Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Do you remember when you were a kid and you wanted to build your own lemonade stand, make some lemonade, and make a whole lot of money so you could go to the toy store and buy your favorite toy? After my little girls came to me in wind storm of excitement over their newly discovered and unique idea, the memories came flooding back to me. For me, it was those plastic little hasbro ponies with the big eyes, colorful hair, and pretty little symbols on their rump! Yes! You got it! My Little Pony from the good ole 80's. I am dating myself and I digress a bit but am jerked back to the present with little hands pulling on my shirt and bringing me out of the clouded world of memory.

"Why not?", I thought! So, the girls and I went to my husband (the handy wood crafting guy) to see what he had for scraps to make a lemonade stand! The girls helped put the stand together and even created and painted the designs on it! The older two also helped but don't corner them and ask because they'll never admit it!

So, the final product was ready for its curb side trial. All that was needed to complete the project was the lemonade and a trusty little jar to hold the profits!

Look at how well the girls did! They enjoyed themselves so much and our community was extremely supportive! I'm just glad that our township officials didn't stop by to ask us for our permit! Eeeek!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

PULL TOGETHER ERIE! Review of the Erie Yacht Club Benefit for Pennsylvania's Flagship Niagara

What a well attended event to benefit the Niagara! I was excitingly surprised to see the local support of the Brig come together at the Erie Yacht Club on Tuesday evening May the 5th. It was very surreal to see that the tall ship had indeed made it's maiden voyage and docked at the club with its beautiful, "Don't Give Up The Ship!" flag blazing wildly in the wind. How many opportunities to you get to see and touch such an icon of beauty? I was blessed to get the chance to view her at this benefit.

Ever since the PA Historical and Museum Commission decided to cut funding for the Niagara sailing program, volunteers, yachtsmen, sailors, citizens, and people of all walks of life have become concerned that the ship will not sail and her demise would be eminent with time. The Erie Yacht Club is the first to come to her side by offering the, "Pull Together Erie!" benefit and live auction for this unique tall ship.

The local TV stations were present for full coverage as well as many locally known political candidates,socialites,doctors,lawyers,businessmen, and the concerned community. We were all enlightened as to the exact problem that is occurring with funding, what has been done and achieved thus far, and notified of future plans to help raise funding for the brig.

The program was supposed to open with remarks by Mayor Joseph Sinnott who conveniently was not able to attend at a last moment's notice. Being very disappointed I am not surprised since the Mayor is the one who has proposed the 170Mill spending through out the city of Erie without one lick of it going toward the ship! For myself, and I am sure others, this is yet another demonstration of his lack of concern for our local icon. (I wish to say more about this but will hold my tongue!)

What did I learn from the benefit and can share with you?
The US Brig Niagara is a coast guard approved Sailing School Vessel! Plans are in place for students to earn school credit while sailing and working the vessel for a two week period of time. (Makes me wish I were in school again!) Of the one million dollar needs of the brig, $800,000.00 is used for the overall maintenance of the vessel itself. It takes about 30 volunteers (NON PAID) to man the crew of the Niagara. The brig brings in 10's of thousands of dollars in revenue when it travels to other ports with 2 hour long lines of people who are excited to board and tour this historical reminder that, "We have met the enemy and they are ours!". **Of the funds collected only $250,000 more is needed to save this ship!**

This remaining portion of funding will hopefully come from corporations, granting institutions, special events, and caring individuals of the Erie community and across the nation.

1) Outright Donations: When making outright donations to the ship they are put to work in preparing the ship as an educational and training platform for the people of Erie, as well as representing our city in both American and foreign ports. Pledges for periods of up to three years are welcome.

Securities are also accepted as donations and can be valuable for tax-planning purposed.

As individuals, outright tax deductible donations can be made. Many local corporations have pledged to match these donations such as PNC, General Electric, Mellon Financial Corporation and Exxon-Mobile.

2)Join the Flagship Niagara League.
3)Donate via Facebook.
4)Purchase "KEEP NIAGARA SAILING" tokens at area businesses for personal use or resale.

Companies can support the ship with outright donations and becoming a corporate member.

To Learn More, PLEASE contact the Flagship Niagara League:
Ms. Julie Wagner
150 East Front Street, Suite 100
Erie, Pennsylvania 16507
#814-452-BRIG (2744) Ext.222

Thank you for all who attended this event and to those who have contributed and who will contribute to this cause in the future. The Erie Yacht Club was able to raise over $30,000 from this event!

Let's keep the cause going and, "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!"
Photos are property of CMS, The US Brig Niagara League, John Baker-ship Photographer, and The Erie Maritime Museum.