Plans For $27 Million Federal Courthouse In Lancaster Scrapped

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Plans to build a $27 federal courthouse in Lancaster have been scrapped due to budget constraints in Washington.  The General Services Administration owns land and was until recently seeking potential designers for the project.

The decision means that Lancaster County residents, law enforcement professionals, prosecutors and bankruptcy litigants will continue to travel to Reading or Philadelphia for federal cases.  The project could still be reinstated if the economy improves.

Plans to build a new federal courthouse in Midtown Harrisburg are still moving forward.   Construction could start as early as 2013 to replace the Ronald Regan Federal Building and Courthouse which was determined to no longer meet security and space requirements.

Harrisburg School District Faces Huge Shortfall – Massive Cuts And Closures On The Table

A day of reckoning is swiftly approaching for the Harrisburg City School District.  The top-heavy district is getting a reality check because of a $15 million budget deficit and the inability to get grants to fill budget holes.

Items on the chopping block are two neighborhood schools (proposed for closure), 120-150 teachers, 22 percent staff and more administrators.  Other items up for elimination are the district’s vocational and technical programs and programs for disruptive and truant students.

Director Wayne Henry was quoted as saying the district would have to start living within its means.  Director Esther Edwards said the closures were horrible but if we don’t have the money to operate, we’re going to have to do it.

The Harrisburg School District is synonymous with the City of Harrisburg.  There are 17 schools and 8,306 students.  The district spends $13,182 per pupil.  There are 11 students for every full-time equivalent teacher.  The dropout rate is 6 percent.  21 percent of students have and IEP and 8 percent are ELL.  Data from education.com based on 2008 data.

According to Wikipedia, in 2011 Harrisburg SD ranked 494th out of 498 school districts in Pennsylvania for academic achievement.  Harrisburg High School’s 2010 graduation rate was 79 percent and the school is in year 7 of corrective action for chronically low student achievement.  In 2009 a Pennsylvania Dept of Education study revealed that 67 percent of Harrisburg High School graduates needed costly remediation in math and reading before they were prepared to take college courses.

Strike-Out Domestic Violence Bowl-A-Thon – Norristown

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

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Strike-out Domestic Violence Bowl-a-thon

Friday, June 3, 7pm-10pm

Facenda Whitaker Lanes, Norristown

$25 a person (children 18 and under $15)

5 persons per lane

(Includes games, shoes and refreshments)

All proceeds benefit Laurel House, Montgomery County’s comprehensive domestic violence agency. 

For more information, contact Patty Mark, 610-277-1860 x117 or pgoloff@laurel-house.org

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Alumni Are Back For More In ‘The Music Man’

Familiar faces in the first show of the SMT season will include Broadway star David Masenheimer, opera singer Lauren Curnow

Allentown, Pa. (May 25, 2011)—Harold Hill, the central figure in Meredith Willson‘s classic “The Music Man,” is a con artist—a stranger in town. But when the musical opens this year’s Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre season, the man playing Hill will be anything but a stranger. In fact, the production will be a homecoming of sorts for several of Muhlenberg College‘s best-known theater alumni.

This year, in its 31st season, the college’s popular summer theater festival will welcome back two alumni with international reputations as performing artists: Broadway star David Masenheimer as Hill, and opera singer Lauren Curnow as Hill’s love interest, Marian Paroo. Also joining the cast are MSMT veterans and Muhlenberg alumni Neil Hever and Gabriel Martínez.

 “The Music Man” runs June 15 through July 3. Charles Richter, Summer Music Theatre’s co-founder and artistic director, will direct the show; Karen Dearborn and Ed Bara will provide choreography and musical direction, respectively. All three are Muhlenberg faculty members.

“It will be wonderful to have some familiar folks—some very talented folks—joining us for this production,” Richter says. “There will be some serious star power on stage. We’re very fortunate.”

Masenheimer, a 1981 Muhlenberg graduate, starred in more than 1,000 performances of Broadway’s “Les Misérables” as Inspector Javert. Other Broadway credits include “Ragtime” and “Sideshow.” Curnow, a 1996 graduate, has appeared on opera stages around the world, including The Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Teatro Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy, the Wolftrap Opera, and the Santa Fe Opera. A lyric mezzo-soprano, Curnow holds master’s degrees from The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music.

 “The Music Man” tells the story of Harold Hill, a fast-talking con artist who comes to River City to make a fast buck, selling his phony dreams of a splendiferous town marching band. But then he meets the town librarian (and her kid brother), and finds himself transformed by the power of love. The score features several of Broadway’s best-known songs, including “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “(Ya Got) Trouble,” “Till There Was You,” and “The Wells Fargo Wagon.” The production won five Tony Awards in 1957, including Best Musical.

“In fact,” Richter points out, “this is the show that beat out ‘West Side Story’ for Best Musical. Willson did some incredibly innovative things with the score, and it took him five years to develop as a result.

“This is our third production of ‘The Music Man,’ and I believe our most exciting,” he says. “It is the first in our very intimate Baker Theatre, and that space will be very well suited to this talented cast.”

DAVID MASENHEIMER: A RETURN TO THE STAGE

David Masenheimer’s career as an actor began before college, when he spent vacations in summer stock productions. He acted regularly at Muhlenberg, arriving just a year after the opening of the Baker Center for the Arts, in the first days of the Theatre Department, arriving at the college a year before department founder Charles Richter.

Masenheimer started as a science major, but soon realized he had other interests to pursue. He got the lead in the student musical his freshman year, playing the Emcee in “Cabaret,” and that pointed him in a different direction—in a couple different directions, actually.

“I had some carpentry skills thanks to Muhlenberg,” he says. “I was a work-study carpenter and eventually was the technical director for the MTA,” the student-run Muhlenberg Theatre Association, which produced the plays. “I was not very popular in my fraternity, because I basically lived in the Center for the Arts.”

After graduation, Masenheimer went on tour in a number of shows, including “Les Misérables,” then in 1995, took on the role of Javert in the Broadway production. Other Broadway appearances have included the original cast of “Side Show” (1997) as well as roles in “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (1999), Ragtime (1999), and “The Wild Party” (2000).

For the most part—give or take a concert or two—Masenheimer gave up performing professionally about seven years ago. He now mostly pursues that other direction, building custom furniture and merchandising fixtures—and the occasional piece of theatrical scenery—with his carpentry company, Rampart Productions. He says the life of the performer got to be too much.

 “I’m so glad I did what I did when I did it,” he says. “But while I was packing up to come to Allentown, it occurred to me, if I was really in this business, I’d be packing up and going on tour for a year, and that’s just completely unappealing to me. I wanted some control over what I was going to do and when I was going to do it.”

Masenheimer says “The Music Man” is among his favorites. He played Harold Hill in high school and feels a connection to the show and the character. After 34 years, he still remembers the lyrics to “(Ya Got) Trouble,” the show’s notoriously difficult patter song: “… right here in River City, with a capital T, and that rhymes with P and that stands for ‘pool.'”

“The show is a really well written piece of Americana,” he says. “The music is lovely, and I just love all the characters; it’s such a great ensemble piece.”

So does “The Music Man” signal a possible return to the stage for Masenheimer?

“No, this is it,” he says. “This is about Muhlenberg, and being back at Muhlenberg. I’m really looking forward to this whole process, though. It’s kind of a vacation.”

LAUREN CURNOW: A RETURN TO ROOTS

“The Music Man” marks Lauren Curnow’s first foray into Broadway-style musical theater since her student days, when she starred as Laurey in a 1995 Muhlenberg Theatre Association production of “Oklahoma!”

Since graduation, she has concentrated strictly on opera. She got a job in an opera chorus right out of college, then a paid apprenticeship at the prestigious Lyric Opera Company of Chicago, then graduate-level study at Juilliard and the Curtis Institute. Since then, she has worked consistently as a performer, with opera companies around the world.

In a way, “The Music Man” marks a return to roots for Curnow.

I started out being musical theater all the way,” she says. “But from the time I started at Muhlenberg, I was taking lessons with Jeremy Slavin,” A Muhlenberg faculty member and MSMT co-founder, who just retired this spring. “And he started training me classically. So I started thinking about myself as a singer in a different way.”

Curnow said the biggest adjustment for her as an opera singer will be to incorporate dialogue in her performance.

“Going back and forth between singing and speaking is something I’m not as used to as I was,” she says. “You really have to pace yourself. You have to think about how you’re projecting on the stage, so that when it’s time to sing, you’re ready to go.”

This role will be unusual for Curnow in another way, as well. As a mezzo-soprano, she says she gets to play mostly supporting characters—the “compremario” roles. “The Music Man” gives her an opportunity to play the romantic lead for a change.

“I don’t often get to be the ingenue, which will be fun,” she says. “In opera, the lovers are usually more in the soprano range, for some reason. We mezzos get to be the best friends and funny maids.”

A SUMMER THEATER HOMECOMING

Neil Hever, Muhlenberg Class of 1982, played alongside Masenheimer, back in that first Summer Music Theatre season, 31 years ago. He has been a fixture on the MSMT stage ever since—most recently starring in last season’s “The Mikado.” He will play Charlie Cowell in “The Music Man.”

“I’ve seen MSMT grow and evolve into a very professional and high quality program over time,” Hever says. “The adult actors and Muhlenberg teaching staff I worked with as a student at the very beginning were a great source of inspiration. I hope that now, as an adult, I am helping today’s students grow and improve as actors by example.”

Another familiar face, of a more recent vintage, is Gabriel Martínez, the 2010 grad who played William Barfée (rhymes with “parfait”) in last season’s “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” Before that, he appeared in 2009’s “Forever Plaid” and 2008’s “A Year with Frog and Toad” and “The Who’s Tommy.” This year, he’ll play Marcellus Washburn.

The production will also welcome another MSMT prodigal: conductor Donald Spieth, best known locally as the conductor of the Lehigh Valley Chamber Orchestra, although he has conducted numerous ensembles in the Lehigh Valley region and beyond. Spieth conducted the orchestra for MSMT’s first season, 31 years ago, and returns to the orchestra pit for “The Music Man.”

Prominent cast members who are not Muhlenberg alumni include two longtime members of the Lehigh Valley theatre community: veteran MSMT performer and director Bill Mutimer, as Mayor Shinn, and Arts Ovation Award winner JoAnn Wilchek Basist, as Eulalie Shinn.

The show will feature scenic design by Campbell Baird, whose last MSMT assignment was the east-meets-west costume design for last season’s “The Mikado.” “The Music Man’s” costume designer is Kevin Thacker. Lighting designer is MSMT veteran John McKernon.

“The Music Man” runs June 15 through July 3, Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Performances are in the Dorothy Hess Baker Theatre, in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

Tickets for June 15-18 are $32; seniors age 65 and up, $28; students and children, $18. Tickets for June 19 through July 3 are $38; seniors, $35; students and children, $20.

Sundays are Family Matinee day; tickets for children ages 5-18 are just $10 when purchased with a full-price or senior ticket. (Limit two discounted tickets per full-price ticket.) Discounts are available for subscriptions to “The Music Man” and “Godspell” and for groups of 15 or more. More information online.

The rest of the MSMT season for 2011 will feature “Godspell,” July 13-31, and “Cinderella,” a movement-theater production for children, June 22 – July 30.

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or www.muhlenberg.edu/SummerMusicTheatre.

Congratulations Scotty McCreery – Our New American Idol

Congratulations and best wishes to Season 10 American Idol Scotty McCreery and to runner-up Lauren Alaina.  What a year!

I thought the finale was the best in a while with many big stars and great numbers:  Judas Priest, Mark Anthony, Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, Tony Bennett, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Gladys Knight, Bono and The Edge and more!  I really enjoyed Scotty’s duet with Tim McGraw along with all the other performances.  It was good to see the top 13 again.

Again, congratulations to Scotty – a county superstar in the making!

Memorial Classic BMX Race, Trilogy Park, Pottstown – This Weekend

BMX bicyle

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Trilogy Park is located in Memorial Park, Pottstown. Trilogy Park is a BMX course and will be the site of a National Bike League competition again this year, right here in Pottstown on May 28th and 29th.

Registration, bike inspections and practice runs start Friday. Saturday is practices and the main event.

Contract information is as follows:

GLEN KNAPPER
484.363.0592
trilogypark@gmail.com

CATHY KNAPPER
610.906.1317

TRACK HOTLINE
484.363.0592

website:  http://www.trilogypark.org

To learn more about BMX racing, you can check out the National Bicycle League website: http://www.nbl.org/

American Idol: Who Is In It To Win It?

Failed Doomsday Prediction Leaves Followers In A Quandary

This story boggles the mind.  People quit their jobs, quit school, gave thousands of dollars to Harold Camping to spread the message that the world would end on May 21, 2011.  Now, followers and former followers must put their lives back together –  find jobs, finish school and start over again.  Harold is baffled as well (say it ain’t so Joe).  What should be done about the millions of dollars collected from followers?

Read the entire story from the Huffington Post here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/22/may-21-judgment-day-may-22_n_865298.html

Lancaster, California – A Community Pottstown Should Emulate

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Listed below are the 2009 accomplishments for the City of Lancaster California’s Economic Development/Redevelopment Department.  This is not some wealthy, gated fantasy community.  It is ethnically diverse and economically very middle class.  I listed some demographic info from the city website below the accomplishments (also from the city website).

The accomplishments below are for ONE year – 2009.  The lists for other departments are also impressive.

Will the day ever come when we can expect even a fraction of such results in Pottstown?  I don’t think there has been this much economic development/redevelopment activity here in 10 years, let alone in one year! 

Lancaster, CA had a population of 37,000 people in 1977.  Today, the population is listed at 145,000.  This bedroom community has transformed itself into an economic powerhouse by streamlining the development process (cut red tape) and made local business a TOP priority.  The Lancaster Redevelopment Agency has attracted retail and dining establishments as well as businesses.  The revitalization of downtown Lancaster has been extensive and included façade improvements to existing businesses and the attraction of new business to the downtown.  In 2010, a one mile stretch of Lancaster Boulevard was revitalized which will further economic development in the downtown and beyond.  Lancaster also has an arts community which is helping to drive revitalization.

Lancaster, CA, like Pottstown, is a strong council, weak mayor system of government with a professional manager (like Jason).  I am not advocating that Pottstown try and surpass the population of Allentown.  What I am suggesting is our two communities are not all that different socio-economically.  If this degree of success is possible in Lancaster, CA then revitalization can happen in Pottstown (on a size appropriate scale, of course).  One last thing I will point out is that Lancaster’s city-data crime index for 2009 was 335.2 (Average) compared to Pottstown’s 456.6 (High).  Anything over 450 is considered high. 

Economic Development/Redevelopment Accomplishments for 2009

• Implemented the Lancaster Economic Stimulus Package (ESP), successfully generating an economic impact of over $123 million dollars
• The ESP’s Shop and Drive Program prompted more than $25 million dollars in new auto sales
• Over 5,000 gift cards were issued as part of the ESP’s Shop and Dine Program. More than 400 Lancaster based businesses and over 6,000 citizens participated in the Shop Lancaster program
• Grand Opening of three new restaurants; The Brooklyn Deli, Blvd Express, and Giannini’s in Downtown Lancaster
• Construction started on a $12 million dollar drainage channel enabling the future development of a new Kaiser Permanente facility and the Promenade at Amargosa Creek
• Launched “Destination Lancaster,” a new visitor’s bureau aimed at promoting tourism and supporting businesses within Lancaster and the surrounding Antelope Valley region
• Grand opening of eSolar’s Sierra Sun Tower, a 5MW solar thermal demonstration facility
• Grand opening of the Artist Lofts and Gallery, a 21-unit mixed use project in Downtown Lancaster, representing a $9.4 million dollar investment by Incite Development
• The inaugural “Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix” roared through Downtown Lancaster, garnering more than 20,000 visitors
• Finalized construction plans for $7 million streetscape improvement project in Downtown Lancaster
• Created a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DayStar Farms, Inc. to cooperatively develop the nation’s first solar park
• The University of Antelope Valley was established in Lancaster and will begin to offer Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degrees at its newest campus, the former Antelope Valley Inn site
• Created new partnership with the Small Business Development Center, Wells Fargo Bank, and the AV Board of Trade to provide free one-on-one counseling and low-cost business workshops
• In conjunction with the County of Los Angeles and the City of Palmdale, hosted the Antelope Valley Enterprise Zone kick-off breakfast
• Launched Mayor’s new home-based business initiative to provide additional education, training and resources for home-based businesses in Lancaster
• Established two Community Neighborhood Impact houses through partnerships with local faith-based organizations
• Implemented ten Neighborhood Revitalization Plans to improve housing and public improvements within the newly designated areas
• Received the 2009 International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Promotional Award in recognition of the “Shop Lancaster” marketing campaign. The city also received a Savvy Award from the City-County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA) for its “Shop Lancaster” marketing program

 Race (2006-2008):Number and percentage of:Whites: 86,009 / 56.5 %

Blacks/African Americans: 29,263 / 19.2 %

American Indian/Alaska Native: 1,017 / 0.7 %

Asian: 6,568 / 4.3 %

Native Hawaii/Pacific Islander: 306 / 0.2 %

Some other race: 24,109 / 15.8 %

Two or more races: 4,912 / 3.2 %

Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 55,551 / 36.5 %

 Economic Characteristics (2006-2008):Number and percentage of persons:In labor force (over age 16): 61,103 / 57.0 %

Median household income (2008): $49,494

Median family income (2008): $55,569

Per capita income (2008): $19,273

Percentage of:

Families below poverty level: 17.9 %

Individuals below poverty level: 20.4 %

Mean travel time to work: 31.6 minutes

Lancaster General Hospital: Profits Dip But Hosptial Remains 6th Most Profitable Hospital In PA

Lancaster General Hospital showed a $66.6 million profit for the fiscal period from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.  Only five hospitals in Pennsylvania showed higher profits in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, they were: Thomas Jefferson, CHOP, University of Penn, Lehigh Valley and UPMC –Presbyterian Hospital.  For fiscal year 2006-2007 Lancaster General Hospital showed a profit of $136.8 million.  Salaries and benefits were the number one cost that contributed to lower profits.  Pension expenses were the main culprit.  Lancaster General’s profit margin is 7 percent.  The state average is 4.5 percent.

Lancaster General contributes significantly to the City of Lancaster and the Lancaster City School District.  Each entity receives about $1.35 million a year.  According to Mayor Gray, Lancaster General’s tax contribution equals three-quarters of a mill.  In addition to taxes, Lancaster General gives well over a half-million dollars in grants to various local organizations and provided $83.3 million in charity care for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Lancaster General Health is a not-for-profit regional healthcare system with a reputation for excellence. Located in Lancaster,PA, Lancaster General Health has a 600 bed Magnet Hospital as its cornerstone with multiple outpatient facilities.  Twice designated a Magnet hospital for clinical excellence, LGH was named one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals, nine of the past 11 years.  LGH has been recognized regionally and nationally for its intensive care unit and cardiology and orthopedic services.  Other key specialty services include obstetrics, open-heart surgery, neurosurgery and trauma.  Lancaster General Health system is the county’s largest employer with 6,693 employees.  LGH was named as a 100 Best Places to work in PA – the last three years.

More Secret Pottstown Meetings? Do We Ever Learn?

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I just read an article, on a local online media outlet, about the Pottstown School Board having an Executive Session that appears to have violated the Sunshine Law.  The board discussed cutting art and music behind closed doors after being told by taxpayers this was not their will.

As a student of history I feel it is incumbent upon us to study the past to learn from our mistakes.  Making the same poor decision repeatedly and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

I feel there are other areas that could yield cost savings that we are not considering.  Certain groups are considered “untouchable”.  Art and music are always the first thing a school board looks at cutting to save money.

If we look at the number of students involved with the music program in the PSD, we see a large group.  Not only do many students take part in the music program but our high school band and some other ensembles are award-winners and recognized for excellence.  They are a source of pride for our community.

Clearly, this decision is not supported by taxpayers based on the turn out at public meetings where this subject has been discussed.  Sneaking around behind closed doors is childish behavior and violates the LAW in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  But yet organizations in this town continue to engage in this counterproductive behavior.  How are we supposed to trust any of you???

Shame, shame, shame!  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs DOWN for this poor decision and the even poorer way it was handled.

Forbes Top Ten List For Best Places To Buy A Home Include Two Pennsylvania Metro Areas

Forbes.com has come up with a list of the best places in the United States to buy a home. The list is based on home affordability, unemployment, foreclosure rates and year-to-year housing price trends.

Two Pennsylvania metropolitan areas made the list.  Pittsburgh PA (2,356,285 – 2010 census) was ranked number 2 and Lancaster PA (519,445 – 2010 census) was number 8.

Earlier this year Zillow.com ranked Pittsburgh as number 4 and Lancaster as number 7 on their list.

The median sale price for a home in Pittsburgh is $103,000 and Lancaster is $154,900.

Both Pittsburgh and Lancaster have a comparably low unemployment rate and cost of living.

Fellowship Farm Family Fun Day & Blossom Festival

Fellowship Farm Family Fun Day & Blossom Festival

Sunday, May 22, 1pm-4pm

Come have fun!

At our 126 Acre Program Center

2488 Sanatoga Road,Pottstown,PA

Phone: (610) 326-3008

Activities & Programs for All Ages

Pony Rides, Face Painting, Violence & Bullying Prevention & Intervention, Magic Show, Juggling, Cross-Cultural Understanding, Conflict Resolution, Low Ropes Course, Nature Hiking Tours, Llama & Donkey Feeding, Home-Made Baked Goods, Country Barbecue, Story Telling, Organic Gardening, Nutrition Crash Course, “Perfect Gentleman” Youth Skills, Basketball, Play Area, Petting Zoo, and Intercultural Dance & Music. 

Sing-Along led by Singing City Choir. 

Donation: Amount Based Solely on Ability to Pay

Used to Support Fellowship Farm’s trailblazing

“Relationships & Communities of Respect”

Everyone Welcome!

For directions, visit our website at:  www.fellowship-farm.org

If rain threatens, call 610-326-3008 for info on rain date.

1st Annual Sing To Shelter The Homeless Gospel Concert

Wings of Victory Outreach Corp.

Presents:  1st Annual Sing to Shelter the Homeless Gospel Concert

Money raised will benefit our program for homeless women.

Where:  Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 240 Mintzer Street, Pottstown, PA, 19454

When:  Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time:  5:00 P.M.

Cost:  Free Will Offering

Donations may also be made at:  WingsofVictoryOutreach.org

The Weather Is Getting Warmer And Problems Are On The Rise In Pottstown’s Core Neighborhood

Now that the weather is warmer and people are involved in more outdoor activities, we are noticing that problems are starting to escalate in the Washington Street Corridor.  The Mercury reported two shootings, in the last week, in that general area as well as a self-inflicted gunshot wound to a third person. 

It appears that noise and loitering are on the rise.  Large groups of people hanging around with nothing in particular to do which is a recipe for disaster.  Idle hands….

It has come to my attention that there is a particular hot spot of activity which needs to be addressed.  If we are serious about cleaning up and stabilizing the core neighborhood through homeownership, we better start putting our money where our mouth is.  The few homeowners in that area are sick of this behavior and are prisoners in their homes.  You will never attract new homeowners with this sort of lawlessness being allowed to go on.  Confronting these people is dangerous and should be handled by law enforcement professionals.

This activity is a black eye for Pottstown and continues to reinforce the stereotype that our community is a ghetto and unsafe.  This is of course not true, but perception is hard to change.  This problem area of town needs immediate and swift attention. 

If we expect PAID to do their job, crime MUST be brought under control.  How is PAID supposed to attract business and industry to Pottstown if this Wild West behavior is tolerated??  Who the hell will invest in Pottstown if we cannot get a handle on criminal activity??  The answer is Section 8 slumlords!

We need to start enforcing the laws we have on the books and being a little more clever.  Again, I suggest cameras for problem areas and beefed up patrols.  If we cannot get the criminal element in this town under control PAID is DOA!

American Idol Final Two: Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina

We said goodbye to Haley tonight.  Next Tuesday, Lauren and Scotty go head to head to be the American Idol winner of Season 10.

The two-hour season finale will be on Wednesday night!  Look for big surprises and performances!

Congrats to Haley Reinhart for a great run!

American Idol Top Three Contestants Shine!

Tonight we were treated to some exceptional performances by the remaining three American Idol contestants.  Each contestant sang three songs.  One song was the contestant’s choice, one was Jimmy Iovine’s choice and one was the judge’s choice.  Tonight’s guest mentor was Beyonce who worked with the contestants on their song choice.

Scotty started the ball rolling with Lone Star’s “Amazed” which he totally nailed.  It amazes me how young these people are and the amount of poise and self-confidence they have.

Lauren sang “Wild One” by Faith Hill and did a great job!

Haley sang “What Is And What Should Never Be” by Led Zeppelin and her father played guitar on the number.  Again, another awesome performance and Led Zeppelin songs are not easy!  Haley fell during her performance got right up and kept on going like nothing happened.  The mark of a true pro.

The judges gave the first round unanimously to Haley.

Jimmy Iovene picked “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not” by Thompson Square for Scotty.  This proved to be a perfect song choice and an excellent performance.  Scotty was most definitely in his element.

Jimmy picked “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry for Lauren.  Another great performance by Lauren.  Lauren missed a modulation, but she immediately self-corrected and went on to a strong finish.

Jimmy picked the iconic Fleetwood Mac anthem “Rhiannon” with lead vocals by Stevie Nicks for Haley.  Definitely not an easy song but Haley rose to the occasion.

The judges were split on who won this round.  I believe Steven voted for Lauren and Randy and Jennifer said Scotty was the man on round two.

Before the last round of songs, American Idol World Premiered Beyonce’s new single “Run The World (Girls)”.  Another Beyonce “anthem” that is sure to be a big hit.

The judges chose “She Believes In Me” a Kenny Rogers classic for Scotty.  It was done to showcase Scotty’s higher range and for him to sing a song with a more “pop/county” feel.  Great performance by Scotty.

The judges chose “I Hope You Dance” by LeAnn Rimes.  This song was a huge hit for LeAnn.  Lauren gave Jennifer goose bumps.  I chucked with the name dropping by Randy and Steven.

The judges chose “You Oughta Know”, one of Alanis Morissette’s greatest hits for Haley.  Haley slayed the choruses but she had trouble with the speed and rhythm of the verses.  Not an easy song by any stretch of the imagination.

The judges were again split on who won the round.  Steven voted for Haley and Jennifer and Randy give the win to Lauren for Round 3.

The level of talent this season is amazing.  Watching some of these performances are like watching a concert.

Tune in tomorrow to see who will be in the finale!

Missed my buddy James Durbin tonight and wondered what Jimmy and the judges would have picked for him to sing.  The brief clip they showed of James’ homecoming in Santa Cruz looked awesome!  I saw him holding up WWF belts!

Pottstown School Board Director Election Results

It appears congratulations are in order for Mary-Beth Lydon, Andrew Kefer and Judyth Zahora for winning spots on the November Democratic Ballot for Pottstown School Director.  Sadly, Amy Francis and Michele Pargeon will not be joining their running mates from the Friends Of Pottstown Public Education.  Code Blue will now have two candidates on the November ballot.

Voter turn out was pathetically low.  I suppose people do not think Primary Elections are important and make no effort to vote.  However, by not voting in the Primary Election you are allowing others to dictate your choices in November.  This is how good candidates are removed from voter consideration while others creep in by default.

Glossy smear-tactic postcards evidently did the trick for the five candidates Mr. Hylton supported via his Pottstown Citizens For Responsible Government political action committee.  Hopefully in November voters will turn out in greater numbers and do more research before voting.  Otherwise the Pottstown School Board will become a one-way voting block.

In other election news, Roy’s Rants congratulates Sixth Ward Councilor and “man of the people” Jody Rhoads for his re-election victory.  Jody handily defeated his opponent and will be running unopposed in November!  “Fight When You’re Right”

We thank everyone who voted today and exercised their constitutional right to take part in a free election.  Your vote does make a difference.

Power to the Pottstown People!