Friday, March 26, 2010

PA-3: GCC Forum Coverage

Sadly, I missed the event - grad school called and I had to answer.

Here is some of the coverage via The Herald (Sharon, PA):

The candidates united in attacking Congress as out-of-control, promising to rein in spending and the scope of the federal government. They each knocked the health care reform law passed and signed this week and called for its repeal.

On the health care question, most candidates pushed for reforms espoused by the GOP, such as tort reform, letting customers buy insurance across state lines, and using tax-free health savings accounts.

Mike Kelly, 61, a Butler car dealership owner, billed himself as the “strong stomached” candidate and said someone has to stand up to people with no entitlement to health care and tell them that there just isn’t money for it.

He billed himself as the non-politician who can stick to his guns in Washington, D.C., and blamed the problems of Congress on politicians that have been sent there.

Dr. Martha Moore, 52, a Sandy Lake family practitioner, said health care costs would only go down with a “true free market,” where the government doesn’t prop things up.

Dr. Moore, who spoke a bit nervously, also said she believes in citizen politicians and term limits, pledging to limit herself to three.

Paul Huber, 65, a Meadville businessman, fielded a question from Dr. Moore on term limits, and also agreed to a three-term limit. Huber, who was registered as a Democrat until last spring, also had to answer whether or not he would switch back to being a Democrat once in Washington.

Huber said he should have changed his registration long ago, and his campaign donations reflect that. “My wife of 30 years, nearly every morning told me that. I finally took her advice,” he joked.

Huber has released a detailed economic recovery plan and he talked heavily on economic issues like cutting spending and taxes. When it was his turn to ask a question of another candidate, it was a detailed grilling on how to fix the economy.

Clayton W. Grabb, 48, a Butler pharmaceutical salesman, distanced himself from the other candidates in questions about when to compromise in Washington and what programs he would cut.

Most candidates emphasized that they would never compromise their values, but Grabb came across especially bold, saying he would only compromise on “the small things.”

“My goal in D.C. is to stand firm to my principles. There’s right and wrong. If something’s wrong, then it needs to be said it’s wrong.”

Most candidates said they would try to reduce welfare or repeal health care, but Grabb was the only to name a specific agency. He said he would cut the Department of Energy for its failure to create energy independence.

Ed Franz, 48, a Conneatville hourly worker at General Electric Corp. in Erie, emphasized his common man status and conservative bona fides. He came out most aggressively against Mrs. Dahlkemper, hitting her particularly on her health care reform vote.

“I’m pro-life,” Franz said. “I’ve been involved with the pro-life community for many years,” he said, citing marches and organizations. He said Mrs. Dahlkemper campaigned as a pro-life candidate and voted for a reform bill that “would actually allow taxpayer funding of abortion.”

Mrs. Dahlkemper campaigned as a “whole life” candidate who was also opposed to the death penalty and in favor of health care reform. She said she believes President Barack Obama’s executive order will prevent federal funding for abortions.

Franz said the executive order Obama signed to win over Mrs. Dahlkemper and other pro-life Democrats’ votes could be rescinded by Obama at any time.

“We as conservatives cannot afford to send any fakes to Washington, D.C., on the pro-life issue, as Kathy Dahlkemper has proven to be.”

Steven M. Fisher, 51, Cochranton, a health insurance salesman, talked about the need to bring down health care costs. He said he’s had clients in Mercer County who have spent $1.7 million or other, six-figure, amounts on treatments, and noted that some cancer drugs cost $50,000 a month.

High health care premiums, Fisher said, mirror high costs. Fixes like reducing mandates on insurance would companies help, but he said there is no solution from government or anywhere else unless costs come down. That would take measures like wellness incentives, he said.

He said the current measure fails to bring costs down in any sense. “This wasn’t health care reform, it was health care takeover, period.”

Fisher also said he would work hard to make sure that the 3rd District is seen as a district with seven counties in it instead of just Erie.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Census Form Instructions


- Answer question one
- Stick form in envelope
- Stick envelope in mail

That's it! That's all the Constitution requires to make sure you have fair representation in Congress. The rest is none of the Fed's dang business.

PA-3: GOP Candidates to Speak at GCC Forum Thursday

If you're wondering about the candidates for the PA-3 race against our "Socialist Sweetheart" Kathy Dahlkemper, you can see and hear all six at Grove City College's Hall of Arts and Letters this Thursday, March 25 at 7:00pm.

Bring an open mind and listen to all six share their visions for how to reclaim this district, this country.

The forum is free and open to the public.

Some Quick Thoughts on Socialized Healthcare

I'm really sad for our country.

Not just because of the wholly unconstitutional healthcare mess, but because there are so many people who simply don't care that it's unconstitutional. Then there are a lot of people who simply don't know that it's unconstitutional. And they have no understanding of history and what happens in socialized countries. Instead, they spew vile statements against insurance companies and business leaders.

The largest insurer in the US? The government. The largest rejector of claims? The government. The largest bureaucratic money waster? The government. And that doesn't even bring in the government's involvement in other areas of life. Unequal and evil-natured, indeed. Insurance companies are much more compassionate and forgiving than the government has proven to be. And they make a meager 2-3% profit doing it.

Now I'm going to be forced to pay for someone else's healthcare if this mess actually gets underway. This is a direct assault on liberty.

If this really was about healthcare, we could have used a tiny fraction of the stimulus money and bought healthcare for the 12 million who want healthcare but can't afford it. This has always been about control. This is a direct assault on the pursuit of happiness.... See More

Every socialized nation dictates how their citizens should live. That's already here. Philly is passing a soda tax and Pittsburgh wants to do it next. The Feds want snack taxes - in addition to the alcohol and cig taxes on the books. Every socialized nation rations their healthcare. It's coming. This is a direct assault on life.

Healthcare is not a right. It is a man-made item that, while important, does not meet the standard of a God-given, human right. Healthcare is your responsibility. It's up to you to choose to live well, take care of yourself, and buy insurance if you feel it is a good purchasing decision. It is certainly not your right to force your neighbors (by the barrel of a Federal gun) to pay for your healthcare. You are violating their lives, their liberty, and their pursuit of happiness.

Monday, March 22, 2010

PA-3: Dahlkemper Votes for Socialized Healthcare

Hat tip to Inside Butler County.

Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper kept her word and voted to bring socialized medicine to the United States. She campaigned on it, she gave speeches on it, she preached about it...and now it's about to become law.

Dahlkemper is considered to be one of the most likely Dems in the country to lose re-election, and she has apparently realized it, as well. There's no way that she didn't realize that the majority of the American public disapprove of this bill.

Instead of sticking to her "pro-life principles" she decided to go for a scorched-earth campaign for her final months in office.

The sad thing is that she actually thinks an executive order is binding.

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
The freshman Democrat from Erie, whose third district encompasses most of Mercer County, said she decided to vote for the proposal after she and other pro-life Democrats secured the promise of an executive order barring federal funds from paying for elective abortions.

“I am proud to support this whole-life legislation that preserves the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. This legislation will help pregnant women choose life by providing affordable care during their maternity and for their children before and after they are born. With the president’s executive order, we can rest assured that no federal funds will be used for abortions,” Mrs. Dahlkemper said in a statement.

Is she really this naive to think that 1.) Obama will issue that order, 2.) Obama will never rescind his order, or 3.) the next pro-choice president will never rescind that order? I know it's probably Civics 102, but executive orders are not statutes! Dahlkemper is either foolish enough to think it is, or callous enough to know better, but use it as a "shield" to protect her vote. Either way, she clearly needs to go.

Instead of a blue-dog Democrat, we now know for sure that Dahlkemper is a full-blown statist who wants to see a Canadian/British/Soviet-style takeover of 20% of the US economy. There's no way a "moderate" could vote for that kind of shredding of the Constitution.

Vote her out. It doesn't matter which candidate wins the primary. All are vastly superior to Dahlkemper and her socialist agenda.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

PA-3: GOP Ballot Order Finalized

The ballot order for the GOP candidates in PA-3 has been determined by drawing in Harrisburg. The only candidate to attend the drawing was Tea Party activist Clayton Grabb.

It turned out to be a fortunate drive to Harrisburg, as Grabb secured the first spot on the ballot.

The order is: Grabb, Moore, Fisher, Kelly, Franz, Huber

Happy voting!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wendell August Forge Hammers First Post-Fire Piece

Wendell August Forge president Will Knecht spoke to a group of employees, business leaders, political leaders, and media representatives at a special ceremony to celebrate Wendell August Forge's rebirth. After the 1:00pm ceremony, production started by hammering out the first post-fire piece - a mock Pittsburgh Penguins ticket commemorating the final game played at the Mellon Arena.

Here are the pics!

Will Knecht speaking to the crowd:


Hammering the first piece:



Knecht holding the first piece:


After the hammering:


Showing off the dies:


The first finished piece since the fire!


Production underway:



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wendell August Forge Creating Temporary Facility

Wendell August Forge owners and employees are aggressively working toward opening a temporary facility for offices, production, and distribution. Retail space is also in the works. The "new" facility is familiar to the Forge family, as it has served as a previous point of production and distribution: The Cooper Industrial Commons plant.

The plan is to have the production facilities up and running by the end of the week. Seriously. The office space should be ready in approximately two weeks. And the heartwarming part? The employees are still getting paid. Everyone should be pretty much back to "normal" by April 1st.

Showroom space is currently in the works.

As I mentioned to Will Knecht this morning, I'm not a fan of random luck. I'm a believer in providence. And if you ever wanted a case study in providence, the WAF situation is the paradigm.
- Two production cells remained at Cooper because WAF had no room to move them to the main building.
- All of the electrical, air, and gas hookups were still in place.
- A high-end paint booth remained because WAF couldn't fit it in the main building.
- All of the distribution and inventory for shipping remained because there was no room at the main building.
- WAF officials "discovered" abandoned office space at the Cooper plant that they never needed or used before - ironically, it was above their heads the whole time!
- Utility contractors simply had the manpower and resources to respond immediately to wire up phone and internet connections - no waiting for the tech to show up between 8:00am and 4:00pm...haha!


Now for the pics!

Some of the rescued dies. There were approximately 4500 total, and they vary in states from "just like new" to minor pitting from rust.



Arranging the work cells.
This is the area where all of the new goods will be created. All of the cutting, hammering, trimming, polishing, etc. will happen here.


Distribution center. This site has been operational and will continue to ship goods. There is still inventory on the shelves, but they are going through it quickly.


Office space. This space was located above the distribution and was unknown to many employees. It was simply never needed...until now. The walls are getting new cables strung in them and paint (you can see the sample paint on the walls) will be on shortly. Thousands of dollars of cubicles are being donated by Hicks Office Plus!


I'll post up more pics as progress continues...

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

UPDATE: Wendell August Forge Fire Pics - Cleanup Process

I snapped some pics this morning of the cleanup and recovery efforts at the Forge. Since a lot of people are asking questions about what survived and what didn't, I hope this pics will help visitors understand the sheer ferocity of the fire.

Remains of the forge building:


Remains of the die engraving cells:


Remains of the shop floor:


Excavator *inside* the showroom:


Sifting through the debris of the showroom:


Showroom computer monitor:


Sadly, the remains of the player piano:



"For God So Loved The World" plate:


Dogwood platter:


Antique gates:


Saving the dies:


Monday, March 08, 2010

UPDATE: Loss of Wendell August Forge Impacts Grove City

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
Grove City Fire Chief Jeff Badger said Sunday that a malfunctioning fan may have caused the fire that burned down the historic Wendell August Forge in Grove City on Saturday afternoon.

The fire started in the spray room, where the products the forge makes are lacquered. Badger said a damage estimate to the 25,000-square-foot landmark was not available over the weekend, but forge president Will Knecht told reporters it could be in the millions.

He said they plan to rebuild the forge as soon as possible, and the stores that sell its goods throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio will remain open.

The fire marshal is no longer investigating, Badger said, and the fire does not appear to have been suspicious.

There were 25 employees and 15 customers in the store when it started burning; all of them made it out unharmed. There were more than 100 firefighters battling the blaze, Badger said.

Ed Hodge, a Wendell August craftsman, said all of the equipment from the forge was destroyed. However, Grove City borough councilman and conservative blogger Rich Talbert wrote on his blog that many of the dies used to engrave pieces metal were saved.

’The dies are hardened-steel designs,’ he said Sunday. ’They would press or hammer that on to the plates or the platter, and that design would be engraved into the steel.’

Talbert explained losing the forge is tragic for the community.

’When one thinks of Grove City, several things come to mind,’ he said. ’Grove City College, the outlet mall (Prime Outlets at Grove City), and Wendell August Forge. People truly look at that as the treasure of the city; it’s something community members have grown to love and appreciate.’

Talbert said that people come from all over the world to visit the forge, and said he hopes the company will move aggressively to have it rebuilt by the Christmas season.

Chris Bulfone, a Wendell August employee, said Sunday that the company was going to give them some idea of how it would proceed this morning.

Thankfully, the Forge wants to stay in Grove City and rebuild at their current location. This is very welcome news - as the Grove City community would most certainly feel the loss of jobs and tourism spending in the area. Not to mention the sheer history of the Forge and the borough...and for history buffs like myself, this is a huge ordeal.

The next part will be for the Forge to address zoning issues, develop new plans, have them approved by the borough Planning Commission, and start building. Let's hope this is a case when bureaucracy doesn't grind along so we can see the Forge rebuilt and jobs for dozens of people restored!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

UPDATE: Wendell August Forge Fire

(original story below this post)

I spent almost all afternoon and evening at the Forge. Before I get into the update, I want to thank the multiple fire companies that responded and did a fabulous job fighting one heck of a fire. I also want to thank those who helped, whether by donating time, equipment, manpower, or food. Especially: McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Four Star Pizza, Little Caesar's Pizza, The Salvation Army, Thomas Construction...and many more. I was also very pleased to see nearly all of my fellow borough council members there helping out the firefighters. Kudos to everyone else I missed. Thank you for showing why Grove City is such a great town.

As for the Forge: the building and the inventory are totally lost. The GREAT news is that many of the heirloom pieces were saved, as were the computer records and master dies. The firefighters and Thomas Construction went above and beyond the call of duty to rescue these invaluable parts of Grove City history.

As for the future: I spoke at length with Will Knecht and the Forge will be rebuilt! I'll let Mr. Knecht share his vision and plans when he feels ready.

As mentioned before, no one was hurt in the fire. All customers and workers escaped without harm.

Here's a great personal account of the WAF fire from my friend and fellow councilman, Joe Pisano.

Here are some pictures (many thanks to Jeff Corbett for some of the pics):
















Grove City Landmark Wendell August Forge Destroyed by Fire

Metal giftware landmark Wendell August Forge was destroyed by fire Saturday afternoon. The fire broke out in the early afternoon. All customers and employees safely made it out of the building. Several fire companies responded to fight the blaze, including Grove City, Pine Township, Springfield Township, Mercer East End, Unionville, Hermitage, Jackson Center, and Volant. More companies have responded - and continue to respond as of this entry (4:08pm).

The blaze reportedly started with a chemical spray that caught fire. The plume of smoke went hundreds of feet into the air and could be seen in Volant.

Wendell August Forge is America’s oldest and largest forge, producing hand-wrought ornamental metalware and elegant giftware in aluminum and other metals since 1923. The company was founded in Brockway, Pennsylvania by Wendell McMinn August, who, at age 38, was active in the coal industry.

August engaged Ottone “Tony” Pisoni, a blacksmith in his coal mine, to hand-forge door latches for his home. Admiring the low cost and high quality of Pisoni’s work, August was inspired to start a decorative ironware business. Pisoni was joined by three more blacksmiths who handcrafted the first product line, including one-of-a-kind fireplace andirons, candlesticks, lighting standards, doorknockers, latches, railings, and grilles for windows and doors.

In 1930, a commission to create decorative aluminum gates and elevator doors for the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA) led to a new era of design innovation.

Pisoni mastered the art of forging aluminum, and the company prospered, forging the designs of James McCausland, an architect who joined Wendell August in 1928 and became Designer and Operations Manager. A commission for architectural remodeling at the Grove City National Bank proved so successful that the Bank’s president convinced Wendell August to relocate to Grove City, even investing in the company to facilitate the move. Wendell August’s Grove City forge is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Sadly, there were thousands of incredible pieces of artwork in the building - many museum quality, many rare, many discontinued.

For sake of full disclosure, both my wife and my mother worked for the Forge. My wife was in showroom sales and my mother in catalog sales.

Friday, March 05, 2010

I-80 Tolling in PA: Done Deal? Dahlkemper Under the Bus?

I recently spoke with an "insider" about tolling I-80. This person called it a done deal - and that PA congressional representative Kathy Dahlkemper, who has been opposed to tolling, is facing some heavy pressure from President Obama. And she's not the only one.

Even though she has been strongly against tolling, it seems that she's set to fold like a cheap suit.

Apparently Rendell has made it clear to Obama that Dahlkemper won't make it to a second term, so if she can be rolled, now is the time.

Stay tuned...

PA-3: Huber Calls on Dahlkemper to Return Rangel's Cash

It seems that tax cheat Charlie Rangel has roots here in the third district: he has given $14,000 to first-term congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper.

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):
The money was donated by top Democrat U.S. Rep. Charles B. Rangel, New York. Mrs. Dahlkemper, though, pointed out Rangel’s donation came from his war chest, which isn’t a subject of the ethics inquiries hailing down on Rangel.

And that cash hasn't escaped the attention of at least one of the Republicans interested in besting Dahlkemper in the fall.
But Rangel is ethically radioactive, and Mrs. Dahlkemper should give back the cash, said a campaign spokesman for Paul Huber, a Meadville businessman....

Huber’s spokesman, Danny Driscoll, said that 28 other Democrats have given Rangel’s money back or donated it to charity, turning in a total of $400,000 already.

But Ms. Dahlkemper, already shaping up to be a one-termer is angling to hold onto the cash:
Mrs. Dahlkemper sent a release in the matter, citing statements from non-partisan watchdog groups like Common Cause and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who said Rangel’s war chest isn’t tainted.

Unless the money in Rangel’s war chest is ill-gotten gains, said a Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics spokeswoman, there’s no ethical lapse in keeping it. She called the Republican dig “silly.”

So, there you have it. A ethically bankrupt congressman pumps money into your failing campaign, and when called on it, you call the question "silly." Who cares what liberal "ethics" groups say? The money came from a full-blown tax cheat and lobbyist abuser. I think it's "silly" that Dahlkemper would so quickly align herself with such a guy. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving...

But it gets better! Dahlkemper chided then-representative Phil English for taking money from oil companies (which are legal companies):
Mrs. Dahlkemper made a similar call to former U.S. Rep. Phil English during her campaign against him in 2008 – she asked English to surrender $200,000 in money from Big Oil.

At the time, Mrs. Dahlkemper accused English of taking money from Big Oil at the expense of the interests of Pennsylvanian families.

So...there are a lot of oil companies in Western PA. The extraction of oil was started here, by the way. There are loads of refineries in the area. And people from Pennsylvania ACTUALLY WORK THERE. Apparently, Dahlkemper would rather take money from corrupt congressmen than from businesses that operate and employ people in and around her own district.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

PA-3 Update: Reese Ends Congressional Campaign

One more Republican has left the race to unseat Kathy Dahlkemper. Donna Reese has stepped aside and endorsed fellow small-business owner Paul Huber.

Hat tip to The Herald (Sharon, PA):

Donna Reese, a small businesswoman, said she had enough signatures for her petitions, which are due in a week, but was dropping out ’for the good of the Republican party.’

She endorsed Huber, 65, Meadville, because of his background in business, she said. ’It’s exactly the reason I ran. I’m a small business person, I try and create jobs, I’m frustrated with job loss.’

Beside Huber, five others remain: Steven M. Fisher, 52, Cochranton, a health insurance salesman; Ed Franz, 48, a Conneautville hourly worker at General Electric in Erie; Clayton W. Grabb, 47, Butler, a pharmaceutical salesman; Mike Kelly, 61, Butler, a car dealership owner; and Dr. Martha Moore, 52, Sandy Lake, a family doctor.