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All the news that doesn't fit in print
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    Tamara Charles and her family will get the keys to 438 Walnut St. tomorrow. She is already making a difference in her neighborhood by heading up an anti-littering campaign.









    Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery/Delaware Counties.

    When Tamara Charles purchases her Habitat home and receives the keys tomorrow, there will be something noticeable in the window of 439 Walnut St., something that makes her especially gratified. 

    It’s a sign that reads “Proud Pottstown Neighbor – Don’t Litter;” a sign that symbolizes her hard work as a community volunteer, and the comeback of pride in her hometown.

    Tamara is one of the founding members of Pottstown Community Action (PCA), a group initiated two years ago by Habitat for Humanity’s Neighborhood Revitalization effort. After working quietly on a mission and logo, meeting with the Mayor and borough council, and connecting with other community leaders, PCA is ready for visibility, and more action. 

    Tamara Charles and her daughters clean up their neighborhood.
    Its first line of attack: litter. Among its ammunition: newly printed window decals and lawn signs for the neighborhood.

    “We chose an anti-litter campaign because it’s a way to see immediate improvement in the neighborhood,” explains Tamara. “For our first block cleanup, we removed about 40 bulk trash items. We have a standing offer to residents: get a few neighbors out and we’ll bring the coffee and donuts, supplies and volunteers, and we’ll make sure the trash bags are removed.

    “Kids have been helping and we hope to add individuals who need to fulfill community service hours, as well as youth from the school district.”

    PCA is also working on building leaders in Pottstown. On July 21st, PCA, in collaboration with Habitat MontDelco is hosting an all-day workshop called “Actively Leading Pottstown Towards Prosperity.” To register go to https://habitatpca.wufoo.com/forms/pottstown-leadership-workshop.

    A Spirit of Cooperation


    “Since launching a Neighborhood Revitalization zone in 2016, we have remained committed to engaging, empowering, and educating local residents coming alongside them so that they can improve the quality of life within their own neighborhood,” says Marianne Lynch, CEO of Habitat MontDelco. “There’s a lot of momentum now from PCA, local non-profits, businesses, and the Borough.”

    “This town has an incredible stock of historic homes and families who have been here for decades. Many residents have a clear vision of what Pottstown can be again and they are sharing that vision with others. I thanks to people like Tamara who are deeply passionate about this place. It’s also due to a wonderful attitude of cooperation that’s prevalent across the community.”

    Instrumental in creating collaborations, Habitat MontDelco became a member of Pottstown CARES in 2018, and is working with other nonprofits such as Genesis Housing Corporation, and Mosaic Community Land Trust.

    417 Chestnut Street


    For its next project, Habitat is collaborating with Genesis Housing and Mosaic Community Land Trust on 417 Chestnut Street, right next to one of the Mosaic Community Gardens in Pottstown. Genesis is providing technical assistance, Mosaic will work with Habitat to provide a homeownership through the community land trust model, and Habitat will complete the full rehabilitation of the home.

    “It’s a natural partnership because we have the same goals—to get people into a home, grow their wealth, put down roots and improve their community at the same time,” said Tracy Purdy, President of Mosaic. “From a resource perspective it makes perfect sense; it’s three times the expertise using one-third of the funding.”

    About Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery and Delaware Counties

    The mission of Habitat MontDelco is to bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope. Habitat constructs homes for affordable home ownership, preserves aging housing stock by completing critical home repairs, provides financial literacy and life skills classes, and revitalizes neighborhoods.

    For more information, call 610-278-7710, email ehefner@habitatmontdelco.org, or visit www.habitatmontdelco.org

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    Pottstown students hanging out with Slappy the Mascot.


    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown School District.
    A summer cook-out in the shade.

    Students in the Pottstown School District's ISucceed Summer Learning program at Barth Elementary know that summertime is learning time.

    Recently they celebrated National Summer Learning Day with a special visit from the Reading Royals mascot, Slappy, and a cookout for middle school students.

    Special thanks to Slappy for visiting our Elementary students and to Redner's Market's, Clover Farms Dairy and Unique Pretzels for donating delicious food for the cookout.

    When everyone works together for student achievement,we have reason to say Proud to be from Pottstown.

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    Awesome Photos by Emily Overdorf

    Liam Diaz Daliz and Ame're Maxwell, up front, revel in the raindrops during Franklin Elementary School's Field Day while Kristen Granese and Makayla Isaac look to be opting out.
    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown School District

    It's a slow time of year, news wise.

    Lot's of people are on vacation (including me, technically).

    And during the summer slow-down, I usually go back and look through my old emails to see what I might have missed during the hustle and bustle of the school year.
    Derwin Perez and Dorian Phillips in the three-legged race.

    And what I found Saturday was  hidden treasure.

    It was a simple event, Field Day at Pottstown's Franklin Elementary School.

    Normally, I would consider this to be too old for a post..

    After all, John Armato sent theses pics to me on June 7, and as we all know, the most important part of "News" is NEW.

    But when I opened the email Saturday evening and took a look at the pictures, I knew I had to publish them.

    Taken by Media Specialist Emily Overdorf, they really capture the joy of childhood in the simplest way, and are worth sharing if for no other reason than to put the smile on your face that it put on mine.

    As with most field Days, this one included "wacky water games," a sack race, ring toss and basketball throw among many others.

    But what the photos show it also included is something that happens every day in every Pottstown school building, inclusion and diversity.

    Maxwell Daily and Cullen Waite look like they
    could be twins.
    Despite what some would have you believe, the world is not a place populated just by folks that look like you or me.

    One of the wonders of this world is its infinite variety. We are a species of all colors and character, all cultures and cuisines.

    What a wonder then that here in a five-square-mile school district, we get to see, experience and learn from so many of them.

    And now it is even being reflected in our business district.

    At 107 High St., you can try Caribbean fare at The Avenue.

    At 232 King St., enjoy your favorite curry or tandoori special at Cuisine India.

    Down the road a block at 130 King St., you can try Syrian and other Middle Eastern specials and an all-vegetarian menu at the iCreate Cafe.

    If Mexican food is your preference, Pottstown has three restuarants for you: Juan Carlos, at 235 E. High St.; Los Aztecas at 223 Shoemaker Road; or the newest addition, Three Brothers Grill at 1432 E. High St.

    And if Asian food is your cup of tea, there are two that stand out in my mind, Sakura, at 204 Shoemaker Road, which has both Japanese and Chinese specialties and Fujiyama in Upper Pottsgrove at the old Halfway House, 1495 Farmington Ave.
    Jordan Diehl and Nayeli Martinez-Penate do not seem to mind
    how wet they are getting at Franklin Field Day.

    Pottstown has a Latin Festival in the fall at Riverfront Park, just recently hosted an event for all peoples and cultures sponsored by its very own Human Relations Commission and just concluded its second revitalized GoFourth celebration in Memorial Park which featured music with every thing from the American pop of Modern Luxe, to  the salsa sounds of Hector Rosado and Orchestra Hache.

    And at the studios of ArtFusion 19464 on Beech Street, or the gallery at Montgomery County Community College's West Campus, you will at various times of the year, find various forms of art from more cultures than I can name.

    Other than this post being a commercial for how awesome and multi-cultural Pottstown is (and it was), it also is to point out that this diversity is driven by and reflected in Pottstown schools.

    But don't take my word for it. You can see it in the faces of the children.





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

    In celebration of Hopewell Furnace’s 80th birthday, the leading expert on colonial iron making Daniel A. Graham will present an overview of the iron making that fueled the American Revolution and discuss his new book Samuel Nutt and the French Creek Iron-Works, which has just been released by the Friends of Hopewell Furnace. 

     The free program on Saturday, Aug. 4 will begin at 1 p.m. in the Hopewell Furnace Visitor Center.

    Following the program Mr. Graham will be available to sign copies of his works. 

    Samuel Nutt and the French Creek Iron-Works along with Mark Bird, Ironmaster and Patriot (published by The Friends in 2016) are available for sale at Hopewell’s book store. 

    They are also on sale at Masthof Press Bookstore in Morgantown, the Iron and Steel Heritage Museum in Coatesville and on line at www.friendsofhopewellfurn.org.

    The new 124-page book with color illustrations tells the history of Samuel Nutt, the first iron master in Chester County and the second in Pennsylvania who immigrated in 1714 and by 1720 was producing iron. 

    He married Anna Savage Nutt who upon Samuel’s death became the first female industrialist in the American Colonies. Their story includes George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln’s ancestor Mordecai Lincoln.

    Daniel A. Graham resides in Montrose, PA. He has published more than 50 works on the following subjects: Mark Bird (the founder of Hopewell Furnace), the Potts and Rutter families, forges and furnaces, Valley Forge, the American Revolutionary War, Valley Forge, Pottstown and Montgomery County.

    Established in 1994, the Friends of Hopewell Furnace is the official non-profit fundraising arm of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. A 501(c)3 citizen organization, its mission is to support the preservation, maintenance and programs of Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. Donations to the Friends may be tax deductible according to the rules set by the Internal Revenue Service.

    While at the park, visitors are encouraged to explore the landscape, go into the village, tour the buildings, and learn about iron making and why Hopewell Furnace is important to our nation’s history. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the park is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA, off Route 345. For more information visit www.friendsofhopewellfurn.org.

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

    Discover a different history trade or skill every Sunday in August at Pottsgrove Manor. 

    Pottsgrove Manor's staff and historic interpreters invite visitors of all ages to join in the hands-on learning and find out how history is still alive today. 

    See if you can stand the heat of the kitchen to help the cook prepare dishes over the hearth. Tour the kitchen garden to realize how the plants can be used for food, flavor, and medicine. Touch and feel the different kind of textiles people made and used in the 18th century and try your hand at making a few. Ask the gunsmith or the hornsmith about their period trades. Spinning, tape weaving, sewing, and more promise to get the whole family involved. 

    Plus, colonial toys and games, which run each week, complete the 18th century fun. The Living History activities will vary week by week, so be sure to check the website (www.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor) or call Pottsgrove Manor (610-326-4014) to discover what will be happening on the Sundays you would like to visit.

    Colonial ironmaster John Potts’ 1752 manor house will also be open for tours during the day. 

    The current exhibit, Good Night at the Manor, uncovers the nighttime 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 Pottsgrove and Manatawny Green Miniature Golf Course, in Pottstown. Pottsgrove Manor is operated by the Montgomery County Division of Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites.

    For more information, call 610-326-4014, or visit the website at www.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor. Like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pottsgrovemanor.

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    Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Schuylkill River Greenways NHA. 

    People looking for something fun to do outdoors with friends and family don’t have to search very far with the new Go Schuylkill Greenways website.

    The next adventure is just a click away. Whether it’s borrowing a bike for an enjoyable ride on the Schuylkill River Trail, renting a kayak for a paddle on the Schuylkill River or finding time for a do-it-yourself excursion; Go Schuylkill Greenways is the place to visit to learn about all these opportunities.

    “The Greater Philadelphia Region is rediscovering how beautiful and clean the Schuylkill River has become. There are so many ways for just about anyone to enjoy this incredible natural resource and the trail that runs alongside it,” said Schuylkill River Greenways NHA Executive Director Elaine Paul Schaefer. “This new website will help residents and visitors to the area navigate how to get on the river or trail and take full advantage of both!”

    Those that visit GoSchuylkillGreenways.com are first asked to choose their activity. For example, clicking on the “bicycling” icon or text will bring you to a full list of programming available for cyclists. Visitors will learn about the bike rentals available in the area, guided tours and even shuttle options available to transport bikes. There’s also information about paddling on the river and special pedal and paddle events.

    Some people may want to experience the Schuylkill River Trail but don’t know exactly where to start. The website features #DIY bike excursions. The do-it-yourself explorations are complete with directions on how to get on the trail, parking details and suggested refreshment and attraction stops.

    Site visitors can click the events page for a list of upcoming outdoor recreational activities. Two very exciting events are happening this week on July 26. A group of about 15 people will participate in a Pedal and Paddle from 4 to 8 p.m. at the historic Lock 60 in Mont Clare. The event includes a bike ride and kayaking trip. Then from 8 to 10:30 p.m., there will be a free Movie Night by the River at Fitzwater Station in Phoenixville. The featured film is “Wonder Woman.”

    The mission of Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area is to connect people and communities to the Schuylkill River and Schuylkill River Trail whether it though biking, kayaking, hiking or other forms of recreation. The Schuylkill River Heritage Area encompasses five counties: Schuylkill, Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia. The trail and river naturally connect these communities.

    Schuylkill River Greenways has partnered with local outfitters Take It Outdoors Adventures based in the Pottstown area and Riverbend Cycles based in Whitemarsh Township to create Go Schuylkill Greenways. Take It Outdoors Adventures organizes group kayaking trips and more. Riverbend Cycles is a full-service bike shop and offers weekly community rides. Go Schuylkill Greenways features programming information from these two outfitters as well as recreational activities offered through Schuylkill River Greenways. The vision is that eventually there will be a system of hubs along the entire Schuylkill River where people can easily rent a bike or kayak, stop at a local eatery for a meal, and explore attractions in nearby towns.

    The Schuylkill River Greenways NHA, managed by the non-profit Schuylkill River Greenway Association, uses conservation, education, recreation, cultural and historic preservation and tourism as tools for community revitalization and economic development. www.schuylkillriver.org

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    The "cast house" at Hopewell furnace National Historic Site.
    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site.

    Hopewell Furnace NHS will celebrate Establishment Day on Saturday, Aug. 4. This free celebration is special this year for we celebrate the 80th birthday as a unit of the National Park Service.

    Hopewell Furnace became a unit of the National Park Service on Aug.3, 1938 and was originally known as Hopewell Village National Historic Site. In 1985, Congress changed the park’s name to Hopewell Furnace. 

    Eighty years after its founding, Hopewell Furnace remains one of a small number of National Park units devoted to our nation’s industrial history.

    Activities will begin at 10 a.m. and continue to 4 p.m. throughout the historic site. 

    Programs and demonstrations will be staged throughout Hopewell Furnace. They include moulding and casting demonstrations in the cast house, weaving and spinning, cast iron cooking and more. 

    There will be a special program at 1 p.m. highlighting Hopewell Furnace’s history, featuring a prominent regional historian and author, Dan Graham. The subject of Mr. Graham’s talk will be the 18th Century Ironmaster Samuel Nutt. 

    Following the end of the presentation there will be birthday cake. Mr. Graham will also be available to sign copies of his new book Samuel Nutt and the French Creek Iron Works.

    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, 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 www.nps.gov/hofu.


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    A 30-acre hay farm in Lower Salford owned by Donald F. Hemsley has been preserved thanks to funds provided by the township and Montgomery County.










    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Montgomery County.

    Montgomery County has added another farm to its growing list of farms permanently preserved under the Montgomery County Farmland Preservation Program. 

    The first farm to be preserved from the 2017 round of applications, a 30-acre hay farm located in Lower Salford Township, belongs to Donald F. Hemsley.

    The Hemsley Farm, which would not qualify for state funding due to its size, was able to be preserved because of increased county funding for farm preservation. 

    The farm was preserved with funds from the $1 million dedicated to preservation by the Montgomery County Commissioners and a contribution of $77,316 from Lower Salford Township. 
    The Hemsley farm house.

    There will be six more farms preserved from the 2017 round because of the additional funding provided from the county.

    “We are very pleased to be able to use our additional farmland funding and to partner with Lower Salford Township to preserve this 30-acre farm,” said Val Arkoosh, Chairwoman of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “The county recognizes its farming heritage and supports our local farming businesses, which provide healthy, local foods and conserve our prime agricultural soil.”

    The preservation of this farm helps to implement the future land use vision in Montgomery County’s comprehensive plan, Montco 2040: A Shared Vision. 

    The county’s farmland preservation program, which began in 1990, has preserved 162 farms totaling more than 9,400 acres in the county. 

    Farming has not only played a significant role in Montgomery County’s history, it is also integral to the county’s sustainable future. The preservation of farmland and farming is important for the economy, environment, and local food availability in the county.

    Visit http://www.montcopa.org/FarmlandProgram for more information on the program, the county’s local food initiative, and a list of 2018 farmer’s markets in the county.

     For questions, contact Danielle Dobisch, Senior Planner/Farmland Preservation Administrator with the Montgomery County Planning Commission, at 610-278-5239 or via email at ddobisch@montcopa.org.

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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the  ChesMont Astronomical Society

    The region's annual opportunity to get a guided tour of the heavens rolls around for the 20th year Saturday, Aug. 11, thanks to the ChesMont Astronomical Society.

    Barring cloud-cover, that's when the 20th annual Starfest will be held at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. 

    The rain/cloud date is Sunday, Aug. 12.

    If the entire weekend is washed out, the back-up weekend is Aug. 18 and Aug. 19, although Keynote Speaker Derrick Pitts will not be available on those dates.

    The program will feature speakers, astronomy presentations, and activities for kids. 

    10 ChesMont Astronomical society members will set up their
    telescopes 

    to focus on 10 different celestial objects for easy
    viewing by visitors.
    Public viewing of the wonders of the Milky Way will be available through more than twenty amateur, high-end telescopes.

    The highlight of the evening is 10 Object Row. 10 of society members' telescopes will be focused on a different deep sky object so the public gets a variety of astronomical objects to look at.

    Admission and parking is free. Donations are greatly appreciated and needed to support the event.

    This year's keynote speaker is Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer, Franklin Institute Science Museum

    Pitts is currently the Chief Astronomer and Director of the Fels Planetarium at The Franklin Institute.

    He’s also been a NASA Solar System Ambassador since 2009 and serves as the “Astrobiology Ambassador” for the NASA/MIRS/UNCF Special Program Corporation’s Astrobiology Partnership Program.
    Derrick Pitts

    One of his most recent honors is an appointment to the outreach advisory board for the world’s largest telescope, the new 30-Meter-Telescope at Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

     He has been named as one of the 50 most important African-Americans in research science.

    For more than two decades, Pitts has hosted award-winning astronomy radio programs for
    Philadelphia’s two public radio stations and created signature astronomy television programming for PBS.

    One of the highlights of his career was meeting President Obama and his family when he
    was invited to participate in the first-ever White House Star Party.

    Dr. Pitts is a graduate of Germantown Academy St. Lawrence University, and has received honorary Doctor of Science degrees[7] from La Salle University and Rowan University College of Mathematics and Science[

    His twitter handle is @CoolAstronomer and his motto is “Eat, breathe, do science. Sleep later.”

    Here is a schedule of the evening's events:

    • 5:30 pm Gates Open (Solar observing if clear)
    • 6:00 pm Kids Corner Educational Activities.
    • 7:00 pm Opening Remarks
    • 7:30 pm James Aguirre, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania
    • 8:15 pm Keynote Speaker Derrick Pitts
    • 9:15 Drawing of the Grand Prize followed by Public stargazing through Amateur Telescopes.
    More information about the program is available by calling Hopewell at 610-582-8773, ext. 0, or visiting the Chesmont Astronomical Society website at www.chesmontastro.org or on Facebook at Chesmont Astronomical Society observing+

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    A recent National Night Out event in Pottstown's Chestnut Street Park






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

    Genesis Housing Corporation and the Victory Christian Life Center have announced that this year’s annual National Night Out Community Block Party will be held at the Chestnut Street Park at Washington and Chestnut Streets in Pottstown on Tuesday, Aug.7 from 6 to 8 p.m. (Rain or Shine).

    The event is designed to 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.

    Free food and information will be available.
    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.

    Come see Pottstown’s own Dragon Boat and try out the rowing equipment.

    The Phillies Fire Company is bringing a fire truck and will be providing a water spray demo.

    Come spend a little time with your neighbors, local firefighters, Montgomery County sheriffs and Pottstown police officers. Have fun with children’s games and activities.

    Join with Mosaic Community Land Trust and Pottstown Community Arts creating sidewalk chalk drawings.

    Be a part of Pottstown’s National Night Out to learn about services available in the area.

    This year’s participating groups include:
    • BB&T Bank
    • Hobart's Run
    • Birthright of Pottstown 
    • Laurel House
    • Boy Scouts 
    • Maternal & Child Health Consortium
    • Community Connections 
    • Maternity Care Coalition: Early Head Start
    • Creative Health Services, Inc. 
    • MCIU Early Learning Programs
    • Early Head Start (Chester Co Intermediate) 
    • Mission Kids
      Trojan Man loves National Night Out.
    • FARM / PDIDA 
    • Mont Co Sheriff Dept.
    • First UMC Pottstown 
    • Mosaic Community Land Trust
    • Genesis Housing 
    • Pottstown Cluster
    • Glocker Realty 
    • Victory Christian Life Center
    • Grace Lutheran & Early Learning 
    • Women's Center
    • Habitat for Humanity 
    The National Night Out Community Block Party is funded, in part, by BB&T and WSFS 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 www.genesishousing.org, email at info@genesishousing.org, visit us on Facebook or call 610-275-4357.

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    West Pottsgrove became the fourth of eight towns to enjoy the presentation from the Pottstown Regional Recreation Committee Wednesday.

    Regional Recreation Director Michael Lane and  Craig Colistra, program officer with the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation, outline the position's accomplishments over the last five years.

    Chief among those was obtaining $1.6 million in grants out of $1.9 million sought. West Pottsgrove's share of that grant money is about $140,000, much of it spent in Murgia Park, all for an investment of about $25,000 over five years.
    Craig Colistra, standing, program officer with the Pottstown
    Area 
    health and Wellness Foundation and Regional Recreation
    Director 
    Michael Lane, seated, addressed the
    West Pottsgrove Commissioners 
    Wednesday night about
    renewing the regional recreation director position.

    Lane, who was also recently certified as a playground inspector, surveyed the township's three playgrounds for free and recently submitted suggestions for upgrades and safety improvements, some of which the public works department has already begun work upon, said Township Manager Craig Lloyd.

    A project of six of the eight towns that comprise the Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee, the regional recreation effort here has been declared by the state to be the "most collaborative" it has helped fund in Pennsylvania.

    but with that state funding going away in August, 2019, and the health and wellness foundation committing to picking up 50 percent of the cost, the township's share may go up to about $8,000 a year unless East Coventry and New Hanover also decide to join up.

    Grosstown Road bridge construction in November, 2017.
    Lane said last night that East Coventry seem interested and New Hanover will see their presentation at tonight's supervisor's meeting.

    Police chief Matt Stofflet also announced that the police will make their second round of offering free water ice to township residents on the Kona Water Ice truck on the evening of Tuesday, Aug. 7, so keep an eye out for the truck.

    (Read about the first round by clicking here.)

    Also, Lloyd announced that the recently opened Grosstown Road bridge over Mantawny Creek will
    be closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Aug. 13 to Aug. 24 to put the finishing touches on the bridge, including paving, pavement marking and guardrails.
    The new Grosstown Road bridge after it was opened to traffic.

    The bridge opened to traffic in December.

    The meeting also ran on a bit longer than normal as the commissioners went into closed-door executive session to discuss personnel.

    When they came out, they voted unanimously to accept the resignation of police secretary Ruth Smith, as well as to hire an additional part-time officer. They also voted to advertise both positions.

    And now, without further ado, here are the Tweets from the meeting.


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    A developer's concept for how to fit 65 homes, 27 single homes and 38 twin homes, on property off Rhoads Road opposite Liberty Bell Drive and Courtside Avenue. The original proposal was for 39 single family homes.
    Yet another housing development has reared its head among the rolling hills and dales of New Hanover Township.

    It's unclear if it yet has a name, all too often in memoriam of what it destroys, but here's what we do know:

    • It proposes 65 homes, 
    • 27 of them single 
    • 38 of them twins, 
    • and the township supervisors had a decidedly lukewarm reaction to it.

    Specifically, Supervisors Chairman Charles Garner said he is not fond of cul de sacs and recommended instead, a "loop road." He said he would like to see the original proposal of 39 single family homes.

    Supervisor Kurt Zebrowski, who also sits on the planning commission, said the closely packed proposal did not match the arrangements of the surrounding neighborhood. "It's like you're putting a city in the middle of a suburban development," he said.

    Speaking of cities, it was announced last night that the massive New Hanover Town Center project, initially proposed at 852 homes and 210,000 square feet of commercial and office space on 209 acres off route 73, may be getting a little smaller -- by 82 units.

    That same project is also seeking a variance from the township's zoning hearing board, to be allowed to have 58 fewer parking spaces than the 952 the zoning ordinance requires.

    Without a plan before them -- the last one was submitted in February -- "it sounds like its a cart before the horse situation," said Garner. The other supervisors agreed and voted to send the township solicitor and any other staff required to the zoning meeting in opposition to the variance request.

    And then there it Trotter's Gait and its ever-energetic attorney Joe Clement, whose attempts to wrangle agreement out of the supervisors has prompted Garner to initiate something he calls "the Joe Clement Rule," which serves to ensure the minutes indicate no agreement on anything without a vote.

    In fact, a court stenographer suddenly appeared when Clement took his turn before the supervisors, evidently to take minutes that are hard to misconstrue.

    Specifically, Trotter's Gait calls for the construction of 29 single family homes on a 13.5-acre lot near it's sister development, Pacer's Gait, which calls for seven single family homes on six acres both off Dotterer Road.

    Discussion had to do with two relatively simple matters; a storm sewer extension through wetlands, and what defines a healthy woodland and would Trotter's Gait disturb it.

    Despite the apparent simplicity of the issues involved, Clement kept the discussion going for nearly 40 minutes, including naming the many members of his family who are part of the development company.

    Thankfully, two additional developments items on the agenda, Hanover Green and Hanover Preserves, were removed at the beginning of the evening, so we all got home at a reasonable hour.

    Without further ado, here are the Tweets from the meeting:


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    Photo by Evan Brandt
    From left, Rusty Layre, a career firefighter for Good Will Fire Company, Jaince K. Clare, an engineering specialist with FM Global insurance, and Kevin Yerger, chief of Good Will Fire Company, hold the recent fire prevention grant award.





    Firefighters would rather prevent a fire than fight one.

    Now, thanks to a check for $1,940 from FM Global insurance, members of the Good Will Fire Company can help teach young children how to prevent disaster.

    Rusty Layre, a career firefighter with the company, applied the grant “after I heard about it from some other firefighters. We want little kids to know a fire is not something that just happens and they can learn how to prevent them.”

    The money will pay for “fire prevent packets” for younger children, ages 3 to 7, said Good Will Chief Kevin Yerger. they include coloring books, crayons, book parks, all of which focus on different fire prevention and fire safety lessons, like conducting escape drills and not playing with matches, lighters or stoves.

    “At FM Gobal, we strongly believe in the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” Michael Spaziani, assistant vice president of the company and manager of its fire prevention grant program, said in a press release.

    “Far too often, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be,” Spaziani said. “With additional financial support, grant recipients are actively helping to improve property risk in the communities they serve.”

    Visit www.fmglobal.com/fireservice To learn more about FM Global’s Fire Prevention Grant Program, and other resources for the fire service.

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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Ursinus College.

    Strengthening its commitment to access and affordability for students, Ursinus College has established the Abele Foundation Scholars Award, which provides financial assistance to students from low- and middle-income families from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

    The first eight scholarships were awarded to seven incoming first-year students and one continuing student.

    Funded with generous support from Will Abele, a 1961 Ursinus graduate and member of the Ursinus board of trustees, and the Abele Family Foundation, the Abele Foundation Scholars Award provides high-achieving students with demonstrated financial need $10,000 in financial aid after all other gift aid has been awarded to each student.

    The aim of this pilot program is to increase access and affordability of an undergraduate liberal arts education. In addition to the $10,000 in financial aid, the scholars receive funding for “startup” costs such as the purchase of a laptop or required books; academically enriching pursuits such as internships, summer courses, or academic conferences; and assistance with student debt upon graduation.

    “My wife, Joan, and I are thrilled to assist these talented students as they pursue an Ursinus College education that prepares them to be leaders of the future who live the values of integrity, persistence and empowerment and who understand the importance of paying it forward to others,” Abele says.

    Abele scholars will be expected to maintain consistent academic progress; become an active member of the college community by participating in on-campus experiences and internships; and attend programs sponsored by the Abele Family Foundation.

    Consistent with the values of the Abele Family Foundation, the scholars will have expressed interest in the U.S. constitution, the economy, history and government of the United States through coursework in these three disciplines.

    “One of Ursinus’s top priorities is to attract and retain the best students for our institution,” President Brock Blomberg says. “It is our goal to not only bring them to our college, but to provide the academic support and guidance that allows them to flourish during their four years here. We cannot achieve that without taking bold steps to increase access and affordability so that we can offer the best and brightest students a clearer pathway to Ursinus. This is yet another innovative way that Ursinus is ensuring that any student who wishes to attend Ursinus not only has a means to do so, but will thrive while here. I extend my sincerest thanks to Will and Joan and the Abele Family Foundation for making this pilot scholarship program possible.”

    Named as one of the nation’s “Colleges that Change Lives,” Ursinus College is a highly selective, residential college with 1,500 students that is widely recognized for its Common Intellectual Experience. The tree-lined, 170-acre campus is located 25 miles northwest of Philadelphia in Collegeville, Pa.

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    At left, Lowers Pottsgrove Police Chief Michael Foltz explains the circumstances of a June 3 strong-arm robbery at the Turkey Hill convenience store solved by, from left, Det. Daniel Kienle, Officer Matt Musselman and Sgt. Robert Greenwood. Next to them are township commissioners Earl Swavely Jr. and Ray Lopez.










    A deceptively light agenda for Monday's Township Commissioners meeting gave way to an unannounced ceremony honoring police officers for four major investigations in recent months.

    Despite the absence of a previous announcement, there was no shortage of family and well-wishers on hand to laud their achievements.

    Here is a breakdown:

    May 7, Landis Store Robbery

    From left, Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Michael Foltz, Det. Daniel
    Kienle, Officer Scott Burnick and township commissioners
    Earl Swavely Jr. and Ray Lopez.
    About 9:45 a.m., police responded to the Landis Market on High Street in Sanatoga where Officer Scott Burnick found an elderly woman whose purse had been stolen in the parking lot.

    After issuing a bulletin for the suspect, Burnick and Det. Seg. Joe Campbell developed a link between their suspect and the vehicle in which he had escaped. When they approached his home, he drove away and after a brief pursuit, they called it off out of concern for public safety.

    but the suspect dumped evidence during the pursuit. With the help of Det. David Kienle, the suspect was arrested.

    Here is a video of Chief Foltz describing the incident.



    June 20, Meth Lab at Rolling Hills

    At about 3 in the morning on June 20, Sgt. Scott Weidenhammer and Officer David Slothower responded to a report of a methamphetamine lab at Apt. 135 of the Rolling Hills apartment complex on Buchert Road.

    Sgt. Scott Weidenhammer with his commendation.
    They undertook a "knock and talk" procedure by which they simply knocked on the door and speak to the people who answer the door.

    They saw enough suspicious activity to ask permission to enter and conduct a search.

    Once inside, they encountered a haze and distinct odor identified as precursors to a methamphetamine manufacturing facility. They arrested those inside and evacuated the building, calling in the state police to conduct a chemical search.

    They seized drugs and six suspects.

    Here is video of Chief Foltz describing the incident:



    June 3, Turkey Hill Robbery

    Police responded to a report of an armed robbery at about 11:20 p.m. on June 3 at the Turkey Hill convenience store at East High Street and Rupert Road.

    There, they found a female clerk who had been shoved aside as a thief stole cigarettes and food items before fleeing the store.

    Sgt. Robert Greenwood and Officer Matthew Musselman searched for the suspect, but were unsuccessful. They then obtained a photograph of the suspect from the store's security video and Det. Daniel Kienle used facial recognition software the develop a suspect, who later confessed.

    Here is a video of Chief Foltz explaining the crime and arrest:



    July 3, Turkey Hill Robbery

    Chief Foltz, left, Det. Deniele Kienle, Sgt. Timothy Walters
    and township commissioners Earl Swavely Jr. and Ray Lopez. 
    One month later to the day, the exact same clerk at the exact same Turkey Hill made the exact same call -- she had been robbed.

    When police arrived they found she had a severe wound to her hand. She had been slashed by a man who was armed with a large knife and demanded cash from the register. He cut her, took the money and ran off.

    Sgt. Timothy Walters arrived and ordered a search, and after viewing the surveillance video, immediately recognized the thief, which quickly led to the man's arrest.

    In other less dramatic business, the commissioners approved a 4,950 square-foot storage building at the Limerick nuclear Generating Station and a 2,696 square-foot clubhouse at the Spring Valley Farms project, now under construction.

    The board also took time to note, with regret, the passing of David Updegrove, a longtime volunteer wit the Sanatoga Fire Company, as well as the local historical society. They also thanked the police and firefighters who organized and undertook the honor procession down High Street that marked his passing.

    And now here are the Tweets from the meeting:


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    A site plan for an earlier version of Limerick Town Center. Under the preliminary site plan approved last night, the town homes at the top of the triangle have been re-arranged, but the scale of the project remains the same.

    A township supervisors meeting of less than 30 minutes nevertheless saw two votes of great importance.

    The first was the approval of the preliminary site plan for the Limerick Town Center project. a large development which will alter one of the township's busiest intersections for many years to come.

    And the second vote was the closing on the deal to sell the town's sewer system to Aqua PA, netting the township more than $70 million.

    Limerick Town Center


    The vote on Limerick Town Center was unanimous, although Supervisor Patrick Morroney was absent, and made without any further public review or comment.

    Obviously pleased, developers from Ridge Swamp Associates LLP quickly thanked the supervisors and fled the meeting before anything changed.

    This photo shows the more recent arrangement of the town homes.
    The vote moves the project into the next phase in the land development process, the development and engineering of a final site plan, which must also be recommended by the township planning commission and win another approval from the township supervisors.

    The is a large development project on 30 acres with more than 300 senior living units and 160 townhomes at the intersection of Ridge Pike and Swamp Pike
    In addition to the townhomes and the 308 senior units — comprised of a mixture of independent living, assisted living and “memory care” units — the plan also calls for three retail buildings that have 32,000 square feet of space on the first floor, with apartments above.

    The project was made possible by changes the supervisors made at the developers’ request to the township zoning code to allow the three uses on the same parcel, said Robert Brant, the attorney representing the developers.

    In exchange, the developers agreed to extend Lewis Road through the property to Swamp Pike, thus allowing northbound drivers to avoid having to make a right turn onto Ridge Pike and then the very sharp left onto Swamp Pike, and vice versa.

    However, the plan now includes a traffic circle, for the intersection of Swamp Pike, Lewis Road and the proposed new road, Arcadia Drive

    The first phase of the project to be built will be the senior living building, followed by townhouses and then finally, the commercial, Brant said previously.

    $75 Million Sewer System Sale


    As for the sale of the sewer system, it comes about after years and years of discussion.

    The township took over operation of the sewer system from the Limerick Sewer Authority in 2008 in what might be described as a hostile take-over and following a protracted fight between the two.

    Limerick Township Municipal Authority was created by the Limerick supervisors in 1966 and operated as an independent municipal authority. 

    In March, 2008, One month after the supervisors moved to dissolve the authority,  the authority filed a court injunction to prevent the township from taking over the authority.

    David Kane
    The township argued said such a power transfer would achieve cost savings for Limerick in the long run, while those representing the authority have said pure politics are at play, largely by former Supervisors Chairman David Kane, who was sentenced to four years in federal prison in 2012 after pleading guilty to filing a false income tax return, failure to file income tax returns, tax evasion and mail fraud.

    But ultimately, the issue was resolved in the township's favor, after thousands of dollars in legal fees had been accumulated, and the transfer moved ahead in September of that year.

    Flash forward to 2016, when the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the $75.1 million sale of the township sewer system to Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater Inc.

    The sale was not finalized until July 25 of this year, however, due to delays caused by a lengthy review by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, said Beth DiPrete, the township's assistant manager and treasurer.

    The system has two treatment plants, one on Possum Hollow Road and the other on King Road, as well as 18 pump stations and miles of underground pipe.

    DiPrete said after deductions were made to the sale price to pay off $3.7 million sewer bond incurred by the sewer authority, and other debts by the township, that the net gain is $70,489,941.

    Supervisors Chairwoman Elaine DeWan said the board decided to sell the sewer system because of a number of major capital projects on the horizon and the burgeoning population.

    "When I moved here in 2001, there were 9,000 people and now there are 19,000," she said.

    One of those capital projects can be seen at 646 Ridge Pike, where a new $10 million township and police building has risen where the former township building once stood.

    Plans call for the township to move back into those new offices on Aug. 15, when the township will be closed for business.

    DiPrete said the township borrowed $6 million for that project because of the delay caused by the PUC in obtaining the money from the sewer system sale. Another $4 million was borrowed to pay for the new public works garage built behind the new township building.

    DeWan said the township built a new Limerick Fire Station on Ridge Pike and intends to undertake a $2.5 million renovation of the Linfield Fire station. Both fire companies are in the process of merging into a single company, but both stations are still needed, she said.

    She said the sale will also fund other major capital projects, such as improvements to the intersection of Royersford Road and Linfield-Trappe Road.

    "To pay for all that would have required us to double the township's taxes or more," DeWan said. She also said the customers of the sewer system were protected by the fact that the deal includes a proviso that sewer rates cannot be increased for the next three years.

    The township stated another reason for selling the sewer system was because of increasing operational costs and future capital investments that would need to be done to the system. Regulations made by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection would begin to place a greater financial and operational burden on the entire department..

    Additionally, capital investments to the current $36 million collection and treatment system would have been required.

    The sale was made easier, said DiPrete, by a change in Pennsylvania law on how the value of such facilities are calculated.

    The current Limerick Township Seal, which hangs in the
    temporary 
    offices on South Limerick road.

    The supervisors also voted Tuesday night to spend $5,000 to explore the possibility of converting 1,400 street lights to LED lights to hep reduce the township's annual street light bill of about $50,000.

    And, as the township prepares to move into its new building, the supervisors voted to auction off the few pieces of furniture brought along to the temporary quarters on South Limerick Road, occupied while the new township building was constructed.

    Additionally, Supervisor Kenneth Sperring asked about beginning work on designing a new seal for the township. He was told no seal will be erected in the new township building until the design has been approved by the board of supervisors.

    And now, after a long report about a short meeting, here are the Tweets.


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    Photos by Evan Brandt
    Newly hired Police Chief Mick Markovich, left, and Borough Manager Justin Keller, right, pause for a photo with Pottstown Borough Council President Dan Weand.





    It may have taken longer than it should have, but borough council finally got its act together enough to agree on contracts for two of the most important posts in borough government last night.

    After starting its meeting by going into closed-door executive session to discuss "personnel," council returned and announced it would be adding two items to the end of the agenda.

    Not that anyone was surprised.

    It was common knowledge that Interim Borough Manager Justin Keller and Interim Police Chief Mick Markovich were both destined to have the "interim" removed from their nameplates at the first meeting in August.

    It just took council some time work out the details of two contracts which are, according to Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. almost identical.

    Both contracts expire on Dec. 31, 2019.

    The salaries for both contracts are retroactive to the first of the year. Keller will be paid $107,000 per year and Markovich will be paid $110,000 per year.

    Because Markovich has more years with the borough, he will receive five weeks vacation while Keller only gets three.

    Both get 12 sick days, as well as a borough vehicle to drive and the same health benefits and pension that every other borough manager gets, according to Garner.

    Hired two years ago this month as assistant borough manager, Keller became interim manager on Jan. 1, with the retirement of the man who hired him, former borough manager Mark Flanders.

    Before hiring him permanently, council altered the borough manager ordinance, removing the provision that required Keller to live in the borough. Although he had lived in the borough, Keller now lives in Audubon.

    While pleased to have the position made permanent, Keller said he has been doing the job for several months and is now focused on increasing revenues and trying to lower costs for next year's budget.

    That will be a tall order given that the mid-year adjustments Keller reported to council last night mostly included cost increases.

    Markovich replaces former chief Rick Drumheller, who retired last month, 18 months earlier than he had previously planned.

    Markovich's appointment comes only a month after was named interim police chief and by-passed Police Captain Robert Thomas, who, at least according to previous borough practice, many thought would get the job.

    Markovich said becoming a chief of police had always been one of his career goals, "I just didn't think it would happen so soon."

    "I'm excited to lead this department and to be of service to the borough," Markovich said. He said he hopes to "re-allocate some of the staff to the busier times, and to the downtown business district."

    Other plans, he said, he will share when they are ready to be announced.

    Congratulations to both and good luck.

    Now, if they can just find a fire chief .....

    Here are the Tweets from the meeting:







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    Photos by John Armato

    ABOVE: D'ssandra Garcia, Alexis Anderson-Perez, and Kay'lah Pearson-Moore were among Pottstown High School's Health Occupations students who helped out with the final blood drive of the school year.

    AT RIGHT: Myrical Giddens and Jacob Howard sport the blue bandages that marked those who- gave blood.

    BELOW: 
    Kay'lah Pearson-Moore checks Trojan Man's vitals before taking any blood. As we all know, Trojan Man bleeds blue and white.










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

    When it comes to life saving blood there is no substitution for the real thing.

    The Pottstown High School students and staff who took part in the end of year blood drive know that every unit of blood donated can be used to help save three lives.

    The spring drive, which is done in partnership with the Miller-Keystone Blood Center, resulted in the collection of 44 units,which went to our local hospital where it was used to save lives.

    Student Aaliyah Palmer gives her all.
    The high school Student Government sponsors the drive three times a year and Health Occupations students gain real life experience by helping in the collection.

    Carol Graves, Miller-Keystone's Donor Resource Representative noted that once again this year PHS
    was a member of 100 Club.

    That's the name used to recognize those who donate  more than 100 units of blood during the year.

    She said, "year in and year out Pottstown High School is one the top donors in Southeast Pennsylvania."

    Health Occupations teacher, Michaela Johnson said "I am very proud of our students and staff who are enthusiastic and eager to help make a difference in our community." 

    She added, "our school mascot, Trojan Man comes out to help encourage and support our donors. Patients, their families, and healthcare workers truly appreciate those who donate blood," Johnson said. 

    "We have not yet developed the technology to create a reliable artificial blood supply, so blood is the one thing that we need people to continuously donate," she said.

    Johnson added, "knowing that what we are doing is helping people in need gives us one more reason to say Proud to be from Pottstown."

    Arraya Graves-Butler, Onjelay Nixon, Destinie Harris, and Rachel Martin are thanked by Trojan Man after they donated blood to help save lives during the spring blood drive at Pottstown High School.


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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by ArtFusion19464

    ArtFusion 19464’s annual beef and beer fundraiser is Saturday, Aug. 18 from 5 to 8 p.m at the facility at 341  Beech St. 

    This year’s event will feature a gourmet taco bar. Guests will enjoy beef, chicken and veggie tacos fillings, soft flour tortillas, crunchy tortilla chips, and fabulous toppings and sides. 

    Victory Brewing Company has once again generously donated their amazing beer for this event. There will also be soft drinks, water and delicious homemade desserts.

    Each guest will receive one complimentary door prize raffle ticket. 
    Lucky attendees can win Iron Pig tickets, a $50 gift card to Cutillo’s restaurant, an incredible fresh artisan bread gift basket, original art, pottery, jewelry and more.

    ArtFusion 19464 is also running two special pre-event raffles. 
    Supporters can win 4 tickets to Dorney Park, a $236 value, or 4 tickets to a Philadelphia Phillies game, a $290 value.

    Tickets are $10 each, and they will sell a maximum of 100 for each prize, giving great odds of winning. The winner will be chosen during the fundraiser on Aug. 18. 

    Supporters do not need to be present to win and will be notified if their ticket is chosen. 

    Generous donations from UGI/AmeriGas and Dorney Park made this special raffle possible.

    ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center located in a new facility at the Beech St. Factory in downtown Pottstown. 

    The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills and independence through self-expression. ArtFusion 19464 also hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.

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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

    Nature photographers, there is still you have until Aug. 31 to enter a photo contest with the Schuylkill River as your subject.

    Partnership for the Delaware Estuary works to preserve the health and beauty of all water in the Delaware Estuary, including the Schuylkill River.

    PDE is proud to announce its second Schuylkill Shots photography contest to anyone who wants to enter. Go wild! Show off your photography skills and capture the beauty of the Schuylkill.

    How to Enter:

    • Digital photographs should be taken at the highest resolution possible. 
    • Only entries submitted through the official contest app on Facebook will be considered. 
    • Photographs must be in a Facebook-accepted format. Facebook accepts .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .png, and .tif files. 
    • High quality scans of non-digital photographs are acceptable.
    Multiple entries by a single photographer must be submitted separately (maximum of six photos per person). Each photo may only be submitted once — no repeats. Resubmissions from previous Schuylkill Shots contests will not be accepted.

    To be considered, entries must include the town where the photo was taken and by whom**

    Entries will be accepted until Aug. 31.

    Categories


    Photos should be taken in areas where the Schuylkill River or related streams flow — Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Schuylkill counties, and part of Philadelphia.

    Photo submissions will be sorted and judged into the following categories:
    • Wild & Scenic - Highlight the scenic beauty and wildlife thriving in the Schuylkill
    • Splash of Fun– People recreating within, or around, the Schuylkill 
    • Urban Waters Environment– Highlight creeks, streams, and rivers in cities and towns that border the Schuylkill 
    • People’s Choice– People will vote and choose their favorite photos from each of the above categories. 

    Who May Enter

    Anyone of any age, from anywhere can submit up to six photos.

    Prizes

    There will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner for each of the three contest categories, and one “People’s Choice” winner from each category.

    1st Place:
    • Wild & Scenic — two behind the scenes tours at PDE’s mussel hatchery and exhibit at Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center
    • Splash of Fun — two tickets to Schuylkill River Greenways’ 2019 Pedal and Paddle event
    • Urban Waters Environment — two tickets to the Franklin Institute
    • People’s Choice — two tickets to the Academy of Natural Sciences
    2nd Place — all categories
    • $50 gift card 

    3rd Place — all categories
    • $25 gift card 

    Judging


    Photos will be judged on content, clarity, and creativity. A panel of professional photographers and members the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary staff will select the top three photos from each category. After our judges choose the top placing entries, all remaining photos from each category will go to an online voting system for the public to choose a "People’s Choice" winner.

    Releases


    All entrants are responsible for obtaining any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of their photograph. This includes any material or elements that are not owned by the entrant, material that is subject to the rights of third parties, and any people who appear in the
    photograph. 

    By submitting their photo(s), entrants grant the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and partners a royalty-free right to use the photo for any educational purposes with or without attribution. The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary reserves the right to disqualify inappropriate or incomplete entries and/or contestants who are unable to submit, upon request, a high-resolution photograph.

    The Schuylkill River is an important source of fresh water to the Delaware Estuary. The river and its related streams flow through Chester, Montgomery, Berks and Schuylkill counties and part of Philadelphia where it serves as a source of drinking water to more than 1.5 million people.

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    Photos Courtesy of John Armato
    Pottstown High School alum Gentry Khile Brownie, Class of 1986, reached the top of Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro to mark his 50th birthday.








    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by John Armato.

    Pottstown High School graduate Gentry Khile Brownie used some of his Old School Trojan Tough Pottstown Pride to achieve a lifelong goal.

    He went to the mountain, that's Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free standing mountain in the world and he undertook the challenge in the same way he became an outstanding high school wrestler.

    His goal was to reach the top on his 50th birthday. 

    "Goal accomplished" he said.

    "Making it to the top and coming over that snowy peak while the sun was rising on the start of my 50th year was so deep...so exhilarating ...so exhausting..so humbling...so triumphant ...it all hit me at once....whoa...it was an amazing way to start the next chapter of my life," Brownie said.

    "Gentry as a student athlete and as adult, you give us reason to say Proud to be from Pottstown," Armato said.

    Gentry Khile Brownie, right, on top of Mount Kilimanjaro with his fellow climbers.


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    Monday was a strange day.

    Like most people, I woke up wondering if I should build an ark.

    Unlike most people, I had to get out there and take photos, although I failed to get anything as good as freelance photographer extraordinaire Tom Kelly II, or even some of our readers.

    But after hours of running around, taking flood photos in Pottstown and down along route 724 in Chester County, I had to load them all into the computer (not an easy job at The Mercury I'm afraid) then write a story or two, all before getting to the council meeting at 7 p.m.

    Long story short, I got to the council meeting late, but frankly, I could have skipped it all together.

    Boring!

    So as I put together the Twitter round-up from the meeting, I thought, why not treat my faithful readers to some of the Tweets from BEFORE the meeting which were, by their very nature, much more exciting?

    Here are the flooding Tweets and, YAWN, the meeting Tweets:


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    Photo by Evan Brandt
    Pottsgrove School Board Vice President Robert Lindgren, right, enjoys himself swearing in the board's newest member, Tina McIntyre, center, while her son Mason, holds The Bible for her. 


    Usually, a child follows in his or her parent's footsteps, but sometimes it's the other way around.

    Last night was witness to one of those rare occasions when, from among of five very qualified candidates, the Pottsgrove School Board voted to appoint Tina McIntyre to fill the vacancy left by last month's resignation of Matt Alexander.

    McIntyre, in addition to being a St. Pius X High School graduate and an accountant, is also the mother of Mason MacIntyre, who for two years served on the Pottsgrove board as a student member.

    "She's going to have to learn to eat dinner earlier," he acknowledged with a laugh Tuesday after the board vote.

    McIntyre's relationship to a former member was more than coincidence. It may have provided the tipping point to her appointment.

    Allow me to explain.

    In addition to McIntyre, four other candidates applied for the post. They were Rick Rabinowitz; Jody McMahon; Andrew Korman and Mark Jorgensen.

    McIntyre, who lives on Mock Road, is an accounting specialist with United Phosphorus Inc. in King of Prussia.

    She is a 1990 graduate of the former St. Pius X Catholic High School in Lower Pottsgrove and received a bachelor’s in business administration from Kutztown University.

    Rabinowitz, who lives on Lee Drive, was a board member who ran unsuccessfully for reelection in November.

    He is an executive recruiter for Nationwide IT and worked for two other recruiting forms previously.

    Rabinowitz holds a degree in political science from State University of New York at Oswego and an MBA in technology and e-commerce from West Chester University.

    McMahon, who lives in Anthony Wayne Drive, is a language arts teacher at Owen J. Roberts High School and an adjunct professor at Delaware Valley Community College.

    No education or prior work experience was listed for McMahon.

    Korman, who lives in Gilbertsville Road, is a project manager with Suburban Water Technology.

    He holds a bachelor’s in journalism, specializing in broadcast news, from West Virginia University.

    Jorgensen, who lives in Yeager Road, is director of quality and food safety at AIRGA USA LLC in Radnor.

    He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and holds an MBA from Lehigh University.

    Nearly every board member marveled at the qualifications of those who applied for the board and were interviewed during a public meeting Monday night.

    In making a choice Tuesday, Board Vice President Robert Lindgren said he wanted to be as transparent as possible about the process. 

    "People who have observed this in the past may well have gotten the impression that the choice had been made before the vote," Lindgren said.

    So board members all voiced their preference in a round of quasi-voting. Korman and McMahon were eliminated in the first round.

    Rabinowitz was eliminated in the second round.

    With the board left to choose between Jorgensen and McIntyre, the benefits of each choice were made clear.

    But it was not until board member Jim Lapic talked about being the parent of four children, and the role parents play in how their children turn out, that things seemed to tip in McIntyre's favor.

    He observed that in addition to having lived in the community all her life, the board had two years to learn what kind of child she had raised. 

    "Mason was an excellent board member and she obviously had something to do with that," said Lapic.

    After that, board member Charles Nippert moved for another vote and McIntyre was elected with a 6-2 vote. Board members Bill Parker and Patricia Grimm cast the two no votes.

    Afterward Lindgren said the matter of electing a new school board president would be decided at the next meeting. He said the board decided it would be best to choose a board president with a full nine members on board and having a say.

    (Sounds like something a future school board president would say ....)

    And here are the Tweets you've all been waiting for:



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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Foundation for Pottstown Education.

    A coalition of 26 area non-profit groups will be set up for an event at the Coventry Mall Friday to let people know what they do and how they can help.

    The even, from noon to 6 p.m., coincides with national NonProfit Day.
    This will also be a kick off for the 2018 TriCounty Community Network’s (TCN) Amazing Raise.

    The non-profits will have a table set up displaying their organization’s mission and activities.

    The action begins at 12 noon with wrap up at 6 p.m.

    The tables will be located at the Mall’s Center Court outside of Kohl’s Department Store.

    Each group will also have a drawing for a prize.

    Winners will be selected at the end of the event.

    National NonProfit Day is a day set aside to recognize the nonprofit sector and the work performed by these capable organizations their staff and volunteers.

    This year will be the second Amazing Raise spearheaded by TCN as a way to help local nonprofits raise not only much needed funds but awareness of the goals and missions of these organizations.

    During the inaugural 2017 campaign, more than 20 organizations raised $104,766. A matching pool has been established to match the donations raised by the nonprofits on a prorated basis.

    Sponsors who would like to donate to this matching pool are encouraged to contact Holly Parker, Executive Director of TCN by calling 610-705-3301 or by visiting TCN’s Amazing Raise website https://tcnetwork.org/the-amazing-raise/



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    Haphazard Photos by Evan Brandt
    It was standing-room-only at Thursday night's public hearing on the Phoenixville School Board's plan to buy 29.5 acres off Hare's Hill Road for $4 million and the possible home for a new elementary school.


    Roughly 50 people, many of them from East Pikeland Township, packed into the Phoenixville School District's meeting room Thursday night to hear about the plans for the $4 million purchase of 29.5 acres off Hare's Hill Road -- and to question those plans.

    The red line, barely visible in my crappy photo, shows the 
    borders of the property the school district wants to purchase.
    The district has a "letter of intent" with the property owner for the purchase 29.5 acres bounded by route 724, Route 23 and Hare's Hill Road in East Pikeland, said School Board President Lisa Longo.

    It's eventual plans for the property are an additional elementary school.

    Ten years ago, a Wal-Mart was proposed for the site and it is currently approved for 79 town homes under a court decision, said Superintendent Alan Fegley.

    The land, across from the Kimberton Meadows subdivision, is currently fallow and not used for any purpose.

    He said the district looked seriously at nine other properties, all of which were less desirable for a variety of reasons including not having water, sewer or electricity; being on unimproved roads; or even having unacceptably high purchase or renovation prices.

    He said East Pikeland officials steered school officials toward this parcel, saying they would prefer it to be developed as a school, rather than more housing. The township planning commission even adopted a letter endorsing the move, said Fegley.

    Image of 622 Hare's Hill Road from Google Earth  
    Fegley said the district has been dealing with increasing enrollment for several years, and had to plan ahead for the possibility of this trend continuing.

    Current forecasts show that beyond the next five years, the district could have 350 to 500 more students to educate in all grades.

    "Heaven forbid we wait four years and suddenly find we need to build a new school and prices are higher and there is no land available," said board member Eric Dougherty, chairman of the board's finance committee, which has recommended moving forward with the purchase.

    Should the enrollment surge not materialize, the district can always sell the property, said Fegley.

    The district hopes to partially offset the purchase price and cost of building a new school by selling some of its other properties, including the old East Pikeland Elementary School, worth between $4 million and $6 million; the kindergarten center, estimate to be worth $4 million and a residential property on Hallowell Avenue, valued at $350,000.

    Some arsenic has been identified in the soil on the site, a contaminant Fegley said the district has experience dealing with and is common on former agricultural sites. He said old photographs show an orchard located on the site.

    The board is awaiting the results of a more extensive environmental review of the property but anticipates a vote to purchase the property to come next month, said School Board President Lisa Longo.

    The audience listens to an explanation for the purchase of 
    property in East Pikeland Township. Thursday night.
    None of the 10 people who got up to ask questions or make formal comments spoke in favor of the idea. Some, such as Lisa Morrell, questioned if the purchase and new school would mean a tax increase.

    Longo said more housing developments means more tax revenues, and economic development incentives that phase in increased tax revenues over 10 years are coming on line, meaning the purchase and construction "would not necessarily mean a tax increase."

    The board increased the tax rate for the coming school year by more than 3 percent in May.

    Another East Pikeland resident, Dan Sidlo, won applause when he said the school district "must learn to live within your means."

    He urged the district to take another look at the 61-acre Technical College High School property on Charlestown Road in Schuylkill Township, but Fegley said that is located on the wrong side of the district from where the growth is occurring; that the asking price was too high and added it is not a good road for school bus traffic.

    Several resident, including John Mraz, said traffic on Route 724 is already terrible and questioned the wisdowm of putting a school there and adding more school bus traffic to the road.

    Mraz also accused the board of lacking transparency with the public since this is the first the public was made aware of the possible purchase.

    Longo said the law allows the board to discuss potential real estate purchases behind closed doors in "executive session" because "if everyone knew we were looking at properties, the prices would rise because they figure the taxpayers will pay for it."

    "By being proactive, we are having great negotiations with the current land owner. By getting land early, we're set for down the road," said Fegley.

    Longo said all the questions asked, and the answers, at the hearing would be posted on the district web site, and that additional questions and concerns are welcome.

    Now, here are the Tweets from the meeting: