Saturday, November 28, 2015

Free Cancer Awareness Ceramics at ArtFusion 19464

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by ArtFusion 19464.

ArtFusion 19464 will be holding a free workshop to make ceramic pots on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 1-3 p.m. 

Students will hand-build clay pots with a cancer awareness ribbon. 

Projects will be bisque fired and can be painted later at home with acrylic paints. 

Participants can keep their pots or share them to encourage strength, self-empowerment and survival. 

This is a free class, courtesy of a grant from the Hill School Student Philanthropy Group. 

It is open to any adult cancer patient, survivor, family member or caregiver. 

You must email or call ArtFusion at 610-326-2506 to reserve a spot. 

There are 15 available spaces.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pottsgrove High Named to AP Honor Roll

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

Pottsgrove HIgh School has been named to the AP National Honor Roll School District according to the College Board. 

This special distinction was given to 425 school districts in the U.S. and Canada who simultaneously achieved increases in access to Advanced Placement courses for a broader number of students and also maintained or improved the rate at which their AP students earned scores of 3 or higher on an AP Exam. 

In Pennsylvania, Pottsgrove High School was one of 43 schools that earned this honor and only two other schools in the Montgomery County earned a spot on the AP School District Honor Roll. 

 “We were thrilled to hear that Pottsgrove High School has earned this prestigious honor, our teachers and students have been working so hard to achieve success and we are very proud of this national recognition of our accomplishments,” said Principal Bill Ziegler. 

This is the first time Pottsgrove has been recognized as an AP District Honor Roll member since the program’s inception in 2010. 

Pottsgrove has increased the number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses it offers from 10 in 2013 to 16 this year. 

Plus, this year’s AP scores are outpacing the state average by double digits. 

Here are some quick facts about the high school’s AP growth since 2013: 

• 28.20% increase in total of AP students since 2013 
• 56.50% more AP exams were taken in 2015 
• 65.21% increase in students who scored 3 or higher on an AP exam 
• Almost tripled the number of AP Scholars since 2013 (AP Scholar is a term used by College Board for a student scoring 3 or higher on 3 AP exams – average of 3.5 during their high school career). 
• 1 AP National AP Scholar in 2015 (National Scholar scores 4 or higher on at least 8 AP exams) 

The district has also provided professional development to teachers instructing AP courses, and as a result it has increased the number of students scoring a 3 or higher on the AP exams. 

“We certainly believe that the strengths of our school district reach much deeper than test scores or state rating systems,” said Shellie Feola, Pottsgrove Superintendent. “But certainly this is one important indication of our progress, and we’d like everyone to join in thanking our students, teachers, and parents for all of their efforts. This is something to celebrate.” 

Inclusion on the 6th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2013 to 2015, for the following criteria: 

• Increased participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts; 
• Increased or maintained the percentage of exams taken by African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students, and; 
• Improved performance levels when comparing the percentage of students in 2015 scoring a 3 or higher to those in 2013, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students are scoring a 3 or higher. 

Congratulations Pottsgrove High School. A fine achievement.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lower Pottsgrove Seeking Holiday Donations

Lower Pottsgrove has undertaken its annual food and toy drive to help two families in the township.

Food and toy donations will be collected by the township during the Santa Run on Dec. 19 and Dec. 20.

Donated items can also be dropped off at Lower Pottsgrove Township Administration Office or Police Station by Friday, Dec. 18.

Especially needed are canned vegetables, soup, jelly, peanut butter, baby food, stuffing, diapers, kitchen utensils, and boy and girl’s toys.

The township is working with the Salvation Army and would like to be able to check off each wish, according to Township Manager Ed Wagner. 

With your donation the will be able to make Christmas dreams come true.

  • Boys 3T-4T- Clothes 
  • Toy Cars 
  • Size 9 kids boots (Boy) 
  • Coloring books 
  • Girls 6-6x –Clothes 
  • Size 11 Kids Boots (Girls) 
  • Toys that teach colors 
  • Toys that teach numbers 
  • Toys that teach letters 
  • Kids DVD’s 
  • Girls 10-12- Clothes 
  • Size 3 Kids Boots (Girls) 
  • Paint 
  • Art Supplies 
  • Sketch book 
  • Easel 
  • Girls Crafts 
  • Women’s Large Shirts 
  • Women’s Size 8 Slippers 
  • Fleece Throw blanket (Pink) 
  • Curtains (Brown or Black)
  •  Toaster 
  • Blanket Black or Tan 
  • Women’s Medium Shirt 
  • Men’s XLG Shirt 
  • Men’s 11 ½ Sneakers 
  • Boys size 6 Sneakers 
  • Boys Med 11-12 Clothes 
  • Ninja Turtle Toys 
  • Batman Toys 
  • Spiderman Toys 
  • Comic Books (Super Hero) 
  • Boys size 2 Sneaker 
  • Mortal Kombat Toys 
  • Boys 7-8 Clothes 
  • Girl 18-24 Month Clothes 
  • Size 3 Huggies 
  • Frozen Toys (The Movie) 
  • Learning toys for a 15 Month old Girl

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Downtown Pottstown Christmas

Free trolley rides will mark Pottstown's Hometown Holiday Celebration

This Saturday kicks off the nearly month-long series of downtown Pottstown events geared toward drawing shoppers and their dollars to downtown stores.

Saturday, appropriately enough, is Small Business Saturday and the fun starts at 2 p.m. when Santa begins shopping and the tree lighting ceremony in Smith Family Plaza begins.

You can have Tea with Mrs. Claus at The Sitter's Clubhouse, 333 E. High St., from 2:30 to 4:30

In addition to stories and treats, there will a special visit from local magicians Kyle and Kelly.

Santa arrives officially in Smith Family Plaza at 4:30 p.m. and you can visit him for photos in the Santa House already erected there.

There will also be music.

Photos are $7 per sitting, and Santa will also return for photos on Dec. 5 and Dec. 12, from 2 to 7 p.m. both nights.

Speaking of Santa, you can also have a spaghetti dinner with the jolly old elf on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at Grumpy's Hand Carved Sandwiches, 137 E. High St. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children 3 to 13.

New this year is a Christmas Tree Decorating contest. The decorating will take place Saturday
from 2 to 7 p.m. and voting will be held on Dec. 12, from 2 to 7 p.m. at Santa's House.

Votes are $1 each and the tree with the most votes wins. A local organization can win $500 or an individual family $100 for the best-decorated tree.

You can help decorate Red Cloud Kung Fu's tree at their Tree Decorating Party, 307 E. High St. on Dec. 5 at 2 p.m.

Or, if Yoga is more your speed, introduce it to your kids on Dec. 5 in a special Yoga For Kids event at High Street Wellness and Yoga, 141 E. High St., on Dec. 5 at 2, 3 and 4 p.m.

Dec. 5 is also "Date Night" from 5 to 8 p.m. with a free trolley ride among downtown restaurants and Sly Fox Brewery and Manatawny Still Works. There is free professional babysitting at the Sitter's Clubhouse, 333 E. High St., from 5 to p.m. (Children must arrive by 7 p.m.).

Free trolley rides downtown will also be offered on Dec. 12 from 2 to 4 p.m.

A Holiday Open House will be held at ArtFusion 19464, 254 E. High St., on Friday, Dec. 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. where visitors can enjoy art, shop for unique gifts and enjoy light fare.

ArtFusion 19464 will also host its popular Van Gogh's Secret Studio, which helps children secretly
shop for small handmade gifts from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19. (Adults must remain in the building while their child is shopping.)

The performing arts are also represented downtown, with Steel River Playhouse presenting "White Christmas."

Show times and ticket prices are available at and ticket-holders should know they will get a 10 percent discount off their check at participating downtown restaurants before the show.

Also featuring downtown Pottstown and more is the 30th annual Historic House Tour on Sunday, Dec. 13 from 2 to 6 p.m.

Advance tickets, which go on sale Saturday, are $15 and are available at Carter's Locksmith Shop, 127 N. Hanover St. or by calling 610-323-5400.

Period holiday food from John Potts' time will be on display
at Pottsgrove Manor.
Tickets on Dec. 13 are $18 and are available at Carter's, the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority, 17 N. Hanover St., or the Elk's Club, 61 E. High St.

The tour also coincides with Pottsgrove Manor By Candlelight Tour from 2 to 8 p.m. Dec. 13. Visitors are asked to park at the Carousel building, 30 W. King St., and a shuttle will take visitors to the manor house.

And there are a number of events that will occur throughout the weekends of November and December.

The Phillies Fire Company, which trimmed the tree in Smith Family Plaza, will be selling hot dogs, apple cider and hot chocolate outside Santa's house on Nov. 28, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.

Beverly's Pastry Shop, 322 E. High St., will host candy cane cookie decorating on Saturday, Nov. 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. and on Saturdays, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Many events will be augmented by roaming illusionists and magicians. Kyle and Kelly will perform on Nov. 28 from 2:30 to 4:30 and Dec. 12, from 3:30 to 5:30 at various locations downtown. And on Dec. 5, it will be Judy Trudy the Clown, who specializes in balloon sculptures, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Last year, elves stopped by downtown Pottstown to ready stories.

Story Time with the Elves will take place every half hour from 3 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the PDIDA
Office, 17 N. Hanover St. and on Dec. 12 at Smashville, 310 E. High St.

Speaking of elves, the Elf on a Shelf Contest could help you win a $10 downtown gift card.

The elf will be downtown watching shoppers from Nov. 28 to Dec. 11.

Find the elf, take a picture with your phone and send it to 484-948-6061 and the first person to send a photo from each participating business will win a $10 downtown gift card.

You can win a $25 downtown gift card in the reindeer "Selfie Contest."

Take a selfie with the adopted reindeer in Smith Family Plaza and you could qualify for a chance to win the gift card. For details, visit

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ride PART and Give Back to Feed the Needy

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by PART. 

In the spirit of the holiday season, Pottstown Area Rapid Transit (PART) is pleased to announce the “Take PART, Give Back” Campaign!

Beginning Nov. 29, PART will be collecting donations to benefit the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities and Operation Backpack.

PART is pleased to partner with these organizations to help build the supply of food and goods available to those in need in the local community.

How can you PARTicipate?

By riding on one of PART’s Special Sunday Shopper Days! Every Sunday beginning Nov. 29, through Dec. 20 from 12 to 6 p.m., bring your donation on board a PART Transit Bus and ride for $1. (Applies to Adult Base Fare ONLY)

During the Tri County Area Chamber of Commerce Holiday Mixer & Business to Business Expo on Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at Norco Fire Company, 144 W. Schuylkill Road in North Coventry, bring your donation to the event and receive a PART Holiday ornament!

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities is a nonprofit organization providing a multitude of programs related to food security, clothing and housing assistance, and other supportive services. 

Activities are intended to “address the basic human needs of persons within the Greater Pottstown community, while assisting with their spiritual and social needs.”

The Cluster is currently in need of dry goods including laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners, paper towels, and toiletries. 

Canned goods including fruits, vegetables, soups, tuna fish, and tomato products are also in high demand.

Operation Backpack is a nonprofit organization, providing food to students in the greater Pottstown community who would go without over the weekend. 

The organization works to “help homeless and hungry students succeed by addressing the issue of childhood hunger.” 

The organization works with individuals and organizations to gather ready to eat items to fill backpacks distributed to participating schools at the end of each week. 

Operation Backpack is currently in need of prepackaged tuna, macaroni and cheese, soups, pasta, cereal, granola, breakfast bars, crackers, juice, and water.

As a public service, PART takes great pride in providing safe, affordable, and reliable quality transportation to the Borough of Pottstown, and Limerick, North Coventry, Lower, West, and Upper Pottsgrove Townships.

Questions? Contact Erica Batdorf at 610-970-6515 or, or visit the website at

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hill Philanthropy Grant Applications Due by Dec. 14

The Hill School's Student Philanthropy Council

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by The Hill School.

The Hill School now is accepting applications from Pottstown-area nonprofit organizations for its Student Philanthropy Council (SPC) grant program. 

Interested organizations may complete this online form and submit a Request for Proposal. ​View detailed instructions on how to apply and access the online application. 

Completed applications must be submitted by Monday, ​Dec. 14.

The SPC was established in 2009 through a gift to The Hill School courtesy of Charles A. Frank III, Hill ’59, and his wife, Betty. Hill student participants solicit and evaluate local nonprofit requests for funding, and then award a total of $10,000 in grants each year. 

Through the Franks' leadership and the generosity of several other donors, The Student Philanthropy Council became an endowed program at the School with the establishment of The Student Philanthropy Council Endowment in honor of Kay and David Dougherty in 2012. 

Thanks to additional funding, the School has been able to increase the amount for this year's grant total to $12,000. 

Last year's SPC awarded grants totaling more than $11,000 to six local nonprofit organizations to help fund those entities’ community programs for the 2014-15 school year. They include the Greater Pottstown Tennis and Learning: $3,000; Coventry Christian Schools – Project Purpose: $2,000; Growing Center: $1,862; Creative Health Services: $1,728; Girls On The Run: $2,000; and ARTFUSION 19464: $1,390.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gilbertsville Pastor is First Guest Chaplain Under New U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan

Prior to delivering his opening prayer, Pastor Chris Weidner
and Congressman Ryan Costello met with Speaker Paul D. Ryan
and the Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives,
Patrick J. Conroy
Blogger's Note: The following was provided by Ryan Costello's office:

Congressman Ryan Costello (PA-06) welcomed Pastor Christopher Weidner of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Gilbertsville as the guest chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives.

This was the first guest chaplain that Speaker Paul D. Ryan has welcomed to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Since 1789, the House has been served by chaplains of various religious denominations. Currently, the position is held by Reverend Patrick J. Conroy who serves as the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives.

Each Congress, Representatives have the opportunity to recommend a guest chaplain from their district to visit the U.S. Capitol and offer an opening prayer. Pastor Christopher Weidner was Congressman Costello’s guest chaplain for this term in Congress.

During the 113th Congress, the Sixth District of Pennsylvania sponsored Reverend Steve Walker, formerly of Fairview Village Church in Eagleville, as a guest chaplain.

“I was humbled and excited to be a part of this ongoing succession of faithful chaplains who have offered the opening prayer for years,” said Pastor Weidner. During his trip to Washington, DC, Pastor Weidner took the opportunity to visit with his family and see his college roommate David Pomerantz, an employee of the House Appropriations Committee.

“It is a great honor to welcome Pastor Christopher Weidner to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to offer our opening prayer and blessing,” said Congressman Ryan Costello. “For 20 years, Pastor Chris has served the Gilbertsville community and the St. Luke Lutheran Church parish with unwavering faith and commitment. I offer my most heartfelt thanks for leading the House of Representatives in prayer this morning as our guest chaplain.”

Here is video of his opening prayer for the House of Representatives:

In the 30 years since his ordination, Pastor Weidner has played an active and collaborative role in our local community and regional church organizations, engaging in programs such as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod Council Finance Committee, the Bear Creek Lutheran Camp Board of Directors, companionship ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, and has helped provide affordable housing for seniors through St. Luke Knolls, a federal Rural Development project. In addition to those beneficial programs, Pastor Weidner has been a volunteer hospital chaplain, an advocate of young adults in ministry, a supporter of local Boy Scouting, and shares a love of writing, singing and photography.

Pastor Weidner was raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey. He graduated from Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1973 and received his Master of Divinity in 1985 from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He has served with Messiah Lutheran in Bethlehem and St. James Lutheran in Reading.

Pastor Weidner was married to the late Jane Dunbar Weidner and is the father of two married daughters and the proud grandfather of two granddaughters.