Friday, July 20, 2018

Pottstown Students Getting Summer Slappy Happy

Pottstown students hanging out with Slappy the Mascot.


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Habitat Homeowner Making a Difference on Walnut

Tamara Charles and her family will get the keys to 438 Walnut St. tomorrow. She is already making a difference in her neighborhood by heading up an anti-littering campaign.









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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Spirit of Cooperation


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

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

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

417 Chestnut Street


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

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

About Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery and Delaware Counties

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

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Revisions Pending to Plan for Limerick Truck Facility

This sign was posted in the door of the township
offices Tuesday night.
Folks who were geared up to protest a project to construct a truck servicing center on Limerick Center Road had the wind whipped out of their sails Monday night.

At the request of the developer, who had just two weeks ago been pushing for township supervisors to take the next step in the development process, the matter was pulled from the agenda at the last minute.

Residents turned out in force at the July 3 meeting to raise concerns about the plan and the supervisors put off making a decision until last night.

One source said that the combination of the residents' concerns and the supervisors wariness may have convinced the developer to make some changes to the proposal.

The announcement on the township web site noted that TP Trailers "will be making additional revisions to the preliminary plan.

Anyway, as a result, it was a pretty short meeting.

The next most newsworthy item on the agenda was yet another discussion about the Limerick Town Center project, this time about the senior living portion of the project, which also includes a four-story, 190,895 square foot building with 87 housing units, 91 assisted living units and 32 memory-care units, and that's just the first phase of the senior living element.

The project also calls for about 160 townhomes and 32,000 square feet of retail space along Ridge Pike, with apartments above.
The footprint, outlined in gray, of the first phase of the 
senior living portion of Limerick Town Center.

All total it's on about 30 acres at the intersection of Ridge Pike and Swamp Pike and includes a re-alignment of that intersection and an extension of Lewis Road, all into a single traffic circle.

Discussion Tuesday night centered around minor waivers sought for that p=ortion of the project having to do with landscaping, pipe width and road width, none of which represented any problem for the township engineer.

The supervisors authorized the solicitor to draw up a resolution approving the waivers at the next meeting which is scheduled for Aug. 7.

The township offices are expected to move out of their temporary location on S. Limerick Road and back into a spanking new township building at 646 W.  Ridge Pike on Wednesday, Aug. 15, and open again for business on the next day.

Also, Limerick Community Day is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Limerick Community Park. The Mango Men Band will be performing.

And without further ado, here are the Tweets.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Mulch Spreading, Firm Vetting and Open Gov't

Photo by Evan Brandt
MULCH ADO ABOUT SOMETHING: Upper Pottsgrove Township= Manager Carol Lewis, left, and Commissioners chairman Trace Slinkerd, third from left, thank the entire Pottsgrove High School football Falcons for putting down all the mulch in all the township's parks this spring.



Nine months ago, the Upper Pottsgrove Township Commissioners rejected the bids for a new $2 million public works garage on Heather Place.

Instead, a committee of residents was formed to find a better solution.

That committee no longer exists.
NEW FIRE POLICE OFFICER: Bryan Floyd, right
takes the oath of office as Trace Slinkerd, left, swears
Floyd in as the township's newest fire police officer Monday.

Instead, the commissioners tasked the township planning commission with vetting firms that could provide a more comprehensive review of all the township's building needs.

The planners narrowed it down to two, KCBA Architects of Hatfield, which designed the renovations and expansion of Pottsgrove High School, and Alloy 5, an architecture firm out of Bethlehem.

Monday night, both firms made their best case to the township commissioners. Each firm will undertake the study for about $8,000, although the Bethlehem firm is about $1,200 less, said Commissioners chairman Trace Slinkerd.

Each has fairly extensive experience in municipal buildings and each said they would give an honest assessment without trying to talk the township into an expensive construction project.

Opinion on the planning commission was split, said Commissioner Elwood Taylor, and no clear preference was made evident by the commissioners Monday night.

Instead, said Slinkerd, the board will vote to select a firm to conduct the study next month.
State Sen. bob Mensch, standing, holds up a chart showing how much
of the state budget goes to education and human services during 
Monday night's Upper Pottsgrove Commissioners' meeting.

The board also voted unanimously to hire another police officer, replacing officer Steve Sigoda, who is retiring.

And State Sen. Bob Mensch, R-24th Dist., stopped by for a visit as he does about once a year, talked about the state budget, said the state is not growing because it's business taxes are too high, and fielded a few softball questions from friendly Republicans in the audience and on the board.

He said starting in 2019, the state will begin "performance-based budgeting," which means every line of the budget being audited. He told a Mercury reporter outside, because the reporter's question was not allowed in the meeting, that those audits will be public records available through the Right to Know law, and that the audits would include the legislature's accounts as well.

In another government transparency moment, Commissioner Martin Schreiber, who is also a volunteer fireman, complained that he was told he could not be present for a conference call between township officials, a consultant and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

The call was about the fire department study the commissioners voted to ask the state to conduct last month. Schreiber was told because Slinkerd and Vice President France Krazalkovich were already participating, his participation would constitute a quorum and thus violate the Open Meetings Law.

Schreiber countered that because Krazalkovich and fire officials on the call are all members of the township's fire committee, that a quorum of that group had convened without public notice.

Township Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. confirmed it was an apparent violation of the Open Meetings Law.

But as has been observed more than once at the past two meetings, Slinkerd merely ignored Schreiber's point and moved the meeting along.

Speaking of which, here are the Tweets from the meeting.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A Day in the 7 Years War at Pottsgrove Manor

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

Pottsgrove Manor hosts the 1st and 3rd Battalion of the Pennsylvania Regiment on Saturday, July 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  to teach all ages about life during the French and Indian War.

Also known as the Seven Years War, it was, in part, a battle for the control of resources in the British Colonies and French Canada from 1754 to 1763. 

The war changed the economic, political, and social aspects of life in Colonial America, yet the war is often overlooked today. 

Ironmaster John Potts’ involvement in the war is unclear but his role as a Judge meant he kept an eye towards community safety. 

Build your knowledge about this critical era at Pottsgrove Manor, and join the living history interpreters portraying a Pennsylvania Provincial unit to learn about this period. 

Talk with soldiers about the challenges of army life and the battles during the war. Discover more about their unique uniform and their daily routine during camp life. Drill and train with the best in Pennsylvania and see if you have what it takes to muster through a day in the 18th century army.

Tours of the manor will also be available throughout the day. Explore Pottsgrove Manor’s new exhibit, “Good Night at the Manor,” to uncover the evening routines of the Potts family as well as their household staff. 

Tours last between 45 to 60 minutes. The museum shop will also be open, full of unique reproduction items, books, and toys for all to enjoy.

This program welcomes all ages and is rain or shine. There is a suggested $2.00 donation for the event.

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

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Rotary Helps Public Tree Nursery Take Root at PHS

Photos by Evan Brandt
From left, Peggy Whittaker, Spring-Ford High School sophomore Geoff Bright, Pottstown High School Senior Giankirk Kimmell, David Sutton, Pottstown High School senior Destiny Moyer and Hank Saylor all worked Saturday to plant 100 trees in a new nursery being established at Pottstown High School by the Pottstown Rotary Club for its 100th anniversary.


The latest chapter in this story may end up behind Pottstown High School, but it started about a year ago in Australia.

Trees brought to Pottstown High School by Dave Fisher
await planting Saturday morning
.
Australia is where Ian H.S. Riseley is a member of his local Rotary Club -- Sandringham, Victoria, Australia
to be specific.

But last year, Risely was also the president-elect of Rotary International and, as is the club's tradition, he set a global theme for the year.

It was an appropriately global goal.

The president-elect challenged every Rotary Club in the world to make a difference by planting a tree for each of its members between the start of the Rotary year on 1 July and Earth Day on 22 April 2018.

Environmental degradation and global climate change "are having a disproportionate impact on those who are most vulnerable, those to whom Rotary has the greatest responsibility," Risely ” said last year at Rotary's International Assembly in San Diego, according to a post in the club's web site.

David Sutton and Peg Whittaker settle a tree into its new home.
"Yet environmental issues rarely register on the Rotary agenda," he said. “The time is long past when environmental sustainability can be dismissed as not Rotary’s concern. It is, and must be, everyone’s concern,” he said.

Trees remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the air, which slows global warming.

The shade trees provide also lower temperatures and thus electricity use, and energy bills.

They also increase the value of residential properties, studies have shown.

“It is my hope that the result of that effort will be far greater than the environmental benefit that those 1.2 million new trees will bring,” Riseley said. “I believe the greater result will be a Rotary that recognizes our responsibility not only to the people on our planet, but to the planet itself.”
Pottstown High School seniors Destiny Moyer, left, and
Giankirk Kimmell, second from right, both members of
the school's Interact Club, joined Bright and his
nephew, Spring-Ford sophomore Geoff Bright for the
planting Saturday.

Mike Bright was the president of the Pottstown Rotary Club when that challenge was issued and he took it to heart. 

The fact that 2018 was also the 100th anniversary of the Pottstown Rotary Club gave him a pretty good idea of how to meet that challenge, he said between digging tree pits Saturday.

"We decided to plant 100 trees," he said, although he acknowledged the club doesn't have 100 members -- "yet."

"We were just going to plant them around town, in parks and the like, and then Tom Hylton came to us and said 'why didn't we plant them in a sustainable way in a way that helps the town the most?' and we agreed that was a great idea," said Bright.

"Now, when Pottstown needs a tree, they can just come here, dig one up and plant it where it's needed," he said.

From left, Matt Kutz, Mike Bright and Tim Hennessey use an
auger to dig holes for the 100 trees plans Saturday.
Rotary purchased the trees and Hylton obtained permission from the school board to use the plot of land behind the school along North Adams Street.

An irrigation system was installed by local plumber Aram Ecker.

Then came the day of planting and it was discovered that the dirt that had been dumped on the site to raise it up enough for the roots to be be healthy had settled a bit.

Shovels were not going to get the job done. Luckily, the brilliant idea of renting an auger was floated and soon enough, 100 tree pits had been dig into the loosened soil.

The new nursery will be home to:
The volunteers made quick work emptying the truck full of trees.

  • 20 pin oaks 
  • 20 red maples 
  • 15 Kwanson cherry trees 
  • 15 red oak 
  • 10 Valley Forge elms 
  • 20 London plane trees and 
  • 3 sunburst maple trees.

Bright said he hopes that the high school's Interact Club, sever members of which were on hand to help with the planting, can help with maintenance throughout the school year.

Rotary sponsors the Internact Club in the high school.
Trees were planted almost as quickly as the holes were dug.

The partnership between the school district, the Rotary Club and community activists serves as another example of the advantages of collective action and teamwork, said John Armato, the district's director of community relations and a Pottstown School Board member.

"Just another example of people coming together to make Pottstown a better place to live," said Armato, adding, as he is often known to do. "One town, one team, one goal."

Pottstown's new sustainable public tree nursery takes shape Saturday.






Friday, July 13, 2018

Gladden Tapped to Head French & Pickering Trust

Bill Gladden is the new executive director of the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust













Blogger's Note: The following was provided by the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust

Bill Gladden of West Chester,has been named executive director of the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, which preserves, stewards and connects people to the land in northern Chester County. Gladden brings more than 30 years of public and private sector experience in land use, preservation and management to French & Pickering. 

He will start with French & Pickering Aug. 1.

Currently, Gladden serves as director of the Department of Open Space Preservation for Chester County. In that position since 2004, Gladden has directed the County’s nationally acclaimed programs that have invested over $200 million to help preserve over 55,000 acres of farms, forests, parks and preserves.

According to Robert C. F. Willson, president of the board, “Our staff, volunteers, supporters and board have worked very hard to get French & Pickering to where we stand today. Bill Gladden is the perfect person to lead us forward in our conservation partnerships through our existing and new easements, new nature preserves and increased community outreach and environmental education.”

“Land trusts fill an essential role in our way of life in this region,” says Gladden. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with landowners, municipalities, supporters and the French & Pickering board and staff to deliver the benefits of preservation to the community,” he says. “I have long admired its work, and look forward to increasing French & Pickering’s connections with the public and partners while building on its core commitment to conservation.”

Gladden has been honored for his accomplishments in land protection, historic preservation and volunteer service, and has served on the boards of numerous community organizations.

His past and present affiliations include the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association policy advisory committee, Schuylkill River Heritage Area and Greenways Association (past president), Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Agriculture, YMCA Brandywine Valley Chapter (board of directors) and East Brandywine Township open space committee and park and recreation board.

He earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Virginia, and a B.A. in urban studies and political science from the College of Wooster.

About the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust


Land Preservation

Since its establishment in 1967, the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust has protected more than 12,500 acres in northern Chester County through purchases, conservation easements and public/private partnerships. It works with landowners, townships, foundations and the state and county to purchase and monitor conservation easements, create parkland and preserve environmentally sensitive land. It is accredited by the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission, a mark of distinction, showing that a land trust meets high standards for land conservation.

Trails

Trails provide public access to preserved land, recreational opportunities and beautiful views along northern Chester County’s Exceptional Value waterways. With funding from the state, county and the George and Miriam Martin Foundation, the Trust is engaged in the acquisition and development of the 10-mile French Creek Trail from Warwick County Park to the Kennedy Covered Bridge in East Vincent Township, and creating local connections to the regional trail network. It has completed the 6-mile Pickering Trail, following the creek in West Pikeland Township from the Mill at Anselma to the township border at Clover Mill Road.