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Articles on this Page
- 12/14/17--21:00: _Operation Holiday D...
- 12/15/17--21:00: _Pottstown Pride Soc...
- 12/17/17--21:00: _Limiting Diversity,...
- 12/19/17--21:45: _Upper Perk Reverses...
- 12/20/17--21:00: _Schuylkill Trail Br...
- 12/21/17--21:00: _Tax Credit Helps Ba...
- 12/23/17--21:00: _Give Blood for the ...
- 12/24/17--21:00: _Exelon Workers Deli...
- 12/25/17--21:00: _Pottstown DECA Welc...
- 12/26/17--21:00: _Costello Lauds Pass...
- 12/27/17--21:00: _3rd Teacher Buys Ne...
- 12/29/17--21:00: _DRBC River in Winte...
- 12/30/17--21:00: _Cooper Named to New...
- 12/31/17--21:00: _Happy New Year From...
- 01/01/18--21:00: _Pottstown Baseball:...
- 01/02/18--21:00: _Oaths Made and Prom...
- 01/03/18--21:00: _Homemade Caps Keepi...
- 01/04/18--21:00: _Wellness Foundation...
- 01/05/18--21:00: _Hylton to Spend $20...
- 01/07/18--21:00: _Hopewell to Host Sc...
- 01/08/18--21:00: _Weand Goes 'Outside...
- 01/09/18--21:00: _Pottsgrove School B...
- 01/11/18--21:00: _No Rest for the Wea...
- 01/12/18--21:00: _Special Pottsgrove ...
- 01/14/18--21:00: _Gala Fundraiser Fea...
- 12/14/17--21:00: Operation Holiday Delivers Holiday Cheer Every Year
- 12/15/17--21:00: Pottstown Pride Society Mixer Garners $1K Donation
- 12/17/17--21:00: Limiting Diversity, Ownership Stifles 1st Amendment
- 12/19/17--21:45: Upper Perk Reverses Vote to Kill New Middle School
- 12/20/17--21:00: Schuylkill Trail Bridge Helped by State Grant
- 12/21/17--21:00: Tax Credit Helps Bank Support Pottstown Schools
- 12/23/17--21:00: Give Blood for the Holidays and Give Life
- 1/4/2018: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Simpson Meadows, 101 Plaza Drive
- 1/10/2018: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Chester County Intermediate Unit, 455 Boot Road
- 1/15/2018: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Hopewell United Methodist Church, Family Life Center, 852 Hopewell Road
- 12/31/2017: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Clarion at Exton, 815 N. Pottstown Pike
- 1/4/2018: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., AGI, 220 Valley Creek Blvd.
- 12/27/2017: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., First United Methodist Church, 865 S. Main St.
- 1/4/2018: 6:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Medical Conference Center, 826 Main St.
- 1/8/2018: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Technical College High School, 1580 Charlestown Road
- 1/10/2018: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 500 Cresson Blvd.
- 1/4/2018: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Arbour Square, 695 Main St.
- 1/12/2018: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Tabor United Methodist Church, 2209 Hendricks Station Road
- 12/29/2017: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Doubletree Hotel, 301 W. Dekalb Pike
- 1/13/2018: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Creation Kids Worship Room, 150 E. Beidler Road
- 1/5/2018: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Crossroads Presbyterian Church, 10 W. Cherry Lane
- 1/6/2018: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Spring Valley YMCA, 19 Linfield Trappe Road
- 12/26/2017: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Pottstown YMCA, 724 N. Adams St.
- 1/2/2018: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m., Pottstown Elks Lodge No. 814, 61 E. High St.
- 1/8/2018: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Comfort Inn, 99 Robinson St.
- 1/15/2018: 2 p.m. - 7 p.m., Comfort Inn, 99 Robinson St.
- 12/24/17--21:00: Exelon Workers Deliver Christmas Cheer to YWCA
- 12/25/17--21:00: Pottstown DECA Welcomes New Members, Officers
- 12/26/17--21:00: Costello Lauds Passage of Fire Grant Funding
- 12/29/17--21:00: DRBC River in Winter Photo Contest Announced
- 12/30/17--21:00: Cooper Named to New Wellness Foundation Post
- 12/31/17--21:00: Happy New Year From The Digital Notebook
- 01/01/18--21:00: Pottstown Baseball: A Home Run for the Holidays
- 01/02/18--21:00: Oaths Made and Promises Pending in Pottstown
- 01/03/18--21:00: Homemade Caps Keeping Heads Warm at Barth
- 01/04/18--21:00: Wellness Foundation Announces $1 Million in Grants
- Pine Forge Academy - Four-H (Health, Hands, Head & Heart) Project
- Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust- Community Recreation Center in Memorial Park
- Centro Cultural Latinos Unidos Inc- Distress to De-Stress & Beauty
- Developmental Enterprises Corporation/Pottstown Training Center- Healthy Eating, Healthy Living
- Family Services of Montgomery County- Building Resilience Among Young Parents
- Meals On Wheels of Chester County Inc.- Assistance in purchasing meals for needy, homebound individuals in Spring City
- Pottstown Area Police Athletic League- Pottstown PAL
- Pottstown Athletic Club- Fitnesstown USA III
- Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities- Building a Healthy Community
- Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority- Pottstown FARM
- Preservation Pottstown Inc- Mosaic Community Garden 2018 Application
- Rockstar Roller Derby- Venue & Equipment Upgrades
- Schuylkill River Athletic Club- C.R.E.W. Community Recreational Water athletics program
- The Pennsylvania State University- Custom Module Development for Trauma Awareness Training
- TriCounty Active Adult Center- Prime Time Health *
- Wellness Council of Boyertown- Continuing to Create a Culture of Wellness
- YWCA Tri-County Area- Strategic Plan Implementation Year
- Camphill Village Kimberton Hills- Aging in Community Program*
- Carson Valley Children's Aid- Women's Voices/Healthy Choices
- Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County, d/b/a Mission Kids- Fostering Resiliency through Family Advocacy*
- Garrett The Grand - Batten Fighter- Get out and play, motivating families with disabilities to run and bike.
- Health Care Access- Health Care Access Programs
- Maternity Care Coalition- Pottstown Area Early Head Start and Parenting Initiative*
- Montgomery County Community College Foundation- Dental Sealant Project
- Spring-Ford Counseling Services- Signs of Suicide*
- Triskeles- Food For Thought (FFT) & Expansion Planning
- Visiting Nurse Association Community Services, Inc. (VNA) - Personal Navigator Program with Expanded Legal Support*
- Royersford Outreach, Inc. - General Operating Funds for Building and Program
- The Erik Foundation- Marketing and Branding Campaign
- TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation Inc- Worksite Wellness Initiative
- 01/05/18--21:00: Hylton to Spend $20K on Street Tree Maintenance
- 01/07/18--21:00: Hopewell to Host Schuylkill Heritage Area Talk
- 01/08/18--21:00: Weand Goes 'Outside' for Help Lowering Tax Hike
- 01/09/18--21:00: Pottsgrove School Board Off to a Slow Start
- 01/14/18--21:00: Gala Fundraiser Features a 'Little Mermaid'
Photos by Evan Brandt
Volunteers inside The Mercury celebrate the packing of the last box Thursday morning. About 300 boxes of food were distributed to needy families Thursday.
What with what my sister calls "the world on fire blues," having to scrap one of my family's two vehicles and an invasion of squirrels who gained entry to my attic by chewing through the wood of my house and making their home in our Christmas decorations, is all making it hard to be merry.
I tried "How the Grinch Stole Christmas,""Charlie Brown Christmas" and "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." ( Usually save "It's a Wonderful Life" for Christmas Eve.)
I was prepared to cue up Dylan Thomas reading "A Child's Christmas in Wales" after listening to some of my Christmas CDs, which my son, the Welsh poet's namesake, insists are too numerous to be normal, failed to snap me out of my funk.
Since he was small, Dylan and I have always volunteered together for pack-up day at The Mercury's Operation Holiday. It's one of our family traditions.
But college and a calculus final kept us apart this year, so I was prepared to be moping around yesterday morning.
But instead, a coffee and doughnut later, I caught myself unconsciously whistling carols as I packed up a stream of about 300 boxes with cans of chicken soup and loaves of bread.
|It is also an annual tradition that I take a photo of|
former Mercury Editor Nancy March with a cup of coffee
after we have finished box 1 and box is being set up,
"so you can make it seem like I'm not working,"
she complains each year.
But who instead, they chose to stand in a cold distribution area and pack boxes coming down an assembly line so their neighbors would have a holiday meal on Christmas.
I guess it's true what they say about traditions of giving.
It's a tradition that the Pottstown area has sustained for nearly 40 years.
So far, Mercury readers have donated $18,000 to Operation Holiday, chasing last year's total of about $30,000
Those boxes we packed yesterday will help ensure 147 households, with 412 children, struggling have something to eat on Christmas.
And the $100 Boscov's gift cards for each of those children under 17 will ensure there is something under the tree for them on Christmas morning.
But former editor Nancy March, who was here for the very first Operation Holiday, puts it best in her well-practiced pep talk before the packing starts:
"There's a lot of need in this community and this program really helps the children in need to have at least a bright moment or two on the holidays," she said.
How could that not put you in the holiday spirit?
Here are some Tweets from a fun morning.
|From left, David Charles, Chris Golden, Codilia Arcay, Joe Rusiewicz, Howard Brown.|
The Pottstown Pride Society, a subcommittee of the Foundation for Pottstown Education held an Alumni Mixer recently. The mixer was held at @107.
Thanks to the Advantage Insurance Group for their support of this event and the donation of $1,000 to the Pottstown Pride Society.
Anyone interested in joining the Pottstown Pride Society or hearing of our upcoming events, please contact the Foundation’s Executive Director, Joe Rusiewicz 610-970-6616.
As I have at times had to remind a few of The Mercury's Facebook commenters when they cite the "First Amendment" as reason to leave an offensive post on our page -- "Freedom of speech belongs to you. Freedom of the press belongs to those who own the press. Want to say something in a newspaper? Start one yourself."
There is reason to be worried about both freedom of the press and freedom of speech and expression, however, as the headlines stack up with evidence that both are threatened with curtailment.
The first and most obvious to anyone paying attention is the recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission to remove "net neutrality," the rule that ensures all web sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a zillion other social media accounts be treated equally.
But that's never been entirely true.
As noted above, those of us who work in the media have a much better chance of being heard and have since the start of the nation.
With that advantage, our responsibility in the media, and particularly the press -- upheld better by some than others in an exercise inevitably fraught with bias -- is to try to give a broad variety of views equal opportunity to be aired.
In the last 15 years, that function has been carried forward onto the Internet with spectacular and sometimes incendiary results.
Want information on Basque separatists? They have a web site.
Curious about Islam? No shortage there.
Climate change? Ocean dumping? Hillary's emails?
Yup, yup and yup.
At a time when the President takes to Twitter to "get around the filter" of the media and speak directly to the people, his administration will preside over the greatest potential restriction of that opportunity since the Internet was invented.
While something tells me Donald Trump's Twitter feed is unlikely to be restricted, how long before Twitter decides to create "Twitter Prime," which gives faster speeds and greater visibility to those willing to pay for it?
Facebook already allows you to "sponsor" posts, to pay to have them put in front of more people, and the absence of net neutrality may make such schemes an everyday occurrence.
And beyond the operators of the platforms, consider the ISPs, or Internet Service Providers. Once a broad variety of tech start-ups, it has since narrowed down to be essentially the same utilities which built the infrastructure, Comcast, AT & T and the like.
All promises to the contrary, those providers will now perform the function they are designed to perform -- make money.
So unlike the gas company, or the water company or PECO, these corporate giants (which are about to get a huge tax cut by the way) will in many communities -- like here in Pottstown -- enjoy a monopoly on a utility that allows those willing to pay more, to get better service.
Imagine the outcry (if there was anyone left to report it) if the water company provided cleaner water to those who paid higher rates.
Yes, you pay more to your cable company to get more channels, but is that the model we want for the Internet? Does anyone really like the way cable TV operates?
"The FCC is doing away with rules barring internet providers from blocking or slowing down access to online content. The FCC would also eliminate a rule barring providers from prioritizing their own content," CNN reported.
If only those who can pay for a podium and loudspeaker can have access to the town square, the number of views or information the public will be exposed to will be limited to those who can afford the price of presenting it.
Net neutrality's demise will mean -- as with so many other things in America --
As Michael Cheah, general counsel at video site Vimeo, told CNNMoney: the point of the net neutrality rules is "allowing consumers to pick the winners and losers and not [having] the cable companies make those decisions for them."
Photos by Evan Brandt
A standing-room only crowd applauds the Tuesday night reversal of the Dec. 4 vote to halt the construction of the new Upper Perkiomen Middle School on Montgomery Avenue.
What's done can always be undone -- at least in the Upper Perkiomen School District.
In the wake of the startling Dec. 4 decision by the newly elected school board to halt the middle school construction project, which was already underway, one board member changed his mind and brought the project back to life.
It was new board member James Glackin who provided the key vote. Elected
School Board member James Glackin, in blue, had
at lot of people who wanted to talk to him after his vote.
Prior to his vote, he told the standing-room only crowd that the "we all have a cut-off point about when too much has been spent to stop" and that it is "different for everyone.
Evidently, the $7.8 million spent through November was past that point.
He also provided the fifth vote needed to halt the following motion fielded by School Board President Kerry Drake, an opponent of the project, to delay the project for 120 days.
|The crowd was standing room only.|
But a motion by Vice President Mike Elliott, seconded by Joan Smith, to go ahead with the project put the primary issue in the district back on the table.
The first attempt to stop the vote was a motion to amend Elliott's motion to have the opposite result -- send termination letters to all the project contractors -- made by board member Raeann Hofkin.
That failed by a 5-4 vote which brought Elliott's motion back to the table.
Parent Hope Manion told the board, who announced her
candidacy for the board last night, warned the board that
"this is what it will be like from now on" if the middle
school project did not move forward.
Solicitor Kenneth Roos explained that what Elliott's motion really needed to be was to rescind the Dec. 4 vote to terminate the project, a change to which he readily agreed.
Many of those who spoke against, and for, the Dec. 4 vote were present last night and reiterated their arguments and their positions.
Those opposed to the project pointed out that the voters had clearly chosen the slate of anti-project candidates -- by a margin of 18 percent.
Those favoring the project pointed to low voter turn-out and said many eligible voters had not gone to the polls because they believed the matter to be settled.
Others noted that at the Dec. 4 meeting, many supporting the middle school project had pleaded with the new board to simply suspend the project, not terminate it.
Now that the vote was reversed, their calls for compromise and reconciliation were suddenly silent.
And, as always, there was dispute about numbers -- what the real cost of going forward will be, as well as the real cost of halting the project.
Neither were completely clear last night.
That said, here are the Tweets from a very long night:
|Cyclists cross Route 724 at the Schuylkill River Trail intersection in Monocacy during Ride for the River in September.|
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Schuylkill River Greenways
Schuylkill River Greenways NHA has been awarded a PA Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources grant totaling $516,501 for the construction of a Schuylkill River Trail pedestrian bridge over Route 724.
The bridge will be located in Union Township near Monocacy Station. Funding will provide for ADA access, landscaping, project sign and other related site improvements.
Schuylkill River Greenways (formerly Schuylkill River Heritage Area) hopes to begin construction in 2019. The bridge is expected to take one year to build.
The total project cost has been estimated at about $1 million. The DCNR grant will pay for construction expenses, according to Schuylkill River Greenways Trail Manager Robert Folwell.
Preliminary design work for the project is already underway, and the final design phase will begin early next year, with the hopes of going out to bid in fall 2018 so that construction can begin the following spring, Folwell said.
A pedestrian bridge is needed at that location in order to ensure a safe crossing for trail users.
“This is a high traffic area along Route 724 where cars are traveling at a high rate of speed with poor sight distances, and trail users must negotiate a steep hill on either side,” said Folwell. “
The crossing is located in Monocacy along the Thun Section of the Schuylkill River Trail, and is part of the 20-mile Pottstown to Reading stretch.
Currently, trail users must descend a steep slope in order to cross Route 724 and ascend another slope on the opposite road bank. The slope was created by a former railroad bridge that was removed before that section of the Schuylkill River Trail was built along an old railroad bed.
Schuylkill River Greenways installed visible warning signs at the intersection last year. Those signs were paid for through Safe Crossing funds raised through the sale of Sly Fox Brewery’s SRT Ale.
The Schuylkill River Trail is a multi-use trail that, when complete, will run an estimated 130 miles along the entire length of the river. There are currently more than sixty miles complete, including a section of over 30 miles stretching from Philadelphia to Phoenixville. That section will connect with the Pottstown to Reading section in the next several years.
The Schuylkill River Greenways NHA manages over 30 miles of the Schuylkill River Trail in Berks and Schuylkill Counties, and works with partners to expand and improve the entire trail. Learn more at www.schuylkillriver.org.
From left, Strunk Senior Vice President Tompkins VIST Bank, Foundation of Pottstown Education Executive Director, Joe Rusiewicz and Joe Cavallo, Assistant Vice President Business Development Officer Tompkins VIST Bank.|
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Foundation for Pottstown Education.
Tompkins VIST Bank recently supported the work of the Foundation for Pottstown Education through funding in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC).
EITC is a program providing tax credits to eligible businesses contributing to a Scholarship Organization, an Educational Improvement Organization, and/or a Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Organization. Businesses, as well as organizations receiving the EITC funding, must apply and be approved by the Department of Community and Economic Development to participate. The Foundation is an approved Educational Improvement Organization.
Tompkins VIST President and CEO, Scott Gruber stated that the bank is proud to support organizations in our communities through the EITC Program. He also thanked the Foundation for its partnership and the work that it does to improve our communities.
This gift was presented to the Foundation’s Executive Director, Joe Rusiewicz by Frank Strunk, Senior Vice President Commercial Banking Relationship Manager and Joe Cavallo Assistant Vice President Business Development Officer. The donation is Tompkins VIST Banks’ gift to the Foundation’s Business Division Annual Support Campaign.
For further information on the Foundation for Pottstown Education please contact Joe Rusiewicz 610-970-6616 or email@example.com.
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross is urging eligible donors to give more life to patients now and into the new year by giving blood or platelets.
Donations decline during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day when busy holiday schedules cause regular donors to be less available to give and many blood drives may be canceled due to severe winter storms.
“By taking just about an hour of time today, you can help save someone’s life within a few weeks or even days of your donation,” said Alana Mauger, communications manager of the Red Cross Penn Jersey Blood Services Region.
Blood is perishable and can only be replenished by volunteer donors. Red blood cells, the most transfused blood product, must be transfused within 42 days. Platelets, the tiny cells that form clots and help stop bleeding, must be transfused within just five days. More than half of all platelet donations go to cancer patients who may need platelet transfusions to prevent life-threatening bleeding during chemotherapy.
|"The platelets were hung by the chimney with care ..."|
“Platelet donors don’t have to wait a few weeks to make a difference in a patient’s life,” said Mauger. “Someone could donate platelets on Monday, and by Friday, those same platelets can help someone’s fight to kick cancer.”
Kelly Ellison certainly knows that.
“Our lives have been forever changed because of lifesaving blood and platelet
donations,” said Ellison. “Every breath I take is a blessing!”
All blood types are needed this winter. Platelet donations are especially encouraged the first week of the new year, which is among the most difficult to collect enough platelets to meet patient needs.
As a special thank-you for taking the time to donate, those who come to give Dec. 21 through Jan. 7 will receive a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties:
Monday - Thursday: 11:45 a.m. – 7:45 p.m. (whole blood)
Friday - Sunday: 7:15 a.m. - 3 p.m. (whole blood & platelet pheresis)
Monday - Wednesday: 11:45 a.m.-6 p.m. (platelet pheresis)
Thursday - Sunday: 7:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. (platelet pheresis)
1/3/2018: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m., Trinity United Church of Christ, 532 E. Main St.
12/30/2017: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Lower Providence Fire Company, 3199 W. Ridge Pike
12/24/2017: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m., Douglass Township Municipal Building, 1320 E. Philadelphia Ave.
King of Prussia
12/28/2017: 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., The Peter Powerhouse Foundation at Towamencin Mennonite Church, 1980 Sumneytown Pike
1/8/2018: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Parkhouse Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, 1600 Black Rock Road
12/29/2017: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 40 Spring Mount Road
How to donate blood or platelets
Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a computer or mobile device. To get started and learn more, visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass and follow the instructions on the site.
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by YWCA Tri-County.
Games, dolls, trucks, stuffed animals, and clothing arrived at YWCA Tri-County Area’s Early Education Center this week – not brought by Santa Claus, but delivered by employees of Exelon’s Limerick Generating Station.
A team of employees from the Limerick Generating Station arrived with a truckload of gifts -- wrapped and tagged – for the 165 children attending YWCA Tri-County Area’s Early Education Center.
Each child in the YW Early Education Center – children from 6 months to 6 years in preschool programs, and children K-6 in Before/After School Enrichment – received a gift for their parents or caregivers to take home and give during the holidays.
YWCA Tri-County Area is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. YW3CA is a leader in advocacy for women and girls, works to eliminate racism, and empowers women through quality affordable childcare, adult literacy, and a host of programs to support the health and vitality of women, girls, and families.
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown School District.
Recently, the Pottstown High School DECA Club, an association of marketing students, elected a new slate of officers and inducted 32 new members at a program held at Pottstown High School cafeteria.
Jen Hainsey was elected President along with Vice-President Julian Weber,
DECA's new officers, from left, Emmanuel Toussaint,
Julian Weber, Jen Hainsey, Dennis Morales
Victoria McShea, a Pottstown High School graduate and former DECA member, made some brief remarks to the students and family members in attendance.
Emmanuel Toussaint led the group in the pledging of the DECA Creed and said, “I am proud to have you join DECA and look forward to an exciting year of district, regional, and state competitions.”
Julian Weber provided a PowerPoint presentation highlighting all of the activities that DECA students participated in during the previous year.
Pascal and Hashem welcomed the newly inducted students and praised the efforts of the Executive Team in organizing the event.
At the conclusion of the event, all in attendance enjoyed some delicious desserts provided by Melissa Caballero, owner of Melissa’s Sweet Creations.
Members inducted included:
|U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6th Dist., meets with Limerick firefighters.|
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by Ryan Costello's office.
Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6th Dist., applauded House passage of H.R. 4661, the United States Fire Administration, AFG, and SAFER Program Reauthorization Act, which passed recently on a bipartisan, unanimous basis.
These programs provide critical support for firefighter and emergency response companies. Both of these grants are awarded through a competitive process to career and volunteer fire departments, and both grants are intended to help meet equipment, training, and staffing needs.
In Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District, firefighters and first responders have used these grants for self-loading stretchers for ambulances, coats, portable radios, boots, and gloves, among other resources.
“Communities in Southeastern Pennsylvania and across the country rely on brave first responders, and firefighters and emergency response officials need the appropriate equipment to safely and effectively do their work,” said Rep. Costello. “I have been proud to support federal grants that help provide vital resources to our local fire departments.”
Since coming to Congress, Rep. Costello has signed onto funding requests for the AFG program and the SAFER Grant program.
|Rupert Elementary teacher Jamie Fazekas in front of her new home.|
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Foundation for Pottstown Education.
Rupert Elementary Third Grade Teacher, Jamie Fazekas is the third Pottstown School District Employee who has been awarded a $10,000 forgivable loan through the Foundation for Pottstown Education Residency Program.
Fazekas applied for this loan in November and was approved before Thanksgiving. She closed on her new home the first week of December. This is the first home purchase for her and she is extremely happy with her new residence.
The $10,000 loan will have 20 percent forgiven each year in which the homeowner remains an employee of the Pottstown School District and lives in the residence as their primary home.
Congratulations, Jamie and welcome home.
Visit www.foundationpottstowned.org for more information about the Foundation for Pottstown Education as well as following FPE on Facebook and Twitter.
|The pedestrian bridge over Manatawny Creek in Pottstown's Riverfront Park.|
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Delaware River Basin Commission.
The Delaware River Basin Commission has announced its Winter Photo Contest, highlighting amateur and professional photography that conveys the beauty, diversity, function, and significance of the water resources of the Delaware River Basin, a 13,539 square mile watershed that includes the Schuylkill River watershed.
“From the headwaters to the ocean and everywhere in between, winter brings a different perspective to the basin’s water resources, and this contest provides an opportunity to capture, share, and showcase winter’s beauty through your photographs,” said DRBC Executive Director Steve Tambini.
|Wissahickon Creek near Manayunk.|
Interested persons can visit http://www.nj.gov/drbc/basin/photo/photo-contest.html for complete contest details, including instructions on how to submit their original, high resolution photographs.
The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the Delaware River Basin without regard to political boundaries. The five commission members are the governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government.
To learn more about the commission, please visit www.drbc.net or follow DRBC on Twitter at @DRBC1961.
The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation recently welcomed Ashia Cooper to its staff to serve as the program officer for capacity building and collaborations.
Cooper has years of experience working with children and families, having held various school counseling positions in both the Pottstown and Owen J. Roberts School Districts. She also served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors, most recently as the chair of its Impact Committee.
“We were fortunate to have Ashia serve on our Board and know she will continue to be an asset to the organization as the newest member of our staff,” Foundation President Dave Kraybill said.
“We welcome her to the team and are confident she will be a valuable resource for our grantees.”
Cooper is eager to serve the community in her new role within the Foundation.
“I’ve been privileged to see the great work of the Foundation over the years through the eyes of a board member, and I am excited to embark on this new path in my career,” Cooper said. “I look forward to getting to know the organizations in my program area and continuing to fulfill our mission as a member of PAHWF’s grants staff.”
About the Foundation: The Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles.
From left, Pottstown High School Baseball Assist. Coach Todd Endy and players, Darion Miller, Aidan Leh and Jeremy Adams pack up food for a holiday meal for needy Pottstown family.
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown School District.
It's never too late for holiday news!
Players Owen Morton and James O'Donnell
try their hand at gift wrapping.
When council closed out its business for the year last month, it had adopted a budget that hikes taxes 12 percent with a promise.
Council promised it would revisit the budget in 2018 and try to bring the tax hike down.
That didn't happen Tuesday night.
It may happen Monday night when newly appointed Council President Dan Weand is scheduled to appoint an "oversight committee" to do that work on the budget.
But Councilman Joe Kirkland wasn't happy. He said he had hoped the appointments would be done last night so work could begin right away.
Council has a legal deadline of Feb. 15 to adjust the budget.
"Waiting until Monday means we lose a week," said Kirkland. "We don't have much time."
Kirkland said he had already emailed a number of suggestions and scenarios to Interim Borough Manager Justin Keller, but Councilwoman Rita Paez, who last month argued council needed more time to work on the budget, said she did not think the appointments needed to be made Tuesday night.
"When Feb. 15 rolls around and time is tight, remember this delay," Kirkland warned.
District Judge Scott Palladino, center, administers the
oath of office to Mayor Stephanie Henrick. Justin Keller
held the Bible.
"OK," replied Weand.
Incumbents Kirkland, Weand, and Ryan Procsal were sworn into new terms before the official meeting got started and new members Donald Lebedynsky and Mayor Stephanie Henrick took their first oaths.
Also on the agenda for Monday's meeting is a vote on a proposal to revamp how and how much Pottstown charges for parking, as well as some new signs.
Here are the Tweets from last night's meeting.
|Christine Rhoads stopped by to make sure the caps she knit for Kathy Eagle's 1st grade class all fit.|
Blogger's Note:The following was provided by the Pottstown School District.
*Identifies organizations who received grant funding from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation East Auxiliary.
Photos by Evan Brandt
This large stump in front of 353 King St. will be removed by Hylton's contractor at a cost of $570.
The work will be done primarily on Beech, North Charlotte, North Hanover, High and King Streets.
That cost will be borne by Hylton and his wife Frances at no cost to the borough.
|This large stump in front of 223 N. Charlotte St. will also be removed.|
The street tree work will be undertaken by the Davey Tree Expert Co. under the direction of a certified arborist, according to an e-mail Hylton sent to Interim Borough Manager Justin Keller on Jan. 2.
Although all the trees and stumps in question are in the public right-of-way, and thus do not require the permission of the property owners, Hylton told council at the Jan. 2 meeting that he will send letters to the property owners ahead of time.
The letters will outline the work, and include a phone number and email address for anyone with concerns to contact Hylton.
The proposal mirrors one on which council acted last year, allowing Hylton to remove 32 dead street trees, 36 stumps and plant 48 new trees at a cost of more than $40,000 — money borough taxpayers did not have to spend.
Hylton, who was voted out of office as a member of the Pottstown School board in November, was for many years the chairman of the former Pottstown Shade Tree Commission until it was disbanded by council in 2010.
Did you know that you may live in a National Heritage Area?
Part of the National Park System and designated by federal law, National Heritage Areas are large lived in landscapes that reflect extraordinary aspects of American Heritage.
This whole region is nationally significant for the role that its people, places, and events played in the American, Industrial, and Environmental Revolutions.
Tim Fenchel has been with the Heritage Area since 2006 and is known for his great skill in securing the state, local and private funding that allows for the stewardship of the Heritage Area.
A young visitor at the River of Revolutions Interpretive Center
at the Schuylkill River National Heritage Area HQ in Pottstown.
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 Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site visitors are encouraged to go into the village, tour the buildings, see Hopewell's water wheel and learn about iron making and why Hopewell Furnace is important to our nation’s history. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday thru Sunday, the park is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA, off Route 345. For more information visit www.friendsofhopewellfurn.org.
Attempts to cut spending and/or boost revenue to try and lower the 12 percent tax hike embedded in the $54.4 million budget adopted in December will be aided by two "outsiders."
While Borough Council President Dan Weand evidently did not agree with all of the personnel suggested by Councilman Joe Kirkland to the Ad Hoc Cost Reduction Task Committee, he did agree to put Kirkland in charge.
"You mean I'm going to be the head of the committee but I have no say in who is on it," Kirkland asked.
Weand, who has been on the finance committee that looked at the budget for months, indicated that Kirkland's assessment was correct, and said he wanted some "outside" people, those "not on council or staff" to also have a crack at the budget puzzle.
So in addition to himself, Kirkland and Councilman Dennis Arms, Weand appointed Finance Director Janice Lee and Utilities Director Brent Wagner, Weand also appointed Borough Authority Vice Chairman David Renn, who is not exactly and outsider, and James Smock, the head of the West-Mont Christian School in North Coventry and a former member of the Pottstown School Board.
Weand said Smock has experience dealing with "extremely tight budgets."
Councilwoman Rita Paez said she thought the ad hoc committee should have some minority representation, to which Weand responded he might be able to add some later.
This ad hoc committee has until next month to provide suggestions for borough council to act upon by Feb. 15 to reduce the tax burden.
Best of luck all.
I covered the Pottsgrove School Board meeting last night.
It lasted for 2.5 hours and guess what?
OK, that's not entirely true. Stuff happened, but it wasn't exactly news.
The high point was second graders from West Pottsgrove Elementary School, where the meeting was held, who made a presentation about a STEM activity they had undertaken.
And, with a little help from their teachers, they had the board members undertake it as well.
It was quite charming, but not exactly headline news.
Board President Matt Alexander made some appointments, they paid the bills, but really; it was pretty routine.
If I haven't made you stop reading yet, you can always read the Tweets from the meeting here below:
|The Phoenixville Area School Board agreed informally Thursday night to begin exploring in earnest the idea of start middle and high school classes later in the day to accommodate teen sleep patterns.|
Astute Phoenixville area readers of The Mercury, The Phoenix and other Digital First Media products may have noticed a distinct paucity of news of their community in recent months.
That's because the company did not replace Phoenixville beat reporter Eric Devlin when he left for greener pastures and have shown no inclination to do so any time soon.
So I am trying to pick up some of that slack and as a result, attended a Phoenixville Area School Board meeting last night.
Before we get into the particulars, newly elected Upper Pottsgrove Commissioners President Trace
So given the likelihood that I will attend many of their meetings in the future, let me just observe that one of the things I find interesting about how they run things is that they talk a lot about how they are going to talk about issues.
And while that sounds a little silly on the face of it, I actually think its quite smart; this given that I have seen more than one public discussion in any number of places wander off into the weeds because no one set the parameters of the discussion ahead of time.
Also, the board allows for public comment throughout the meeting, or at least the work session I attended last night, which is always helpful for fully exploring topics.
So good-on-ya Phoenixville. As Doonesbury once said, "you give good meeting."
As for the content of the meeting, there was some interesting stuff.
Despite having just built a large new school building, Phoenixville Schools will run at or near, or even slightly over capacity, for the next 10 years or so according to the latest demographic figures.
The student population is being driven almost entirely by growth in Schuylkill and East Pikeland Townships, as well as Phoenixville Borough itself.
Also of interest was a discussion about the amount of homework Phoenixville students, particularly in the upper grades, have to complete. A parent complained about it earlier to the curriculum committee and Committee Chairman Kevin Pattinson brought it to the full board.
So too did parents Mark Gerner and David Goldberg, who told the board that within 24 hours of starting a Facebook group called Phoenixville Homework Reform, he had 14 members and as many emails wanting to know more.
To their credit, both the board and the administration welcomed the discussion and pledged to undertake a study of the issue to try to find the right balance.
And, now, if you will permit me the pun, we come to the "sleeper issue" of the night -- teen sleep.
Superintendent Alan Fegley has been tasked with setting up a time frame and an orderly way to look at the issue of teen sleep patterns, and how that relates to school hours -- an increasingly popular subject in schools throughout the country.
Both Fegley and Policy Committee Chairman Eric Daughtery have attended seminars on the issue and said they are behind on the timeline Fegley created to move the issue closer to a decision.
With the assent of the other board members, Fegley will now -- while also working to educate the board, the staff and the public about the matter -- begin to put together the particulars of what an 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. start for the middle and high school would look like.
No decision has yet been made, but he warned the board that changing the times will have ripple effects throughout the district, particularly if, in the interest of sleep, school activities are also curtailed on the evening side of the equation as well.
Consider double bus runs, earlier starts and finishes for school plays, athletics, how those things will affect the schedule in the lower grades and the conflicts that it will inevitably create with parent schedules and preferences, he said.
No matter what change, if any, comes about, it would not be for the current or the coming school year, but the 2019-2020 school year at the earliest.
And now, here are the Tweets from last night's meeting in case you weren't following along.
Blogger's Note:Today is the last day to register for this workshop.
Ever wondered how colonial women carried around the items they might need throughout their day?
Find out more about the history and use of pockets while constructing your own hand-sewn pocket with Pottsgrove Manor on Saturday, Jan. 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Class size is limited, so register by today, Jan.13, to secure your spot.
Pottsgrove Manor is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422 near the Carousel at Pottstown and Manatawny Green Miniature Golf Course. Pottsgrove Manor is operated by the Montgomery County Division of Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites.
For more information, please call 610-326-4014, or visit the website at www.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor. Like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pottsgrovemanor.
The Foundation for Pottstown Education in conjunction with the Pottstown School District Musical announces the 2018 Gala to be held on Saturday March 3, 2018.
The highlight of the event is this year’s District Wide Musical, The Little Mermaid. Beside the musical, there will be a dinner catered by Booster’s BBQ, a silent auction and pre-dinner social time with “mocktails”. Visits from the cast also highlight the dinner along with socializing and networking throughout the evening.
A silent auction will be held during the social hour and dinner. Various local businesses and community members have donated special items for this auction. All proceeds raised from the gala and auction benefit the Foundation’s grant programs which help it promote opportunities for the children of the Pottstown School District.
Tickets for the Gala are $60 per person and include the dinner and tickets for the musical.
Event sponsorships are also still available.
About FPE: The Foundation for Pottstown Education’s (FPE) mission is to support, promote, sponsor and carry out educational, scientific or charitable activities and objectives within or related to the Pottstown School District. Visit www.foundationpottstowned.org for more information about the Foundation for Pottstown Education. You can also follow FPE on Facebook and Twitter.