Thursday, September 21, 2017

Community Day, Route 422 Plans Coming Together

Photo by Evan Brandt
When the Oct. 14, 2017 date for West Pottsgrove Community Day gets closer, expect to see these reminders posted in prominent locations around town.

The commissioners workshop meeting last night lasted only about 30 minutes, but produce three things of interest to township residents, as well as drivers of Route 422.

First, as you probably already read in The Mercury, the next phase of rthe Route 422 rehabilitation begins this month and will, among other things, result in the speed limit from Stowe to River Bridge Road being reduced, and for the closure of the Stowe offramps at Grosstown Road at different points, sometimes for as long as 170 days.

Much depends on the weather, said Township Manager Craig Lloyd and Police Chief Matthew Stofflet.

Second, if you were confused by your trash bill, don't be. Although the new Waste Management bills break out the cost of recycling, West Pottsgrove residents always paid for recycling, the old bills just didn't show it, said Lloyd.

Lastly, the attractions for the upcoming Community Day in October have been more clearly spelled out, as you can see in the Tweets below.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

2018 Rate Hikes Unlikely for Sewer, Water Users

There were plenty of interesting things that happened in the hour-long Pottstown Borough Authority meeting last night.

For example, we learned that street paving from water and sewer pipe replacement projects is continuing apace ....

We learned that despite a policy that calls for re-paving curb to curb, the borough authority projects do not always follow policy ...

And we learned that the $3.2 million project to replace the sludge dryer at the sewer treatment plant is starting to bog down before it starts ....

But let's face it folks, what you really want to know is that neither the water nor sewer budgets for 2018 submitted to the board call for any rate hikes.

The authority or borough council could always add to these budgets, but given the mid-year tax hike for water rates and the threat of a 23 percent property tax hike in the borough, I would put my money on no increase.

And with that, I know, many of you will stop reading.

Thanks for stopping by.

For those of you still with us, you might be interested to know that the start of construction on the Spring Valley Farms development at Bleim and Pleasantview roads will finally put into use a water tank built ten years ago but never used.

You might also be interested to know that the Pottstown water system may not be able to supply water to the massive Sanatoga Green commercial/residential development near the Limerick Outlets.

See what fun comes from reading ALL of the Digital Notebook every day? You're a better-informed citizen.

Get even more informed by reading the Tweets from the meeting and subscribing to The Mercury!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pottsgrove Principals Make California Discoveries

Pottsgrove High School Principal William Ziegler, left, meets with Lance Rougeux, vice president for learning Communities and Innovation at the Discovery Education Network, during a conference at the University of California in San Diego this summer.

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

William Ziegler, principal at Pottsgrove High School, and Dave Ramage, former Principal at Pottsgrove Middle School in Pottsgrove School District, recently joined more than 50 fellow principals from around the world for the 2017 DEN Summer Institute Principal Summit.

In March, Ramage was named Pottsgrove's Director of Integration for Learning and Instruction.

The summit is an immersive, four day-long professional development and networking experience. A global community of education professionals supported by Discovery Education, the Discovery Educator Network connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration.

David Ramage, former principal at Pottsgrove Middle School, left,
Lance Rougeux with the Discovery Education
Network  during a conference in San Diego
The professional learning experience was held July 13-16 at the University of California, San Diego, in San Diego, CA.

During the DENSI Principal, Ziegler and Ramage learned new strategies for using technology and digital content to energize their leadership and empower their teachers from Discovery Education experts and their peers. In addition, participants engaged in dialogue on topics such as supporting teachers through the digital transition, digital literacy across the curriculums, building their school’s brand, and how to showcase their school’s success to the community.

Ziegler and Ramage were selected to attend the DENSI Principal Summit through a competitive application process which involved written and video explanations of how they are helping transform teaching, learning and culture at their respective schools, and how they will share with others what they learned during the summit.

“Bill and Dave’s selection for the DENSI Principal Summit demonstrates their outstanding leadership and commitment using the latest technologies and innovative teaching strategies and techniques to improve student achievement,” said Lance Rougeux, vice president of learning communities and innovation for Discovery Education. “Their participation in DENSI 2017 will help increase student engagement across Pottsgrove School District, and support their district’s effort to prepare all learners with the critical skills they need to succeed beyond the classroom.”

After participating in the DENSI Principal Summit, Ziegler and Ramage have returned to Pottsgrove School District with new strategies and techniques they can share with their teachers to integrate digital resources into curriculum and instruction to transform teaching and learning.

For more information about the DENSI Principal Summit, click on this link

To learn more about the DEN and Discovery Education’s other services and initiatives, visit, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Facebook, follow them on Twitter at @DiscoveryEd, or find them on Instagram and Pinterest.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Pottstown Library Needs Region's Support

The Pottstown Regional Public Library has begun its end of year appeal for funds.

You can donate online by clicking right here.

The library gets public funding, at varying levels, from the borough and the three surrounding townships of Lower Pottsgrove, Upper Pottsgrove and West Pottsgrove.

Cutting the ribbon on the interior renovations.
(It also gets many users from North Coventry, who make no tax contribution but find it more convenient than the library in Ludwig's Corner of Phoenixville, the nearest Chester County libraries).

It also gets funding from the state, funding that has not been increased in years, but is under constant threat of being decreased.

Nevertheless, through grants, fundraising events and donations, the library just last December completed a $755,000 renovation to the interior of the historic building that was once Pottstown's Post Office.

As board member Arthur Green recently reported to borough council, the library is now making use of a Schuylkill Highlands mini-grant to design improvements to the exterior, with an eye toward stormwater control and keeping it out of the building's basement.

The full "wish list" would cost about $235,000, Green said, adding that the landscape advisers broke the project up into smaller segments that could be completed sequentially as money became available.

More than 1,200 people attended the library's 

solar eclipse program last month.
"So obviously, the library and the community are going to have to raise some money," said Green.

If you, by chance, think libraries are obsolete in the age of Internet wisdom, consider that the solar eclipse program last month at the library was its largest event ever, with more than 1,200 people, who made eclipse T-shirts and received 450 free eclipse glasses.

You might say it "eclipsed" all previous events .... sorry, couldn't resist.

If that's not enough evidence for you that more people than you think use the library, consider this information contained in the latest appeal letter:
Who are the people coming to the Pottstown Regional Public Library?A preschooler attending story time
Pottstown Schools students use the library regularly.
  • A preschooler attending story time.
  • A family checking out a museum pass for an educational and fun day
  • An adult using a quiet area to prepare for a professional examination
  • Two sisters researching their family in the newspaper archives
  • A legally blind patron browsing audiobooks with the assistance of a staff member
  • A student checking out a WiFi HotSpot for school projects
These people, and many more like them, are using the Pottstown Regional Public Library for educational, recreational, social, financial, and professional reasons. 
With your library card you have access to a wealth of materials and resources, both in the Library and through the Library website. Since 1921, the Pottstown Regional Public Library has existed to meet the needs of our community. This goal is not possible without your support.
Ryan Costello
Pottstown Regional Public Library is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. Financial support from patrons, businesses, and foundations is essential. The library would welcome a donation to the 2017 year-end campaign, which will provide much-needed support for services and programs.
The Pottstown Regional Public Library is even a place where you can make contact with your Congressman. On the first and third Thursday of every month, either U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6th Dist., or someone from his office holds office hours at the library from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

If you need more information about what the library offers, check this out:

Available at Pottstown Regional Public Library:
  • A collection of 70,000 books, magazines, audiobooks, music, movies and kits
  • Plus access to library collections in Montgomery County and across PA
    The entire basement of the library is devoted to children.
  • Classes and workshops for children, teens and adults
  • Public computers, WiFi, fax, copy and print services
  • Passes for Elmwood Zoo, Morris Arboretum, Reading Public Museum, and Boyertown Museum of
  • Historic Vehicles
  • - genealogical research
  • Foundation Directory - research grant opportunities for non-profits
  • T-Mobile Hotspots and ROKUs to loan
  • Passport services
Your Virtual Library 24/7:
The library often hosts Science in the Summer.
  • Online library catalog for searching, reserving, and renewing library materials
  • Overdrive - e-books
  • Zinio - digital magazines
  • Mango - language learning
  • Brainfuse - homework help and test preparation
  • JobNow - resume and job search services
  • Freegal - downloadable and streaming music and streaming video
  • Reference USA - address and phone number directory
  • Tumblebooks - animated read-along children’s books
  • Universal Class - instructor led online classes with course completion certificates

Hours of Operation:
  • Monday through Wednesday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
  • Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pottstown School Supply Donations Are Pouring in

Photos courtesy of John Armato
From left to right, Assistant Manager Stephanie, Store Manager Bob, and Assistant Manager Nick. Bob

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

Donations to the Pottstown School District are busting out all over.

Once again, the Pottstown Rotary Club has delivered
brand new dictionaries to every fourth grader
in the Pottstown School District.
Most recently, the Pottstown Famous Footwear store delivered supplies it collected by running a summer promotion that gave a customers a $10 coupon for donating any school supplies.

The store staff delivered the donation to the Pottstown School District to help provide students with the tools they need to be successful in school. 

The management said," we are very happy to give a helping hand in building future success for our students."

And, like it has so many years in the past, the Pottstown Rotary Club recently delivered dictionaries to every Pottstown School District fourth grader.
Superintendent Stephen Rodriguez and
Community Relations Director John Armato
unload school supplies donated by PMMC.

Then of course, there was another donation from the good folks over at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, whose contribution was so large, it almost maxed out the capacity of Community Relations Director John Arnato's vehicle.

And all of this, comes on top of the boxes of supplies provided through the free-hair-cut school supply drive by Blade's Edge Unisex Salon last month.

Any of you who know Mr. Armato will not be surprised that his reaction to each of these is similar: "Just another example of strong community partners working to build strong schools and more reason to say Proud to be from Pottstown."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

2nd Annual Latino Fest, Sept. 23 in Riverfront Park

Last Year's Latino Fest highlighted Latino food, traditional clothing, dancing and more. This year's event will be held on Sept. 23 in Riverfront Park.

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Centro Cultural Latinos Unidos.
Latin dancing lessons will once again be a feature of this year's
Latino Fest in Riverfront Park.

Centro Cultural Latinos Unidos will present Pottstown’s Second Latin Festival on Saturday, Sept. 23rd from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Riverfront Park.

The Festival celebrates Latino culture during the National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Some of this year’s highlights include delicious ethnic foods from Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, El Salvador, Puerto Rico and Guatemala.

Pinatas will also be part of the festivities.
Dance performances will include Bachata, Merengue, Cumbia and more.

There will also be live music and a Zumba class for everyone.

Also count on piñatas with prizes, the announcement of the Second Writing Contest winners, a bouncing castle, soccer, a martial arts demonstration, nature experiments and much more.

The event coincides roughly with the Veterans Community Day in nearby Memorial Park.

A free shuttle bus will transport visitors from one event to the other.


Friday, September 15, 2017

Coventry Mall Hosts Monarch Butterflies Sunday

A Monarch Butterfly.

Ron Richael, local butterfly expert, from Pottstown, will conduct s special event Sunday, Sept. 17 at the Coventry Mall.

He will explain about the monarch butterfly, and its 2,000 mile journey to Mexico for the winter.

The event begins at 1 p.m. in the community room located in the mall;'s food court.

Those in attendance will tag the butterflies to trace their trip to the overwintering sites in Mexico. 

They will also get to hold a Monarch butterfly before it is released. 

Also Richael will have live Monarch chrysalides for viewing. 

You can come and see the jade monarch chrysalis with its gold trim.