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Zak of All Trades: This club's not too exclusive, and that's the best part

December 6, 2013

At 7:26 on Tuesday morning, I became a member of a club I've imagined joining since I was 14 — The Buck Down Club.

Well, 7:26 a.m. is the time that it became official, when I knew for sure that I had knocked down my first buck as a hunter — at age 31 — and managed to stop shaking long enough to text my dad: "Buck down!"

When I walked up to my prize, he wasn't the monstrous 8-point or the wide 10-point that we'd been seeing signs of and hearing stories of around the farm, but he was the perfect buck for me — for a lot of reasons.

On Review: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'

December 6, 2013

Editor's Note: This monthly installment of movie reviews by Spirit and Jefferson County Neighbors' reporters Matt Triponey and Dan Long rates the the second film based on the popular "Hunger Games" books by Suzanne Collins.

Plot Recap: Having survived the trials of the arena in the first film,
Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) now find themselves the unintentional figureheads of a budding resistance against their oppressive government.

* * *

Zak of All Trades: Two sides to every story that we tell

November 29, 2013

There are always two sides to every story... Or at least I've been told that's the case. And for the most part, I think it's true.

Stories have always been a big part of my life. I've been surrounded by family — and surrounded myself with friends — who are good story tellers. I love hearing a good story, and I love trying to tell good "stories" through my writing.

I loved reading when I was growing up. I still love reading. And the "best part" about reading for me keeps changing.

Random Thoughts: All rise for the judge

November 29, 2013

Another one of those letters in the mailbox. That's three in the same household getting put on notice in the last five months. A quick glance at the return address tells the story.

So what if it says it's from the Jefferson County Jury Commissioners.
If you can get your jitters under control with the "why me" syndrome, you should see it as a great opportunity to be a responsible citizen.

Some 175 county residents are called for each session, and from that pool only 12 actual jurors are selected, along with two alternates. So, what are the odds that you have to serve?

Pinky & The Brawn: Roller Derby Re-cap

November 19, 2013

October 26: Reynoldsville Roller Dome Halloween-themed event

Northern Allegheny Roller Derby put together a huge Halloween-themed roller derby event. In the Reynoldsville Roller Dome on Oct. 26, two roller derby bouts took place.

The bouts took place at 1 and 3 p.m. with six different roller derby leagues represented. Teams came from all over western PA and New York.
The skaters registered early and were assigned to teams based on their experience and skills in the sport.

Zak of All Trades: What's in a mug... besides my coffee?

November 15, 2013

It all started with a trip up and down the aisles at the local Goodwill store — browsing what others had deemed unnecessary for their enjoyment or survival in their own homes.

The purpose of my visit was to stop by and pick up a few extra sweaters — my idea of dressing up for work in the winter — as a few of mine had gone the wayside themselves over the course of a few moves and a few seasons too many having worn them.

Zak of All Trades: Trick or treat? You be the judge

November 1, 2013

If you left your porch light on Thursday night — and you don't live in the sticks, where I grew up — you more than likely heard the phrase more times than you cared to count: "Trick or treat."

My favorite thing about Halloween, of course, is checking out all of the fun and creative costumes donned by those from young to old. It's an escape and a chance to be someone or something you've always wanted to be.

Always dreamt of being a doctor? There's a costume for that.

On Review: 'Gravity'

November 1, 2013

Editor's Note: This is the first in a regular column of movie reviews by Spirit and Jefferson County Neighbors' reporters Dan Long and Matt Triponey.

After lackluster performances for several blockbuster movies this summer, the sci-fi thriller "Gravity" kicked off the fall movie season in an impressive fashion.

Pinky & The Brawn: Derby Basics

October 29, 2013

Pinky & The Brawn

Roller derby as a sport is gaining popularity in the United States. As it grows, there are a few things to clear up — first of all, roller derby is not fake.

At one point, it may have been fake for TV or whomever, but in the modern incarnation of roller derby, it is real.

The hits are real, and there are no scripts. Teams practice two to three times per week and generally play about 10 bouts a season.

Some teams can put in seven hours a week of practice and scrimmage other teams or have intra-squad scrimmaging a few times a month.

Zak of All Trades: Bullying — This is a trend that has to end

October 18, 2013

There has been much talk surrounding the topic of bullying in the news lately, and unfortunately, it has not come from a positive front of anti-bullying programs succeeding or of someone taking a stand for someone being bullied.

Sadly, the news has surrounded the arrest of two Florida teens who allegedly used the technological advances at their disposal to open up any number of gateways to experience the world to do what so many choose to do with it — bully a peer over the Internet.

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