Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sustainability, Cooperation and Renovation

Photo by Evan Brandt
Officials gather and chat in Lincoln Elementary School's newly
refurbished all-purpose room before the joint meeting.
Tuesday night, Pottstown Borough Council and the Pottstown School Board held a joint meeting at Lincoln Elementary School.

The meeting began with a tour of the newly renovated and expanded building.

This was followed by a short presentation by Erica Weekley, the assistant borough manager, on the upcoming Pottstown CARES Clean-Up.

This in turn was followed by a presentation by the two to numbers crunchers in the Pottstown, Borough Finance Director Janice Lee and School District Business Manager Linda Adams, who briefed both boards on ways the two entities are working together to save money for the taxpayers both entities served.

This was following by a very interesting presentation by a planner from the Montgomery County Planning Commission on the possibility of Pottstown adopting a "municipal sustainability plan;" a presentation that was well-received and which it seems both entities support and hope to implement.

Below, as usual, are the Tweets from the meeting.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Duck Race Results

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by the Pottstown Rotary Club

Last Saturday Rotarians from Pottstown launched more than 2900 ducks on the Manatawny Creek as part of the 22nd annual Duck Race. Certificates for these ducks were purchased by Rotarians and many in the community to support 25 non-profit organizations.

The ducks competed for over 70 prizes donated by the agencies, area merchants, and Rotarians. 

First prize was $1000. A prize is awarded for the last duck to reach the finish line. 

At times strong winds from the east blew some of the ducks back upstream. The race was held in conjunction of the Pottstown Pet Fair which is the largest pet Fair in the Commonwealth.

The following is a list of prize winners. They will be notified by mail. Gift certificates will be mailed and other prizes can be picked up according to the instructions in the letter. Questions may be directed to Rotarian Richard Frantz, co-chairman of the event 610.323.0900.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Boyertown's 55th Annual Band Cavalcade

Five years before I came squalling into the world, Boyertown Area Senior High School began hosting band cavalcades.

And 55 years later, they're still doing it.

A total of 11 bands performed during the cavalcade in Bear Stadium Saturday night.

Three of them, as hosts, were not competing.

But performances by the Boyertown Junior High East/West Marching Unit, the Boyertown Area Senior High School Band and the Boyertown Alumni Band were all excellent.

There were five divisions represented, although three of them, including Pottsgrove, were the sole representatives of that division, making them automatic first-place winners.

In the Liberty Division, Pottstown faced off against Governor Mifflin and in the Independence Division, three out-of-area schools competed, with first place being taken by Pittston.

(Here's a quick Tout video of the Boyertown Junior High East/West Marching Unit performing:)

But the Arlen Saylor Traveling Trophy was won by Hempfield High School, competing alone in the Patriot Division. And there was little doubt among any in the audience that their score of 84.25 was well-deserved. Hempfield's pit crew also won the "Outstanding Pit Crew" award for the competition.

(Here's a quick Tour video of excepts from Pottsgrove's show:)

Here are the scores:
  • American Division: Northhampton with 73.7
  • Liberty Division: Pottsgrove with 78.4
  • Yankee Division: Governor Mifflin, first place with 78.25; Pottstown second place with 76.65 Governor Mifflin also won the "Overall Music," "Overall Visual Effects" and "Best Color Guard" awards for the Yankee Division.
  • Independence Division: Pittston, first place with 78.1; Palisades second place with 72.5; Catasauqua third place with 72.2
    Pittston also won the the "Overall Music," "Overall Visual Effects" and "Best Color Guard" awards for the Independence Division.
  • Patriot Division: Hempfield, with a score of 84.25.
Obviously, in divisions with only a single band competing, that band won the overall music, visual effects and color guard awards.

(Here is a quick Tout video of portions of Pottstown's show:)

In the Storify of my Tweets from the cavalcade, which you will find below, you will find full YouTube videos of the performances by Pottsgrove, Pottstown and Boyertown.

What you will not find, alas, is a any video of the performance by the Boyertown Alumni Band given that my iPhone battery gave up the ghost in mid-recording.

(Here is a quick Tout video of a portion of Governor Mifflin's show:)

You will also find links to a few, shorter Tout videos that I did. Clicking on those links will open the videos in another window and you will have to click the "back" button to get back to this wonderful blog.

To avoid that potential for lost readership, you cannot have failed to notice that I have embedded those Tout videos scattered in the text above, where you can watch them without leaving.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Riverside Art

Susan Williamson's "Haying Day" won Best of Show in the 11th Annual "Scenes of the Schuylkill River" heritage area art show, now on display through Oct. 17 at the Montgomery County Community College West Campus Gallery at 16 W. High St. in Pottstown.

Blogger's Note: The following was provided by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area.

The 11th Annual Scenes of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area Art Show opened to the public last week and features 82 original works that celebrate the Schuylkill River region through art.

Sponsored by the Schuylkill River Heritage Area in partnership with Montgomery County Community College, the juried exhibit will hang through Oct. 17 at the college’s West Campus Gallery at 16 West High St. in Pottstown.

This year’s show includes a total of 82 original paintings, drawings and photographs by regional artists. All works were carefully selected from 112 submissions by juror Lisa Tremper Hanover, Director and CEO, of the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown.

This is the 11th year the Schuylkill River Heritage Area has organized an art event. 
"Blue Barrow Against a White Barn" by Nancy Durkin Green was

the second place winner in the show.

The Scenes of the Schuylkill Art Show began as a print competition in 2003, and has evolved into an annual exhibit that attracts more than 100 pieces of art each year.

“We are pleased that this art show has grown steadily over the years so that it continues to attract new talent and an impressive selection of artwork each year,” said Heritage Area Executive Director Kurt Zwikl. “Our goal in hosting this exhibit is to support and promote regional artists. At the same time we want to foster an appreciation through art of the diverse beauty and character of the Schuylkill River valley.”

Tremper Hanover selected three winning entries and two honorable mentions. Susan Williamson earned Best of Show for her pastel “Haying Day,” which depicts a Gwynedd Valley farm scene. She will receive $300 and will be presented with an award of distinction valued at $1,000, through Montgomery County Community College, from North Penn Art, in Lansdale.

The second place award went to Nancy Durkin Green for her watercolor, "Blue Barrow Against a White Barn," and David Thomas took third place for his photograph, "Allegheny Aqueduct." Durkin Green and Thomas were awarded $200 and $100, respectively.

In recognition of the Schuylkill as Pennsylvania’s River of the Year, the Schuylkill River Heritage
David Thomas took third place for this work, "Allegheny Aqueduct."
Area staff selected a Staff’s Choice award that depicted a river scene. That award went to Mary Kosar for her photograph, “Fog in Woods, Riverfront Park.”

The two honorable mentions selected included “Window Light at Hopewell Furnace,” a photograph by Ginnie Lodge and “Dawn at Lauer’s Run,” an oil painting by Russell Slocum.

Most works are available for sale, and a portion of all proceeds benefits the Schuylkill River Heritage Area.

The show is free and open to the public. 

Gallery hours are: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fri. 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

For more information contact the SRHA at 484-945-0200 or the MCCC Galleries Director Holly Cairns at 215-619-7349,

For photos of the winning entries and more show details:

The Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area, managed by the non-profit Schuylkill River Greenway Association, uses conservation, education, recreation, cultural and historic preservation and tourism as tools for community revitalization and economic development. For more information visit

Friday, September 26, 2014

Something's Developing in Lower Pottsgrove

Photo by Evan Brandt
This is the Lower Pottsgrove Commissioners listening to the 2013 audit report.

The Lower Pottsgrove Commissioners meeting Thursday night took a little over an hour and covered a couple of subjects.
The audit report was read, which was a challenge to consciousness; and Police Chief Michael Foltz
Photo by Evan Brandt
Benjamin Goldfarb shows a concept for developing 57 acres
off South Pleasantview Road.
offered a brief update on the condition of officer James Kenney, who was injured in a car crash earlier this week. (See below).

But the commissioners also heard a proposal from Reading Site Materials, owners of the Sanatoga quarry, to develop 57 acres off South Pleasantview Road.

One options includes only 155 single-family homes, and the other, commercial development on a little over seven acres facing Route 422 and 118 single family homes.

The commissioners also voted to set a public hearing for an overlay zone which would encourage open space preservation in exchange for increased, clustered development.

The Tweets from the meeting are below.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Regionalizing Animal Control? Crowd Control?

Photo by Evan Brandt
The Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee is comprised of eight municipalities.

So a couple of nuggets out of Wednesday night's Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee (boy that's a mouthful):

  • The TSC Tractor store is moving out of the old Giant Plaza on State Street because, according to Borough Council President Stephen Toroney, the roof is leaking and the landlord won't fix it.;
  • The regional comprehensive plan, not to be confused with the Montgomery County Comprehensive Plan or the Pottstown Borough Comprehensive Plan, is almost ready for official comment, to be followed by public comment, to be followed by adoption, to be followed by preparing for the new comprehensive plan....;
  • Toroney floated the idea of some kind of regional animal control officer, still early;
  • Upper Pottsgrove Commissioners Chairman Elwood Taylor floated the idea of other township police departments in the region helping out with the Pottstown Halloween Parade as a way to keep costs down...keep talking....
Anyway, here are the Tweets from the meeting..

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A New Candidate and Some New Tech

Photo by Evan Brandt
Bill Parker announces his candidacy to the Pottsgrove School Board, and a TV audience.

So at only the second Pottsgrove School Board meeting being recorded for broadcast on PCTV, someone took advantage of the camera's presence to announce his candidacy for the school board.

Photo by Evan Brandt
Gus Tellis films the Pottsgrove School Board meeting for PCTV. 
It should air today, Wednesday.
Bill Parker, who provided a written copy of his comments to the press, said he believes the school
board is not being prudent wit tax dollars and that candidates should be sought for all six seats that will be open.

He also mentioned that Al Leach will be running as well.

Also on the table for discussion was the purchase, for nearly $100,000, of 120 wireless access points for establishment at the high school.

Tecvhnology Director Michael Wagman said they are not related to the 1 to 1 program that will put computers in the hands of every high school student, but are related to the high school renovation project.

The deal was done outside the bidding process for the high school project, Wagman said, because the district could get a better price and wanted to be hands on for equipment they would be servicing for the next several years.

Without further delay, here are the tweets from last night's meeting.