Thursday, July 20, 2017

Rockstars Staging 'Make 'Em Bleed' Blood Drive

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Pottstown's Rollerderby Rockstars

Pottstown's Roller Derby Rockstars will join leagues across the country to launch a national blood drive series next week called "Make ‘Em Bleed."

The drive is organized in partnership with The American Red Cross and Brown Paper Tickets and will take place here on Wednesday, July 26 from 2 to 7 p.m. at Ringing Hill Fire Company, 815 White Pine Lane in Lower Pottsgrove. 

(If you can't make the Pottstown blood drive, another will be held in Philadelphia on Sunday, Aug. 13 when the Philly Roller Derby will be at Roxborough Memorial Hospital, 5800 Ridge Ave., from from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Roller derby athletes will offer autographs, photo opportunities and more to attract donors, like other blood drives in the Make 'em Bleed series which are often the most popular community service events of the year in many of the cities where they are hosted. 

Make ‘Em Bleed roller derby blood drives have collected more than 900 units of blood over the past 4 years -- enough to have helped to save up to 2,700 lives.

“The Make ‘Em Bleed blood drives provide a fantastic atmosphere, with roller derby athletes skating in uniform, refreshments, giveaways and an all-around good time,” said Justin Mueller, representative for the American Red Cross.“  The summer is one of the most difficult times for the Red Cross to collect blood, so Make ‘Em Bleed has really made a difference to help ensure blood is available for patients in need.”

In 2017, the Make ‘Em Bleed roller derby blood drive series is part of World Roller Derby Week, Aug. 13-19, a series of events celebrating the 82nd birthday of the invention of the sport by Leo Seltzer in 1935. 

Roller derby is one of only three major sports invented in the United State. Currently, almost 2,000 women’s, men’s and junior leagues are skating, competing and giving back to their communities worldwide.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On the (Re-Paved) Road to Higher Water Rates

One could be forgiven for believing most matters of discussion at a water and sewer authority have to do with matters of water and sewage.

And to be sure, they do.

In that particular vein, the authority board unanimously (absent David Renn) officially approved the 14 percent hike in water and sewer rates that it tentatively approved in May.

The average household will pay about $35 more per year for water as the result of the vote.

The increase will generate additional revenues of $350,000 in 2017 and about $700,000 when the new fees have been in place for a full year by the end of 2018, according to Robert Plenderleith, the borough’s utilities administrator.

Much of that will go into the authority’s capital budget, which is being used according to a regularly updated five-year plan to repair and replace aging infrastructure in a water and sewer system now nearly 100 years old.

Repairs to that aging infrastructure -- and in particular the re-paving of the streets once that infrastructure is in place -- was of particular concern during Tuesday's authority board meeting.

Member Tom Carroll confirmed that when the authority re-paves a borough street after pipe work has been done, it is done "curb to curb."

Public Works Director Doug Yerger also said that when borough roads are re-paved from the liquid fuels fund simply because it needs it, it too is re-paved from curb to curb.

But if drivers of High Street were hoping for the same treatment, they will be disappointed. The $4 million water line re-placement that began last year and will continue on Aug. 2, when connections along Washington, Adams and Bailey streets will begin.

As engineer Tom Weld explained, because High Street is owned by the state, the curb-to-curb rule does not apply, so only the northern side of the street will be re-paved.

The final paving schedule for High Street will "hopefully" be finalized by the end of the month, according to Yerger.

As for keeping those streets clean, that's not happening any more.

Also under Carroll's questioning, Borougth (and authority) Manager Mark Flanders confirmed the last three years of annual street sweeping was paid through a $500,000 settlement with the Pottstown Landfill several years ago in exchange for treating the closed landfill's dwindling leachate run-off.

But after using some of the money to buy the trademark blue recycling containers, the rest went toward removing the 160 to 212 tons of grit off the streets each year.

"But that money is now exhausted," said Flanders. To pay for more street sweeping would require something else not being paid for.

Carroll offered the opinion that dirty streets keep "the kind of people we want to attract" from buying homes in the borough, and instead leads to residents who "don't care."

"I take pride in the upkeep of my house," said Carroll. "Seeing what's going on in other towns, if I could sell my house and get out of this town I would because I am tired of looking at the filth."

On that happy note, here are the Tweets from last night's borough authority meeting.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A $1.2 Million Borrowing and Fire Hall in Flux

One of the nice things about those long summer nights, combined with Douglass supervisors meetings that rarely last more than an hour, is that you can run out after the meeting and get photos of some of the objects of discussion.
Bingo also continues to be held at the social hall on Route 73.

Chief among these last night was the fall-out from the closure of the Gilbertsville Fire Co. social hall, which came up during the solicitor's report.

The gist of it seems to be that games of chance operating at the social hall may have been a violation of the liquor license, and since the township was the de-facto property owner, that made the township liable for the violations.

The social hall was closed, except for charitable fund-raising events like Bike Night on Aug. 19 and the two-day craft show after Thanksgiving.

We'll have a little more on that in subsequent reports in The Mercury when we have a bit more information.

Also of interest was not only the pending expansion of Gilbertsville animal Hospital, which won preliminary support from the supervisors, but also a proposed use for the intersection of Route 100 and Jackson Road.

The property owners received a positive reception for their zoning variance requests from the supervisors in exchange for committing to working with them on the design of the building.
Proposed Mooney self-storage facility.

Chairman Anthony Kuklinski described the Wawa near that intersection as "rural, but not," and said "the township does not want any big yellow boxes."

Not the bury the lead or anything, but the supervisors also voted unanimously to borrow just under $1.2 to pay for the new township public works building now taking shape on Municipal drive.

The new public works building is taking shape.
Bob Dries, who is overseeing the construction, said the floor slab has been poured and walls are going up on the new facility.

He said the roof joists should be in position shortly and that some utilities have already been put in position.

The township broke ground on the new building on a rainy day in May and Dries said work is progressing quickly enough that "we should have everything under roof by winter."

That's about it for last night's meeting. Here are the Tweets.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Casanas, McDougal Appointed to YWCA Board

Frankie Casanas
Blogger's Note: The following was provided by YWCA Tri-County Area.

YWCA Tri-County Area approved two members to its board of directors at its Annual Meeting in June.

Frankie Casanas of Douglassville and Karen McDougal of Pottstown were approved to join the board of directors for three-year terms. 

Casanas, a shift manager at the John Middleton Co., is a member of National Women in Manufacturing. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Safety and Health, and currently is pursuing an MBA. 

Karen McDougal
She served in the U.S. Navy for 12 years, where she was a board member for the Aviation Boatswains Mate Association. At YWCA Tri-County Area, she has served on the Governance and Special Events committees.

McDougal has more than a decade of experience in public accounting and auditing, and two decades teaching university accounting and finance, currently at Penn State Brandywine. 

She operates a private accounting and tax practice for individuals, small businesses, and non-profit organizations, and delivers workshops and presentations in financial planning, accounting, and taxation. She works with the Pottstown chapter of SCORE to assist local businesses. 

MdDougal is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, and holds a BBA in Accounting from Temple University, an MBA in Taxation from Widener University, and a PhD in Accounting from Temple University. She serves on YWCA Tri-County Area’s Development Committee.

YWCA Tri-County Area is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. YWCA Tri-County Area 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.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Be a Jack or Jill of All Trades at Pottsgrove Manor

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

Do you have what it takes to be a “Jack of All Trades” at Pottsgrove Manor? 

There will be cooking in our reproduction 18th century kitchen where you can learn the skills needed to make a Georgian meal in a hearth fireplace. 

Weavers will be working on tape looms and turning wool into yarn and thread. 

The mason, or brick/stone layer, will be illustrating the steps in stone carving by hand. 

Discover what a seamstress will be piecing together to create and hand-sew colonial garments. 

Explore what a book binder, colonial shoe maker, and broom maker are showcasing, teaching about their craft, and showing off their wares. 

Hands-on activities allow everyone to experience the noises, sights, and smells of the different 18th century careers and skills that crafted both everyday and luxury items. 

It will be held Saturday, July 22, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Colonial ironmaster John Potts’ 1752 manor house will be open for tours during the day. 

Trades were a necessary part of colonial life as friends and neighbors worked to sell and share their wares and services.  Visitors will also be able to shop at the manor’s museum shop for colonial games, books, and unique gifts.

This program welcomes all ages; suggested donation $2 per person for the event. The event will be held rain or shine.

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 Potttown and Manatawny Green Miniature Golf Course, in Pottsown. 

Pottsgrove Manor is operated by the Montgomery County Division of Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites.

For more information, call 610-326-4014, or visit the website at

Like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook at

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Council OKs $900,000 in Street Repairs for 2017

No matter if its red, blue or green, the streets colored on this map are on the schedule to be paved. The colors simply indicate whether the paving is in concert with a water project, sewer project or straight out of the liquid fuels fund.

Pottstown has 70 miles of streets and 15 miles of alleys. Ten miles of those roads are state roads.

And between now and Oct. 30, about four miles of them are going to be paved.

At least that's what I Tweeted from Monday's council meeting.

The borough has since posted this map on its web site, indicating all the streets that will be re-paved, either as the result of a water line project, a sewer line project, or just straight paving (hence the different colors).

It looks like more than 3.95 miles to me, which is what I saw at the bottom of a list of the streets to be paved, so maybe I was looking at the wrong list.

Some of the re-paving will follow water or sewer line
like this one on High Street last year.
Anyhoo, people complain on The Mercury's Facebook page all the time about the condition of the roads in town, so it occurred to me you might be interested in the fact that some of them are going to get better.

I also Tweeted to check the borough web site for a list, but I couldn't find one, so, my bad.

If you can't make out whether your street is getting paved from the map above, you can check it out on the borough web site by clicking here, where it can be enlarged.

The bid for the overlay paving was awarded to  Joseph E. Sucher and Sons, Inc., of Eddystone, in the amount of $742,446 according to the bid, which is now linked to the on-line agenda for the council meeting (a feature I am LOVING by the way).

Then there is the $83,650 bid that council awarded to Trenchless Line Co. of Bridgeport for manhole rehabilitation,

And don't forget the $63,193 bid they awarded to Cleaver Cable Construction Inc. of Glenolden for clean and televise sewer lines and you've got a grand total of $897,489 being spent to improve the streets (above and below) in this humble borough.

If you're still having trouble figuring out if the paver is coming your way, contact the borough council member in your ward. They LOVE answering questions like this.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bridges and Murals and Fires Oh My!

If you're interested in backyard fires, large murals or new bridges, Pottstown Borough Council was the place to be Monday night.

PennDOT held a public hearing on the $3.5 million plan to replace the King Street bridge over Manatawny Creek.

The bridge, built in 1957 carries about 9,000 vehicles per day and its structurally deficient.

Work is slated to begin after July 4, 2019.

Yes, you read that right, it's still two years away.

As for the backyard fire pits and such, council approved that ordinance change unanimously, despite the objection of Michelle Chasin, who said the smoke is dangerous and she has had problems with her neighbor's fire pit.

Two other residents spoke out in favor of it.

The vote on the new mural ordinance was not unanimous. Councilman Dennis Arms remained opposed, saying the requirements that a maintenance agreement be secured before a permit is issued is needless.

It was a pretty quick meeting overall, as the Tweets below will show.