The recent national election and inauguration of a new President of the United States troubles me on many levels, but one issue in particular scares me to death…perhaps literally.


The first time I came face to face with senseless, completely incomprehensible loss on a personal level was when I was 13 years old.

Until that time, death had been something that happened to really old people I didn't know very well. Then came a warm Saturday evening in June, and my view of the world changed forever.


This past weekend, as I constantly updated The Citizen’s Web site in response to the changing circumstances of the fire in Bellevue, I remarked to a friend, “Sometimes being in the news business is not a lot of fun.” That same statement is true for most of us who live within this small, fairly close-knit community of the North Boroughs, sometimes being so connected to the people of your community is not a lot of fun.


I’m not a particularly superstitious person, but I have long held the belief that you should never, ever utter out loud the words “Things can’t get any worse.” Not only is it seldom true, but it is just tempting the universe to prove you wrong. I recently have added another phrase to my banned list: “Now what?” That was the title of my last blog, written about a month ago, in which I complained that late winter was a really boring time of the year.


We are now firmly entrenched in winter, that most deaded of seasons for many of us. All of the distractions that kept us from actual hibernation are in the rear view mirror, and we find ourselves looking for something to take their place.


Such a wonderful time of the year! We get the opportunity, if we are wise, to look back at the year behind us, evaluating the choices we have made, and then start fresh with the blank page of the new year.


Last week, while the country was still reeling from the tragedies in San Bernardino and Paris and the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado, a friend who lives in Ohio posted a story on social media about a man in Cleveland who was strolling around urban areas with a big rifle slung over his back. Ohio has “open carry” laws that make it perfectly legal to do just what that man was doing.


It seems we once again find ourselves in that special season when we give thanks, spend a lot of money, and make resolutions – pretty much in that order. And if there is one thing that should play an important role in all of these endeavors, it is the North Boroughs business community.


By now, any of you not living under a rock know that The Pitttsburgh Steelers have hired dog fighting poster child Michael Vick, and you more than likely have formed an opinion on that. In an area as crazy about dogs as it is about football, the hiring was bound to result in some epic battle lines being drawn. I do believe the Steelers grossly underestimated the fallout from this decision.

But I am not here to rehash the many, many stories published by the media or the vicious battles being waged on social media. I am here to tell you about Phoenix.