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All the news that doesn't fit in print
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    An early version of the site plan which received
    preliminary approval last night from the commissioners.
    With a 4-1 vote by the Lower Pottsgrove Commissioners, the $146 million proposal to build 500 homes and apartments, a hotel and large medical building near the Limerick outlets took an important step forward Thursday night.

    Sanatoga Green, as the project is called, proposes a 60,000 square-foot medical building, a 108-room hotel, 17 multi-family apartment buildings with a total of 343 units and 147 townhomes, all on about 50 acres off Evergreen Road opposite the Costco.

    First envisioned in 2014 and carried forward by Castle Caldecott LLC, the project received preliminary site plan approval from the township commissioners last night.

    It was not easily won.

    The approval was expected two weeks ago, but was delayed due to disagreements over details of the project, and over the township's desire for some kind of guarantee that the commercial elements of the plan would be built as well as the roughly 500 homes that have drawn concern from the Pottsgrove School District.

    But a 90-minute meeting Monday between the developers, the township staff and Commissioners Chairman Bruce Foltz and Vice Chairman Stephen Klotz produced a compromise.

    As Township Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. explained, one of the 38 conditions attached to the approval is an incentive for the developer to move forward with the commercial aspects of the project.
    Several months ago, these were the townhouse renderings
    presented to the commissioners by Castle Caldecott, LLC

    The developers have agreed to put up $375,000 in cash or a line of credit to ensure that after the first, townhouse phase of the project moves forward, that the second residential phase, the apartments, will not begin until building permits have been pulled for either of the two commercial elements of the plan.

    Should the developers approach the commissioners about beginning the second residential phase before the commercial, "I imagine there would be some negotiation or the township might obtain the $375,000 by default," Garner said.

    "It was not easy to get them to agree to that," said Foltz. "They didn't want to put up any money at all."

    Both Foltz and Klotz praised the efforts on all sides.

    "I think this shows the township is business friendly," said Klotz, who praised the professionalism if both the developer's staff and the township's.
    The developers also presented a rendering of what
    the hotel on the site may look like several months ago.

    But not everyone was so enthusiastic.

    Commissioner Ray Lopez cast the lone dissenting vote.

    He said he voted no because of how many people who live in the area where the development is proposed have contacted him and asked him to oppose it.

    "They're opposed to it because of the traffic, the zoning changes, the impact on the schools, and they would like to see a different plan, one that has more commercial elements and I agree with them," Lopez said.

    However, the tale is not yet fully told.

    Having won preliminary site plan approval, Castle Caldecott must now go back to the planning commission and do more work to seek a recommendation for final site plan approval, which can only be granted by the township commissioners.

    "They've still got a long way to go," said Klotz.

    But you, dear reader, don't have far to go to find the Tweets from the very brief meeting.

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    It might not be the kind of race that sets your blood pumping, but winning is always nice -- and there were more than 70 winners in this year's Pottstown Rotary Club Duck Race, held during the GoFourth Celebration in Memorial Park.

    Almost more rubber (plastic?) ducks than you can count, each with an assigned number, were placed in Manatawny Creek and those which crossed the finish line first were declared the winners.

    The event raises money for dozens of local non-profits, which get to keep a portion of the proceeds from their duck sales.

    Without further ado, here are the winners.

    1 $1000 Cash: Ticket number 5698, held by Jennifer Isett
    2 49" HDTV Television: Ticket number 2968, held by Adriane Rodenbaugh
    3 Apple Smart Watch: Ticket number 3494, held by Barbara Eschbach
    4 1-hr Hot Air Balloon Ride for 2: Ticket number 207 held by Frank Cebular
    5 Complimentary Round of Golf (4) Gilbertsville Golf Club: Ticket number  1751, held by Jill
    6 $50 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 1091 held by Glenn Stefanowicz
    7 1-year Dining Membership to Brookside Country Club: Ticket number 4323, held by William Pappentick
    8 30-minute Intro to Flight Lesson: Ticket number 3124, held by Ross Belovich
    9 $50 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 5024, held by Kelly Taylor
    10 $25 Gift Certificate to Eleanor Russel Ltd: Ticket number 5021, held by Kaitlin Doyle
    11 Sea Glass Picture: Ticket number 5196, held by Dean Marks
    12 $50 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 2057, held by Marine Corp League
    13 Round of Golf for 4 at Brookside Country Club: Ticket number 2507, held by Louis Ballas
    14 Full Detail at Wheels in Motion: Ticket number 1714, held by Mike Sluffegtt
    15 Sly Fox Growler with refill card: Ticket number 4669, held by Roger Baumann
    16 $25 Gift Certificate Coventry Pub: Ticket number 2544, held by Anthony Catanzaro
    17 $10 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 165, held by Jim Leveille
    18 $20 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 1296, held by Colleen Spence
    19 Bird House: Ticket number 1972, held by Marine Corp League
    20 Gift Certificate for Golf Twosome at Water Gap Country Club: Ticket number 3588, held by Butsy McElroy
    21 $100 Gift Certificate to Weitzenkorn's: Ticket number 1842, held by Gary Felter
    22 $20 Gift Certificate Camelot Salon: Ticket number 1320, held by Jacqui Batzel
    23 $25 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 1327, held by Carol Wozonick
    24 $20 Gift Certificate Camelot Salon: Ticket number 2344, held by Joan Landis
    25 $25 Gift Certificate to Eleanor Russel Ltd: Ticket number 4487, held by Philip Ciofalo
    26 $60 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 4775, held by Mark Saylor
    27 $50 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 291, held by Jonathan Fietkau
    28 $10 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 1664, held by Ruth Worrell
    29 $25 Gift Certificate Redner's: Ticket number 5782, held by Ronald Dinnocerti
    30 Bird Feeder: Ticket number 2798, held by John Fry
    31 Gift Basket "Beach" Theme: Ticket number 4241, held by Gary Chubb
    32 $20 Gift Certificate to Olive Garden: Ticket number 1766, held by Don Balonski
    33 $50 Gift Certificate Freed's Market: Ticket number 2020, held by Marine Corp League
    34 $25 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 1159, held by Angelo Galli
    35 Gift Certificate for Golf Twosome at Water Gap Country Club: Ticket number 803, held by Stan Brown
    36 $25 Gift Certificate to Sunflower Café: Ticket number 1730, held by Tina Mendel
    37 $100 Gift Card to Applebee's: Ticket number 2295, held by Thomas Hudson
    38 1 free Half Hour Massage - Infinity Chiropractor: Ticket number 4805, held by Ben Major
    39 $25 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 4313, held by Sara Kelly
    40 $50 Gift Card to Wawa: Ticket number 3727, held by Karen H
    41 $25 Debit Card and Water Bottle at Citadel Bank: Ticket number 1977, held by Marine Corp League
    42 $25 Gift Certificate Giant: Ticket number 2768, held by Norman Freed
    43 $20 Gift Certificate to Potts & Penn Family Diner: Ticket number 2417, held by Eugene Krasley
    44 1 Oil Change M & M Lube and Automotive: Ticket number 266, held by Donna Manley
    45 $25 Gift Certificate to Eleanor Russel Ltd: Ticket number 3278, held by Butch Mohn
    46 $20 Gift Certificate Camelot Salon: Ticket number 6009, held by Spring-Ford Rotary
    47 $25 Gift Certificate to Potts & Penn Family Diner: Ticket number 3319, held by Michael Hartman
    48 1 free weekend Pet Lodging - Limerick Vet Hospital: Ticket number 3859, held by Lawson
    49 $40 Gift Certificate Pottstown Roller Mills: Ticket number 3715, held by Gary Crossman
    50 $25 Gift Certificate Giant: Ticket number 2279, held by Joyce Wedemeyer
    51 30-minute Intro to Flight Lesson: Ticket number 4615, held by Julius Banyal
    52 1 free Half Hour Massage - Infinity Chiropractor: Ticket number 2910, held by Nev Lynch
    53 $25 Gift Certificate Redner's: Ticket number 1724, held by Peggy Snider
    54 $50 Gift Certificate to Lilly's Grille: Ticket number 178, held by Steve Anspach
    55 $10 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 1064, held by Brandy Smale
    56 $25 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 3107, held by Linda Jacobs
    57 $20 Gift Certificate Camelot Salon: Ticket number 2077, held by Marine Corp League
    58 $35 Gift Certificate to Mike's Brick Oven Pizza: Ticket number 2553, held by Steven Smith
    59 1 Oil Change M & M Lube and Automotive: Ticket number 5757, held by Kathleen Louden
    60 $20 Gift Certificate Camelot Salon: Ticket number 2247, held by Marine Corp League
    61 $20 Gift Certificate to Olive Garden: Ticket number 190, held by Kelly Taylor
    62 $20 Gift Certificate to Ice House: Ticket number 2140, held by Joanne Augustine
    63 $100 Chili's Gift Certificat: Ticket number 5025, held by Alison Wagner
    64 $25 Gift Certificate to Downtown Records: Ticket number 3339, held by Diena and Billy Boyer
    65 $20 Gift Certificate to Ice House: Ticket number 170, held by Dana Logue
    66 $41 Gift Certificate to T&N Saloon: Ticket number 1705, held by David Akers
    67 $41 Gift Certificate to T&N Saloon: Ticket number 169, held by Rich Graver
    68 $20 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 3659, held by David Akers
    69 $20 Gift Certificate to Wawa: Ticket number 4801, held by Holly Chang
    70 $50 Gift Certificate to Best Buy: Ticket number 3660, held by Anita Slobodin
    71 $50 Gift Certificate Downtown Stores "Last Duck In": Ticket number 259, held by Jeff Schulbert

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    A volunteer prepares a historic brick for placement in the walksways being installed at the Colebrookdale Railroad's station in Boyertown.
    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Colebrookdale Railroad

    The Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust announced it has received a $10, 750 grant to support its passenger car restoration and Boyertown Station area improvements.

    The scenic railroad runs between downtown Boyertown and Memorial Park in Pottstown.

    The grant comes from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation, in support of the Schuylkill Highlands Mini-Grant Program administered jointly by Natural Lands and the Schuylkill River Heritage Association.

    The award will match other funding to continue work on the creation of an ADA-compatible railcar and to create walkways in the Boyertown rail yard using century-old paving brick.

    Both projects will forward the Trust's mission of being one of the only recreational and tourist railroads in the nation to embrace, rather than merely accommodate, persons with disabilities. 

    "The challenges inherent to making a century-and-a-half old railroad accessible to persons with mobility issues is technically challenging and financially overwhelming,” said Nathaniel Guest, Executive Director of the Trust. "The Mini-Grant’s support is an honor, a major help, and truly remarkable, as funding for ADA projects is sadly otherwise almost non-existent,” he said.

    "The Mini-Grant program has helped dozens of projects in the Schuylkill Highlands region open up the beauty and culture of the region to a larger population, said Carol DeWolf of Natural Lands. 

    "We are proud to lead partners like the Trust in making a real and measurable impact economically and in the quality of life of people in the Schuylkill Highlands and look forward to even better things to come in the future," said Tim Fenchel of the Schuylkill River Heritage Association.

    The Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust has a mission to develop the best tourist railroad of the 1900-1920 era and drive economic development in the Tri-County Area. Tickets for adventures into the railroad's Secret Valley can be found at

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    Twenty-eight people spoke on the subject of Pottstown School District's school uniform policy (or dress code) during Monday night's special meeting of the school board policy committee.

    Of them, 17 spoke against them, 11 in favor and one whose opinion was hard to pin down.

    Objections raised included the cost, the failure of uniforms to cut down on bullying and bad behavior, especially at the middle school, a reduction of school spirit and the suppression of individual expression.

    Support argued that in fact uniforms are cheaper, make mornings easier and do reduce bullying, increase school and community spirit and make Pottstown students stand out from others.

    Among the more notable opponents was Pottstown High School Principal Danielle McCoy who told the committee that school spirit (among the staff as well as the students) went up and discipline problems went down when uniforms were eliminated two years ago and that school was allowed to implement a dress code.

    "We became the uniform police," McCoy said of the staff. "And how am I supposed to send a student home because he can't learn as well in a pink shirt as he can in a blue one?" she said.

    By contrast, some of the parents said since the uniform requirement was lifted at the high school, student dress has become more lurid and that the policy is not implemented evenly.

    Others asked for proof that the uniforms did what they were supposed to do, improve discipline.

    School Board Vice President Emanuel Wilkerson, who championed the lifting of the uniform policy at the high school, said the policy committee has received data on that subject and it will be posted on the district web site shortly.

    In the meantime, it seems, the discussion will go on because, as Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez noted at the start of the meeting, whatever change is made, if any, it will NOT be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year which begins next month.

    The discussion was broadcast live in a Facebook video feed, which you can watch by clicking here.

    If you still like to read your live coverage, here are the Tweets from the meeting.

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    The event will again be held at the neighborhood park Washington and Chestnut streets.

    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Genesis Housing Corp.

    Genesis Housing Corporation and the Victory Christian Life Center are pleased to announce that the annual National Night Out Community Block Party will be held on the first Tuesday in August, Tuesday, Aug. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Chestnut Street Park located on Washington and Chestnut Streets, in Pottstown.

    The event will promote neighborhood spirit, community partnership, law enforcement and residents for a safer Pottstown at a free community block party filled with family fun, music, games, info and food. Come out and meet your neighbors at the Chestnut Street Park. (Rain or Shine). 

    The event kicks off with DJ dance music and great community information. There will be free food – hot dogs, hamburgers, nacho chips, water ice, soft drinks and more. The Phillies Fire Company is bringing a fire truck and will be providing a water spray demo.

    Be a part of Pottstown’s National Night Out to learn about businesses and non-profit agencies in the area. This year’s participating groups include Art Fusion, BB&T, Genesis Housing, Grace Lutheran Church, Habitat Montco, Harris Family, Hobart’s Run, Pottstown Human Relations, Maternal and Child Health of Chester County, Maternity Care Coalition: Early Head Start, Matt Green - Glocker Realty, Mosaic Community Land Trust, Pottstown Cluster, Victory Christian Life Center, Women’s Center and YWCA Tri-County.

    The National Night Out Community Block Party is funded, in part, by BB&T Bank and the Pottstown Neighborhood Partnership. 

    More information is available by calling Victory Christian Life Center at 484-941-0693 or Genesis Housing Corporation at 610-275-4357.

    Since 1994, Genesis Housing Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has served Montgomery County as a community housing development organization (CHDO) and is dedicated to the development of affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization and the education of consumers on housing and financial issues.

    For more information about Genesis Housing Corporation, our programs and housing counseling classes, please visit our website at, email at, visit us on Facebook or call 610-275-4357.

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    A look at the possible trail connections throughout the greater Pottstown region as under consideration in the master trail plan that will be the subject of a public hearing Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. in Pottstown Borough Hall

    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee

    Local residents, stakeholders, recreation enthusiasts and all others are urged to attend the public meeting to share their opinions on a planning study that examined non-motorized transportation options connecting parks, neighborhoods and business hubs to the Schuylkill River Trail. 

    The purpose of this study is to consolidate municipal and county planning efforts into a unified regional trail plan addressing major obstacles to providing equitable transportation alternatives, opportunities for healthy lifestyles and economic vitality. 

    The results of this study will help guide communities in determining the most feasible locations for these trails, outline a concise implementation plan to integrate local trail networks and provide a marketing vehicle to obtain implementation grants. 

    The first public meeting was March 29, 2016. 

    The final study outlines a plan for expanding existing public trail systems via four primary trail corridors anticipated to travel through portions of Pottstown Borough, West Pottsgrove Township, Upper Pottsgrove Township, Douglass Township (Berks County), Lower Pottsgrove Township, Douglass Township (Montgomery County), New Hanover Township, North Coventry Township and East Coventry Township.

    The public meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday Aug. 2, 2017 in Pottstown Borough Hall, Council Chambers Room, 100 East High Stree. The meeting will begin with a presentation of the primary trail alignments before opening for Q&A from those in attendance.
    Funding for this study was made possible by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. DVRPC is leading the planning study with assistance from the Pottstown Area Regional Recreation Coordinator.

    For additional information please contact Michael Lane at or 484-945-0200

    An attempt was scheduled Wednesday night for the recreation committee to make a pitch about this study and other regional efforts to the area's elected state officials, state representatives Tom Quigley, Tim Hennessey and Marcy Toepel.

    None of them showed up, although Quigley did send a representative from his office. Evidently, they were recalled to Harrisburg to work on the unfinished state budget.

    No doubt we will see the results of their efforts in tomorrow's headlines.


    Anyway, here are the Tweets of what they would have learned if they had attended the meeting put together specifically for their benefit and, ultimately, the benefit of their constituents.

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    Members of the Pottstown School Board and administration look over their work in a team-building exercise on what makes a good teacher, administrator and school board member?

    Just over half the membership of the Pottstown School Board got together for a "workshop" meeting Thursday night that was less focused on the school district, and more focused on themselves.

    To be more specific, the workshop was geared toward how to be more effective as a board, which in turn obviously benefits the school district as well.

    Although it took place in the high school library instead of a locker room, the goal was the same -- team-building.

    Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez led the board through several exercises, readings and discussions all of which were aimed at being effective leaders, how to work together better as a team and specific changes that might be made to bring those goals about.

    For the most part, the Tweets below tell the story. Have a look.

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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Pottsgrove Manor.

    Living History is happening every Sunday in August as Pottsgrove Manor presents Living History Sundays.

    Pottsgrove Manor is coming alive on August 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th for Living History Sundays. 

    From 1 p.m to 4 p.m., staff and volunteers will be interpreting 18th century trades and everyday life with demonstrations and hands-on activities. 

    Explore how to make butter and tape weave using box looms with period interpreters. See and smell food being prepared in the reproduction colonial kitchen. Try your hand at embroidery and needlework, and find out how to make 18th century soap. Learn about the skills needed to spin wool into yarn and more. 

    In addition to the activities each week, there will be colonial games for everyone in the whole family to play with and enjoy. 

    The activities will vary week by week, so be sure to check the website ( or call Pottsgrove Manor (610-326-4014) to discover what will be happening on the days you’d like to visit.

    Colonial ironmaster John Potts’ 1752 manor house will also be open for tours during the day. The current exhibit, "Rise and Shine at the Manor," delves into the daily morning routines of both the Potts family and their household staff. 

    Visitors will also be able to shop at the manor’s museum store for colonial games, books, and unique gifts.

    These programs welcomes all ages; suggested donation $2 per person. The programs will be held rain or shine!

    Pottsgrove Manor is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422 near the Carousel at Pottstown and Manatawny Green Miniature Golf Course. 

    Pottsgrove Manor is operated by the Montgomery County Division of Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites.

    Like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook at

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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.

    Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site has announced it is now open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Saturday, Oct. 14. 

    In addition to offering programs daily, on Saturday, Aug. 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Hopewell Furnace will celebrate its 79th birthday with Establishment Day. 

    The legislation creating Hopewell Furnace NHS was signed into law on Aug. 3, 1938.

    Establishment Day provides opportunities for visitors to step back in time, experiencing facets of daily life in the 1820s and ‘30s, the heyday of the furnace. 

    There will be weaving and spinning demonstrations, molding demonstrations, and demos on cooking with cast iron Dutch ovens. 

    Volunteer colliers will be demonstrating the fine art of making charcoal, lighting the pile at 11 am. After a short presentation, there will be birthday cake at 2 pm.

    Programs and special events will be offered throughout the summer. 

    The highlight of weekends at Hopewell Furnace are molding and casting demonstrations (dependent on staffing). 

    The historic Village Store will be open on a daily basis, offering 19th C games, crafts, and Hopewell charcoal for sale. There will be staff in the historic village daily, providing programs, answering questions and sharing insights of the community, its history, and the process of making iron. 

    Finally, the fall is ushered in with apple picking. For over 30 years Hopewell Furnace has offered apple picking ($1 a pound) of numerous heritage varieties.

    Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site preserves and interprets an early American industrial landscape and community. Showcasing an iron making community and its surrounding countryside, 

    Hopewell Furnace was active from 1771 to 1883. 

    The park’s facilities are currently open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Hopewell Furnace is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA, off of Route 345. 

    Admission to the park is free. For more information, stop by the park's visitor center, call 610-582-8773, or visit the park's web site at

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    Blogger's Note:The following wa sprovided by the Pottstown Regional Public Library.

    Autumn Shaner, Curatorial Assistant, Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles, will give a presentation about the museum and its exhibits in the balcony meeting room of the Pottstown Regional Public Library on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m.

    The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles houses dozens of automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles that were manufactured right here in Pennsylvania while the industry was still in its infancy. 

    The mission of the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles is to collect and preserve vehicles built in Pennsylvania. 

    Contained in the collection are examples of motorized, horse-drawn, and man-powered road transportation — from wagons and trucks to bicycles and cars. 

    Many of the manufacturers’names may be unfamiliar, but all were made right in our own backyards here in Pennsylvania. 

    In addition to dozens of road vehicles, the Boyertown Museum also counts related literature and memorabilia amongst its collections.

    The Pottstown Regional Public Library partners with the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles to offer free passes to the Museum. The pass is good for free admission of one adult and up to three children

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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the YWCA. 

    A 12-week course culminating in Child Development Associate credentials will be offered in
    Pottstown beginning Saturday, Aug. 26. 

    The course is a partnership between YWCA Tri- County Area and Dickerson Associates and Education Services.

    Classes will alternate between YWCA Tri-County Area, 300 King St., and online.

    Students without internet access will have opportunities to access online classes. In-person
    class sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

    The course runs through Nov. 11.

    Those completing the 12-week course will earn a Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential, the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education and a key stepping stone on the path to career advancement in the field. 

    CDA is a National Credentialing Program that focuses on the skills of early care and educating professionals who work with young children. 

    CDA meets the requirements of child care staff, home visitors, and family child care providers.

    Cost for the class is $400, plus $50 for the required CPR/First Aid/AED training. Half the cost is
    due at the first class.

    For information or to reserve a seat, call the Education and Training Center at 610-326-7323. 

    Applications may be obtained at YWCA’s Early Education Center, 315 King St., Pottstown, or YWCA’s Adult Education and Training Center, 1830 E. High St., Pottstown. 

    Online applications are available at YWCA Tri-County Area’s website,

    YWCA Tri-County Area is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. YWCA is a leader in advocacy for women and girls, works to eliminate racism, and empowers women through quality affordable childcare, adult literacy, and a host of programs to support the health and vitality of women, girls, and families.

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    Fuzzy Photo by Evan Brandt
    The Pottsgrove Trail, one of four major trails proposed in the study, would stretch up Pleasantview Road from High Street, then head northwest along Buchert Road, slide along the woods at the edge of the Pottsgrove High School property, through the Brookside Restaurant property and cross North Charlotte Street there near the entrance for Sunset Park and them up to Hollenbach Park on North Hanover Street, opposite Pottsgrove Middle School.

    Years in the making, and years yet to reach completion, a plan to expand and connect trails throughout the greater Pottstown area and to the ever-more popular Schuylkill River Trail took an important step last night.

    A public hearing on the Tri-County Trail Study attracted about 14 people Wednesday night and also revealed details about the proposals, including their eye-popping cost.

    Michael Lane, the regional recreation director, outlined the plans that include four or five primary trail systems (depending on how you count them), each of which will be completed in segements as funding becomes available, and said it may be 10 or 20 years before the trails outlined in the study are actually built.

    The highlighted section shows the first priority for the Coventry Trail.
    The first he revealed is the Coventry Trail, which begins out of Kenilworth Park and stretch up along the township line between North and East Coventry before heading west to eventually connect with the trail system in French Creek State Park.

    When complete, it could cost between $1.2 million to $1.7 million, said Lane.

    Missing is a link between Kenilworth Park and the the Schuylkill River Trail, which will cross the river back into Montgomery County on the new Route 422 bridge now being built. From there, it will proceed along Industrial Highway in Pottstown to Riverfront Park on a section of the trail now also being built.

    A second, and less expensive trail, is called the West Trail. It will proceed from the Schuylkill River
    Trail through West Pottsgrove up Grosstown Road to Manatawny Street, where it will connected to Murgia Park, along Manatawny Creek and across from the intersection with Sell Road.

    That section is only anticipated to cost $546,845.

    There, it will connect with a third primary trail called the Manatawny Trail, which will stretch along the west bank of Manatawny Creek from Memorial Park, beneath Route 100 and along the Colebrookdale Railroad line.

    The outlined sections show the priority segments of the West and 
    Manatawny trails as proposed in the regional study.
    A pedestrian bridge is planned to cross Manatawny Creek near Murgia Park as well as a smaller bridge to connect the two sides of Murgia Creek on either side of Goose Run.

    The Manatawny Trail, with completed, could cost between $2.5 million and $2.7 million. The priority section of this trail would stretch from Memorial Park to under the Route 100 bridge to allow for safer pedestrian crossing of Route 100.

    That section became a priority in the trail plan  after 24-year-old Donald Purnell was struck and killed while trying to cross Route 100 at Shoemaker Road as he was trying to get to his job at Wendy’s.

    West trail will also have a connections to a trail through the West Pottsgrove Township Park behind the township building and into the Circle of Progress to connect with Sly Fox Brewery there. The Manatawny Trail will also connect to the Circle of Progress there.

    The next trail is called the Pottsgrove Trail, and it is envisioned to stretch up Pleasantview Road from High Street, turn left near Buchert Road, after making its way through Gerald Richards Park, and reach Pottsgrove High School.

    There, it will skirt the edges of the woods and make its way through the Brookside Restaurant property to emerge on North Charlotte Street near the entrance to Sunset Park in Upper Pottsgrove.

    The sprawling and more conceptual Upper West Trail
    The crossing of that busy road, which is also Route 663, will become safer now that PennDOT has agreed to lower the speed limit on North Charlotte Street to 25 miles per hour between Mervine Street and School Lane.

    From there make its way to Hollenbach Park on North Hanover Street, opposite Pottsgrove Middle School.

    This is also the point at which the Pottsgrove Trail will connect with the Walk Bike Pottstown trail
    system now under construction in the borough, which will provide another connection to Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill River Trail there.

    The final section is called the Upper West Trail and it is more conceptual now than the other trails, this given that it envisions a connection through New Hanover Township to the Perkiomen Trail in Green Lane.

    The cost of that trail runs anywhere from $2.3 million to $4 million or $5 million depending on what kind of options are pursued, such as allowing equestrian access on certain portions.
    The section of the Upper West Trail which has been prioritized

    However, a small portion has been prioritized that would connect Murgia Park with the Goose Run Recreation Area in Douglass (Berks) Township. The route will depend on whether negotiations with Waste Management, which owns the Pottstown Landfill, results in allowing access through that property.

    That cost is currently estimated at about $800,000.

    Whenever possible, the trails use public parks, public properties and public right of ways in order to avoid private property.

    Lane said that no trail would proceed through private property without those property owners first agreeing to negotiate.

    A resident of North Coventry, who declined to give his name for publication, and Marc Kenline of Pottstown both said there should be more notification of private property owners who could be affected by the planned trails.

    A 30-day public comment period continues through Sept. 2 and can be sent to lane in writing at Pottstown Metropolitan Regional Planning Committee, 140 College Dr., Pottstown, PA 19464.

    And now what you've all been waiting for ... THE TWEETS!

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    The relationship between the proposed expansion of the as-yet non-operational Gibraltar Rock Quarry and groundwater contamination at the neighboring property remained the central point around which all argument revolved Thursday night as the lawyers had their final say before the Zoning Hearing Board.

    Now I could try to repeat everything they said, but most of it is contained in the Tweets below.

    So let me sum up:

    Gibraltar Rock Quarry Attorney Stephen Harris argued that even if the water pumping at the quarry pulls in contaminants form the former Good's Oil site off North Charlotte Street, it will be treated under the conditions of the permit, so everyone should be happy.

    Rowan Keenan, attorney for the Paradise Watchdogs group, said even if the contaminants that reach the quarry pits are treated, the pumping will alter the flow of water underground and may contaminate nearby wells that will not be treated with the quarry water.

    In a sadly comic passage, he also told the zoning hearing board that it is "alright to vote your conscience," whereas zoning board solicitor Ed Skypala said actually, that's not the case and the zoning board only has the authority to make decisions based on the facts in evidence.

    And Bob Brant, attorney for the township, said he agreed with everything Keenan said and also pointed out that while Harris is trying to convince the zoning board that the first two parts of the quarry are going to begin operations, and they were approved by the zoning board, that Gibraltar has lost in court several times.

    He pointed out that when the first two quarry segments were approved by the zoning board, no one knew about the groundwater contamination and the zoners should not feel obligated to follow suit on those first two decisions.

    Brant and  Keenan both argued that testimony from township and Paradise Watchdog experts gave the zoning board adequate legal standing to deny the quarry request for the third expansion, which Harris said would take at least five years to get up and running.

    The zoning board will issue its decision at the next meeting on Sept. 7 In the meantime, satisfy yourself with the Tweets!

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    Pottsgrove High School Principal Bill Ziegler, left, and Pottsgrove Middle School Principal Matt Boyer.

    The start of school may still seem like a long way off, but the principals at Pottsgrove's secondary schools want to get things off on the right foot.

    So Pottsgrove Middle School Principal Matthew Boyer and Pottsgrove High School Principal. Bill Ziegler are inviting students and parents to meet them for an informal time to ask questions, get a glimpse into their child’s schedule, and talk about the upcoming school year.

    The next meet and greet will be on Tuesday, Aug. 8 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Chick Fil-A in Gateway Shopping Center next to Costco in Limerick.

    Another session will be held later that day from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Rolling Hills Community Center in Lower Pottsgrove.

    On Wednesday, Aug. 9, the two principals will be at Starbucks in Upland Square Shopping Center in West Pottsgrove from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

    Later that evening from 7 to 8 p.m., they will be available at the Giant Supermarket in Upland Square.

    If you can't make any of those dates, you can reach Boyer on his cell phone at 610-310-1140 or via email at

    You can reach Chris Becker, the assistant middle school principal, on his cell at 610-310-4520 or via email at

    Ziegler can be reached on his cell phone at 610-960-2386 or via email at

    Eric Daney, the assistant principal at Pottsgrove can be reached on his cell phone at 484-366-8290 or via email art

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    Higher Ground International church, located at 1126 South Street in Pottstown, will hold a Community Fun Day on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 12 noon.

    In addition to activities like a dunk tank and moonbounces, free school supplies will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

    Call the church at 610-970-3938 for more information.

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    Four early education programs in the Greater Pottstown Area have received an additional $1 million through the new state budget which remains unbalanced.

    According to a spreadsheet of the grant awards provided by State Rep. Thomas Quigley, R-146th Dist. programs in Chester and Montgomery counties have received a total of $1,020,000 in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts grants.

    No grants were issued in Berks County.

    Pre-K Counts provides quality half-day and full-day pre-kindergarten to eligible 3- and 4-year-olds and is designed for children who are at risk of school failure; living in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal income poverty level (such as a family of four earning $72,900); and, or who may also be English language learners or have special needs.

    At $357,000, Pottstown School District received the region’s largest grant, which is in addition to the grant money it already receives from that program

    Owen J. Roberts School District has received a grant of $170,000.

    The two others issued in Montgomery County are for the county’s Intermediate Unit, which provides services throughout the county and received $340,000; and Montgomery Early Learning Centers, which has five locations, including one at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Pottstown, and which received $153,000.

    Pottstown Schools Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez said he had not expected to receive word so soon, given the uncertain state of the budget, which has yet to be the benefit of a revenue package agreed to by Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

    The upshot for Pottstown is the district can now offer a full day Pre-K Counts classroom at Franklin, Lincoln and Rupert elementary schools, in addition to the Barth 4K classroom that started last year.

    The grant funding, combined with district funds, means the district can now offer a full-day 4K classroom experience to all families of 4-year-old children regardless of income, as long as they reside in Pottstown School District.

    Rodriguez explained that during the last school year, a full-day 4-K program was set up at Barth Elementary School, but only had 20 seats, all of which were filled.

    Now an additional 60 seats — 20 at each of the other three elementary schools — will be funded thanks to the grant

    Kathryn Soeder, Assistant Superintendent at Owen J. Roberts School District said the district has taken advantage of the Pre-K Counts program for the last 10 years by passing the grant money through to programs at two locations run by Warwick Child Care.

    The program offers child care and instruction “aligned with our kindergarten and pre-K program.

    “We started with 20 seats, ten in each of Warick’s two locations, and added 20 more in 2016,” she said.

    The additional $170,000 brings the district’s Pre-K Counts grant to $516,000 and will allow for services to be provided to 60 children from low-income families, she said.

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    Valerie Jacxkson
    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown School District.

    Valerie Jackson has been promoted to PEAK Coordinator upon retirement of Mary Rieck. 

    Prior to this position, Jackson was the part-time Community Parent Organizer, and was promoted to Community Engagement Coordinator.

    “I know the bus. I’m ready to drive the bus,” Jackson said, regarding this latest promotion.

    Jackson wants to build upon and strengthen the great work that PEAK has already done. A specific goal of hers is to forge a relationship between Pottstown and Pottsgrove School District because there is a high transiency between the two districts and “we use the same reading curriculum, Reading Wonders.” By working with a neighboring district, Jackson hopes to ease transitions for students and families.

    Increasing family involvement that will strengthen families and Pottstown School District as a whole is important to Jackson. Prior to being promoted to PEAK Coordinator, she co-facilitated meetings and helped with leadership-skills training for the Family Advisory Committee, a collaboration to provide a space for open communication between the school district and families. Forming new partnerships with the community in the district is another key area for PEAK’s focus.

    The annual event Pottstown Celebrates Young Children/YMCA Healthy Kids Day has grown under Jackson’s leadership. Vendor participation increased by 40 percent in 2017.

    “This is my community, so it’s important to me,” Jackson said. “My early beginnings were here in Pottstown School District, and now I want to give back to help the children, because it’s all about the kids and families.”

    PEAK (Pottstown Early Action for Kindergarten Readiness) is a collaboration of Pottstown School District and community organizations that are working together to design and implement strategies that enable children to enter kindergarten ready to learn, and to engage Pottstown’s families. PEAK focuses its work in five inter-related areas: community outreach, family engagement, quality improvement, kindergarten transition, and health/wellness. PEAK’s overarching goal is to build an infrastructure that ensures all children in Pottstown enter kindergarten ready to learn.

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    Photo by Evan Brandt
    Members of Pottstown Borough Council and staff celebrate the receipt of a $10,000 grant from PECO's Green Region program during last night's work session.

    It was a busy night at borough council last night, with the announcement in $40,000 in grants being received, all for work in the borough's two largest parks, and a musical event planned for Memorial Park that will feature country star Hunter Hayes.

    All of which is good news for Pottstown.

    But the big surprise of the evening came at the end.

    Council Vice President Sheryl Miller announced she will not seek reelection to another four-year term. She represents the Third Ward and was running unopposed.

    She said the effort of being on borough council -- and the many ancillary activities she has taken on as a result of that role -- have proven too exhausting.

    "I don't think I have another term in me," she said, adding that she had already alerted the elections board in Norristown of her withdrawal.

    That means there is currently no candidate running for the Third Ward seat on council.

    Must be time for all the loudmouths on Facebook who say they will "remember this at election time" to step up and show everyone how they can do it better.

    I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

    Also of interest was a presentation by the stalwart folks at Rockwell Development Group who are trying to overcome the obstacles the borough building code puts in their way and redevelop the derelict shirt factory at the corner of Cherry and South Charlotte streets.

    And by obstacles I mean the only thing that is always an issue in Pottstown -- parking.

    Evidently the Zoning Hearing Board rejected the developer's request for a variance from the parking requirements, but they're still plugging, although they did confess this was their "last swing."

    So the solution being proposed is to make Charlotte Street between Cherry Street and Industrial Highway one-way headed south. That would allow 18-parking spaces on each side of the road, and get them closer to the 54 spaces they need -- lowered since they eliminated one apartment from their project.

    They're asking for support from council and we'll all find out Monday whether they get it.

    In the meantime, here are the Tweets from last night's meeting.

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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Friends of Hopewell Furnace.

    On Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, the Friends of Hopewell Furnace will host Rutgers Archeologist Kimberlee Sue Moran’s presentation “The First Baptist Church of Philadelphia’s Burial Ground: the problem, project, and people of the past encountered at 218 Arch Street”. 

    The free program will commence at 2 p.m. in the Hopewell Furnace Conference Room.

    In November of 2016, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article about bones found at a construction site on Arch Street. 

     The problem was that, as a private project, no city office was “in charge” of the human remains. The Mutter Institute, as a collaborative research organization associated with the study of historic human remains, approached the property developer with an interest to learn more about the bones found at the site. 

     What ensued was a race-against-time excavation of 218 Arch Street, part of the First Baptist Church cemetery, supposedly moved in 1860, and a continuing analysis of the people buried there between 1707 and 1859. 

    This presentation will provide an overview of the project, what is currently known about the site, and the recovered human remains, and the future work of our multi-disciplinary team.

    Kimberlee Sue Moran has been a practicing forensic archaeologist since 2002. She holds an undergraduate degree in Classical and Near Eastern archaeology from Bryn Mawr College and a Master’s of Science in forensic archaeological science from the Institute of Archaeology at University College, London. 

    Her doctoral research is in the field of ancient fingerprints. Kimberlee worked as a contract archaeologist for a CRM firm based in Trenton, NJ, prior to moving to the UK. She moved back to New Jersey in 2010 and now works at Rutgers-Camden. She is an active member of the Society for American Archaeology and is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA).

    While at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site visitors are encouraged to explore Hopewell Furnace’s own Bethesda Baptist Church and graveyard, tour the village, hike the trails and learn about iron making and why Hopewell Furnace is important to our nation’s history. 

    Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (now seven days a week thru October), the park is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA, off of Route 345. For more information stop by the park's visitor center, call 610-582-8773, visit the park's web site at, or contact the park by e-mail at

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    Hunter Hayes

    Memorial Park will play host to country music star and five-time Grammy nominee Hunter Hayes in October as he headlines the first-ever “Citadel Palooza.”

    Sponsored by Citadel credit union, 100 percent of concert ticket tales will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

    On Wednesday night, Scott Mirkin from ESM Productions asked borough council to approve a Sly Fox Beer biergarten for the concert.

    “We like to work with local vendors whenever we can,” he told council.

    Council will vote Monday on the request.

    Citadel is celebrating its 80th anniversary and the Oct. 7 concert is being billed as “Citadel Palooza.”

    The inspiration behind Citadel Palooza is the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.”

    “Citadel Palooza is Citadel’s celebration for our community, and we are honored to have Hunter Hayes, who is such an inspirational artist, be a part of it,” said Jeff March, president and CEO, Citadel. “The people of the Greater Philadelphia area have supported Citadel for 80 years, and we want to give back in a big way. We especially want to thank our members for making this event possible.”

    During Citadel Palooza, concert attendees will enjoy a variety of food trucks and libations. The official schedule of events and opening acts will be announced in September, along with food and beverage vendors.

    General Lawn Seating tickets will cost $25, and VIP-level tickets cost $50.

    Tickets can be purchased at with the option to donate additional money to CHOP.

    For more Citadel Palooza updates, follow @CitadelBanking and @HunterHayes on Twitter.

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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello's office.

    U.S. Reps. Ryan Costello , R-6th Dist. and Brendan F. Boyle, D-13th Dist., have formed the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Caucus to focus congressional efforts on protecting the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. 

    Created in 2007 to encourage more Americans to pursue public service careers despite the financial burdens of their student debt, this program promises to forgive the remaining balance of federal Direct Loans owed by our teachers, firefighters, police officers and other full-time public service workers after they have faithfully paid on those loans for 10 years – 120 on-time payments – during public service employment.
    U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello

    “Many teachers, first responders, and public health specialists are working hard to make a difference in their local communities while relying on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program,” said Costello. “We must fulfill the promise made to these student borrowers over the past decade. As the 10-year anniversary of the program approaches, I’m pleased to be a co-founding member of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Caucus to advocate on behalf of these public servants.”

    “We must do more to help folks drowning in student loan debt, and to prevent the burdens of student loan debt from making one’s desire to serve his or her community unattainable," said Boyle. 

    "The PSLF Caucus will focus on making good on our collective promise to public servants who have served their communities for years, often for low pay in positions that may have otherwise not been financially manageable, with the understanding that the 10-year-old Public Service Loan Forgiveness program would eventually help them lighten their burden of student debt," said Boyle. "Current threats to end or limit the program are shortsighted, to say the least. PSLF is an incentive to our students, and an investment in our future.”
    U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle

    The PSLF Caucus is broadly supported by a coalition of more than fifty organizations led by the National Education Association (NEA). Marc Egan, NEA Director of Government Relations, commended the caucus. 

    “NEA members — from future teachers to retirees — have been sounding the alarm on student debt. Many of our members are struggling with more than $50,000, and sometimes much more, in student loan debt. Their debt is bigger than their annual salaries, and their monthly loan payments often are bigger than their home and car loans," Egan said. "We commend Congressmen Boyle and Costello for stepping up and forming a caucus to tackle the college debt issue and to fight to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.”

    The PSLF Caucus will also foster member discussion and legislative ideas focused on encouraging young people in college today to pursue careers in public service, such as teachers, firefighters, prosecutors and public defenders, and public health nurses. 

    Under PSLF, an individual’s outstanding federal student debt is forgiven after 120 on-time, qualifying monthly payments — 10 years’ worth of payments. More than half a million people have enrolled over the last decade. President Trump’s budget proposed ending the program.

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    Maria Bleile, left, was honored by a borough council resolution Monday night, recognizing her 15 years of service to Pottstown Borough. From left are Mayor Sharon Thomas, Council President Dan Weand and Borough Manager Mark Flanders.

    If you blinked Monday night, you might have missed the council meeting.

    It was only 35 minutes long and the only discussion of note was about the parking proposal for South Charlotte Street.

    Rockwell Development Group, which is trying to convert the long-vacant shirt factory at Cherry and South Charlotte streets into market-rate apartments, wants to make South Charlotte Street one-way so parking can be allowed on both sides of the street.

    Two residents spoke against it, saying it could hinder fire trucks to have vehicles parked on both sides of the street.

    Council Vice President Sheryl Miller, who said she supports re-development, said she had too many questions to vote in favor of the concept as it proceeds to the zoning hearing board in pursuit of a variance.

    "Developers are here to make money, and they're going to develop," said Miller, who announced last week she is dropping out of the race for a second term. "It's council's job to hold them accountable."

    Council voted 6-1 to support the concept.

    Here are the Tweets from the meeting.

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    Although the student in your house probably doesn't want to think about it, back to school is creeping up on us.

    We all want to look our best when we're making a first impression.

    That's why Tony Betts, owner
    Blade's Edge is located at the corner of Walnut and Charlotte streets.
    of The Blade's Edge salon is once again offering free basic even or shape-up haircuts for free for kids headed back to school.

    He is asking that parents bring in contributions of school supplies.

    Last year, Betts gave out more than 100 free haircuts and donated a box of school supplies to his son's school, Franklin Elementary School.

    This year, he is setting his sights higher.

    Not only does he want to increase the number of free hair cuts to 200, "we want to have enough school supplies to deliver to all four elementary schools," said Betts.

    His shop is located on the southwest corner of Walnut and North Charlotte streets.

    For more information, call 484-752-9577,

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    As anyone who has tried to buy the special glasses needed to safely watch the upcoming solar eclipse on Aug. 21 knows, they are not easy to find.

    But fear not, your friendly Pottstown Regional Public Library is coming to the rescue.

    Just bring a dark short to the library tomorrow between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and use library-provided supplies to participate in a community art project and make your own "galaxy shirt" and you'll get a pair of glasses.