This is a tough time to away from loved ones. I took on a personal project because my mom is alone in a nursing facility in Florida. This picture of a birthday girl is part of that project. You can read about it below.
#ICYMI is a story about the state of Pennsylvania making the decision to open up the trout season a couple weeks early to give anglers something to do while social distancing and perhaps avoid the large opening day crowds. You can visit this story via a link below.
News this week of COVID-19 related layoffs in the city of Franklin prompted this story about what will the normally packed summer schedule look like as a result. You can read this featured story below.
Though I couldn't quite see the moon when it was the 'pink" super-moon on Tuesday, the clouds did seperate long enough to get a photo. This and a few other photos from this week can be viewed below.
Franklin events: planning not on hold despite uncertainty
People from all over western Pennsylvania line Liberty Street for parades, fill the parks selling their wares and specialty treats and oftentimes, folks sit lawn chair to lawn chair watching a good show.
Franklin has never been a place in the summer for social distancing. Each week there is something happening - a concert - a festival - some rock throwing, water skipping thingy and a several weeks long competition to crown the latest local vocal talent.
All draw crowds downtown to form a sense of community.
That is the way it has always been.
Until now during this pandemic, at a where we all have to think a little differently about how we say hello to our neighbor passing us by in the street.
But the show must go on as the saying goes.
And it will...but, when? That's what the million dollar question is now.
These events don't just happen. They are planned, coordinated, fretted over and organized for hours.... days.... weeks using sweat equity and perseverance.
Dedicated individuals who love their community make them happen.
Last week's announcement that the City of Franklin was forced to lay-off nine of its employees due to the ongoing financial woes stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak, two of which were from events planning, appeared to threaten all that pain staking planning.
Or did it?
It would seem devastating for most towns.... but not Franklin.
Franklin has a mother's love watching over it no matter what.
"We hope to keep a positive outlook, that's what gets you through [things like] this." Franklin events coordinator Ronnie Beith said Thursday afternoon.
Beith was one of the nine laid off employees, but her love of this town is greater than a paycheck, Franklin is her baby, and she is not alone.
"Me being laid off isn't the important thing, the important thing is that we carry on," she said.
Beith admitted it takes a huge team of individuals to pull off nearly flawless events.
It takes public works folks to get the grounds ready and be sure everything is set. They lost a member in the lay-off. It takes a lot of administrative planning and coordination. Three people in administration had to be temporarily let go. The events and marketing team was laid off, as well as a member or two in the police department. Beith says so many people are needed to pull off the events.
COVID-19 has cut into that, caused doubt that this years events will be able to take place if the Governors stay at home orders remain in place.
Franklin city manager Tracy Jamieson concurs. She mentioned once the Governor lifts the stay at home orders, the city still has hurdles to jump. She cited staffing levels and just being able to get police, streets and parks ready for events. She said she'd like to be hopeful, but is cautious about the reality of this virus's impact on the community.
As of now the city is still approving the use of it's parks and facilities, but are letting everyone know they have the right to cancel if needed. And to check back at least two weeks prior for an update.
Still, Beith and others continue working behind the scenes to be sure this year's events are ready to go if, or when, they are allowed.
"Our first commitment is to public health. This situation is fragile and we want to have confidence, when we begin, by walking slowly back into a new normal. We will be ready...but do not want to begin one minute too soon." said Beith.
She knows that the event schedule for this summer has to be tentative, but, if they are going to be able to have events at all, they still need to be planned.
So planning is still in effect and other than the Franklin Garden Associations annual MayMart officially being cancelled, the schedule will be put together and evaluated, as needed, based on health department recommendations.
"Patience and the wisdom of health professionals is our main guide. After that critical determination and city concerns are addressed - we can begin with caution. We are ready when it is safe and all things are right." Beith said.
In the meantime, despite the city having to make cutbacks, the future will remain the focus. The Franklin events website and Facebook page will continue with business updates in their weekly COVID-19 local roundup. Beith and others are also working hard to find items for everyone to do during social distancing.
A recent post they shared about Easter eggs went vial. They want to be sure we are all still connected to the community no matter what.
To keep up-to-date visit:
A project for mom, yes I was once that cute.
My mom is a scrap book historian and has been on the search for photos of my brother Russell since he passed away last year.
My aunt, who we call Auntie, sent grampas old slides to me to go through. The thought process, I am a photographer, I can go through them faster.
I admit I wasn't really up for the task, but, I agreed to it. Little did I knowit was never a question, they were already in the mail.
Funny, mom still knows best.
Even funnier, when the box arrived, it wasn't a tiny box.
In fact, it was fairly large box. I mean a feeling of dread came over the land sized box.
There were a dozen 8"X16"x2" metal boxes all loaded to the gills with 2"x2" slides inside. Conservatively there were 5,000 slides inside these tombs of storage.
Now, to be fair, I've shot nearly that many photos at a wedding before. But as the photographer I knew what I was looking for and I could look at them on a big computer screen, make quick decisions and edit.
Looking at these old slides required squinting and the use of a lupe(jewelers or old school photographer's devise!) or magnifier. And a sore back and neck.
Mom fell and everything changed
When my mom fell and ended up in the hospital, I sorta started to go through theses boxes of slides. Maybe to lift her spirits?
Now, let me just say, I loved my grandfather and he was a camera enthusiast for sure, but I did not inherit my 'talents' for making photographs from him.
Not at all.
In these boxes were thousands of "this is where I was," kind of photos.
Most of these weren't what I'd call Ansel Adams shots. In fact, as I looked at them I wondered what gramp saw that he felt a need to snap a frame of good ole film? So I quickly weeded and sorted.
But in these boxes were indeed, gems.
I could imagine grampa setting up the old projector and screen in the living room and pausing on every one to explain something about it that he thought was interesting as we all sat in a dark living room with that clicking sound of a slide projector for hours. 78 picture over-looking some valley on a hazy day, a handful photos of people on the journey and then another 51 photos of another valley that looked exactly like the other one to me. I'm sure I said "uggh" on a couple of occasions and imagined half asleep family members back in 1968 thinking the same thing.
I weeded the pictures without people out fast. Many of the people I didn't recognized. Most slides were from before my time, but I want to preserve the ones that maybe mom would recognize.
In the picture above my mom is the one on the far right in the foreground. There are only 4 of us in this picture still alive. It was taken in my grandparents back yard. I'll never forget this place. I created all sorts of worlds in this backyard in which I played for hours.
So now, looking through these photographs, knowing I cannot go visit my mother during this dreadful virus, I just am like everyone else...lost.
We are trying to move forward, but its a very weird time.
So I go through these old slides of my grandfathers hoping to find ones to activate parts of my mom's mind so we can remember good folks of the past and feel good about the now. My sister and brother have been chiming in with details on text messages where I'm sharing these, but it is mom's recollections that matter most.
With her in a nursing facility that I cannot even visit right now, a great deal of torment anxiety forms. I remember her sacrificing everything for me, but I can't return that level of love right now.
So these pictures are my little hugs to her.
Maybe these digital copies of some old photos stimulates her memories and therefore..... gives her something to look forward to.
I guess if there are positives to this virus, and believe me, I'd trade any positive for people not getting sick and dying, its that I get to look back a little on my mom's life with her through these photos. And yes I did appear in some at the end.
Its like everything, first child gets two boxes of slides, the next two kids combine for one box and the fourth child has a few slides that never even made it out of the packaging that they came back from the lab in.
But to me, all of this is a good way to spend this quarantine, documenting what otherwise would be forgotten.
Social distancing along the rivers
These anglers were enjoying a Saturday along the creek in Cooperstown.
Easter via ether
Clergy all over the area used technology to bring their flock together. Many prerecording their sermons Saturday in order to be sure they were uploaded to social media channels for Sunday morning.
Two churches, the Oil City Vineyard church, which holds its services at the YWCA, and Trinity United Methodist Church in Oil City, that uses the smaller chapel for their recorded messages both had there messages ready for Sunday morning.