picture of Courtney Dickman

New Bellefonte Council Member and New President ProTempore

Just a quick announcement.  Two weeks ago, Paul DeCusati resigned from Bellefonte Borough Council due to time constraints with his work.  As a result, council needed to make two administrative decisions at our meeting on Monday, January 17.

picture of Courtney Dickman

Courtney Dickman

The first administrative item was to appoint a new member of council to replace Paul.  There were four people interested in the position.  After interviewing them and hearing from the public, Courtney Dickman was selected by a 4-3 vote as the third and newest representative of the third ward.  When she is sworn in on February 7, there will be 5 women (3 Democrats and 2 Republicans) serving on a 9-member council. And for the third ward, 100% of the representatives are women. Which, FYI, is where I was elected in 2015. Congratulations Courtney.

picture of Joanne Tosti-Vasey

Joanne Tosti-Vasey

The second administrative item was to elect a new President ProTempore of the council to replace Paul. I was elected unanimously.  That means that in the rare instances when both the President (Gay Dunne) and Vice-President (Randy Brachbill) are absent, I will be leading the meeting.


Christmas carols as folk music

Here’s an interesting blog from a Jewish woman who grew up in the US and now lives in Cornwall, England explaining her like of and iffiness with Christmas carols.

Here’s a list of some of the  holidays that people from around the world celebrate during December:

  • Tuesday, December 6 St. Nicholas Day Austria
  • Tuesday, December 6 Feast of St. Nicholas (Bari) Italy
  • Wednesday, December 7 Feast of St. Ambrose (Milan) Italy
  • Monday, December 12 Day of the Virgin Guadalupe Mexico
  • Monday, December 12 Poinsettia Day
  • Wednesday, December 14 Full Moon Lunar
  • Wednesday, December 21 Winter Solstice (GMT) Solar and China
  • Friday, December 23 Festivus
  • Saturday, December 24 Christmas Eve General
  • Sunday, December 25 Christmas General
  • Sunday, December 25 Hanukkah Jewish
  • Monday, December 26 St. Stephan’s Day Christian & Austria
  • Monday, December 26 Boxing Day Canada
  • Monday, December 26 Second Christmas Germany
  • Monday, December 26 – Sunday, January 1 Kwanzaa
  • Saturday, December 31 New Years Eve

I agree with her general statement about this Holiday season.

“Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, or celebrated if I’m late, I wish you a good one. And if you don’t celebrate anything, I wish you a moment of quiet amid all the aggressive celebrating.”

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Notes from the U.K.

Christmas carols, according to one source I found, weren’t originally Christian. They were solstice songs. Then the country was Christianized and it took the songs along with it, but they didn’t become church songs, they stayed outside, in people’s homes, as well as out of doors and in whatever the period’s equivalent of the pub was. They were seasonal folk songs.

Fast forward more than a few hundred years and Oliver Cromwell came to power, with his humorless version of Protestantism. He didn’t approve of fun, and he tried to stamp the songs out but they went underground and survived.

In the Victorian era they were rediscovered and became respectable (I think) and new carols were added.

End of history lesson. I won’t swear that it’s entirely accurate, but it seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of accuracy. Close enough (as they say of guitar tuning) for folk music.

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Are You a Political Nerd?

Drawing of Uncle Sam pointing his finger at you

Do you know our US political structure?

Do you know what’s in the US Constitution? Do you know what oligarchy or anarchy mean? Are you, in essence, a political junkie?  Here’s  a quiz from Women.com that can answer some of these questions for you.


Let us readers know how you did. And have fun.