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All the news that doesn't fit in print
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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by YWCA Tri-County Area

    Lace up your sneakers for the inaugural Race Against Racism, a 5K color run and walk to raise awareness and support for racial justice programming and events by the YWCA Tri-County Area, on Saturday, April 22, at Riverfront Park in Pottstown.

    Early bird registration for this fun-filled event has been extended through April 21. 

    Registration fees are: $15 for students K-12, $30 for adults, and $60 for families (up to five people from the same household).

    Discounts for groups of five or more are: $25 per person for adults, and $12 per person for students K-12.

    Registration is available online at

    All participants will receive a T-shirt, sunglasses, a color packet, and finisher’s

    Registration the morning of the race will be $15 for students, $35 for adults and $70 for families.

    Runners begin the paved, mostly flat 5K (3.1 miles) course at 8:30 a.m.; walkers begin at 9 a.m.

    Packet pickup begins at 7:30 a.m. at Pottstown’s Riverfront Park Trailhead, adjacent to Schuylkill River Heritage Area offices, 140 College Drive, Pottstown.

    Race Against Racism is a family-friendly event with a fun color-powder twist that celebrates health, happiness, and inclusion. 

    The event is held as a part of YWCA USA’s national Stand Against Racism, a signature campaign to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in our communities.
    YWCA Tri-County Area (YW3CA) is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. 

    YW3CA is a leader in women and girls’ advocacy, and works to eliminate racism and empower women through quality affordable childcare, adult literacy, youth development, and a host of programs to support the health and vitality of women, girls, and families.

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    Katie McCoy-Swinehart and Daughters of the American Revolution Regent Kristine Parkes

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

    Pottstown High School Senior,Katie McCoy-Swinehart has been recognized by the local chapter of the Daughters Of The American Revolution as their Good Citizen Of The Year.

    She is a member of the track and cross country teams. 

    Katie is also a representative to student government and a member of the National Honor Society. S

    High School Guidance Counselor Amanda Scholwinski described her as a kind young lady who is extremely reliable and dependable and has strong family ties and values. 

    DAR Regent, Kristine Parkes said "It is reassuring to know that we have young people of high character like Katie to take their place as our future leaders". 

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    An ordinance under discussion since last October that penalizes animal owners for losing control of their animals was adopted unanimously by the township commissioners Monday night.

    The specifics of the ordinance, which was advertised previously, were unavailable Monday night other than the responses offered by Commissioner France Krazalkovich in responding to objections by resident Erin Dickey.

    Dickey, who has previously been cited by the township for problems with barking dogs, said she has chickens and roosters and worries the ordinance will restrict her ability to raise chickens.

    Krazalkoich responded that the ordinance does not limit the number of animals they may have, or require they be kept penned on private property, merely that their presence not disturb others.

    We'll have more on this in The Mercury once I get my hands on a copy of the ordinance, which Township Manager Carol Lewis promised to e-mail to me.

    In the meantime, here are the Tweets.

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    The Pottstown Borough Authority board put off discussion of a possible mid-year hike in water rates Tuesday night.

    When the 2017 $6.56 million water and $9.39 million sewer budgets were adopted by the authority last October, they were adopted with the understanding that a mid-year rate hike would come in July.

    At the time, hikes of 10 percent for water and 7 percent for sewer rates were expected to work out to an 8 percent hike for the average customer.

    If enacted in full, the average quarterly water/sewer bill, for 7,500 gallons of water used, would increase from $165 to $178, Utilities Administrator Robert Plenderleith predicted last year.

    But Plenderleith was not at Tuesday's meeting and although the matter was listed on the agenda, it was removed for discussion once the meeting began.

    What the authority board did decide was to award a bid for new security measures at both the water and sewer treatment plans for $920,000 to the Silas Bolef company of Norristown.

    The bid, which was the lowest, was 5 percent higher than estimates.

    The company will install electronic gates that must be opened with a key card, as well as cameras and new communications wiring for new phone systems at both plants.

    The access cards will allow for septic companies to unload their trucks at the plant 24 hours a day, which means more revenue for the wastewater treatment plan operation, said engineer Tom Weld.

    In other significant news, the authority also made a final recommendation to borough council to update the plumbing requirements in the borough to more closely reflect the modern standards used in surrounding townships.

    Championed by Authority Vice Chairman Aram Ecker, the changes are meant to make Pottstown "more business friendly," said member David Renn.

    For other items from the meeting, enjoy the cornucopia of Tweets below.

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    If you blinked during last night's West Pottsgrove Commissioners meeting, you might have missed it.

    However, one message came through loud and clear.

    The commissioners definitely want to get more community involvement in -- what else? -- Community Day.

    The proposed date for the event is Oct. 14, or Oct. 15, depending on when the community band is available.

    The place is the park at the township building.

    Now what it needs is the people, the ideas and the will to make it happen.

    If that sounds like something you would like to be part of, the next Community Day Committee meeting is May 2 at 7 p.m. at the township building.

    Subsequent meetings are June 6, June 20, July 18, Aug. 8, Aug. 22 and Sept. 12.

    If you would like to get involved or would like more information, call Township Manager Craig Lloyd at. 610-323-7717

    And here are the Tweets, such as they are.

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    David Kraybill
    The Montgomery County Commissioners recently appointed Dr. Raj Guttha of Lansdale and David W. Kraybill of Pottstown to the Montgomery County Community College Board of Trustees.

    “On behalf of the College, I welcome these talented leaders to the Board of Trustees,” said MCCC President Dr. Kevin Pollock. “Dr. Guttha and Mr. Kraybill bring strong expertise and experience in their fields which will strengthen the College and help us achieve new levels of success for our students.”

    Guttha, a senior risk, compliance, finance, information technology and change management executive, is managing partner of Guttha Global Consulting Group of New York, N.Y. He has proven success in establishing global enterprise risk, governance, compliance and internal audit functions in financial services companies.

    He has held senior level positions at several companies including Z&A InfoTek, Inc. in Parsippany, N.J.; General Electric Capital Corporation in Norwalk and Danbury, Conn.; McGraw-Hill Financial in New York, N.Y.; Citibank in New York, N.Y.; and J.P. Morgan Asset Management in Columbus, Ohio, among others.

    Guttha also served as an associate professor of Finance at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, and as an assistant professor of Finance at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. He holds a doctorate in Economics/Econometrics from Nagaruna University in India, a master’s degree in Econometrics and Finance from Temple University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Mathematics from Nagaruna University.  

    Kraybill is president of the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation which seeks to encourage children and families to adopt healthy habits through health promotion and education. In his 13 years as president, he has focused the Foundation on four areas including nutrition and physical activity in schools; access to primary and behavioral health care services; non-profit infrastructure and capacity building; and recreation and community economic development.

    Prior to joining the Foundation, Kraybill served as director of development for The Commonwealth College of Pennsylvania State University, interim director of University Development for Pennsylvania State University, and president and executive director of the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.

    He holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, a certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Indiana and a certificate from the Penn State Management Institute.

    Guttha’s appointment to the Board of Trustees runs through December 2018, and Kraybill’s appointment is through December 2020.

    For more than 50 years, Montgomery County Community College has grown with the community to meet the evolving educational needs of Montgomery County. The College’s comprehensive curriculum includes more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs, as well as customized workforce training and certifications. Students enjoy the flexibility of learning at the College’s campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, at the Culinary Arts Institute in Lansdale, and online through a robust Virtual Campus. 

    As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, the institution is positioned at the vanguard of national efforts to increase completion, improve learning outcomes, and remove barriers to access for students. The College is also recognized regionally and nationally for its sustainability leadership, work with military veterans, community service and service learning opportunities, and use of classroom technology. 

    For more information, visit 

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    A photograph of a Pottstown soldier who was killed in the Pacific during World War II is being sought by a foundation trying to identify remains.

    Carl M. Shaffer was born pon Feb. 21, 1921 in Pottstown to Herbert Donnell Shaffer and Katherine K. Shaffer, according to the Chief Rick Stone and Family Charitable Foundation, which is seeking a photograph of him as part of its Tarawa Unknowns project.

    The foundation says Shaffer was killed in the battle of Tarawa but whose remains were never recovered or identified.

    He is currently an MIA from that action. One of the foundation’s missions is to help find, recover, and identify missing American servicemen and women from World War II and return them home to their families.

    Shaffer married Helen E. Fox, also of Pottstown, and both attended Pottstown High School. Carl joined the U.S. Army Air Corps prior to September 1942 and was promoted to Staff Sergeant. 

    He was killed on Jan. 21, 1944.

    At the present time, the foundation's investigators and researchers are in need of a facial photograph of Staff Sgt. Shaffer to utilize a new computerized program which compares the cranial images of remains recovered on the battlefield with a pre-mortem facial photograph of a most likely match.

    The foundation has found many references to Staff Sergeant Shaffer in the on-line versions of your local newspaper but no photographs. There is even a reference in a 1959 edition of your paper to something known as “Pottstown Portraits” which the article stated included a photo of Staff Sergeant Shaffer. Unfortunately, no photo can be found attendant to the article.

    Any photograph of Shaffer would be helpful.

    Do you know him? Do you have a photo?

    You can contact the foundation through their web site -- or contact John Armato at the Pottstown School District at 484-256-7491.

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    The High Street Music Company has occupied this space at 135 High St. in Pottstown for 10 years now.

    Yesterday Pottstown's own High Street Music Company held its Spring Recital at The Hill School's Center for the Arts, as it has for the past several years.

    It will be the last time my son Dylan and his fellow seniors perform there as they are headed off to college next fall.

    There were more than 30 performances so forgive me if I limited the videos I shot to those involving my son or classmates of his whom I have have known for years.

    One of the things I have always liked about the recital is it features students at all stages of accomplishment and those students range in age from the single digits to adults making good on a promise they made to themselves.

    It is also a good example of one of the things that makes Pottstown such a special community.

    The school takes students from all over, but many of the Pottstown students who attend do so with the help of the Phoebe Sine Trust, a source of funding left by a Pottstown family who loved music and helps to pay the cost of the lessons Pottstown children take there.

    (Here is Pottstown student Julianna Roseo giving an awesome performance of a song from "Hamilton" yesterday.)

    Frankly, we could not have afford the saxophone lessons without the help of the trust.

    And as a result, of the trust, High Street Music and the excellent music program in Pottstown's public school system, our son lives for music (even when taskmaster and company CEO Louis Rieger pushes them harder than they are used to being pushed).

    (Here is Rieger directing them on the Eddie Harris piece "Cold Duck Time.")

    Dylan plays in the Jazz Band and in the pit during the high school's last two musicals and is now enamored of "Hamilton," which combines his love of American history with his unanticipated love for musical theater.

    A few months ago, he was walking through the house whistling tunes from "Little Shop of Horrors," usually after one of the rehearsals.

    But he also loves hip-hop, jazz and (with a little help from his aged parents), some rock and roll as well.

    (Remarkable vocalists Adeenah Smith and Erica DeBlase joined the Jazz Ensemble for this Alicia Keys number, "If I ain't Got You.")

    At every college he has considered, among the first questions he asks about is the music program and what opportunities he will have not only to play and perform, but to get lessons and improve.

    His pal, trombonist Kyle Kratzer, has taken it one step further and is going to school with the intention of becoming a music teacher himself.

    (Pottstown student Gary Oberholtzer has a bright future as a guitarist and here demonstrates some of his range with his performance of a piece by Rob Scallon titled "For That Second.")

    And while my wife and I love music as well and played it for him as a child, I truly believe that it was this town, and the dedicated professionals and volunteers who do their work here, which most fostered this love for music, something for which we will be forever grateful.

    (The High Street Music Company Rock Ensemble performs "House of Gold" by Twenty-one Pilots at the conclusion of the company's Spring Recital.)

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    Photo by Evan Brandt
    Just some of the many volunteers who make Pottstown's Walking School Bus a success were thanked by the school board during Monday night's meeting.

    As most of you no doubt know from reading your Tuesday morning Mercury, Acting Schools Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez dropped the "acting" last night and became just Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez.

    So I won't waste your precious reading time by focusing on that. Go buy a newspaper!

    But something else that happened Monday night is also worthy of your attention.

    In case you've missed in the pages of The Mercury, Pottstown is experimenting with something called The Walking School Bus.

    The idea is adult volunteers accompany students walking to Rupert Elementary School and pick-up students along the route so they can all walk together, improving safety and getting exercise.

    The problem is 95 percent of those programs fail in the first year, as Rodriguez noted.

    But not in Pottstown. Here, the program has increased in size, as is evidenced in the photo above, which shows just a portion of the many volunteers whose names were read off Monday by wellness coordinator David Genova.

    Congrats to all.

    Also of note last night, the board voted to raise by 10 percent the fees charged for renting school facilities and to charge parking fees as well.

    The Foundation for Pottstown Education announced the final arrangements to fund a program by which teachers and other district employees would be provided with a $10,000 forgivable loan  to buy a house in the borough.

    There were a few other things of interest as well, and you can find them here among the Tweets, rife, as usual, with typos.

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    Photos by Evan Brandt
    Robert P. Harney is now the new Assistant Superintendent of the Pottsgrove School District.
    So first the easy news.

    Pottsgrove hired a new assistant superintendent Tuesday night.

    Robert P. Harney was hired by a 7-1 vote of the school board and he officially starts July 1.

    He will be paid $150,000 in his first year on the job. According to the meeting agenda, he was most recently assistant superintendent for personnel at Methacton School District., where he also served as a teacher, building principal and director of labor relations and human resources.

    A former police officer and juvenile probation officer for 11 years, Harney began his career in education as an elementary school teacher in the North Penn School District.

    The district also replaced a Lower Pottsgrove special education and Ringing Rocks second grade teacher as well as the retirements of West Pottsgrove teacher Terri Minotto and school psychologist Debra Lewis.

    The board also voted to raise the price of the standard school lunch by 5 cents, as well as some a la carte items.
    Western Center principal Christopher Moritzen
    addresses the Pottsgrove School Board Tuesday night.

    Christopher Moritzen, principal of the Western Montgomery Career and Technical Center also appeared before the board to answer questions about the budget for that school, to which Pottsgrove, Spring-Ford and Upper Perkiomen school districts all send students.

    However, he knows his subject so well and spoke so quickly that I am going to wait until he e-mails me his presentation before I report on it because I fear making an error.

    In the meantime, here are the Tweets.

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    So as the collection of news stories and blog posts below indicates, regional planners have been talking about a regional traffic study for a long, long, long time.

    And apparently, now that one is underway, it won't get done any time soon.

    Last night folks from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Committee -- which oversees planning in Pennsylvania, and New Jersey around Philadelphia and the surrounding counties -- outlined the traffic study they indent to conduct in the area.

    Or, to be more accurate, they outlined the steps they will take to undertake a regional traffic study in the area.

    Long story short? It will take the next two fiscal years to complete. But before you complain, you should know they are doing it for free, or at least for the $65,000 worth of work they budget for the Montgomery and Chester county areas each year.

    I'll spare you the technical talk, some of which you can find below in the Tweets. In essence, the DVRPC will look at the planned large projects in the area, from New Hanover's 700-plus town Center project to the 500-plus Sanatoga Green project in Lower Pottsgrove and make some recommendations.

    As Montgomery County Planner John Cover explained it, the ultimate result will be to set priorities for major improvements on a regional basis, and take that regional approach to PennDOT to get the improvements done.

    Most projects, taken on a municipal level, fix a few hundred feet of road near their entrance, maybe add a turning lane or traffic signal, and leave the rest for area driver so suffer.

    The idea here is to look at the cumulative impact of major housing and commercial proposals, calculate their impact, and make the most important improvements, even if they are in a town or borough other than the one where a project is located.

    Got it?

    Good, here are the Tweets.

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    Pottstown will Celebrate Young Children this Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. at Pottstown High School.

    PEAK, Pottstown's school readiness initiative is partnering with Pottstown YMCA's Healthy Kids Day to provide family activities and resources from more than 70 community organizations.

    There will be music from D.J. Steve, a moon bounce, an inflatable obstacle course, a petting farm, celebrated mascots, Pipper the Clown, Wacky Patty with balloon art, face painting, emergency vehicle displays and fitness activities on the field.

    There will also be dancing and a music video will be made that will star the children who come.

    And you can come early for a Pancake Breakfast with Trojan Man from 9 to 11 a.m.

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    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by West Pottsgrove Elementary School.

    Students at West Pottsgrove Elementary School celebrated Earth Day by turning trash into treasure. 

    The students collected items that would have otherwise been trash and then used their imaginations to make interesting creations. 

    We asked families to provide a variety of clean items that the children could use. The collected items were then sorted and organized for the children to select from for their creations. 

    Every student in the building was able to participate in the project. 

    Staff and parent volunteers manned the hot glue guns for the items that would not stick with a regular glue stick. 

    It was fascinating to see the varied and creative projects that the students came up with. We had jet packs, robots, and animals, super heroes and spaceships. There was even had a very creative Minnie Mouse from a milk jug, buttons and some old CDs. 

    The children had a great deal of fun making their projects and sharing them with their friends and families. 

    The lesson of the day was to allow the children to express their creativity and to teach the children that sometimes things we might throw away can be useful in a new way.

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    Crappy photos by Evan Brandt
    The Pottstown High School Jazz Band performs at the school's Instrumental Spring Recital Thursday.

    Yes, I know.

    I said these videos and photos would be posted Saturday and its Sunday. Turns out there are only 24 hours in a day.

    Besides, now you get the added advantage of videos of the Pottsgrove High School Jazz Band performing at the Cavalcade of Bands Jazz Championships in Chichester Friday as a bonus.

    Senior Kyke Kratzer, who I am now told will pursue a career
    in music technology at Millersville, NOT music education,
    thanks Pottstown Band Director Mike Vought for four years
    of fun and music.
    (I did not shoot videos of Pottstown because I shot them at the spring concert the day before.)

    As the father of a senior, and many of you out there know what I mean, Spring is a season of "lasts." The "last spring concert," the "last jazz band championships," the "last time I yell at you for sleeping too late."

    You know how it goes.

    The Pottstown High School Jazz Band performs
    at the Championships at Chichester High School.
    It seems that it tends to take on extra weight with the seniors, who are looking ahead to new horizons.

    For teachers, it seems to be the end of a cycle they have experienced time and time again.

    For parents, it is a milepost we will never pass again and one which inevitably has us looking backward.

    But I will spare you those reflections. You're here to see videos. So here they are:
    Pottstown Senior Casey Mest performs his solo on 

    baritone sax at the Jazz Championships.

    Herein you will find four of the five tunes played by the Pottstown High School Jazz Band during the spring concert and two of the four compositions played by the Concert Band.

    I'm afraid my phone does not have enough space to have recorded performances by the clarinet and flute ensembles. (Sorry Mrs. Mest.)

    The Pottstown High School Concert Band stands at the end of their concert Thursday.
    You will also find three tunes performed by the Pottsgrove Jazz Band at the championships, which, by the way, stretched on until midnight and I did not stay to see final results.

     (Although I do know senior Kyle Kratzer won yet another solo award and Pottstown earned a rating of "Outstanding. And Pottsgrove earned a "Superior" rating although I do not know if they received, or any other awards. If you know, please email me at and I will add them to this post.)

    Anyway, TO THE VIDEOS!

    Next up was a new number: "Hurricane Season:"

    Followed by "West Coast Blues:"

    The Jazz Banded ended with "Hit the Bricks:"

    Then the Concert Band came out and played four numbers. Here is the third:

    And, as they traditionally do, the Concert Band ended the night with a salute to the five armed services, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.

    And now, on to the Cavalcade Championships and Pottsgrove's performance at Chichester which, I must say, is a terribly inconvenient place to get to from Pottstown.

    The Pottsgrove High School Jazz Band stands at the end of their performance in Chichester.

    They followed with the obligatory slow number:


    And finally, the big finish!

    The Pottstown concert season may be over, but the Pottsgrove season is just getting started.

    Here are the dates and locations:
    • 5/2/17 - High School & Middle School Orchestra Spring Concert @ 7:30 pm - High School
    • 5/4/17 - Middle School Band & Handbell Spring Concert @ 7:30 pm - Middle School
    • 5/8/17 - Elementary Beginning and Advanced Orchestra Spring Concert @ 7:30 pm - Middle School
    • 5/11/17 - High School Band Spring Concert @ 7:30 pm - High School
    • 5/13/17 - Lower Pottsgrove Elementary Art Show & 5th Grade Musical @ 7:30 pm 
    • 5/15/17 - Lower Pottsgrove Elementary Beginning & Advanced Band Spring Concert @ 7:30 pm - Middle School
    • 5/18/17 - Middle School Choral Spring Concert @ 7:30 pm - Middle School
    • 5/24/17 - High School Choral Spring Concert @ 7:30 pm - High School
    And so another music season goes by the boards and the seniors head off to their next chapter.

    I will confess that without having a child in the schools, I cannot guarantee I will continue to perform this service, particularly as it costs money because I ain't paid to do it and each performances has an admission fee.

    Hopefully others will share their videos with me, in which case I would be more than happy to share them with you.

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    Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Bethel Community Church of Pottstown.

     In celebration of its Second Anniversary, Bethel Community Church of Pottstown will welcome Dr. Cornell William Brooks, CEO and President of the NAACP.

    During the celebration, the congregation will honor Reverend Dr. Vernon Ross, Jr on his secnd Anniversary as Pastor and Founder of the Church. The Theme is “Living the Vision”.

    Cornell William Brooks is the 18th President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

     As a civil rights attorney, social justice advocate, fourth generation ordained minister, and coalition builder, Brooks exemplifies the mission of the NAACP to secure political, educational, social and economic equality for all American citizens. 

    Working with the whole of the NAACP, his vision is an NAACP that is multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational, and millions of members strong.

    A graduate of Head Start and Yale Law School, Brooks considers himself “an heir” of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. Born in El Paso, TX, and raised in Georgetown, SC, he went on to earn a B.A. with honors in political science from Jackson State University, a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology, where he was a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar; and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served as senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and member of the Yale Law and Policy Review.

    Brooks served a judicial clerkship with then-Chief Judge Sam J. Ervin III on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He also worked as a staff attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and as Executive Director of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Washington. 

    In 1998, honoring his grandfather’s 1946 bid for Congress, Brooks ran as the Democratic Nominee for Congress for Virginia’s 10th District – advocating for public education, affordable healthcare, and fiscal responsibility.

    Immediately prior to joining the NAACP, Brooks led the Newark-based New Jersey Institute for Social Justice as president and CEO. Within a mere five years, the Institute passed a constitutional amendment, bail reform, “Ban the Box,” foreclosure reform, and prison re-entry legislation, which The New York Times hailed as “a model for the rest of the nation.”  

    Brooks also produced an award-winning documentary on criminal justice.

    “We are honored to welcome Dr. Brooks and to celebrate the Second Anniversary of the Founding of Bethel Community Church of Pottstown” says Dr. Vernon Ross, Jr., Pastor and Founder.

    Founded Feb. 12. 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest, largest and most widely recognized grassroots-based civil rights organization. 

    Its more than half-million members and supporters throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, campaigning for equal opportunity and conducting voter mobilization.

    Founded May 3, 2015, Bethel Community Church of Pottstown is a Christ-centered, Bible-based, non-denominational, multicultural, multigenerational Church with a mission to welcome and embrace all people and committed to the community.

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    Photos by Evan Brandt
    Lower Pottsgrove Township Commissioner Ray Lopez shows one side of the township police commemorative medallion now being presented with police and citizen awards.

    Police news was front and center Monday night as the Lower Pottsgrove Township Commissioners gathered for their first meeting of the month.

    Police Chief Michael Foltz recognized Sgt. Scott Weidenhammer and his wife Vicki for all they did to ensure that the police department received its re-accreditation.

    Lower Pottsgrove is one of about 110 law enforcement agencies out of 1,100 across the state that have achieved accreditation through the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police — Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission.

    First accredited in 2014, the department must meet the 133 standards every three years to remain in good standing and Weidenhammer was in charge of that effort, as well as his other duties.

    Commissioners Stephen Klotz and Earl Swavely, left and right,
    applaud as Chief Mike Foltz congratulates Sgt. Scott
    and his wife Vicki for their work on
    the re-accreditation of the police department.
    "There are a number of times when he was in here working on that when it was not his shift," said Foltz. He added that when the committee is here for its inspection, if was Weidenhammer and his wife who acted as hosts, with Vicki providing some home cooking as well as other support.

    "We are certainly not the biggest department in the state to be accredited, but the fact that we are, and were re-confirmed shows the professionalism of this department," said Commissioner Earl Swavely, himself a former police chief.

    "It's not any easier three years later," said Commissioners Vice Chairman Stephen Klotz.

    Weidenhammer was presented with a commendation and his wife with a citizens award and both received the commemorative medallion the township had made up for police-related awards.

    Next up was Sgt. William James, who wanted to thank the commissioners for the opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy, particularly given that only about 1 percent of those who apply are accepted.
    Lower Pottsgrove Police Sgt. William James addresses
    the township commissioners about the FBI Academy.

    During his 10 weeks at the academy, James completed 30 hours of coursework in fitness in law enforcement and 45 hours each in courses including effective writing, public speaking, employment law issues for law enforcement executives, essentials for law enforcement leaders and law enforcement approaches to counter terrorism.

    He said the difficulty of the work is the equivalent or a graduate school-level course.

    Foltz also detailed a busy April for the department which included a DUI stop that netted several arrests, including a. weapons charge, to a vandalism spree in Rolling Hills and Walnut Ridge housing complexes on Easter weekend, in which one officer was nearly hit with a thrown battery.

    In the another item of frequent discussion in the township building, Pottsgrove Schools Business Manager David Nester was on hand to provide the commissioners with the demographic study the district had delivered recently.

    It told a much different tale of how many new students two large housing developments on tap in the township -- Sanatoga Green and Spring Valley Farms -- might generate.

    The upshot, "the numbers are conservative but about twice what the developer predicted," Nester said.
    Pottsgrove Schools Business Manager Dave Nester, right,
    outlines the results of the district's latest demographic study.

    He was informed by Chad Camburn, one of the township's engineers from Burshich Assoc., that Spring Valley Farms is contemplating changing its plan from two-story family homes to single story ranches marketed toward homeowners over 50, which would reduce the number of children the district would have to accommodate.

    "That's much appreciated," Nester replied.

    Camburn also said the number of townhomes in the Sanatoga Green project has bee reduced slightly, but that the developers there are pushing very hard to move the process forward.

    He said last month he and the township received 12 submissions from Castle Caldecott LLC. "They're being very cooperative, but they're anxious. Hopefully, after they get preliminary approval, they'll take a breath," he said.

    Camburn also said that between Sanatoga Green, a commercial property being proposed for the adjacent property, and the development of commercial property adjacent to the Turkey Hill on East High Street, that PennDOT, Limerick and Lower Pottsgrove are ready to back a regional traffic study for the entire Sanatoga Route 422 interchange area.

    Look to future reports in The Mercury for more on these items.

    In the meantime, here are the ever-lovin' Tweets!

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    Following up on the success of the first (snowy) Pottstown ArtsWalk in January, the next installment will be held on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 12 to 9 p.m.

    Organizations, businesses and restaurants in Pottstown come together for a day full of fun and food.

    Click here to get your free ticket for the event.

    By registering for your free ticket, you will receive great discount coupons for local restaurants and also be entered to win some fabulous door prizes!

    (Parking note: The Pottstown Classic Car show is also on May 6. Please pay attention to signs if you park on High St., as they close off several blocks starting at 4 pm.)

    Here are the locations and events for the day:
    Craig Clemens Jazz Trio

    • ArtFusion 19464: 254 E. High St. -- will be showcasing the Keystone Dreams art show from 12 to 6 p.m. Presented by Philadelphia Creatives for Change, the show will feature work symbolizing a version of the artist’s Pennsylvania, whether a dream, reality, or in between. Keystone Dreams: Dreaming of a Better Pennsylvania will be on display in the main gallery through May 19. On the second floor, a special art sale fundraiser will be held. A wide variety of pieces from framed artwork to prints and 3D work will be available for immediate purchase. All proceeds benefit the non-profit community art center. As a special thank you for stopping by, every visitor to ArtFusion 19464 during the walk will take home a free, limited edition print from our Signature Series, featuring important aspects of Pottstown’s past.
    • The High Street Music Company: 135 E. High St. -- From 2 to 4 p.m, The Craig Clemens Jazz Trio will be performing various swing, funk, blues, and Latin jazz standards.  This free event is recommended for all ages.
    • Pottstown Community Arts: Corner of King and Manatawny streets -- Community art project
      will create a  “Welcome to Pottstown” sign. They will be priming a giant concrete barrier on the corner of Manatawny and King Streets during the Arts Walk. Stop by, grab a paint brush, and paint the town white with us. This free community art project is fun for all ages and will run from 2 to 6 p.m.
    • MCCC North Hall Gallery: 16 High St. -- students paint, draw, sculpt, and design amazing creations, which will be on display in the gallery at North Hall, part of Montgomery County Community College’s West Campus. Visitors can tour the beautiful gallery at their leisure and check out the latest works by talented student artists. 12-6 p.m. Family-friendly, free event.
    • Steel River Playhouse: 245 High St. -- Free ukele lessons will be in the lobby, a display of original artwork, tours of the theater, chaperones views of sitzprobe and rehearsal of upcoming production of The Little Mermaid. 12 to 6 p.m. Free and family friendly!
    • Carousel at Pottstown: 30 W. King St. -- Organizers would love to have visitors stop in and take a spin. Admission is free, parking is free, and rides are only $2. And while there, enjoy some refreshment at the beautifully restored 1865 horse drawn Trolley snack bar and try your luck on some of our arcade games. 2 to 4 p.m. All ages. $2 per ride or 3 rides for $5 (Concessions and t-shirts are also available for sale.)
    • MCCC West Campus: (In Smith Family Plaza) 100 E. High St. -- from 2 to 6 p.m the college will celebrate 20 years in Pottstown with local eats, and local live music; musical artists including Jordan White, Hexwork, Madam Ink, Another Day Dawns, and Red Hill Rambler. As a special trear, Star Wars Rogue One screening at will be held at 4 p.m. Come dressed as your favorite Star Wars character for prize.
    • Pottstown Regional Public Library: 500 E. High St. -- Stop by the Book Nook to peruse the
      selection of books for sale and buy a ticket for the handmade quilt being raffled off at the September book sale. 2 to 4 p.m.
    • Azie Pop-Up Restaurant: 107 E. High St. -- From 5 to 9 p.m, @107 will be hosting a pop up event for Azie, a new restaurant coming to Pottstown in 2018. Guests can sample the work of Azie’s chef Kazuyuki Mitsui and get a taste of things to come. The pre fixe menu is $35 per person and guests are encourage to BYOB. You must make a reservation by clicking on this link here.
    • Weitzenkorn's: 145 E. high St. -- From 12 to 4 p.m, Weitzenkorn’s will be showcasing artwork from two local artists. This family-friendly event is free. Titled "Ancillary Aesthetics," the show features 2-D works that help to bridge the gap between the counter culture and high society. Furthering the effort to prove that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Artist Featured: Adam Weitzenkorn – co/owner of Weitzenkorn’s in Pottstown, and graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Kyle Dietz – Graduate of Kutztown universities Art Program, with a Major in Education. Also is currently a professional tattoo artist in Phoenixville.
    • Smith Family Plaza: 100 E. High St. -- Take a self-guided tour of the wonderful sculpture in this beautiful space right by Borough Hall. The sculptures in the Smith Family Plaza were done by sculptor Eric Berg, a graduate of The Hill School.

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    Photos by Evan  Brandt
    Police Chief Richard Drumheller, left, and Mayor Sharon  Thomas, right, congratulate canine officer Jeffrey Portock after being announced as the 2016 Police Officer of the Year Wednesday night.

    The awards were flying fast and furious Wednesday night, almost as furious as Council Dennis Arms's temper ...

    Although you might expect the Police Officer and Borough Employee of the Year awards to be given out in January, or December, in Pottstown the day is May 3.

    Dan Weand, left, and Mark Flanders congratulate
    Luis Colon, the borough's first-ever Employee of the Year.
    Officer Jeffrey Portock, whose exploits in 2016 were outlined in a proclamation read by Mayor
    Sharon Thomas, was singled out for his bravery and his competence during the past year.

    And while Pottstown has named an officer of the year, well for years, 2017 marks the first time it has also named an Employee of the Year among its non-uniformed personnel.

    And that honor went to Luis Colon, a wastewater treatment plant operator who, according to Borough Manager Mark Flanders is always pleasant, helpful and busy.

    But they were not done yet.

    In addition to an Officer of the Year, and an Employee of the Year, borough leaders also handed out one of its occasional Lifesaving Awards.

    This one went to Pottstown Police Sgt. Michael Ponto who, on Oct. 13, stayed with a shooting victim, who had been shot several times in the groin and was found bleeding near the intersection of York and E. High Streets.
    Sgt, Michael Ponto's lifesaving actions are applauded during
    Wednesday night's Pottstown Borough Council Meeting

    The shots were dangerously close to the victim's and he likely would have bled to death before Goodwill Ambulance personnel arrived had Ponto not retrieved his first aid kit and applied pressure to the wounds.

    However, the victim survived thanks to his efforts.

    When the awards were over and the room thinned out, the yelling began.

    Well, perhaps I exaggerate. How about, "the spirited exclamations of the councilman from the fourth ward."

    That's Dennis Arms for those of you who don't know.

    He first got exercised after Greg Lingo, a developer with Rockwell Development, unveiled plans to convert the old brick shirt factory at Cherry and South Charlotte streets into market-rate condominiums.

    It was not the proposal that got Arms worked up. He thinks the idea is a great one.

    What got him going was that the first reaction was not relief, or thanks but questions about parking.

    The former shirt factory Rockwell Development Group wants  to
    $2 million renovating into market-rate condominiums.
    "I can't believe we're worried about parking!" he shouted. "That building has been vacant for 40 years and here's a guy who wants to spend $2 million fixing it up, and you're talking about parking!"

    Council eventually found its manners and welcomed the developers, who are already familiar with Pottstown, to the borough.

    "Thank you for investing in our town," said Arms.

    Later, council again discussed a subject Arms and raised at last month's meeting -- the idea of eliminating wards in Pottstown and having all council members be elected "at large."

    Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. reported that the law prohibits it being brought to referendum, and puts the decision in council's hands. It can either eliminate the wards, or make five wards instead of seven and make two of the seats at-large seats.

    When council expressed what might be charitably called its ambivalence to the idea, Arms exploded again.

    "Why did we go through this puppet show if you all knew you didn't want to change anything," Arms fumed. "We're wasting Chuck's time and we pay for that time."

    "There's nothing wrong with wanting more information," said Mayor Sharon Thomas.

    In that vein, Arms raised another point Wednesday which actually got some traction. He suggested that the public be allowed to see the background information that council members get to go along with their agenda before each meeting.

    With the obvious exception of things which are not public documents, such as personnel or attorney/client privileged information, council agreed and Flanders said it could be done.

    So look for that on the borough web site soon.

    But it may not be enough for Arms, who later in the evening posted on Facebook that he wonders if he wants to serve on council for another two years.

    Anyway, enough about all that, here are the Tweets!

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    From left, Joe Rusiewicz, Tracey Brown, Barbara Bushey Ernico, Sue Bradley Trout, Virginia Frantz and Charlie Palladino were on hand for the presentation of a $10,000 check to the Foundation for Pottstown Education. 

    Whether its paying for students to take Advance Placement Exams, launching students into college careers with a year under their belt, or supporting science education, the Foundation for Pottstown Education has been busy this spring

    Most recently the foundation received $15,000 in contributions from two different sources.

    Dana Incorporated, Pottstown location made a $5,000 contribution to the Foundation for Pottstown Education supporting their initiatives to the education of the students in the district.

    Plant Manager, Danny Aaron and Environmental Health and Safety Manager Jason Pregel were on hand to present the check to Foundation Board President, Tracy Brown.

    In presenting the check Aaron stated that it was in recognition of the work that the Foundation is doing to promote education and specifically in the area of science education.

    Each year, the Dana Foundation allocates funds to each of their plants tasking them with selection
    From left, Jason Pregel, Tracey Brown and Danny Aaron from Dana.
    of local not-for-profits as the recipients of the funding and the Foundation for Pottstown Education was one of the organizations selected by the Dana plant in Pottstown to receive the funds this year.

    On April 27, the foundation got another financial shot in the arm, thanks to the efforts of the Pottstown High School Class of 1967,

    Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the class along with the Montgomery Community Foundation and an anonymous donor presented the Foundation with a check for $10,000 in support of the Early College Program.

    Called Pottstown Promise, the program which provides scholarships for Pottstown High School students to take college courses in their junior and senior years at Montgomery County Community College.

    The fund’s remaining $10,000 is a permanent fund that will produce income for special education projects of the Pottstown schools.

    Preparing for their 50th Class Reunion in 2017, classmates of Pottstown High School Class of 1967 began to raise money for a class gift. They decided to establish The PHS Alumni Fund at The Montgomery County Foundation, Inc. 

    A total of $20,000 has been now been raised through the efforts of members of PHS Class of 1967 for the PHS Alumni Fund. The first $10,000 was raised from classmates.

    The $10,000 check was presented to the Foundation Board President Tracey Brown and Executive Director, Joe Rusiewicz at the Board’s April meeting.

    Class members Barbara Bushey Ernico and Sue Bradley Trout were on hand to present the check along with Montgomery Community Foundation’s Executive Director, Virginia Frantz.

    And if you were wondering where that money goes, look no further than this month's AP exams.

    When Pottstown High School counselors were asking when they received notice that the funding which was previously awarded to the students to pay the costs of taking AP exams was cut this year and would not be available, Guidance Counselor, Amanda Scholwinski applied to the Foundation for Pottstown Education for a grant to cover this shortfall.

    The Foundation’s Board of Directors unanimously approved this grant for $5,400. ensuring more than 100 students the ability to take the tests and possibly earn college credit before they enter the college of their choice.

    AP exams are college-level tests administered by The College Board (makers of the SAT).

    Students may take tests in one or more subjects. The AP courses and exams can help put students on the fast track to a college degree, giving them the chance to earn college credit while still in high school—not to mention strengthening their college applications.

    According to research by The College Board, students who take AP courses do better in college than those who don’t. In fact, students who take AP exams in high school are 62 percent more likely to graduate from college in four years, and avoid having to pay for extra semesters. 

    Because they are more challenging and require more work than regular high school classes, AP courses help students prepare for the rigors of college coursework.

    The tests are taken by in May with results given to the students in July. The tests have two parts, multiple choices and a free response essay. 

    How well the student score on these test help individual schools determine whether the students receive college credit, advanced placements or both. 

    The Foundation for Pottstown Education is a not for profit organization that raises funds to help support opportunities for the students in the Pottstown School District.

    These funds are raised through grants, corporate and individual gifts as well as the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program through the State’s Department of Community and Economic Development. The EITC program enables approved businesses the opportunity to make a donation to an approved not for profits in exchange for a 75-90 percent tax credit.

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    The entire staff of The Digital Notebook blog will be out of the office for the next couple of days and blog posts may be spotty.

    That means there will be no posts about the Monday, May 8 borough council meeting, or the Tuesday, May 9 Pottsgrove School Board meeting.

    It's sad, we know, but some things just have to be done and this is one of them.

    Hopefully, this advance warning will not result in any shenanigans, but we'll all just have to take that chance.

    We will be checking in with email and may have an opportunity to put up an occasional posting, but we wanted to warn you that your daily dose of digital doings will be doubtful, delayed or just downright undone.

    In the meantime, get out there and enjoy a spring day, get away from a screen and re-connect with people face to face.

    But don't be gone too long.

    We'll return soon.

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    Photo by Evan Brandt

    State Sen. Robert Mensch, R-24th Dist., discusses the Pennsylvania budget at the Upper Pottsgrove Commissioners Meeting Monday night.

    Bob Mensch says this year's budget discussions in Harrisburg may involve the hardest choices he has ever seen in more than a decade in state politics.

    Speaking by invitation of the Upper Pottsgrove Township Commissioners Monday night, he said "we've swept all the corners for revenues. We're at the point now where the budget is hinging on gaming and state stories," neither of which has much to offer over the long term.

    "State stores, if we do what's being proposed, is a one-time boost and that's it," he said.

    "Gaming is not a growth industry," Mensch warned. "Only about 4 percent of the population gambles. We can expand and put more terminals out there, but we're not really doing anything to grow the economy."

    "We're at the point now where, as a state, we';re going to face some increasingly difficult decisions about what we fund and what we don't fund," Mensch said.

    "Our revenues are down, primarily our business revenues, our business taxes are down, which means that while the national economy is picking up steam, we're not picking up the same steam because we haven't done what we need to do here in Pennsylvania to encourage business," Mensch said.

    You can see the full content of Mensch's comments in this video here:

    And while the commissioners discussed a number of subjects Monday night, most of which involved more than $300, it perhaps the bill of $300 which was the most newsworthy.

    It seems that when a car show was organized and staged in the parking lot of Pottsgrove Middle School a few months ago, organizers were under the impression there would be no charge.

    But weeks later, they received an invoice from the district for $300 because a custodian was on duty because the outside-access rest rooms had to be made available for the event.

    That did not sit well with the organizers, township recreation and open space committee and ultimately, the commissioners themselves.

    They noted that Upper Pottsgrove spends thousands of dollars each year to upgrade, improve and maintain the soccer fields at Hollenbach Park at the expense of just township taxpayers -- fields made available not only free of charge to the school district, which has students from all three Pottsgrove townships -- but fields to which the district has priority of use.

    To add insult to what Commissioners Chairman Elwood Taylor called "an affront," public works supervisor Frank Quinter confirmed that the district has not fertilized the soccer fields at Hollenbach as it had promised to do.

    "The township spends thousands of dollars on field maintenance for free use by district and they want to stiff us for $300 bucks," said Open Space Committee Chairman Dennis Elliott in what was perhaps the most pithy quote on that subject.

    As a result, Elliott said the Open Space Committee has recommended the commissioners begin exploring the idea of charging the school district for the use of the Hollenbach Park fields.

    "Well we don't charge any of the other organizations that use those fields so this could get interesting," noted Commissioners Chairman Elwood Taylor.

    Instead, he suggested, it might be better for the township and school district to sit down and try to reach some accommodation.

    Stay tuned.

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    Photo by Evan Brandt

    The former Tropical Treat, former used car dealership, former pawn shop, future car dealership on High Street in Stowe.

    What was once a car hop, then a car shiop, then a pawn shop, may soon become a car shop again.

    The West Pottsgrove Township Commissioners voted Wednesday to send to the zoning board an application by the owner of the property everyone who has lived here at least 20 years calls The Tropical Treat to once again be a used car lot.

    For a short time, the immediately recognized site had gone from being a long-time used car dealer to a short-lived pawn shop.

    But that all came to an end in January when state police raided the property for selling stolen property and the pawn shop quickly went out of business.

    Because the use of the property had changed, Township Manager Craig Lloyd explained, the owner must apply for a special exception from the zoning hearing board, for it to return to a used car dealership.

    "If that use had continued, this would not be necessary," said Commissioners Chairman Steve Miller.

    In its heyday, the Tropical Treat was one end of the famous and infamous Pottstown "cruising" circuit. The other end was The Hilltop burger joint in Sanatoga, with classic and not-so-classic cars cruising along High Street between the two.

    The board also voted to send a new billboard ordinance to the planning commission for comment and made further announcement about plans for the Community Day set for Oct. 14.

    But you can read all about it in the Tweets below...

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    HIP HIP HORRAY! The lights are returning to Grigg Memorial Stadium at Pottstown High School!

    Friday night football is coming back to Pottstown this fall.

    With a unanimous vote, the Pottstown School Board accepted a $250,000 grant delivered by state Sen. Robert Mensch, R-24th Dist., which will allow new field lights to be erected at the high school football stadium.

    The grant came about as the result of lobbying contact Mensch had with Schools Superintendent
    Stephen Rodriguez and local businessman Aram Ecke;r and the fact that as the leader of the Republican caucus in the state senate, he had access to funds that other legislators do not.

    "He told me he would not forget Pottstown," said Ecker. "And here we have a politician who kept his word."

    Stephen Anspach, the district's director of co-curricular activities, said Mensch will not only have a ticket to the first night game at the stadium this fall, "but to every game!"

    Mensch, who was on hand at Thursday's school board meeting for the announcement -- along with the entire football team and the ever-present Trojan Man mascot -- said he was impressed with the organization of the fundraising effort and the turnout for the announcement.

    "Being in leadership, there are certain benefits, besides the long hours, and I got a call from the majority leaders office who said we have some money from the Department of Education in the form of a grant and we were wondering could you make use of that money," Mensch said.

    "And I said of course. And having had conversations with Mr. Rodriguez about the need for the lights, Pottstown was the first school district that came to mind," he said. "Seeing the response here, it makes you feel good that once in a while, government can do something positive."
    School board member Polly Weand is hugged by her daughter
    after the 
    announcement that enough money is now available
    to put new 
    lights in Grigg Memorial Stadium.

    Among those responding to the funding was board member Polly Weand, who has spearheaded the fundraising effort for three years and said in a voice trembling with emotion that "this is a another step in the revitalization of Pottstown."

    Moments later, she received a hug from her daughter Betsy.

    "This is a re-kindling of the spirit of Pottstown," said Weand, who did not run for reelection to the board in Tuesday's primary election.

    School board members thanked Weand and student member Courteney Parry noted that "I remember the first meeting I attended as a new board member, we talked about the lights and seeing your passion on this issue really helped me understand what being a board member is about."

    "The lights are back!" declared Rodriguez.

    Trojan Man rallies the Pottstown High School football team
    in preparation for the announcement that night games will
    during the 2017-18 season.
    "We did it," said student and football player Aaron Diamond, "and thank you. Thank you Sen. Mensch, thank you Mr. and Mrs. Weand for all that you do.And I also want to thank all the community of Pottstown. We came together and we did something really huge and brought back a great tradition."

    It's been three years since that tradition has been in abeyance.

    The lights were removed in 2014 after it was determined that the wooden poles holding them up were no longer structurally sound.

    The school board at the time determined that $300,000 cost should not be born by local taxpayers when the district struggles financially, and instead a community fund-raising campaign -- Save the Lights -- was born and headed by Weand.

    Lawn signs and t-shirts were sold, contributions received from the teachers federation, the Pottstown School Music Association, anonymous donors, the Foundation for Pottstown Education and all the students who paid $1 for "casual Fridays" so they could forego the required school uniform rules.
    Kevin Owens, president of the Pottstown Schools 
    Music Association addresses the school board Thursday.

    But no sooner did the district resolve the issue of lights for one field, problems with another set of field lights were raised.

    Kevin Owens, the president of the Pottstown Schools Music Association, outlined the necessity of replacing the aging lights that shine on the "auxiliary field" near the school's tennis courts.

    Replacement bulbs for those lights are no longer made or available and the scheduling problems that would ripple through the school and student activities without the lights are many, he said.

    Because marching band practice begins in August, the lights are necessary for night practices to take place in the cooler part of the hot summer months.
    The lights on Pottstown High School's "auxiliary field" are old
    and out of date. New ones can be installed as part of a $146,653
    lighting project planned for the high school.

    Those night practices, which continue through the year, also allow band members to participate in athletics after school and still be in the band, Owens said.

    However, a solution may already be at hand.

    Kurt Heidel reported that the school board's facilities committee is recommending the auxiliary field lights be replaced as part of a broader outdoor security lighting project at the high school which facilities director Robert Krippelbauer secured at a cost of $146,653.

    Heidel said initially he was opposed to the expenditure, but convinced to change his mind by Anspach's explanation of all the benefits those lights provide to as many as 70 students who are in the marching band.

    The board will vote on that expenditure at the Monday, May 22 meeting, along with adopting a preliminary $62 million budget for the 2017-18 school year.

    You can read about that in the Tweets below.

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    Photo Courtesy of John Armato
    Members of Pottstown High School's Junior Air Force ROTC Post Unit 951 were on hand in Memorial Park Saturday morning to beautify the Vietnam Veterans Memorial there in preparation for Memorial Day.

    Blogger's Note:The following was provided by John Armato, director of community relations for the Pottstown School District.

    For many, Saturday mornings are for sleeping in and taking a slow start to the day.

    But if you are a member of the Pottstown High School award-wining Jr. Air Force ROTC Unit Pa 951 then Saturday morning is time to honor our veterans and serve the community. 

    Some of the Unit's cadets under the leadership of Col. James Porter spend the morning at Memorial Park preparing for Memorial Day by beautifying the Vietnam Monument. 

    "Our cadets are building leadership skills for the future and give us another reason to say Proud to be from Pottstown," he said.