Lincoln Elementary School Second Graders Learn About Pottstown

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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It is always great to read stories like this.  Some of Pottstown’s second grade students learned about two import resources in their town – the Pottstown Regional Public Library (PRPL) and the Gallery School on High.  Both businesses are found on Pottstown’s main street, a few blocks apart, and both businesses can help Pottstown’s children learn and succeed.

Three teachers from Lincoln Elementary School Jill Bolonski, Heather Kurtz and Leslie Swartz took their students on an all day field trip to the PRPL and the Gallery School.  To read about what all the students did, click here:

http://pottstownschools.com/pottstown/In%20the%20Spotlight/LINCOLN%20ELEMENTARY%20STUDENTS%20EXPLORE%20%93IN%20TOWN%20CLASSROOM%94/

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to those awesome teachers at Lincoln!

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to the Pottstown Regional Public Library and the Gallery School for being incredibly welcoming and tremendous educational assets in Pottstown.

Links to the PRPL and Gallery School are found on the homepage of this blog under the category Important Pottstown Sites on the right side of your screen.

“M’m, M’m Layoff” Campbell’s Soup To Cut 770 Jobs

Logo of Campbell's Soup Company

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The Campbell Soup Company is laying of 770 people worldwide, including 130 at their Camden, NJ headquarters.

The layoffs represent 4 percent of Campbell’s workforce and will save the company $60 million.  Soup sales are declining domestically and Campbell’s attempts to enter foreign markets has met with minimal success.

Pottstown Fourth Of July Celebration

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Wash...

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I just read the yearly depressing article about our Fourth of July celebration’s funding shortfall in the local print media. Then I read the comments.  I was not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Every year we learn that the committee is seriously short of money and that this could be the last year etc… This year they are so far in the hole who knows.

So I have to wonder…since we have the same problem every stinkin’ year, should we consider doing something different?  Either take a year off and let people “miss it” or figure out better ways to do fundraising.

If everybody would just “give a dollar”…unfortunately, that never happens.  The only way to make sure there is adequate funding is to request money from corporate sponsors earlier and charge a small fee to get into the park.  People collecting money at the parade should be more official looking so there is no doubt where the money is going.

Maybe Mr. Hylton would dust of some of his moldy advertorial money and make a nice donation to help the citizens of Pottstown?  Oh wait…my bad.  Mr. Hylton is saving his pennies for another glossy postcard blitz for the November elections.

Sigh…

Pottstown’s PEAK Program Featured In Philadelphia Inquirer Article

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The Philadelphia Inquirer, the nation’s eleventh largest newspaper, did a great article about Pottstown School District‘s PEAK program.

To read something very positive about our community and school district, click here: http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20110627_Pottstown_program_aims_for_peak_performance_in_kindergarten.html

J.C. Penney Snags Apple Senior VP Ron Johnson – Look For Big Changes

JC Penney is one of the three department store...

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With just okay sales and growth, J.C. Penney has lagged behind competitors like Kohl’s and Macy’s.  J.C. Penney has taken a bold step into the light to try to reclaim more market share.

In November, Ron Johnson, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail will become J.C. Penney’s new CEO.  One only has to visit an Apple store to see what exciting changes may be in store for one of America’s most iconic retailers.  Apple stores are generally crowded!  Apple stores have customer-centric employees and make the most of current technology.  Imagine what applying these principles would do for your J.C. Penney shopping experience! 

Ron Johnson’s leadership has contributed to a record level of growth for Apple’s retail stores.  Johnson previously worked for Target.

To read the rest of the story from the New York Times, click here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/business/economy/15shop.html

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Presents A Joyful, Celebratory ‘Godspell,’ July 13-31

The music and the message are the focus in this production of the Broadway hit by ‘Wicked’ composer Stephen Schwartz.

Accessible performance July 17 will feature Audio Description and Open Captioning for visually and hearing-impaired patrons.

Allentown, Pa. (June 27, 2011) – Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre will present “Godspell,” Stephen Schwartz’s upbeat retelling of biblical parables, as the second Mainstage production of its 2011 season. Directed by Francis X. Kuhn, the show will run July 13-31 in the College’s Baker Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance.

“‘Godspell’ is a celebration,” Kuhn says. “People should come to the theater ready to celebrate and enjoy themselves.”

Based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, “Godspell” is one of the biggest Off-Broadway and Broadway successes of all time. Featuring a beloved and sparkling score, in a variety of musical styles from pop and folk rock to gospel and vaudeville, “Godspell” boasts a string of familiar songs, led by the international hit “Day by Day.”

The show was conceived and originally directed by John-Michael Tebelak with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, the Tony Award-nominated composer of “Pippin” (1972) and “Wicked” (2003). Drawing from various traditions such as clowning, pantomime and song-and-dance, “Godspell” is a groundbreaking and unique reflection on philosophy and faith—with a message of kindness, tolerance and love.

“The story is about the discovery of divine play within ourselves,” Kuhn says. “‘Godspell’ may be a story about Jesus but the play is really a celebration of what is divine in all of us and how we can all become better human beings.”

Kuhn last directed at Muhlenberg in the summer of 1979. He has directed plays, musicals, and operas for theater and opera companies throughout the country, and he is currently an associate professor of theater at The College at Brockport (SUNY) in western New York.

Muhlenberg senior Andrew Clark, who plays Jesus, says that he appreciates the chance to play a role like this because it is different from any other character he has played.

“I’m not really what you would picture when you picture Jesus,” Clark says. “Theater is a way to subvert the norm, and I think that is the essence of ‘Godspell.’ In the show Jesus acts as a storyteller, and we are learning about the stories for their moral values and not necessarily the religious aspects.”

To emphasize the stories, set designer Curtis Dretsch and Kuhn wanted to take the look of their “Godspell” in an unusual direction. Dretsch co-founded Summer Music Theatre 31 years ago and has designed more than 100 sets for Muhlenberg.

“‘Godspell’ is usually overlaid with a notion of specificity — for example street people or a circus setting,” says Dretsch. “For our production we wanted to create a flexible, malleable, obviously theatrical environment.”

Kuhn and Dretsch want the text and the music to be the main focus. The set is very flexible and designed primarily to respond to light. Changes in atmosphere is accomplished through lighting changes.

“This is a much more straightforward, presentational version of the show,” says Dretsch. “The set is there to support, nurture, and present the play.”

The set and lighting also provide a showcase for the choreography by alumnus Will Porter, returning to Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre for the first time since graduating in 2008. Porter will be headed to Tokyo in August as part of the national tour of “A Chorus Line.”

“Returning to Muhlenberg is a blessing,” says Porter. “It’s like a breath of fresh air.”

Porter and Kuhn want to give the show a contemporary look and feel liberated from its 1970s roots and specifically Christian context.

“Personally, I am Buddhist,” Porter says, “But I find many parallels among religions in the songs and stories in ‘Godspell,’ and I am using that as a jumping off point for the choreography.”

The Sunday, July 17, performance at 2 p.m. will feature Open Captioning (OC) for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and Audio Description (AD) for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. Open captioning provides the audience with an unobtrusive electronic text display to the side of the stage, displaying lyrics and dialogue in real time. Audio Description is a form of audio-visual translation, using natural pauses to insert narrative that translates the visual image into an audible form. Patrons use headsets to hear the audio description. This performance is sponsored in part by the Tri-County Accessible Arts Coalition.

“We are excited to bring the first audio described and open captioned performance to the Lehigh Valley community,” says Jess Bien, general manager of Muhlenberg’s Theatre and Dance Department. “By offering these types of performances, we are hoping to provide a whole new audience with the opportunity to experience live theater and some of America’s greatest musicals.”

To purchase audio described and open captioned tickets for the July 17 performance only, please call Jess Bien at 484-664-3087 or email boxoffice@muhlenberg.edu.

“Godspell” runs July 13–31, 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 July 13-16 are $32; seniors age 65 and up, $28; students and children, $18. Tickets for July 17-31 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.

Also featured in MSMT’s 31st season: “Cinderella,” a movement-theater production for families, June 22 – July 30.

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

2011 Pottstown Rumble At Memorial Park This Weekend!

The 20th Annual Pottstown Rumble Grass Doubles Volleyball Tournament will take place in Memorial Park, Pottstown on Saturday, June 25th and Sunday June 26th.  The Rumble is one of the largest and toughest grass doubles volleyball tournaments in the nation.

The two-day event features over 90 nets and 1,700 competitors (2009).  Memorial Park is located off King Street in Pottstown, convenient to Routes 100 and 422.

For more information on all the events click here: http://www.pottstownrumble.net/

The public is invited!

RIP Peter Falk – Columbo Star Dies

Falk was nominated for an Academy Award for hi...

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Peter Falk, star of NBC’s Columbo, died peacefully in his Beverly Hills home on Thursday evening, June 23, 2011.  Peter Falk was 83 and reported to have suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia in his final years.

The Columbo series made Peter Falk a household name.  The character he was so closely identified with playing (Lieutenant Columbo) dressed like a slob, was dumb like a fox and had annoying characteristics.  Yet Lieutenant Columbo always got his man, much to everyone’s surprise.

Falk is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Two More Top Notch Pottstown School District Employees Leaving

The local print newspaper announced today that two elementary principals are leaving PSD.  The revolving door out of Pottstown continues. 

Dr. Angela Tuck (Edgewood) and Robert Giering (Barth) have taken positions at two distinguished elementary schools.  Both schools have received a 10 out of 10 rating from Great Schools.org.  Dr. Tuck is bound for Swarthmore Rutledge School in Delaware County and Robert Giering is joining the Downingtown School District at Uwchlan Hills Elementary School.  Both Tuck and Giering will be principals at their new schools.

Dr. Tuck has been with PSD for 10 years.  Giering has been with PSD for 6 ½ years.

The school district and Task Force are in turmoil; no thanks to Mr. Hylton’s constant meddling.  People are not going to stick around PSD to end up out of a job.  Especially high-caliber employees like Terri Lampe, Angela Tuck and Robert Giering.  These people have marketable skills as shown by their rapid departures.

These headlines will be repeated over and over.  The longer this climate of uncertainty continues the more people will leave.  If Team Hylton wins in November, the end draws nigh.

Pottstown Political Cesspool Claims Another Victim

It is hard to keep good people around Pottstown because eventually they a. get tired of the lack forward momentum or b. they fall out of favor with certain powerful politicos.

The latest casualty is Terri Lampe.  Ms. Lampe was Pottstown’s Economic Development Director until Mr. Hylton decided she was not on his bobble-head hit parade.  If you follow SavePottstown you know all about Mr. Hylton’s feelings toward strong, intelligent women.  Ms. Lampe then took a similar position with the school district (finding money) and from all accounts she was fairly successful. 

So one has to wonder – Why would Ms. Lampe up and leave PSD to go work for the Wyomissing School District in suburban Reading?  I think there are several answers:   

  1. David Krem was well liked here in Pottstown and is now the Superintendent of the Wyomissing School District.  I would suspect David Krem thinks highly of Ms. Lampe.
  2. Wyomissing School District is in better shape than PSD, financially and scholastically (no offense intended at PSD).  Job security!
  3. I would suspect since Mr. Hylton is not on the school board in Wyomissing, the climate is much friendlier.  Ms. Lampe was hired by a unanimous vote, according to the Reading Eagle.  If Mr. Hylton and his “team” win the election in November, then certain PSD staffers are in jeopardy.  Ms. Lampe was not letting any grass grow under her feet waiting for election results.  Who wants to work in a hostile environment?

Sadly, there are others who Mr. Hylton would like to “get out of his way”.  If he gains control of the school board in November it will only be a matter of time until they are gone – on their terms or Mr. Hylton’s terms.

Responsible Tom strikes again (maybe only as a contributing factor, nevertheless I am surmising he factored into that decision).

Best wishes to Ms. Lampe in her new position as Development Director of the Wyomissing School District.

Travel/Tourism Links Added

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

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Being that the summer travel months are upon us and because I support all things Pennsylvania, I have added a generous number of links to Convention/Visitor websites across the state.  It is a representative sampling of travel destinations across our 67 counties and is not meant to be a complete list.

With the state of the economy and gas prices being higher than we would all like, I invite you to consider vacationing in Pennsylvania.  The diversity of our state is truly amazing.

The new links are found on the right side of the home page (you will need to scroll down as the links are in alphabetical order, by category).

Have a safe trip!

Urban Farm Proposed In Lancaster

The School District of Lancaster maintains a 21-acre vacant lot across from Wheatland Middle School.  A Lancaster City resident, Ben Weiss, would like to turn 10 of these vacant acres into farms and a garden.  Weiss runs two organic farms in Mount Joy and Millersville.

Weiss would actually farm five acres, four acres will be available as “incubator plots” for other farmers and the last acre would be devoted to a community farm and garden.

To read the entire article, click below:

http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/408596_Farmer-wants-land-near-school-for-crops.html

Pottstown Community Land Trust And Gallery On High Sponsoring Juried Logo Contest And Exhibition

Mosaic glass tile mural

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MOSAIC  Community Land Trust

And

GALLERY on HIGH

Take part in piecing together our community in visual harmony

Exhibit dates: September 2 – 10 at The Gallery on High

Reception: Wednesday, September 7 from 7-9 PM

Drop off: Monday, August 29 from 11 AM-1 PM and from 6-8 PM

Pick-up: Monday, September 12 from 6-7:30 PM or Tuesday September 13 from 11 AM-1 PM

Winner will be announced on September 7 at the Reception

The Gallery on High and MOSAIC are proud to announce an open call to artists for a juried logo design competition and exhibit.

Winning design will be selected as the logo for The Pottstown Community Land Trust, and $500 will be awarded to the artist.  Submissions may be in 2D or 3D in any media; all submissions must include a mosaic styled image.

All submissions must be original to the artist submitting.

Pottstown is in the midst of revitalization.  Its history is tied to the river, the steel industry, Mrs. Smith’s Pies and manufacturing.  Charming 18th & 19th century architecture lines its streets.  The ARTS and INNOVATION are key to the sustainability of our renaissance.  Designs should bring out the many meanings of “mosaic” for Pottstown:  bringing together a multi-faceted, multi-hued community; putting broken shards together to create a thing of beauty; and recognizing the rough-around-the-edges nature of its past.

To download registration and inventory list please click on the following links:

http://www.galleryonhigh.com/MOSAIC_reg_form_rev.pdf

http://www.galleryonhigh.com/MOSAICS_inventory_rev.pdf

PNC Buys Royal Bank’s Retail Branches For $3.45 Billion

Royal Bank of Canada at Woodbine & 16th

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Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank is gobbling up all of Royal Bank of Canada’s U.S.branches – 424 locations in all.  The acquisition will make PNC the fifth largest U.S. bank with 2,870 branches.

RBC USA locations are in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

The acquisition is expected to close in March of 2012.

Reading Based Carpenter Technology Poised To Buy Second Company This Year

Berks County’s fifth-largest employer (2009), Carpenter Technology Corp., announced their $558 million agreement to buy Latrobe Specialty Steel Company.  Latrobe Specialty Steel Company manufactures and distributes high-performance materials for aerospace, defense, energy, and other significant applications with manufacturing operations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, the United Kingdom and seven distribution centers throughout the United States.  In January, Carpenter purchased Amega West Services, LLC, a Houston-based directional drilling component manufacturer and service provider for $54 million.

Latrobe Specialty Steel is headquartered in Latrobe, PA.  Latrobe is 47 miles east of downtown Pittsburgh in Westmoreland County.  The company has been in business since 1913 (Latrobe Electric Steel Company) and employs about 800 people at its various locations.  Latrobe was formerly home to the Latrobe Brewing Company (Rolling Rock beer), golf legend Arnold Palmer and Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame (Won’t You Be My Neighbor).  Latrobe’s airport is named after Arnold Palmer, who was a pilot.

Carpenter Technology produces and distributes conventional and powder metal specialty alloys, including stainless steels, titanium alloys, tool steels and superalloys.  The company is strengthening its place in the specialty steel market and expanding their services into other compatible manufacturing areas.  Carpenter Technology, headquartered in Spring Township just outside Reading, PA, is an important player in the economy of Berks County.

Carpenter Technology Corp. is traded on the NYSE as CRS and the company website is http://www.cartech.com/

Weiner Roast: Rep. Anthony Weiner jokes

Here are some of the one-liners hitting the late-night talk shows and Twitter regarding the Rep. Anthony Weiner sexting scandal. (Just in case you aren’t tired of getting a laugh out of this yet!)
 
From the Morning Call:
 

Domestic Violence Workshop for Mental Health Professionals‏

Domestic Violence Through A Trauma Lens Workshop

Friday, July 15, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

North Penn Community Health Foundation,

2506 N Broad Street, Suite 206

Colmar, PA 18915

A workshop for mental health professionals who work with persons who have been or who are being victimized by domestic violence.

FEE: $15.00

Registration must be received by Friday, July 8, 2011

Please complete and submit the attached registration form to Minna Davis at 610-277-1860 ext. 118 or mdavis@laurel-house.org

Urban Gardening In Pittsburgh And The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

Pittsburgh is leading the way into the “green” and sustainable lifestyle for a big city.  An ambitious project, that has been 20 years in the making, is the transformation of a former mining site, mostly in North Fayette Township, into a community garden.  Talk about taking lemons and making lemonade!

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is a work in progress.  The finished project will be 450 acres of public garden.  Yes, you read that correctly 450 acres!  It is hoped the Botanic Garden will attract a minimum of 300,000 visitors per year.  This Botanic Garden has another ten years to go before completion and will end up costing $30 million.  Phase One, which is expected to open in 2012, will be the Wildflower and Woodland Trail.  The Botanic Garden will be 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh.

The leftover coal extracted from the site is being sold to help pay for the $7.9 million clean up.  Grants have been received from various organizations to help pay for projects over the years.

One of the fundraising methods being used for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden is the annual Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s Town & Country Open Garden Day Tour.  The tour, which is in its 14th year, raises much needed money for the Botanic Garden project.  The tour features 14 gardens.  Six of the 14 gardens are located in Pittsburgh’s Southside neighborhood.  The Southside is an urban neighborhood of densely packed homes with small lots.  Not exactly an area most people would think of as a garden paradise.

In addition to the Southside, the tour also visits Sewickley, Observatory Hill, Brighton Heights and Ben Avon.  You can take a bus tour or the less expensive self-guided tour.  There are two rooftop gardens on the tour this year!  The gardens are a mixture of urban, suburban, large, small, formal and informal – a little something for everyone.

The tour is Sunday, June 26th from 9 – 5.  The bus leaves at 8:30 a.m.  The bus tour, which includes lunch (Andora’s), is $110.  The self-guided tour is $50.  There is a $10 discount for members.  The deadline to buy tickets is Tuesday, June 21st.  Tickets can be purchased online or at several locations listed on the website.

The bus departure and drop-off point is the PSI Building, 850 Poplar St., Green Tree.

For more details visit the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden website: http://www.pittsburghbotanicgarden.org/events/garden-sale/

Or call (412) 444-4464

Watch a video about the reclamation process at the Botanic Garden site!

New York Post Slams Weiner’s Farewell News Conference

The New York Post took a parting shot at Anthony Weiner today on their Editorial Page.  The title of the piece is “Graceless To The End.

Referring to Weiner’s farewell “whine”, the Post rips into his self-inflicted media circus and fall from grace, noting he is arrogant, self-obsessed and self-righteous among other things.

To read the entire editorial from the New York Post:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/graceless_to_the_end_swoDw2zQm9xNlpRK2X5FuM