Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dressing for Success

Mercury Photo by Kevin Hoffman
Pottstown High School students were pleased to pay the price for casual dress earlier this month and, in the process, raised $787 toward the cost of replacing the stadium lights at Grigg Memorial Field.

Pottstown schools will enjoy three more opportunities to dress casually for a good cause in the coming weeks.

Superintendent Jeff Sparagana has set this Friday, April 25 as casual dress day by which students and staff may pay for the privilege of wearing casual clothes instead of the school uniform.

The money raised will go toward replacing the lights at Grigg Memorial Stadium. The lights must be taken down because of the age and condition of both the poles and the lights.

Staff pay $2 and students pay $1 for casual dress clearance.

The other two Fridays are May 9 and May 23.

Students and staff may pay on or before these dates to participate.

If donating by check make payable to: Pottstown School District.

Of course, casual does not mean inappropriate, and so the rules of the district, printed below, still apply in terms of dress code.

All Clothing must fit appropriately and be conducive to the learning environment. Please follow Dress Code Exemptions Policy 6182.7n. Some Exemptions listed in the policy – No torn, ripped or ragged clothing. No clothing containing holes. No clothing that reveals the chest or midriff. No Muscle shirts, belly shirts, tube tops, halter tops, low scoop necks, large arm openings, spaghetti strap blouses, fish net, mesh or see through. No spandex or skin tight shorts or pants. No trousers that reveal underwear. Skirts and shorts should be an appropriate length. Please use your best judgment and refer to your student handbook if you have any questions.

Why look, Barth Principal Ryan Oxenford is surrounded by 49 other Ryan Oxenfords....

Of course, sometimes dressing up is the right thing to do, as was the case at Barth Elementary School on April 11.

That was "Switch it Up Day," when teachers and principal Ryan Oxenford came dressed as students and students came dressed as teachers and, in the case of 49 of them, just like Mr. Oxenford.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Getting Pottstown's Views

Photo by Evan Brandt
Pottstown Mayor Sharon Valentine and Jody Holton, executive editor of the Montgomery Country Planning Commission, welcome those who came out to offer input into writing of the county's comprehensive plan.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pottsgrove Focuses on Drug and Alcohol Prevention During April Awareness Week

Mercury Photo by Kevin Hoffman

Last year, police conducted a surprise drug sweep at 
Pottsgrove High School but found no drugs.
In its inaugural year, the Pottgrove School District Drug and Alcohol Prevention Team has scheduled several activities in the coming week.

Formerly called a taskforce, the team is comprised of PGSD staff, community agencies, parents and school board board members whose focus is to provide education to students, parents and community in hopes of preventing drug abuse. 

The team also provides support and direction to students and families dealing with drug abuse or addiction. 

"Although we are a suburban community, we are far from immune to the epidemic of teen drug abuse including alcohol," according to a statement released from the district. 

To help drive that message home and spur discussions about prevention and recovery, the team has planned April Awareness Week, from Tuesday, April 22 to Tuesday, April 29. 

This week, which builds on programs already in place at the Pottsgrove High School through the SNAP Academy, will focus on student, parent and community education surrounding drug and alcohol use in our local area and its often devastating consequences.

-- On Tuesday, April 22 the Community Driving Safety Fair will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. at Pottsgrove High School. 

The mock car accident is meant to show the potential 

consequences of impaired driving during prom week and other times.
This event, brought to the community through the SNAP Academy and the school PTA, is a replication of the activities that will be shared with high school students during the day to promote safe driving at the prom.

Community members are invited out to learn about the effects of impaired driving through hands on simulations including opportunities to try the Safety Bug! 

The activities are free and members of the Drug and Alcohol Prevention Team will be there to answer questions about Pottsgrove’s promotion of a healthy community.

In cooperation with the Lower Pottsgrove Police Department and the HS SNAP Academy, a mock car accident will be presented to students during the week to show the actual potential consequences of impaired driving. 

This powerful simulation will be yet another reminder to students to make positive and safe choices as they attend the prom and summer festivities.

April Awareness Week also happens to correspond with the Drug Enforcement Agencies National
This week is also the DEA's National Take-Back Initiative
Take Back Initiative for spring. 

-- This program, running on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,  encourages citizens to bring in old or unused prescription drugs for safe disposal. For a site near you, please click here.

On Tuesday, April 29, a Community Connection on Drug Use in Montgomery County will be held at 7 p.m. at the Pottsgrove High School. 

This event, presented by Assistant District Attorney Kelly Lloyd and Detective Holtzman from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office, will discuss current drug usage trends in the area, educate parents on current lingo and drug paraphernalia and offer guidance for parents who are concerned about drug use in the community. 

Parents of students in grades K-5 are encouraged to bring their students for a fun evening of team and self-esteem building activities run by middle school and high school student leaders and staff, so that parents can attend the informational session. 

Community agencies and school staff will be available with resources about drug and alcohol prevention and support for recovery. 

Lower Pottsgrove Police Chief Michael Foltz speaks to the 

media at Pottsgrove High School.
Lower Pottsgrove Police will be in attendance to promote their local prescription drug take back program available 24/7 at the police station.

“We fully support the efforts of the Pottsgrove School District as it works to address drug and alcohol issues," said Lower Pottosgrove Police Chief Michael Foltz 

"We are glad to partner with the district, community agencies, and Risa Ferman of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office to coordinate education and prevention programs and services for the good of the community at large," Foltz said. 

"The influx of heroin into the local area is of significant concern for us," said Foltz. "Although it is not epidemic at this point, particularly in the schools, we all have to increase our diligence and awareness of this increased threat to community well-being. Working together is key to prevention.” 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Raising Kane

Singer/songwriter Elisha Kane will perform Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. at ArtFusion 19464 on High

"Kane's influences span genres and generations. From hometowns to westbound trains, Elisha sings about the American dream, and the promise it both inspires and neglects," according to the promotional material provided by ArtFusion.

Check him out on Facebook and listen to him on Reverbnation.

The event is a fundraiser for the non-profit community art school.

Tickets are $10 (cash only please) and can be purchased in advance at ArtFusion during regular business hours: Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If you prefer, tickets can also be purchased online here.

Online tickets are $12.

Refreshments will be available for purchase, and the event is BYOB for those over 21.

The night of the event ArtFusion asks that you arrive 15 minutes before curtain time and park in the large lot behind the building and come in through our back door.

(For detailed directions please call 610-326-2506 or email them at

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Their Apples Are Golden

Photos by Dave Cannard of Pinnacle Photography

Members of Elk Lodge 814 present a $1,000 donation to the Pottstown Area Senior Center.

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Pottstown Area Senior Center Executive Director Brian Parkes.

The Pottstown Area Seniors’ Center kicked off Phase II of their capital campaign with a rock and roll gala on Saturday, April 5. 

Nearly 100 people turned out for the Golden Apple Gala at Copperfields Inn in Limerick.
Bill Haley Jr. and The Comets rocked the Golden Apple Gala.

The dress was formal, but the mood was light as attendees danced the night away to the sounds of Bill Haley Jr. and The Comets.

“What a way to kick off phase II of our campaign,” said Brian Parkes, executive director of the senior center. “Thank you to everyone who came out to be a part of the event.”

The gala marked the beginning of a final fundraising push by the senior center to raise an additional $750,000 to complete the renovations of their building on Moser Road in Pottstown. 

The building is the former site of the Pottstown Health Club. 

The event provided a major boost to the campaign. In addition to the money raised at the event, the Elks Lodge 814 was on hand to present a $1,000 check.

The biggest news of the evening came when Parkes announced a $100,000 matching grant from the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation.

“Support from the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation has been incredible,” said Parkes. “If you were waiting to give to the campaign – now is the time. Every dollar, or commitment, given to the center by June 30 will be matched by the Foundation, up to $100,000.”

Donations to the campaign may be sent to PASC, 288 Moser Road, Suite 1, Pottstown, PA 19464.

Once renovations are complete, the senior center will have more than 18,000 square feet of programming and office space. 

Currently, the center is offering most of its programs and services from a temporary location at the Berean Bible Church on East High Street in Pottstown.

Major supporters of the Golden Apple Gala include Keller Williams, Kiwanis, Pottstown Rotary Club, Douglas Diamonds, Sly Fox Brewery, FastSigns, Bill Haley Jr. and The Comets, CzarStar Security, Sealstrip, U.S. Axle, Wolf Baldwin and Associates, and Columbia Cottage.

The Pottstown Area Seniors’ Center serves adults age 50 and better with programs and services including information and referral assistance, a daily lunch, exercise programs, social activities, and much more. 

The mission of the Pottstown Area Seniors’ Center is to enhance the well-being of its members by providing services and activities that promote an independent and healthy life style. 

Brian Parkes announces a $100,000 

matching grant from the Health and Wellness Foundation.
The Pottstown Area Seniors’ Center has more than 3,400 members residing in the tri-county area. Anyone living in the tri-county area (Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties) who is 50+ years of age is welcome to join the senior center. 

Learn more at

About the Foundation: The Pottstown Area Health & 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. 

Visit for more information about the Foundation. 

Discover Pottstown area’s online community at to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pottsgrove is Kicking Butts

From left, Regan Bradley, Natalie LoBello, Tyler Apple, and Kimberly Kelly

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

On March 19 --- “Kick Butts Day” ---- youth across the country stood up to Big Tobacco and voiced their determination to live tobacco-free lives.

As part of the day, supporters teamed up with youth to applaud CVS/Caremark for their decision to stop selling tobacco products as of Oct. 1, 2014.

Locally, members of the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Montgomery County visited 21 CVS stores to present them with a certificate of appreciation from the coalition at large and from the presenting coalition member’s organization.
Nine remaining stores received their certificate by mail.

Kimberly Kelly, Community Counselor from The Lincoln Center, works with youth in the Pottsgrove School District. She and three of her students visited the CVS on North Charlotte Street to present them with their certificate from the coalition. 

These young people made a powerful statement against the tobacco companies’ targeting of young, “replacement” customers --- new smokers to replace the ones who continue to die of lung disease. 

The sad truth is that every day, another 700 kids become smokers, and one-third of them will die prematurely as a result of smoking-related diseases.