Saturday, October 25, 2014

Toys and Dollars Needed for Holiday Party for Needy Local Families

Boxes of food for last year's needy families were loaded at the Manatawny Association.

Everyone ate their fill at last year's holiday party at Norco Fire Co.
The Manatawny Association is once again hosting its Annual Holiday Project begun 27 years ago by the Pottstown Moose Lodge No. 369.

Food will be distributed to 59 needy families in the area, and gifts for the 150 children in those families, will take on Dec. 19.

And on Dec. 20, a holiday party for more than 100 other foster children will held at noon at the Norco Fire House.

Organizer Jim Frymoyer said an example of the families being helped include on in which three
This lucky lad met a special someone last year
children were left without parents after their mother died of cancer and their father first lost his job and then was killed in an accident.

A friend with four children of his own is trying to adopt the three children without parents so they will not be split up into different foster homes.

Families include 12 recommended by the Cluster of Religious Communities; eight who are on the free or reduced lunch program in the Pottstown School District; three who are in hospice and 19 who are recommended by Montgomery County Children and Youth.

The party to brighten their holidays will include a magician, balloon maker, a visit from Santa, a face painter and a buffet of food.

But help is needed to make it happen.

This year, instead of putting out boxes and asking for donations of food for the food baskets, organizers are asking for donations of $10 or $20 Giant Food Store cards that will be wrapped and included with the turkey and ham that will also be in the baskets.
Of course there were lots of gifts for the kids.

Milk, eggs and peanut butter and jelly are already being provided by the Comfort Inn and the United Auto Workers Retirees are providing cereal and oatmeal for the food baskets.

Money is also needed to pay for the party and to keep the Reed-Frymoyer Scholarship Fund going.
Established in 2012, it honors the memory of Shawn Reed of Spring City, who went to St. Pius X High School, and James Frymoyer who went to Pottsgrove High School.

This year a $1,000 football scholarship will be provided to Mark Bonomo, Perkiomen High School Class of 2013; and to Nico Demetrio, Pottsgrove High School Class of 2013.

Donations (checks should be made out to James Frymoyer, with a notation if it is for the scholarship
Pookie the Clown did face (and hand) painting.
fund) and gift cards should be mailed to James Frymoyer, Project Coordinator, 422 Upland St., Pottstown, PA 19464; or to Karen Reed at Piazza Honda, 629 Lewis Road, Limerick, PA 19468.

You can also help by donating toys at the Angel Trees located throughout the community.

They are located at:
  • Dana Holding Corporation, 1040 Center Ave. in Pottstown (610-322-4200)
  • Manatawny Association, 20 King St. in Pottstown (610-326-8840)
  • Piazza Honda of Pottstown, 629 N. Lewis Road in Limerick (610-495-7076)
  • Piazza Hyundai of Limerick, 640 Lewis Road in Limerick (610-495-7070)
  • Sea Star Solutions, 640 Lewis Road in Limerick (610-495-7011)
  • Sign Krafters, 1392 Ben Franklin Highway in Douglassville (610-949-8475)
  • Spring-Ford Diner, 55 E. Bridge St. in Spring City (610-792-3404)
  • T & N Hair Salon, 1220 N. Hanover St. in Pottstown (610-970-1606)
  • Tim's Ugly Mug Bar & Grill, 1281 E. Main St. in Douglassville (610-404-1155)
  • Traffic Planning & Design, 2500 E. High St., Suite 650 in Lower Pottsgrove (610-326-3100)
  • Tri-County Toyota, 15 D & L Dr. in Limerick (484-984-4999)
  • U.S. Axle, 275 Shoemaker Road in Pottstown (610-323-3800)
  • Vito's N.Y. Style Pizza and Deli, 569 W. High St. in West Pottsgrove (610-327-3354)
  • Comfort Inn, 99 Robinson St. in Pottstown (610-326-5000)
Rich Gerber performed magic at last year's party.
And there is another way you can help, and have fund at the same time.

Vendor Bingo, held the third Friday of each month at the Friendship Fire Company, 269 Green St. in Royersford, will devote its Nov. 21 proceeds to the holiday project.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and Bingo begins promptly at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5 and includes a free wildcard sheet. Children are admitted for free.

You play the vendor rounds you choose.

Winners win products from vendors such as Jazzy Jewelry, Stampin Up, Avon, Celebrating Home, Jam Nails, Scentsy, Pink Zebra, Tastefully simple, Pampered Chef, Third-One, Sweet Ashley's Chocolates and more.

Regular games are $1 per card or three cards for $2 and the charity round is $2 per card or three cards for $5.

The kitchen is open for dinner and there is a cash bar.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Keep Kids Warm, Win a Prize

Last year, Barth Elementary School parent Melissa Caballero noticed that some kids were coming to school without winter jackets.

So with a little help and a little money, she was was able to provide each student in those classes with a bundled package consisting of a hat, scarf, blanket, book, stuffed animal, and gloves or mittens before school let out.

And she was overwhelmed by the response

Buoyed by that response, Melissa and her husband Alex are kicking it up a notch.

The have scheduled the First Annual Chinese Auction for her "Keep Me Warm for the Holiday" effort for this Saturday.

One of the gift baskets to be auctioned.
Doors open for buying tickets at 2:30 p.m. and the auction begins at 4 p.m.

It will be held at First Methodist Church, 414 E. High St., Pottstown.

You can buy 25 tickets for $5, or 25 tickets for high-end items for $10.

Items to be auctioned include a Wii hunting game, a Vera Bradley wristlet, a DVD player with family movies, toys, filled gift baskets, a bike and gift certificates.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

"There will be a bunch of Pottstown children warmed up this holiday:)," Caballero wrote on her Facebook page.
"I am PROUD to be from Pottstown. I bleed blue and white! These children are our future. I make it my mission to plant a seed in there hearts. And see what blooms from them. Making a small difference is better than not making one at all," she wrote

"Come support a great cause. We are raising funds to buy the rest of the needs of hats, gloves, slippers for the children of Pottstown," Caballero wrote.

"Please come have fun show your support. Invite all you know. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Colebrookdale Railroad's Bonfire Express Tomorrow


For Friday, Oct. 24 – all ticket prices are reduced for Bonfire Express rides of 6 p.m. or later to:
Adults: $18
Children: $10
Toddlers: $2

The Colebrookdale Railroad's Secret Valley Line excursions have a special treat for Friday riders, a full-fledged fall bonfire.

"Join us for a short night-time trip from the Boyertown Rail Yard to the site of the lost iron-making village of Colebrookdale. Warm your hands by the crackling fire and enjoy some fall snacks. These Friday evening rides will offer Bonfire Express which includes a short jaunt up the line to a fire pit where visitors can enjoy s'mores, spiced hot apple cider and the most beautiful fall foliage available in the northeast," according to the release from the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust.
Mercury Photo by Tom Kelly
Madison Robb from Oley was on the first ride.

"Children in costume will be entered into our costume contest on-board.  Passengers are asked to bring a flashlight. Passengers are encouraged to bring a blanket and folding chairs if they desire. Weather can be unpredictable, so dress in layers, dress warmly, and wear sturdy close-toed, flat shoes. Bathroom facilities located in the Boyertown Rail Yard only."

The railroad opened for its first public rides Saturday and drew big crowds.

Click here for The Mercury's coverage of the first ride.

"Visitors to the Colebrookdale in 2014-2015, its pre-opening season, will get a sneak peek at the world-class attraction in the making.  Expeditions depart from the future sites of the Boyertown and Pottstown train stations and (Boyertown only in 2014). Visitors can watch our progress as coaches are restored and stations are planned and constructed."

For October 2014, the Colebrookdale experience will be a hayride-on-rails, with our circa 1910 open car, 1941 caboose, 1927 coach, reported to be haunted!

The line’s towering trestles and steep rock cuts, lost in the deep woods of the Ironstone and
The caboose and primary engine of the Secret Valley Line
Manatawny valleys, are sheltered by ancient forests of the Secret Valley once held sacred by the native tribes who lived here.  Connecting the oldest ironworking sites in the new world, the Colebrookdale takes you through another place and time.

Rides occur Every Saturday and Sunday and selected Friday evenings.

Typical schedule has trains departing at 10:30, 1:00, 3:30; 6:00 PM Saturdays (but check for daily schedule and special events)

Tickets available on website and, on train days, at the gatehouse on Philadelphia Avenue, Boyertown, adjacent to the railroad tracks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Every Day Life at Potsgrove Manor

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

Historic Pottsgrove Manor will host a day of interactive history with “The Plantation Whereon I Live: A Hands-On Experience of Everyday Life at Pottsgrove Manor” on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.,

Learn what day-to-day life was like for the inhabitants of the iron plantation and colonial town of John Potts.

Participants in this program will experience chores, trades, and pastimes of the 18th-century with a number of hands-on activities, living history demonstrations, and take-home crafts:

• Dip a candle to take home (sessions at 12 p.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m.)

• Try out an 18th-century style printing press

• Watch a blacksmith at work

• Meet sheep, goats, and chickens, and learn about their roles on a colonial farm

• See open-hearth cooking demonstrations, and help the cook as she grinds spices and rolls out dough

• Lend a hand with churning butter, and learn how cheese was made

• Help stir the pot to make apple butter over an open fire

• Grind and press apples for cider

• Learn how to write with a quill pen, and take home a sample of personal penmanship

• See how clothes were made, and learn some basic sewing stitches

• Watch wool being turned into yarn on a spinning wheel

• Try weaving linen tape, and take a piece of hand-woven tape home

• Become a proper lady or gentleman with dancing and etiquette lessons (sessions at 12, 1 and 2 p.m.

• Try out the toys and games colonial children would have played. 

In addition to the scheduled activities, the first-floor of John Potts’s 1752 manor house will be open for self-guided tours. 

Guides will be stationed in each room to talk about the Potts family and how they, their servants, and their slaves lived in the house in the 1750s and 1760s. 

The Pottsgrove Manor museum shop will also be open for business throughout the day, selling historically-themed books, toys, and more.

This fun and educational program is great for everyone from individual families to scout and youth groups. 

While it is an all-ages event, the scheduled activities are best suited for elementary-aged children. 

There is a $5 materials fee per participating child; adults and non-participating children are free. 

Pre-registration is required for groups of ten or more. This event will be held weather permitting, and visitors should dress for the weather, as most activities will be outdoors.

While only the first floor will be open for tours during this program, the entire mansion and the current exhibit, “To the Manor Worn: Clothing the 18th-Century Household,” can be toured during regular museum hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to
4 p.m. 

Tours are given on the hour. The last tour of the day begins at 3 p.m.. The site is closed Mondays and major holidays. 

Groups of ten or more should pre-register by calling 610-326-4014. 

The “To the Manor Worn” exhibit closes Nov. 2.

Pottsgrove Manor is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route
100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown.

Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery County under the direction of the Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites Division of the Assets and Infrastructure Department. For more information, call 610-326-4014, or visit the website at

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Swearing, Contributing, Reporting and Admiring

Photo by Evan Brandt

The Pottstown School Board had their new photo taken Monday night and I tagged along for the ride. Pictured are, from left, Vice President Andrew Kefer, Thomas Hylton, Polly Weand, Ron Williams, President Judyt Zahora, student member Gary Wise, Mary-Beth Bacallao, new student member Emanuel Wilkerson, Katina Beardon, student member Katrina Belmontes, Kim Stillwell, new student member Kira Chestnut

Photo by Evan Brandt
Emanuel Wilkerson takes the
oath of office as Kira
Chestnut holds the Bible

and DJ Scott Palladino officiates.
Photo by Evan Brandt
And then it was Chestnut's turn
and Wilkerson held
the Bible for her.
Monday's school board meeting was a veritable whirlwind, with all kinds of things happening fast and furious.

It's hard to believe it was over by 8:30 and its hard to decide where to start, so we'll start at the beginning, when the two newest student representatives to the board were sworn in.

They are Kira Chestnut and Emanuel Wilkerson.

Judy Zahora, Polly Weand
And Diane Stitt with the
$2,050 check for Save the Lights.
I met Kira when she registered to vote on a voter drive and I met Emanuel when he introduced himself to me after the meeting.

 It would seem to me that both are excellent choices.

The we saw a check delivered from the middle school that put the Save the Lights Campaign over the $50,000 mark.

And we saw presentations about the success of the free school breakfast and lunch program and the Foundation for Pottstown Education, and its Alumni Gallery and very successful early college program.

So have a look.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Celebrity Auction Benefits 15 Organizations

The TriCounty Community Network will hold a celebrity auction at SunnyBrook Ballroom on Friday, Oct. 24 starting at 5:30 p.m.

You are invited to enjoy a reception hour with the celebrities, bod on sports memorabilia, trips, hot air balloon rides and participate in a live auction for a chance to win a dinner for two with a celebrity.

Click here for a list of silent auction items.

Celebrities include:

David Akers, former kicker for the Eagles and six-time pro bowler; 
Bill Clement, former center for the Flyers, NHL all-star and ESPN analyst;
Rian Wallace, former linebacker for the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steeler;
Cherri Gregg, community affairs reporter for KYW Newsradio and master of ceremonies;
Michael Smerconish, CNN talk show host, with whom you can win a studio tour.

Local celebrities include:
State Senator Bob Mensch;
State Representative Mark Painter;
Mason Scherer, Associate Producer, Dateline NBC & NBC News;
Nancy March, Editor of The Mercury and Regional Editor for Digital First Media;
Steady Moono, Ed.D., Vice President, Montgomery County Community College;
Ashley Pultorak, Program Officer, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation;
Wil Hallman, President, Hallman Retirement Neighborhoods & President, SunnyBrook Foundation;

Tickets are $15 per person.

The event will benefit 15 local organizations including; 
Steel River Playhouse;
YWCA TriCounty;
Operation BackPack;
Laurel House;
Mosaic Community Land Trust;
Alzheimer's Association;
Women's Center of Montgomery County;
Pottstown Area Police Athletic League
Genesis Housing Corp.;
Pottstown Regional Public Library;
Boone Area Library;
Building a Better Boyertown;
TriCounty Community Network;
In Ian's Boots;
Community Health and Dental Care

The schedule is as follows:
  • 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.: Reception Hour & Silent Auction. Meet the celebrities. Enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
  • 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Celebrity Auction
  • 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m:. Dinner for Celebrity Auction Winners. Dinner will be held immediately following the live auction at SunnyBrook Restaurant.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pottstown's Best So Far

Photo by a shivering Evan Brandt

More and more supports of Pottstown High School's Trojan Marching Band are sport hats hand-knit by Donna Ecker, seen here in the foreground at the Unionville Cavalcade

Twelve high school marching bands took to the field of Unionville High School for the cavalcade the school calls "March on the Brandywine."

But only one of those schools (to my knowledge at least) had earlier performed at a home game which was also their homecoming.

Photo by Evan Brandt
The crowd at Unionville.
That band, not surprisingly for regular readers of this blog, was Pottstown.

Up against a powerhouse in the Yankee Division, Marple Newtown, Pottstown put in its best
performance yet and earned its best score yet, just five-one-hundreths shy of an 80.

Marple Newtown's reputation is well deserved as their score was the highest of all 12 bands and their performance was truly something to behold.

Unfortunately, my iPhone again reminded me that it can be a curse as well as a blessing and for technical reasons that probably have to do with solar flares or something, cut out halfway through the recording of Marple Newtown's performance.

The only other remotely local band to perform was Methacton, so I recorded that as well (with no problems.)

All the videos are embedded in the Storify of Tweets further down the page.
Photo by Evan Brandt
The drum majors line up to march down and receive
awards at the Unionville High School Cavalcade

Here are all the scores:

Patriot Division

First Place: Downingtown West High School with a score of 87.65, also winning the division auxiliary and percussion awards.
Second Place: Kennett High School, with a score of 81.95

Independence Division

First Place: West Chester East High School, with a score of 77.2, also winning the "high guard" award.
Second Place: Eastern York High School, with a score of 76.6
Third Place: Bridgetown High School, with a score of 75.05, also winning the percussion award.

American Division

First Place: East Pennsboro High School, with a score of 88.6, also winning the percussion award.
Second Place: Sun Valley High School, with a score of 86.85, also winning the auxiliary award.
Photo by Evan Brandt
Even the Trojan tractor has school spirit

Yankee Division

First Place: Marple Newtown, with a score of 91.55, also winning the auxiliary and percussion
Second Place: Pottstown High School, with a score of 79.95 (the season's best).

Liberty Division

First Place: Methacton High School, with a score of 89.5, also winning the percussion award.
Second Place: Conestoga Valley High School, with a score of 86.9, also winning the auxiliary award.

Here are the Tweets from the cavalcade (Remember you have to click the blue "Read Next Page" bar at the bottom to see them all):