Friday, August 18, 2017

New Lights, New Hires and New Pottstown Homes

Photo courtesy of Foundation for Pottstown Education

Lincoln Elementary School Second Grade Teacher Heather Kurtz, stands with Daniel Zipay outside the North Evans Street home where she grew up. She is the first Pottstown teacher to use the $10,000 forgivable loan program to buy a home in the district. And she bought this one from her parents.

It was a quick but action-packed school board meeting Thursday which had some welcome news from the Foundation for Pottstown Education.

Joe Rusiewicz, the foundation director, announced that since the Home Ownership Initiative -- which provides $10,000 forgivable loans to school district employees who buy homes in the borough -- was approved in April six inquiries have been made.

At the end of July, the first of those inquiries was transformed into a house closing when Lincoln Elementary School teacher Heather Kurtz closed on the North Evans Street home once owned by her parents, Ronald and Connie Downie.

"We welcome her home to Pottstown and wish her many happy new memories," Rusiewicz said.

He also announced a new scholarship named after the foundation's second executive director, Myra Forrest, for students who complete the early college program in partnership with the Pottstown campus of Montgomery County Community College, which the foundation funds.

There was, of course, also much excitement about the new stadium lights being erected this week and next at Grigg Memorial Stadium. Board member Polly Weand was thanked for her fund-raising efforts and said the lights represent a symbol of how the town can come together.

Also on the agenda of interest to Weand was a matter to provide a 3 percent pay increase across the board to support workers, building principals and mid-level administrators. She asked that it be sent back to the finance committee which has res in this to for approval "because of the finances in this town."

It remains to be seen Monday if that will happen.

The board will also vote on a bond re-financing expected to save the district $400,000.

And finally, the board will vote on whether to double its annual contribution to the Pottstown Area Industrial Development Inc., from $10,000 to $20,000.

Here are the Tweets from the meeting.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Library Painting Party Gets You Eclipse Glasses

As anyone who has tried to buy the special glasses needed to safely watch the upcoming solar eclipse on Aug. 21 knows, they are not easy to find.

But fear not, your friendly Pottstown Regional Public Library is coming to the rescue.

Just bring a dark short to the library tomorrow between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and use library-provided supplies to participate in a community art project and make your own "galaxy shirt" and you'll get a pair of glasses.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Free Back to School Hair Cuts for Pottstown Kids

Although the student in your house probably doesn't want to think about it, back to school is creeping up on us.

We all want to look our best when we're making a first impression.

That's why Tony Betts, owner
Blade's Edge is located at the corner of Walnut and Charlotte streets.
of The Blade's Edge salon is once again offering free basic even or shape-up haircuts for free for kids headed back to school.

He is asking that parents bring in contributions of school supplies.

Last year, Betts gave out more than 100 free haircuts and donated a box of school supplies to his son's school, Franklin Elementary School.

This year, he is setting his sights higher.

Not only does he want to increase the number of free hair cuts to 200, "we want to have enough school supplies to deliver to all four elementary schools," said Betts.

His shop is located on the southwest corner of Walnut and North Charlotte streets.

For more information, call 484-752-9577,

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Council Supports Concept of Parking Plan for Both Sides of South Charlotte Street Making it One-Way

Maria Bleile, left, was honored by a borough council resolution Monday night, recognizing her 15 years of service to Pottstown Borough. From left are Mayor Sharon Thomas, Council President Dan Weand and Borough Manager Mark Flanders.

If you blinked Monday night, you might have missed the council meeting.

It was only 35 minutes long and the only discussion of note was about the parking proposal for South Charlotte Street.

Rockwell Development Group, which is trying to convert the long-vacant shirt factory at Cherry and South Charlotte streets into market-rate apartments, wants to make South Charlotte Street one-way so parking can be allowed on both sides of the street.

Two residents spoke against it, saying it could hinder fire trucks to have vehicles parked on both sides of the street.

Council Vice President Sheryl Miller, who said she supports re-development, said she had too many questions to vote in favor of the concept as it proceeds to the zoning hearing board in pursuit of a variance.

"Developers are here to make money, and they're going to develop," said Miller, who announced last week she is dropping out of the race for a second term. "It's council's job to hold them accountable."

Council voted 6-1 to support the concept.

Here are the Tweets from the meeting.

Monday, August 14, 2017

U.S. Reps Costello, Boyle Form Caucus to Protect Public Service Student Loan Foregiveness Program

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello's office.

U.S. Reps. Ryan Costello , R-6th Dist. and Brendan F. Boyle, D-13th Dist., have formed the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Caucus to focus congressional efforts on protecting the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. 

Created in 2007 to encourage more Americans to pursue public service careers despite the financial burdens of their student debt, this program promises to forgive the remaining balance of federal Direct Loans owed by our teachers, firefighters, police officers and other full-time public service workers after they have faithfully paid on those loans for 10 years – 120 on-time payments – during public service employment.
U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello

“Many teachers, first responders, and public health specialists are working hard to make a difference in their local communities while relying on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program,” said Costello. “We must fulfill the promise made to these student borrowers over the past decade. As the 10-year anniversary of the program approaches, I’m pleased to be a co-founding member of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Caucus to advocate on behalf of these public servants.”

“We must do more to help folks drowning in student loan debt, and to prevent the burdens of student loan debt from making one’s desire to serve his or her community unattainable," said Boyle. 

"The PSLF Caucus will focus on making good on our collective promise to public servants who have served their communities for years, often for low pay in positions that may have otherwise not been financially manageable, with the understanding that the 10-year-old Public Service Loan Forgiveness program would eventually help them lighten their burden of student debt," said Boyle. "Current threats to end or limit the program are shortsighted, to say the least. PSLF is an incentive to our students, and an investment in our future.”
U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle

The PSLF Caucus is broadly supported by a coalition of more than fifty organizations led by the National Education Association (NEA). Marc Egan, NEA Director of Government Relations, commended the caucus. 

“NEA members — from future teachers to retirees — have been sounding the alarm on student debt. Many of our members are struggling with more than $50,000, and sometimes much more, in student loan debt. Their debt is bigger than their annual salaries, and their monthly loan payments often are bigger than their home and car loans," Egan said. "We commend Congressmen Boyle and Costello for stepping up and forming a caucus to tackle the college debt issue and to fight to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.”

The PSLF Caucus will also foster member discussion and legislative ideas focused on encouraging young people in college today to pursue careers in public service, such as teachers, firefighters, prosecutors and public defenders, and public health nurses. 

Under PSLF, an individual’s outstanding federal student debt is forgiven after 120 on-time, qualifying monthly payments — 10 years’ worth of payments. More than half a million people have enrolled over the last decade. President Trump’s budget proposed ending the program.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Country Star Hunter Hayes to Play Memorial Park

Hunter Hayes

Memorial Park will play host to country music star and five-time Grammy nominee Hunter Hayes in October as he headlines the first-ever “Citadel Palooza.”

Sponsored by Citadel credit union, 100 percent of concert ticket tales will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

On Wednesday night, Scott Mirkin from ESM Productions asked borough council to approve a Sly Fox Beer biergarten for the concert.

“We like to work with local vendors whenever we can,” he told council.

Council will vote Monday on the request.

Citadel is celebrating its 80th anniversary and the Oct. 7 concert is being billed as “Citadel Palooza.”

The inspiration behind Citadel Palooza is the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People.”

“Citadel Palooza is Citadel’s celebration for our community, and we are honored to have Hunter Hayes, who is such an inspirational artist, be a part of it,” said Jeff March, president and CEO, Citadel. “The people of the Greater Philadelphia area have supported Citadel for 80 years, and we want to give back in a big way. We especially want to thank our members for making this event possible.”

During Citadel Palooza, concert attendees will enjoy a variety of food trucks and libations. The official schedule of events and opening acts will be announced in September, along with food and beverage vendors.

General Lawn Seating tickets will cost $25, and VIP-level tickets cost $50.

Tickets can be purchased at with the option to donate additional money to CHOP.

For more Citadel Palooza updates, follow @CitadelBanking and @HunterHayes on Twitter.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hopewell Free Program Sunday Highlights Archaeologists' Race Against Time at Philly Project

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by the Friends of Hopewell Furnace.

On Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, the Friends of Hopewell Furnace will host Rutgers Archeologist Kimberlee Sue Moran’s presentation “The First Baptist Church of Philadelphia’s Burial Ground: the problem, project, and people of the past encountered at 218 Arch Street”. 

The free program will commence at 2 p.m. in the Hopewell Furnace Conference Room.

In November of 2016, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article about bones found at a construction site on Arch Street. 

 The problem was that, as a private project, no city office was “in charge” of the human remains. The Mutter Institute, as a collaborative research organization associated with the study of historic human remains, approached the property developer with an interest to learn more about the bones found at the site. 

 What ensued was a race-against-time excavation of 218 Arch Street, part of the First Baptist Church cemetery, supposedly moved in 1860, and a continuing analysis of the people buried there between 1707 and 1859. 

This presentation will provide an overview of the project, what is currently known about the site, and the recovered human remains, and the future work of our multi-disciplinary team.

Kimberlee Sue Moran has been a practicing forensic archaeologist since 2002. She holds an undergraduate degree in Classical and Near Eastern archaeology from Bryn Mawr College and a Master’s of Science in forensic archaeological science from the Institute of Archaeology at University College, London. 

Her doctoral research is in the field of ancient fingerprints. Kimberlee worked as a contract archaeologist for a CRM firm based in Trenton, NJ, prior to moving to the UK. She moved back to New Jersey in 2010 and now works at Rutgers-Camden. She is an active member of the Society for American Archaeology and is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA).

While at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site visitors are encouraged to explore Hopewell Furnace’s own Bethesda Baptist Church and graveyard, tour the village, hike the trails and learn about iron making and why Hopewell Furnace is important to our nation’s history. 

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (now seven days a week thru October), the park is located five miles south of Birdsboro, PA, off of Route 345. For more information stop by the park's visitor center, call 610-582-8773, visit the park's web site at, or contact the park by e-mail at