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All the news that doesn't fit in print

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    Physical education teacher Matt Fabian is head-over-heels about fitness.
    Eating right is as important as exercise.

    Blogger's Note:If you guessed that the following information was provided by the prolific John Armato, you guessed right ..... sorry, you don't win anything....

    At Pottstown’s Rupert Elementary School students understand the value of the Greek philosophy of “Healthy Body and Healthy Mind.”

    Students, staff, and parents recently took part in a family night of fitness.

    Over 60 parents joined students in a night of activities that included blood pressure screenings, yoga, Pilates, cardio exercises, and an educational session on healthy snack ideas.

    The students and parents were joined by a number of teachers and Rupert staff that helped to organize and conduct the activities. They included Stacey Bauman, Treena Ferguson, Shannon Wagner, Jamie Fazekas, Diana Dotterer, Nicole Leh, Lisa Stephenson, Christine Fiorillo, Melissa Scaltrito, Allen Ferster, Marybeth Reinhart, Susan Paravis, Rine Strohecker, Dave Genova, and Matt Fabian.

    Most kids think adults
    should be more flexible.
    Principal Matt Moyer said, “I am so excited to see many of our students and parents coming back
    after fter school hours to show their commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Once again our staff proves that they are here to help children succeed. Without their efforts in organizing and conducting these activities, the night would not be possible.”

    Moyer expressed a special thanks to members of Fresh Start Fitness, Schuylkill Valley Sporting Goods, and the YMCA for supporting the evening’s events.

    This year, the Pottstown School District has made physical fitness and its benefits to academic performance  an area of emphasis.

    Each day, students throughout the school district participate in brain energizer activities to help prepare them for academic success.

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    Photo by Evan Brandt

    It was a full house Saturday night as Goodwill Firehouse was packed to the gills with hungry jazz fans and Pottstown School District music students raised the rafters with some spectacular performances. This was the view from the meatball serving station.

    Photo by Evan Brandt
    Our first customers.


    Photo by Evan Brandt
    Our happiest customer

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    Photo by Christopher Austerberry
    This rare 1953 Mickey Mantle baseball card is just one example
    of the type of exclusive memorabilia that will be auctioned on April 23.
    It's spring cleaning time and, if your house is anything like mine, there are probably a few things you could do without.

    But the decision about what to get rid of is always a hard one. What if that lamp is actually worth something?

    Or, your old baseball card collection?

    Well, now you can find out out.

    The Carousel at Pottstown is conducting a fund-raiser antiques and collectibles auction on April 23.

    They are currently accepting items on consignment.

    Better yet, the auction is being nationally advertised, so anything you provide for sale is going to have the largest group of potential buyers possible.

    The auction will include jewelry, sports and entertainment memorabilia, branded collectibles, furniture, glass, figurines, toys and more.

    The auctioneers will be Kathy Maurer Wilson and Curtis Wilson of the Third Street Gallery, and they can be reached at 610-970-7688.

    For more information, and to schedule an item review, contact:
    • George Wausnock: 610-327-4062
    • Bill Troutman: 610-207-3385
    • Fred Hoffman: 610-327-2871.
    The consignment fee is only 10 percent of the sale price and will benefit the Carousel at Pottstown.

    * * *

    Photo by Christopher Austerberry
    In other Carousel news, The Doe Club of the Elks have sponsored "Bambi," a beautiful addition to the
    Carousel At Pottstown.

    Pictured are:
    Row 1: Jane Hamilton, Kay Bechtel (President), Joanne Reynolds, Marie Stahl, Janet Burkhart.
    Row 2: Debbie Arnosky, Sharon Johnson, Jackie Hertzog, Sis Swenk, Roberta Peterman, Wendy Eppehimer, Carol Eckroth, Wendy Schiavo.
    Row 3: Ellie Le Veille, Susie Edwards, Penny Searfoss, Carol Cusamano, Cheryl Baro, Edie Shaninger.






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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown Regional Public Library.

    We are ‘Kick’ing off Family Reading Month with Pete the Cat and his Red Sneakers. 

    Sign up and get your own sneaker to pin on our Reading Board.

    Reading is not a solitary activity. 

    Story telling is meant to be shared and the Pottstown Regional Public Library is celebrating this with Family Reading Month in April.

    Children receive a bag of goodies when they sign up to read 20 minutes a day for 20 days of the month.

    They can read with a family member, friend – even a pet.

    If the goal is reached, you return your calendar by May 4 for a free Friendly’s meal and other fun prizes!

    The library is a place for families, friends, and free fun.

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    Photos by Brian Mather
    Regular Digital Notebook readers will remember this image from a June 28, 2012 post. In it, Principal Calista Boyer, then principal at Edgewood Elementary, is made into an ice cream sundae by her students after they met her challenge to read 5,000 books by the end of the year. Being slimed would be child's play, literally, for a woman this committed.


    Blogger's Note: Recently a flyer went home with students from Lincoln and Rupert elementary schools. It said this:

    In honor of Families and Reading Month, the principals are having a friendly reading competition between Lincoln Elementary School and Rupert Elementary School.

    The Challenge -- Which school can read the most pages AT HOME from April 1,  to April 30?

    The Reward -- The school that reads the most pages will get to “Slime” their principal! 

    All students that turn in a calendar will receive a prize!

    Here’s how it works -- Complete the monthly reading log. Turn it in by the end of the day Friday, May 2. We will total the number of pages read, and see which school wins!

    Now, having read this flyer, I am intrigued.

    I don't know about you, but knowing both of these principals as long as I have, this strikes me as a challenge not to be ignored.

    As some readers may recall, Calista Boyer was the principal at Edgewood Elementary School until it was closed as part of the elementary school re-organization. But she didn't miss a beat and moved right over to Lincoln (my neighborhood school).

    While at Edgewood, Mrs. Boyer kissed a pig, let her students put cream pies in her face, and let them turn her into an ice cream sundae, all in the cause of inspiring them to read.
    Teachers Terry Shank and Max Donnelly took their lumps
    along with Rupert Principal Matt Moyer, right.

    So normally, my money would be on her. 

    But Matt Moyer is no slouch in the crazy stunt department. 

    Now occupying the building Boyer once led, while the original Rupert is being gutted and renovated, Moyer has also allowed his students to throw a pie in both his face, and the faces of most of his staff.

    He has also challenged his students to raise money for Pottstown's Relay for Life by pledging to have his closely-cropped hair styled into a purple Mohawk.
    Mr. Moyer in younger days?

    In other words, I'm not sure where to put my money. 

    I'll root for Lincoln, because its my home school and taught my son well and because I think Mrs. Boyer is definitely up for the challenge and will not shy away from inspiring her students. 

    (Also, I know it will rub Mr. Moyer the wrong way that I picked a favorite and it wasn't him, and that will push him even harder!)

    But I know better than to underestimate Mr. Moyer. 

    Pies, purple Mohawks, the guy is up for anything when it comes to his students.

    In fact, the only think I can say for sure, is that a whole lot of books are going to be read in Pottstown this month.





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  • 04/02/14--21:00: Finding The Right Words
  • Abby Hudock
    A team of twelfth graders representing Pottsgrove High School won highest honors in this year's WordWright Challenge, tying for 15th place out of 596 school teams from across the country.

    Senior Abby Hudock was one of only fourth twelfth graders in the entire country to earn a perfect score.

    Seniors Chris Haslam, Anthony Pond and Jay Young, along with sophomore Janine Faust, rounded out Pottsgrove's high scoring team, which was supervised by longtime Pottsgrove teacher Todd Kelly.

    The WordWright Challenge is a national competition for high school students requiring close reading and analysis of many different kinds of prose and poetry.

    The score was earned in the Challenge's third meet, held in February and involved more than 69,000 students from across the country.

    The premise behind the WordWright Challenge is that attentive reading and sensitivity to language are among the most important skills students acquire in school.

    The texts students must analyze can range from short fiction by Eudora Welty or John Steinbeck to poety as old as Shakespeare's or as recent as Margaret Atwood's.

    Like the questions on the verbal SAT and advanced placement exams in both English language and English literature, the questions posed by the WordWright Challenge ask students both to recognize the emotional and/or rational logic of a piece of writing, and to notice the ways in which a writer's style shapes and shades his or her meaning.

    The texts for the third meet this year were a poem by Alistair Reid for ninth and 10th graders and a sonnet by Robert Frost for 11th and 12th graders.

    The students will compete in one more WordWright meet during the coming months and medals and certificates will be awarded in June to those who have achieved or progressed the most in the course of the year.



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  • 04/03/14--21:00: When an Ill Wind Blows
  • Justine Villamar, left, and Jamal Adams with some of what they raised.
    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown School District.

    Pottstown Middle School students helped to raise money to support the victims of the Haiyan/ Yolands typhoon in the Philippines by donating a $1 so that they could wear a shirt of their choice instead of their school uniform shirt.

    The effort to aid the typhoon victims was organized by eighth grader Justine Villamar. 

    Villamar has a number of family members who were affected by the storm and middle school students came together to help him raise funds to aid the victims of the devastation. 

    Through these efforts, over $460.00 was donated to the Red Cross.

    Eighth grade teacher Mary Ann Hill said, “I am so proud of our students who understand the importance of helping those in need. Justine is one of our school leaders. He is a member of the chess club, National Honor Society, band, chorus, soccer, and track. His leadership has helped our students play an important role in helping the victims of this terrible devastation.”

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    Pottsgrove School District's student musicians are in the news this weekend.

    Today, starting at 1 p.m., Pottsgrove Middle School will play host to the Cavalcade of Bands Association Indoor Percussion Championships.

    Here is the schedule from the Cavalcade site:



    And on Monday, visitors can get a short preview concert of the performance the Pottsgrove High School Choir will be giving during their tour of Europe, which occurs from April 8 through April 17.

    On the tour, the choir will be performing in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and in Hampton Court in London.

    The preview concert will begin in the high school lobby at 7 p.m.

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  • 04/05/14--21:00: Pedal and Paddle
  • First comes the pedal, which leaves Pottstown's
    Riverfront park at 9 a.m...
    The schedule for the increasingly popular "Pedal and Paddle" bike and kayak trips from Pottstown to Douglassville and back has been announced.

    The first will be held Saturday, May 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    Now, you can register on-line by clicking here.

    Registration can occur up to one-week before the event, but space is limited to 15 people and these trips often fill up quickly. (You must be 16 or older to participate).

    If the May 17 date does not work for you, the other dates are June 28, July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 13.

    The trips include:
    • 4.5 mile bike ride using Bike Pottstown's yellow cruisers along the Schuylkill River Trail from Pottstown's Riverfront Park to Historic Morlatton Village in Douglassville.
    • Guided tour of Historic Morlatton Village.
    • Boxed picnic lunch at Ganshahawny Park in Douglassville
    • Brief introduction to kayaking
    • ...then the visit to Morlattan Village....
    • Paddle back to Riverfront Park
    The cost is only $25 and includes the bikes, the kayaks, the kayaking gear and the lunch.

    Each event begins with a 4.5 mile bike ride from Pottstown’s Riverfront Park to Historic Morlatton Village in Douglassville, using yellow cruisers from the Bike Pottstown bike share program. 

    Participants are given a guided tour of Morlatton Village, a historic village consisting of four 18th century buildings that have been restored or are in the process of being restored, one of which is the oldest home in Berks County. 

    ...then lunch and kayak lessons at Ganshahawny
    Park 

    in Douglassville....
    The village is located directly off the trail and is owned by the Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County, which provides a tour guide during the event. 

    The buildings are only open to the public during special events. 

    From there, participants take a short bike ride to Douglassville’s Ganshahawny Park where they eat a picnic lunch (provided) and receive a brief introduction to kayaking from outfitter Doug Chapman of Take it Outdoors Adventure Group. 

    Then, they paddle back to Pottstown in kayaks along the Schuylkill River.

    To begin, the group always meets at the Schuylkill River Heritage Area offices, located beside Riverfront Park, at 140 College Drive in Pottstown.

    Registrants are asked to arrive a few minutes early, so they can sign a waiver and spend time in the
    ...and finally a leisurely paddle back to Pottstown.
    River of Revolutions Interpretive Center, which is open during the event.

    The tours are held rain or shine, however, if heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast the event may be canceled. If it becomes necessary to cancel, participants will be notified by email by early Saturday morning and a full refund.

    All equipment, including bikes, helmets, kayaks, paddles and PFDs are provided. However, it is recommended that you bring the following items: water bottle, sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, water shoes and bike helmet, if you prefer to use your own. 

    For more information call the Schuylkill River Heritage Area at 484-945-0200, or email ckott@schuylkillriver.org.



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  • 04/06/14--21:00: That's a Lot of Bull
  • The Thomas Bull House in East Nantmeal
    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Tyler Wren, vice chair of the East Nantmeal Board of Supervisors.

    Colonel Thomas Bull, a Revolutionary War hero and prominent figure in the history of Chester County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will be honored with the dedication by the East Nantmeal Historic Commission of a roadside marker in East Nantmeal Township on Saturday, April 12.

    Col. Bull acquired more than 500 acres of land in 1783 with the intent of developing a plantation, as well as the grist mill, saw mill and other enterprise assets that would become known as “Bulltown.” Part of a 1682 William Penn grant, the land was first owned by Owen J. Roberts and at the time of the Revolution was part of the Redding Plantation, now Reading Furnace.

    During the Revolutionary War, the site became noteworthy following the “Battle of the Clouds” in September, 1777. After their ammunition and weapons had been drenched in a heavy rain, making effective defensive or offensive action impossible, Gen. George Washington and approximately 11,000 Continental troops camped in the vicinity of Bulltown to rearm over a two-day period. While Col. Bull was on a British prison ship at the time, his wife hosted Gen. Washington and his staff at the Redding Plantation, aiding the revolutionary cause.

    You can find more history on the subject in the Olde Bulltown Village blog here.

    The Bull Family Mansion House, across the road from the marker, is a significant and well-preserved historic resource. The exterior appointments, as well as the interior attributes, are fine examples of the late Georgian and Early Federal Period in American architecture, brilliantly capturing the transition between British influence and the independent American movement.

    Local elected officials, including State Senator John Rafferty, State Representative Tim Hennessey, Chester County Commissioners Kathi Cozzone and Ryan Costello, and the East Nantmeal Board of Supervisors -- Jim Jenkins, Tyler Wren and Bill Cochrane -- are expected to be on hand when the role in American history of Col. Bull and his Village of Bulltown is commemorated. 

     Ceremonies, including remarks and the marker dedication, will begin at 11:30 am at Bulltown Road (Route 345) and Brownstone Lane, just north of Route 401.

    The historic marker and the April 12 event are being underwritten by Stoltzfus Enterprises, which is emulating historic Bulltown in its nearby residential development. Stotzfus Enterprises will be hosting refreshments and open house tours for ceremony attendees.

    “This roadside marker recognizing Col. Bull and historic Bulltown is the first of what we hope to be several such markers in East Nantmeal, a township founded in 1717 which today has many historic resources and more than 50% of its land area permanently conserved,” said Tyler Wren, Vice Chair of the East Nantmeal Board of Supervisors. “It is important that we honor our history in ways like this, so that our citizens and future generations will better recognize and treasure our historic resources and the ‘great experiment’ that was realized in the colonization of America and the creation of our independent United States.”








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    Photo by Evan Brandt

    It was standing-room only at the town hall Q & A Monday on the project proposed for the old Fecera's building on Beech St. The meeting was held at ArtFusion 19464 on High Street, which has announced its intention to move into the building if the project comes to fruition.







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    Photo by Evan Brandt

    Second graders at Ringing Rocks Elementary School lead an anti-bullying chant, urging children (and Pottsgrove School Board members) to be "bucket fillers." 





    (Remember to click the blue "read next page" bar at the bottom of the Storify to read more.)


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    Photo by Evan Brandt

    Bark for Life Spokesdogs Charlie, Right, and Guinness, left, paid a visit to Pottstown Borough Council Wednesday to promote Saturday's Bark for Life walk and to receive a proclamation from Mayor Sharon Valentine-Thomas.


    (Remember to click the blue "read next page" bar at the end to get to the next page of thrilling Tweets.)


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  • 04/11/14--21:00: Zumba-thon to Fight Cancer


  • Blogger's Note:The following was provided at the last minute by the Pottstown School District:

    Trojans For A Cure will be holding its first Zumba-thon to benefit Relay For Life.

    It will be held this afternoon at Pottstown High School Gymnasium, 750 N. Washington St., from 12 to 2 p.m. 

    They will be selling drinks and snacks at the event to keep you hydrated and your energy levels up.

    The cost of the event is $10 for adults, $5 for students.

    All proceeds go directly to the Pottstown Relay for Life.

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  • 04/12/14--12:58: The Subjective Tense

  • Obviously, there are a lot of differences between musical and athletic competition.

    But the primary difference is one of scoring.

    In athletics, there is no question who has scored the most goals, runs, baskets, touchdowns, you name it.

    But scoring in musical competition is by its nature subjective. Judges, experts all, decide who "sounded better," a subjective decision if ever there was one.
    Photos by Evan Brandt
    The Pottstown High School Jazz Band prepares to perform Friday.

    Certainly, they have done what they can to create a structure within which the scoring occurs.

    So, as the announcer explained Friday night at the 26th Annual Cavalcade of Bands Jazz Band Championships at Souderton Area High School, the judges are required to score each band on such variables as tone and timing, phrasing and syncopation.

    But in the end, it's still inherently subjective. I like blueberries more than raspberries and if I'm judging a pie contest, I don't care how good the crust is on the raspberry pie, I'm going to lean blueberry.

    Whatever subjectivity the judges bring to any particular competition, a parent and a member of a school community is going to be more than subjective. They (I) will be positively biased. That's why they aren't the judges.

    That said, there are those in the Pottstown Jazz Band community who nevertheless found themselves bewildered by the "Outstanding" rating given to the Pottstown players Friday night.

    Understand, only a "Superior" rating is above "Outstanding," so it is nothing to sneeze at. But it was nevertheless difficult to understand given the context of the performances observed.
    The Cavalcade of Bands has been invited to send
    a marching band to the next Rose Bowl Parade.
    This is the uniform, which was on display Friday night.

    Not having seen any of the other bands that played before Cheltenham, I have no comment or complaint about their ratings.

    Nor do I dispute that both Cheltenham and Perkiomen Valley deserved the "Superior" rating they received. They were both top notch.

    But so was Pottstown.

    I know I cannot claim complete objectivity, nor do I make any claim to it. But as a journalist I do have some experience with practicing objectivity.

    I am not shy about acknowledging when Pottstown performs poorly or gets it wrong and from my vantage point, Pottstown's performance was crisp and tight and as good as I've ever heard them play, and I have heard every one of their performances this year.

    But I can argue until I'm blue in the face. So I say don't take my word for it. Make up your own mind.

    By chance both Souderton, which also received an "Outstanding" rating, and Pottstown played the same piece of music -- "Two Seconds to Midnight" -- Friday night, so an apples-to-apples comparison is possible.

    Here is Souderton's performance:



    And here is Pottstown's:



    Did those two performances seem to be worthy of an equal rating to you?

    If so, then you've probably stopped reading by now and have already chalked this post up to sour grapes. That is your prerogative.

    This is the hat for Cavalcade's Rose Bowl Band
    If they did not seem equal, even if you thought Souderton's to be the better performance, it does leave one wondering how they could both receive the same rating does it not?

    Perhaps the answer is subjective.

    Anyway, enough about that.

    The highlight of last night's competition was the All-Star Jazz Band Souderton Jazz Band Director Adam Tucker put together to play three songs while the judges compiled their scores.

    I'm posting their three performances here as something that has not already been posted on this blog multiple times.

    As usual, I have posted video recordings of all three Pottstown performances, as well as all three performances by Perkiomen Valley, which was the only other local band competing and played very well.

    Additionally, I have added the three All-Star performances and Souderton's as well to a playlist on my YouTube channel, which I have posted below.




    Pottstown trombonist Sherif Mohamed as well as saxophonists Tamer Mohamed and Marley Bryan were among those chosen for the All-Star Band.

    Since all the names of all the performers were not listed in the program, I can't list them here. But I was savvy enough to record Tucker's recitation of all the names prior to the first number, "Vine Street Rumble."




    The second number the played will be familiar to Pottstown Jazz Band veterans, "The Running of the Bulls," which was part of Pottstown's repertoire last year.



    Sadly, although my battery lasted until the end of the performance, my recording capacity did not and the last 40 seconds or so of the final number, "Birdland" was cut off. My apologies to the band members and lovers of jazz for poor camera storage management.



    Friday night's competition at Souderton, which looks more like a wing of the Smithsonian than a public high school built, was in the Maynard Ferguson Division

    The same night, at New Hope-Solebury High School, the Glenn Miller Division held their championships. It did not include any local bands.

    Saturday night, the Woody Herman Division will be held at New Hope-Solebury High School, with Methacton being the only local band to compete.

    At Souderton, the Duke Ellington Division will compete, which is where you will find the Boyertown Area High School's Big Band, led by Brian Langdon. Good luck to them.

    Here are the scores for Friday's Maynard Ferguson competition:

    Receiving "Superior" ratings were jazz bands from the following high schools: Bensalem, Radnor, Cheltenham, North Penn Columbia Jazz Band and Perkiomen Valley.

    Receiving a "Outstanding" were Penn Wood, Archbishop Ryan, Souderton Lab, Pottstown and Souderton.
    • The Best Rhythm Section Award went to Cheltenham. 
    • The Best Saxophone Section Award went to Cheltenham; 
    • The Best Trumpet Section Award went to Radnor; 
    • The Best Trombone Section Award went to North Penn Columbia;
    • Best Sight Reading Award went to Radnor.
    Here are the soloist awards:
    • Best Soloist - Ethan Lee Radnor
    • Best Soloist - Noah Becker Cheltenham
    • Best Soloist - Tajh Williams Penn Wood
    • Best Soloist - Neil Williamson Bensalem
    • Best Soloist - Marley Bryan Pottstown
    • Hon. Mention - Alex Dubuck Arch. Ryan
    • Hon. Mention - Dave Perlman Bensalem
    The Overall Champion was Cheltenham who, in my subjective opinion, deserved it. I would say they were "excellent," but that is a lower rating

    The judges for the evening were Jim Capolupo, Matt Gallagher and Frank Kosmaceski.

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  • 04/13/14--21:00: Scrubbing the Schuylkill


  • Blogger's Note: The following was provided by the Schuylkill Action Network:

    An estimated 1,500 people will participate in the two-month Schuylkill Scrub by picking up litter near the Schuylkill River, Pennsylvania’s River of Year.

    Anyone hosting a cleanup before May 31 can register their event at SchuylkillScrub.org.

    Those who do will be eligible to win a money-saving rain barrel. Events registered with Keep
    No one benefits from having this junk in the river.
    Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup of PA will also have access to free gloves, trash bags, and safety vests at participating events. 

    And they can benefit from free or reduced disposal fees at participating landfills during Pick It Up PA Days, from April 12 to May 5.

    “Many people are aware of the Philly Spring Cleanup on April 5, but what happens if you’re busy during those five hours?” said Tom Davidock, an employee of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary who coordinates the Schuylkill Action Network. “That’s what’s so great about the Schuylkill Scrub; you’ve got a hundred events from which to choose.”

    Eleven members of the Schuylkill Action Network have joined forces to improve on last year’s campaign, which attracted over 1,500 volunteers to almost 100 litter cleanups. 
    These spanned almost 100 miles across Southeast Pennsylvania, from downtown Philadelphia to Pottsville in Schuylkill County.

    Participating in the Schuylkill Scrub contributes to the success of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup of PA. 

    Last year, this organization tracked over 50,000 people volunteering in each of the five counties bordering the Schuylkill River. Together they collected more than 900 tons of trash; enough to fill almost 400 extra-large commercial dumpsters.

    The Green Valleys Association and the Hay Creek Watershed Association of greater Pottstown founded the Schuylkill Scrub in 2010. Since then, dozens of organizations have partnered to promote local cleanups as part of the Schuylkill Scrub. 

    Perhaps the most active is the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy located in Schwenksville.

    Approximately 2,000 square miles of land drain to the Schuylkill River. This makes it the largest influence on the tidal Delaware River and Bay, otherwise known as the Delaware Estuary. 

    Cities along its 130-mile path include West Philadelphia, Norristown, Pottstown, Phoenixville, Royersford, Birdsboro, Reading, and Pottsville. 

     Over 2,400 Pennsylvanians selected the Schuylkill as their River of the Year in January.

    Information and online registration is available at SchuylkillScrub.org. Volunteers can also call Tom Davidock of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary at (800) 445-4935, extension 109.

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  • 04/14/14--21:00: Council Gets Conditional
  • Photo by Evan Brandt
    Spring has sprung and the trees in Smith Family Plaza are blooming.



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  • 04/15/14--21:00: Capital Music
  • The Pottstown High School Clarinet Ensemble performed recently in the Capital rotunda in Harrisburg.


    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown School District and its omnipresent spokesperson, John J. Armato.

    The Pottstown School District Music Department brought their award winning talents to the state
    A portion of the Pottstown Middle School Brass Ensemble performs.
    capital in Harrisburg.

    Students from both middle and high school music departments were accompanied by Ben Hayes and  Nancy Mest as they performed in the Rotunda of the state capitol building as part of the Music In Our Schools Month program sponsored by the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association.

    The middle school ensembles performing included brass, clarinet, and flute. 

    They were accompanied by the high school flute and clarinet ensembles.

    The brass ensemble received a very warm round of applause in appreciation of performing their  version of “Steal Away” and “Amazing Grace.”

    “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to perform in such a prestigious venue as the state
    Other members of the Pottstown Middle School  Brass Ensemble.
    capitol Rotunda," Hayes said.

    "Our students are experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity that they will remember for the rest of
    their lives.”

    As an added treat, State Senator Robert Mensch visited with the groups and talked to them about the value of music in our schools and related to them his involvement in music as a high school student. 

    He emphasized that many of the habits which he developed as a band member have proved to be valuable to him in his adult life.

    All the Pottstown music students in the Capital rotunda.


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  • 04/16/14--21:00: A Peek Into the Future
  • What will Montgomery County be like in 2040? Attend a meeting Monday and help decide.


    So what are the chances you have a few views on traffic?

    How about parks and trails?

    We KNOW you have views about housing.

    Economic development as well.

    So why not share them with people who can actually do something about them?

    Your chance comes on Monday, April 21 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

    Photo by Evan Brandt
    One of the comprehensive plan workshops held at 
    Steel River Playhouse in November.
    That's when representatives from the Montgomery County Planning Planning Commission will return to the borough to get input from residents on the Montgomery County Comprehensive Plan, now under construction.

    The listening session will be held at Kingdom Life Church, 380 Walnut St., between North Charlotte and North Franklin streets in Pottstown.

    In addition to listening to your input to help guide the writing of the comprehensive plan, county personnel will also update those who attend on the plan's progress.

    If you're wondering what a comprehensive plan is, this link will take you to an 18-minute video in which County Planning Section Chief Brian O'Leary gives an overview.

    The short version is this: The main purpose of a comprehensive plan at the county level is pretty simple: “to plan for those issues that transcend local boundaries,” things like highways, bridges, housing policy, economic policy, "said O'Leary.

    You can find links to other comprehensive plans for Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Philadelphia counties by clicking here.

    The county released an 11-page draft of the plan's goals and themes last month, which you can read by clicking here.

    If you like  maps, you can look at all sorts of trends in Montgomery County through a series of maps put together in preparation for this comprehensive plan by clicking here.

    This will be the county's first visit back to the borough since November, when a listening session for the comprehensive plan was conducted at the Steel River Playhouse.

    The 70-or-so people who gathered in the smaller theater there in November were participating in the first of four work sessions undertaken across the county by the Montgomery County Planning Commission as a way to gather input before embarking on the writing of the new comprehensive plan: “Montco 2040, A Shared Vision.”

    The county outreach effort to get public input included workshops, like the one held in Pottstown, attended by over 150 people, 2,400 completed surveys, a strong web presence, and comments received through social media. 

    Many issues were raised during this process. The most important appeared to be transportation, jobs and the economy, infrastructure, revitalization, and taxes.

    This will be the first new comprehensive plan since 2005 and it is hoped it will be completed by this time next year.

    “We’re here to anticipate the future, decide where we want to be, and then to plan for it,” Jody Holton, the planning commission’s executive director.

    For more information on this effort, visit www.montcopa.org/2040Complan

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