 online at the PA Live! site:

Our PA Live! Blog of the Week this week is Cheri Sundra's Blog (

Cheri Sundra is a photographer who is fascinated with ruins, abandoned places, and the forgotten history of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Time, decay, and vandalism all work to gradually chip away at the past, and Cheri is grabbing visual records of those places that are all but forgotten. From Concrete City in Nanticoke to the once-thriving but now vanished Kirby Park Zoo, from the relatively recently closed Angela Park to the rapidly decaying Croop's Glen Amusement Park in Hunlock's Creek, Cheri makes a record of those places that have been, for the most part, left to rot. In some cases, like the Huber Breaker in Ashley, there is an effort under way to stop the decay; in other cases, photographs and memories will soon be all that is left.

Northeastern Pennsylvania has a long history that goes back hundreds of years, to before the founding of this nation and even thousands of years before that. Some of that history is still with us; some of it is now known only to archaeologists. And some of it is in an in-between state, passing from the ruins that are still with us to the point where nothing recognizable will remain. That's what Cheri is working to capture.

Do you know of any secret, hidden places that are passing away forever? If you have a camera and permission to be there, and if you can do it safely, why not grab some images while there's still time? And then why not share these records of our region's past with the rest of the world. If you decide to do it, let us know at!

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!

All are invited to meet the bloggers of Northeastern Pennsylvania at the Spring 2012 Blog Fest on March 30, 2012 at Rooney's Irish Pub in Pittston! Stay tuned for more details!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Sweet Valley Sunrises

If you've been reading NEPA Blogs for a while, you know that co-administrator Michelle is the Queen of All Media, social and otherwise; that she is a working mom who is also a blogger, a tweeter, a student, and is heavily involved in the Northeastern Pennsylvania community; and she is responsible for the revival of NEPA Blogs last year and its continued growth and expansion beyond being just a blog.

But what you might not know is that she has a thing for sunrises. She loves to capture sunrises in photos, several of which have graced the NEPA Blogs header in the past year. And for the past few months she has been posting these images to a new Tumblr blog, Sweet Valley Sunrises.

Michelle's Sunrise Tumblr Photo Blog

No two sunrises are ever the same, and the nature of sunrises changes throughout the year. Follow along as Michelle shares these subtle changes on her blog, Sweet Valley Sunrises!

Wren Cottage Live!

From Dimock, a place that has gotten a lot of attention the past few years for being the site of water wells contaminated by Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing gas extraction - a.k.a. "fracking" - here's a blog that's all about the daily adventures of rural life. Written by Melissa Whalen Haertsch, 2006 Poet in Residence at Salt Springs State Park, and an old friend from long ago.

Wren Cottage Live!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Saving by Design

Listen up, NEPA Shoppers! Do I have a deal of a blog for you! There's another money saving/couponing blogger that popped up! This submission was passed along to us via our Facebook NEPA Bloggers group - which, btw, you should join if you aren't already a member.

Saving By Design is the blog of Kara Zoeller from Mountain Top. She joins the ranks of our two other money saving bloggers Megan Galko's NEPA Mom and Jenna Urban's Bucktown Bargains. Kara also has a brand new weekly column in the Sunday edition of the Citizens' Voice newspaper called "Saving Savvy". In this week's column, Kara discusses how to make the most out of what drug stores have to offer. You can read the article in it's entirety clicking right here.

More on the blog --

Saving By Design

From the About Page:

Hi! I’m Kara. A few years ago I left my career to stay home with my son, Brady. I just couldn’t stand to be away from him all day. I wanted to be there to share all of his firsts along with teach him all of those very first lessons. I now have a little girl too, Mikaylee. They definitely give me a run for my money, but I can’t imagine not being here with them every day.

I have always thought of myself as a bargain hunter…I mean I would look for a sale and here and there use a coupon if it was for an item that I regularly used. That all changed when a family member introduced me to a coupon blog a few years ago…I was instantly hooked! After learning all things couponing, I was ready to try it out. It was real!! These ladies that I would see on the news weren’t lying…they really were paying only $0.89 for a cart full of groceries! I believed it now because I too was one of those ladies!

I can’t begin to tell you the amount of money my family has saved. We’ve saved on food, diapers, clothing, all types of gifts, printer ink, tons of household items…you name it and I’ve probably had a deal for it along the way.

Couponing is also where I was introduced to Uppercase Living. I saw a giveaway on a blog for Christmas expressions by a girl who turned out to be my upline :) I loved the incredibly affordable products and the company’s message to “live a life inspired.” I had to become a demonstrator!

It wasn’t long before friends and family, along with total strangers behind me waiting to check out, were asking me how in the world I was saving so much money. I was so excited to share my couponing knowledge along with Uppercase Living expressions and my custom gifts that here we are…Saving by Design.

I would recommend checking the trinity of NEPA Mom, Bucktown Bargains and Saving By Design daily to make the most out of your dollar. You never know what deals may pop up one blog vs. the other. You may be able to mix and match coupons from all of these blogs to get the brands you love at a price you love and, more importantly, can afford.

Happy Shopping!


2 from Nikki Mascali

You may recognize the name in the title of this blog post from reading Northeast PA's #1 premier Independent Entertainment Weekly Newspaper/Magazine, The Weekender. Nikki has been an editor at The Weekender for the last year...but here's another surprising fact about her....She's also a NEPA Blogger!

We recently added Nikki to our NEPA Blogs Facebook group and I have become friends with her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. After friending her, I found out that she has two blogs and has been blogging since 2010. It's a shame we are just linking to her now, in 2012. Better late than never, I suppose.

Blog #1
"Ink for Blood"

From the "Things You Should Know About Me" page (a.k.a. The About Page)

- I am a left-handed professional writer.
- As a foodie/food writer, I love eating and taking pictures of what I’m eating. (A foodie’s work is never done!)
- I consult my AP Stylebook for personal use.
- I write haiku/tanka poetry.
- The scent of a book and newsprint top my Favorite Smells Ever.
- I sometimes don’t turn my TV on for weeks at a time, yet I have all the cable channels a girl could want.
- I work movie quotes into daily conversation like it’s my job – or an art. (Personally, I think it’s a little bit of both.)
- I am an Anglophile who wishes for a British accent.
- I simply could not live without: Blue Papermate pens, mint ChapStick, Sirius or Palmer’s Cocoa Butter.
- I like to think of myself as witty. You be the judge.

Blog #2
"Run, Nikki, Run"

From the "About Page":

I’m a 34-year-old Northeastern Pennsylvania native who wants to get back into running and, in turn, get myself on a healthier path.

It’s been a long, hard road full of obstacles of my own devices – periods of laziness, emotional eating (both stress and happiness are triggers, naturally), etc. – and I know it’ll continue being so, but my laces are tied, and I’m ready to run. Or at the very least, walk fast. Really, really fast.

I’d love it if you’d care to join me and offer any tips or encouragement!


You can also follow along Nikki's adventures by following her on Twitter @NikkiMMascali or by reading her latest columns in The Weekender (either online or the print version, which comes out every Thursday and is free!)

Both of Nikki's blogs have been added to our sidebar. If you have a blog from NEPA and would like to be added to our blogroll, send us an email with your Name, URL and blog details to and we'll be sure to give you a mention!


Saturday, February 04, 2012

More on our technical difficulty

The problem with not being able to add to or delete from our main blog list ("NEPA Bloggers Updates") is not, it turns out, unique to NEPA Blogs. It now has its own thread on the Blogger Help forum, with over 40 people reporting the same issue.

We're seeing a few reports from blog owners who make changes to the setup of various gadgets on their blog, and hit "Save", and see no ability to Save the changes.  In some cases, the "Save" button may appear inactive; in other cases, the owner will see the "Saving..." status displayed, endlessly.

From a somewhat more blunt discussion of the problem by the same person:

I'm sorry, that it's been a while and there are no signs of getting the problem solved.

I am another victim of the problem, I can't update my Labels index.  It sucks.  Unfortunately, Blogger continues making new and shiny changes, such as their CC TLD redirection.  Then they have to fix the problems that change causes - and if you surf the forums this week, you will find a lot of complaints from Australia and India about their blogs.

I also know, from experience, that the more individual reports of the problem itself - and the less asking repeatedly why Blogger isn't fixing the problem - the faster Blogger is likely to diagnose and fix the problem.  That's the bottom line.

Are you having this problem too? If you are, please click over to the Blogger help forum and add your voice to the chorus!

UPDATE, 3/30/2012: Blogger has apparently revised this thread out of existence. Here's a post that has more information and may also be helpful:

Friday, February 03, 2012


Here's a blog we were notified of via email:

artsonfirefestival is the blog of the Arts on Fire Festival, which is being held June 1, 2, and 3 at the Scranton Iron Furnaces.

So what's the Arts on Fire Festival? From the "About" page:

The Arts on Fire Festival idea emerged in September 2009 at the Wake Up with the Arts Breakfast sponsored by the Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department. Artists and organizations convened to discuss what they wanted to see happening in Lackawanna County. Several people mentioned an arts festival. Bob Savakinus, Lackawanna County Arts, Culture and Education member and current Chair of the Arts on Fire Committee, desired to see more events at the underutilized Scranton Iron furnaces. It so happened that Keystone College had received that year a Lackawanna County ARTS Engage! grant for high school iron sculpture program with the culminating pour taking place at the iron furnaces in the summer. These three elements were the catalyst for the Arts on Fire Festival and instantaneously people began to talk to each other about creating an industrial arts festival at the furnaces that would showcase the area’s history, but celebrate its creative future in the arts.

Check out this blog, and keep your schedule clear for June 1, 2, and 3!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Kopp Disclosure

Another blogger I met on the set of PA Live! this week was Dr. Robert Kopp, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Belvidere, Illinois. A native of NEPA (he even lived in my home town of Nanticoke for a while!) who maintains ties to the region (his sister does PA Live! co-host Monica's hair!), he was on the show to talk about his new book, I Just Wanna Ride (FTW): One man's ride to real faith, which looks at (among other things) the strong sense of unity among members of the motorcycle community (he's an avid biker) and contrasts it to the lack of unity among individuals who all claim to be Christians.

You can watch Bob's interview on PA Live! here:

Bob is a very sociable person - before the show started, he had engaged every person on the set in conversation, and we had traded calling cards. He told me that, among other things, he also runs a blog - a blog called Kopp Disclosure ( His tag:

"KDs are designed/developed/inspired/mused/auto-suggested/indigested to make folks think; an especially uncommon experience among Democrats, Republicans, and jingoistic mainline denominationalists who continue to discourage dissent with their ever-threatening thought police."

Check out this blog to see what this very interesting biker / pastor / native of NEPA has to say! And be sure to check out his book!

Abby Millon

Each week on the set of PA Live! I meet fascinating people from all over Northeastern Pennsylvania. Musicians, chefs, community activists, people of all sorts. And true to our mission here at NEPA Blogs, I have to ask everyone: Do you have a blog?

Many do not, and I try to encourage them to start one. Often the response is "We have a Facebook page, you can look us up on Facebook!" - sometimes followed by a mind-manglingly twisted address that is impossible to remember. Facebook is nice, Facebook is useful, but Facebook does not provide the sort of broad exposure that having a website does - and just having a website does not provide the interactivity and personal touch that comes from a blog.

The musical guest on this Tuesday's show was Abby Millon, a young singer and guitar player from Honesdale. When she was talking with host Dave Kuharchik, she mentioned that she has a website of her own,, with an associated blog, At the end of the show, as we all stood around the kitchen eating Hot Wing Nachos, she confessed that she hasn't done much with her blog, and really intends to do more. As of this writing there's only one post, from late November of last year, but I'm hoping there will be more to follow!

As I've discussed at length on my own blog, if you are in a band (or even if you're just a solo musician), Facebook is a good thing to have, but Facebook isn't sufficient.

Do you have a blog? Why Facebook may not be enough

It takes very little effort to create and maintain a blog, and your blog will continue to pay dividends in exposure as long as you keep it up. Just as Abby Millon's blog and website give her the exposure that every musician needs. Be sure to check her out!

You can also watch Abby perform on PA Live! here:

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Full Frontal Mom

Another submission from the NEPA Blogs mailbag!

Full Frontal Mom
The true story of a stay-at-home mom turned burlesque performer and everything in between

My blog is about my adventures as a stay-at-home mom turned burlesque performer, turned business owner. I've been writing it for a little over a year. It's a very humorous (I hope) and honest journal about trying to balance family with the need to fulfill our own needs, overcoming my own insecurities, navigating playgroup and chronicling my adventures in the world of burlesque. I also talk a little about the studio I have Jim Thorpe Arts in Motion and working as part of the burlesque troupe Dragontown Burlesque as well as working on the Pennsylvania Burlesque Festival for this summer--the first state wide festival for PA. 

So step right up, folks! Don't be shy! Marvel at the lovely Bunny Bedford as she gives her all for you here on her blog, Full Frontal Mom! All for the low, low price of a click!