Theta Xi Suspended At California University Of PA

Last weekend’s mega party at the Theta Xi house caused an uproar with college and borough law enforcement.  The California University of Pennsylvania Chapter of Theta Xi is being suspended by their national governing body as a result.  Last weekend’s “festivities” resulted in about 90 citations issued for alcohol related offenses across the borough.

California University officials are most likely placing those cited on probation and ordering offenders into alcohol education programs.  This crackdown was a joint venture between Cal U and California Borough.

Coffee Roaster Locates In Midtown Harrisburg

Coffe perculator fountain version. Halboffene ...

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Harrisburg’s Midtown renaissance keeps chugging along.  The latest addition to the neighborhood is Little Amps Coffee Roasters.  Little Amps will hold their grand opening, tomorrow, October 1st, from 8am to 2pm.  Little Amps will be Harrisburg’s first coffee roaster!

The shop will feature coffee and a continental breakfast type menu. Hours will be 7am to 2pm Monday thru Friday and 8am to 2pm on Saturdays.

The shop is located at 1836 Green Street, at the corner of Muench Street, in Olde Uptown Harrisburg.  This area is being transformed by the private sector.  Little Amps will be part of this transformation.

For more information, check out their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Amps-Coffee-Roasters/194827143874300 

OR check out their website at: http://littleampscoffee.com/

Meet The Montgomery County Commissioner Candidates – October 6

Meet the County Commissioner Candidates – October 6

The Greater North Penn Collaborative invites the Tri-County Community Network and your members and colleagues to join us on Thursday, October 6 at 9 a.m. at the Community Partners Building, 2506 N. Broad St., Colmar, PA  18915 in the Walton Room to meet the county commissioner candidates, hear their views, and ask questions of them. This is a wonderful opportunity for the nonprofit community in Montgomery County to weigh in with your needs and concerns. Remember, 3 of the 4 candidates in attendance will become commissioners. Decisions on the allocation of federal and state funds will be made by those elected.

This candidates forum will take place as part of our regular membership meeting that runs from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Carpooling is strongly advised.

We expect to have a full house, so only if you plan to attend, please respond to Betsy Roush, betsyroush@comcast.net, 215-234-4022, with the names, emails, and organizations of any attendees you are registering.

Flea Market For Charity – Gilbertsville

Flea Market for Charity

Sponsored by NetWorks of TriCounty

When: October 15, 8am to 1pm

Where: FastPro Restoration, 1600 Swamp Pike, Gilbertsville PA 19525

Wanted: Shoppers  No experience necessary!!!

Vendors – call 215 256-6477 for space availability

(Rain date October 22, 2011)

Pottstown School District Parent Literacy Nights

Parent Literacy Nights

The Pottstown School District, in partnership with Step By Step Learning®, will be offering a series of Parent Literacy Nights for students who are pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade ages and their parents.  These Parent Literacy Nights will focus on helping parents develop the skills to assist their children in learning to read at home.  The Series is a FREE tool to help you promote literacy within your home.  Come to any or all of the Event Nights…In addition to a wealth of quality information, there will be refreshments, prizes, raffles and games each night of the series.

5:30 Tuesday Nights- Pottstown Middle School

September 13, October 4, October 25, November 15, December 6

• Refreshments! • Nightly Prizes!• Grand Prize Raffle! • Free Child Care!

To Pre-Register, please call 610-970-6603

Governor Corbett Forms Advisory Council On Privatization And Innovation

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As promised in his budget address, Governor Tom Corbett today announced he has created a new Governor’s Advisory Council on Privatization and Innovation to explore if any functions now performed by state government might be better and more cost-effectively performed by the private sector.

“We have an obligation to taxpayers to find new and innovative ways to make government more efficient,” Governor Corbett said. “This panel will further evaluate potential privatization, public-private partnerships or managed-competition opportunities with the ultimate goal of streamlining government and saving taxpayers’ dollars.”…

Click here to read the rest of the article: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/governor-corbett-forms-advisory-council-on-privatization-and-innovation-130798908.html

Harrisburg Moving Closer To State Financial Takeover

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 185 – 9 in favor of a bill that will allow a state-appointed receiver to take control of Harrisburg’s finances.

It is also very liked this bill will overwhelmingly pass in the PA State Senate!

Harrisburg is a financially distressed community under ACT 47.  City Council has refused to comply with recommendations made by the Act 47 team and the mayor’s proposal was also vetoed.

PA State Senator Jeff Piccola is leading the charge for a state takeover.  Harrisburg is hundreds of millions of dollars in debt from a failed incinerator retrofit.

Governor Corbett is expected to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

Wilmington Trust Offers Itself To M&T Bank At Half-Price

Wilmington Trust headquarters with the I. M. P...

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This venerable Delaware bank started by the du Pont family has fallen on hard times.  After sustaining some large losses over the last several quarters, the bank started looking for a buyer.  M&T Bank has acquired Wilmington Trust and will inherit a strong presence in Delaware.

Wilmington Trust is a casualty of the recession – low investment earnings and the housing market grinding to a halt have affected the bank’s ability to make enough revenue.

At present, no member of the du Pont family sits on the bank’s board, although some family members are depositors.  One of Wilmington Trust’s specialties is wealth management.  They have a number of clients with a $10,000,000+ in liquid assets for a total of $58.4 billion.

Sadly, this is another more or less “local” bank that’s being gobbled up by a super-regional player.  M&T Bank has bought up smaller banks and expanded their presence.  Delaware will expand M&T’s market to ten states, primarily along the East Cost.  M&T Bank, based in Buffalo,NY, has reported profits for 34 years in a row.

Controlled Deer Kill To Be Conducted At Gettysburg Battlefield

Battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

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A controlled hunt will be conducted in the next six months by the Park Service staff at Gettysburg Battlefield and the Eisenhower National Historic Site to thin the deer herd by about 150 animals.  The population spiked recently to 80 animals per square mile.  The goal is 25 animals per square mile.

The hunt will be conducted at night and in areas closed to the public.  The venison will be donated to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Harrisburg.  A portion of that will return to Adams County.  Last year 17,000 pounds of venison was donated to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank.

An overabundance in the deer population can prevent forest regeneration and stress the ecosystem.  They cause damage to private property, farms, fields and can interfere with overall park management.

Yet Another Movie To Start Filming In Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh is becoming Hollywood East.  Another movie, starring Tom Cruise, will begin filming in Pittsburgh in October.  The movie, One Shot, will film through the end of the year.

Tom, Katie and Suri were spotted in Wexford, PA over the weekend on a family outing.

One Shot has a targeted release date of February 2013 according to Paramount Pictures.  The movie is a murder mystery.

Huge Alcohol Crackdown At California University Of Pennsylvania

Map of Washington County higlighting California.

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Over the weekend police in California, Pennsylvania were busy writing up dozens of citations for underage drinking and alcohol-related offenses.  38 people were cited, at various locations in California Borough, for disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, holding a loud party, having an open container of alcohol and underage drinking.

James Donofrio, 21, of Venetia, is charged with supplying alcohol to minors, tampering with evidence and disorderly conduct.

Two people were taken to Mon Valley Hospital for consuming too much alcohol.

The Brownsville Telegraph is also reporting that 90 citations were issued at the Theta X Frat House over the weekend, mostly for underage drinking.  California University of Pennsylvania is located within the borough of California, PA.

Merger? Harleysville And Nationwide

Location of Lower Salford Township in Montgome...

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There is much speculation that Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is looking to swallow up much smaller Harleysville Insurance (HGIC).  These rumors caused Harleysville‘s stock price to jump 24 percent last week.  Harleysville is based in Lower Salford Township, Montgomery County.  Nationwide is based in Columbus, OH.

Harleysville had a large loss in second quarter this fiscal year.

An interesting side note – the same man who founded Harleysville Insurance Company also founded Harleysville National Bank.  Harleysville National Bank recently merged with Buffalo, NY based First Niagara.  What a sad coincidence it would be if this company succumbed to an out-of-state merger and disappeared as well.

Guns N’ Roses Coming To Wilkes-Barre

Are you an 80′s hair-band fan?  If so, you may want to head to Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, November 20th to catch Guns N’ Roses in their first U.S. tour in five years.

Tickets go on sale October 1st via Ticketmaster and the arena box office.

For more information: http://web.gunsnroses.com/index.jsp

or http://www.mohegansun.com/entertainment/arena.html

Great Year For York County Apple Crop

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

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Considering the earthquake, tornadoes, flooding, drought, excessive heat and stink bugs, York County‘s apple crop could end up having a banner year.  Many fruits and vegetables did not fare well this summer with the erratic weather.  However, the apple crop has been unaffected.  The rain has kept the stink bugs at bay.   One York County apple grower referred to her crop as “tremendous”.

Adjoining Adams County is the number one fruit producing county in the state.  Experts fear that climate change could limit apple production to the northern counties of Pennsylvania by mid-century.

Muhlenberg’s ‘New Voices’ Festival Showcases World Premiere Plays

Evening of one-act plays includes full productions

of new works by five emerging playwrights

Allentown, Pa. (Sept. 23, 2011)—Muhlenberg College will present the world premiere of five new short plays by emerging playwrights, during the Theatre & Dance Department’s “New Voices” festival, Oct. 1-5. The department produces a “New Voices” festival every other year as part of its mainstage season.

“‘New Voices’ is an opportunity for audiences to see some provocative new plays for the first time anywhere, by very talented young writers,” says Charles Richter, Muhlenberg’s director of theater and the artistic director of the festival. “It has great ‘I was there when’ potential for the audience—that 20 years down the road, they’ll be able to say they saw a prominent playwright’s very first produced play.”

The evening of one-acts is about two hours long, including intermission. It will be presented for six performances in Muhlenberg’s intimate 100-seat Studio Theatre. The evening includes plays ranging in subject matter from a dramatic crisis at the family dinner table to a bizarre business meeting.

Zach Trebino’s “…continuance…” explores the mother-son dynamic in an innovative, often-surreal piece, in which the characters act out a pivotal event from earlier in the mother’s life.

“A lot of my work is word-based; it’s an artistic experiment,” says Trebino, a 2011 graduate whose last project at Muhlenberg was directing last season’s mainstage production “Polaroid Stories. “I wrote the actual story that is being told by the mother first, and then about a year later added on the extra role-playing layer.”

Trebino directed a well-received production of Georg Buchner’s “Woyzeck” for the Philly Fringe Festival 2011, presented by his theater collective, Homunculus, Inc. One reviewer called the production “painfully good. … It worked exquisitely.”

Directing “…continuance…” is another returning alum, Vanessa Lancellotti, a 2010 graduate. In December, Lancellotti founded Punch Theatre, a physical theater company influenced by the commedia dell’arte performance style. With Punch, she has directed two original productions in the spring and summer of 2011: “The Skin You Leave Behind,” in New York, and “Architecture,” performed in New York and at the CrisisArt Festival in Tuscany, Italy.

“This is a great opportunity to come back to Muhlenberg and work with the next generation of students,” Lancellotti says. “I’m used to having to do everything myself with Punch, and it’s a luxury to be working with a great team.”

Lancellotti also directs Davis Alieniello’s “Make Your Acquaintance,” which Alieniello describes as “a glimpse of a very peculiar lunch meeting; ridiculousness ensues.”

To me, this play says a lot about the amount of energy we put into self-construction,” he says. “I think it prevents us from forming actual connections. We spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves in a bubble, hyper-self-conscious about who we are and how we come off.”

Shannon Leigh Wittenberger’s “Transcranium,” directed by Danielle Barlow ’13, examines relationships—but from inside the befuddled head of its protagonist. Either her boyfriend is real, and her psychiatrist is imaginary, or it’s the other way around. Or maybe neither one is real.

“There was this TV commercial, with a therapist talking to a patient about a giant imaginary pizza oven,” Wittenberg ’11 says. “The shrink says, ‘You know the pizza oven’s not real,’ and I started thinking, what if he responds, ‘The pizza oven says you’re not real.’ That was the starting point. The pizza oven turned into a boyfriend, of course.”

Eliana Sagarin’s “Fast,” directed by Amanda Lenti ’12, offers a retrospective of a friendship between two teenage boys, who turn out to be very different from one another.

“The play is a journey to unearth the ties that bind us to the people we care about,” Sagarin ’14 says. “I think Muhlenberg celebrates risks. In this festival, the diversity is so apparent and each play takes a risk in a different way.”

Kate Brenner’s “You Understand,” directed by Richter, depicts a modern family that rapidly unravels one night over the course of dinner—and the aftermath of the unraveling.

“I wanted the audience to ask questions about what should happen when things don’t go as planned,” Brenner ’13 says. “What lengths do people go to, to preserve their status quo?”

In addition to the five fully produced plays, the festival will feature staged readings of four other short plays, in a free performance Oct. 2 and 5 in the Baker Center for the Arts Recital Hall. The readings are directed by Bill Mutimer and feature the work of Dan Brennan ’11, Leah Holleran ’12, Josh Shapiro ’13, and Aly Trombitas ’14.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The college offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranks Muhlenberg’s production program first in the nation, and the Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States.

“New Voices” performances are Saturday through Wednesday, Oct. 1-5, at 8 p.m., as well as Sunday, Oct. 2, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for patrons 17 and under. Performances are in the Studio Theatre, Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown.

The “New Voices” Staged Readings performance is Sunday, Oct. 2, at 5 p.m., and Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m., in the Recital Hall, Baker Center for the Arts. Admission is free, and tickets are not required.

“New Voices” is for mature audiences. Performance information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or www.muhlenberg.edu/theatre.

Pittsburgh Scores High Marks From Abduction Cast Member And Producer

Great article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the filming of Abduction, which opens in theaters today.  The movie filmed in Greater Pittsburgh for 51 days and stars Taylor Lautner from Twilight.  The movie includes scenes from around Pittsburgh and even Fiddle’s Diner in Brownsville, Fayette County.  The Pittsburgh area is becoming an increasingly popular location for Hollywood film makers along with other areas of Pennsylvania.

To read the article, click here:

http://ht.ly/6D7l9

Lehigh Valley Air Quality Not Good

US Air Quality Index Map-1/23/2009

Image via Wikipedia

Like Lancaster, the Lehigh Valley does not have good air quality.  The Lehigh Valley was rated 13th on the list of smoggiest mid-sized metropolitan areas in the nation.  Lancaster was ranked 10th. 

Pennsylvania ranks as the sixth smoggiest state in the U.S.  Air pollution is linked to respiratory problems such as asthma and allergies.

Simon Cowell’s X Factor

I watched the X Factor last night and throughly enjoyed it.  I miss Simon and Paula on Idol.  I do enjoy Jennifer and Steven as Idol judges, so no offense to them.

Simon seemed a little kinder and Paula was very lucid.  The addition of L.A. Reid as a judge is great.  Nicole I can take or leave.  I never thought I would say this but Ryan Seacrest is a better host than whoever they have on X Factor.

I like the fact that Simon appears to pay attention to the audience reaction more than when he was on Idol.  There were times on Idol that Simon should have paid a bit more attention to an overwhelmingly positive audience reaction and did not.

I am looking forward to next week already!  I want more!

Bistro 137 – A Restaurant Review

As promised, I visited Bistro 137 on High Street in downtown Pottstown for breakfast this morning.  I have some interior shots for you and a review of breakfast.

When my breakfast companion and I entered the restaurant we were cheerfully greeted by what appeared to be the owner and two young women who were servers.  We were the only customers for a little while but while we were there 4-5 people came in and ordered breakfast to go.

The interior has been redone.  It is bright and cheerful, yet tasteful.  The menu gives diners a nice selection without overwhelming them with too many choices.

My friend ordered coffee and I ordered hot tea.  Coffee and tea come in three sizes, small, medium and large.  We both ordered a medium, which is a nice size.  My friend likes a good cup of coffee.  Her rating on the coffee was excellent (and she has high standards).

A wooden box was brought to the table and I was allowed to choose my tea from at least a dozen flavors.  Since it was breakfast, I stuck with good old Lipton.  Sweeteners are on the table.  Skim milk, whole milk and half and half are available for those who like a little cow with their beverage.  Hot drinks come in paper cups like at Wawa, with a cozy to keep your hand from getting too hot and a lid.  This is nice if you don’t finish your beverage; you can walk right out the door with it.  Mediums are $1.85.

We both decided on an omelet.  My friend ordered the American omelet and I ordered the Italian omelet.  They come with a choice of bread or roll.  We both decided on a roll with some basil in it.  I especially thought that would be a nice compliment to my Italian omelet.  After a reasonable amount of time, the food emerged from the kitchen.  It was hot and delicious. 

The Italian omelet is filled with Mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, peppers and onions.  It was a nice size and had just the right amount of each ingredient.  The basil roll was large and excellent (just the right amount of basil).  The server brought us butter for our rolls and for once there was enough butter!

My friend’s American omelet was filled with American cheese and bacon.  She thoroughly enjoyed it!  It appeared to have a decent amount of bacon in it.  The omelets were the same size, so their portion control is consistent.  She had the same basil roll and enjoyed it as well.

The atmosphere is casual, comfortable and we enjoyed a nice conversation about movies while we were there.  Good place to grab a bite with family or friends and relax.  Prices won’t kill your budget either.  The omelets were $4.50 each.  Our total bill, including drinks and tax was $13.46

We give two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Bistro 137.  We plan on making a return trip to review their lunch menu.

Hours of operation are daily from 7:30am to 2:30pm. 

Voice:  (484) 300-4829

Internet: www.bistro137.com

Poverty Rate Climbing In Pennsylvania

Number in Poverty and Poverty Rate: 1959 to 20...

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According to statistics released from the U.S. Census Bureau, families in Pennsylvania are worse off than they were 10 years ago.

Cumberland County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 6.2 percent in 1999 to 7.8 percent.

Dauphin County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 12 percent to 20 percent!

Lebanon County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 8.9 percent to 15.2 percent.

York County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 7.1 percent to 11.4 percent

Crawford County saw its poverty rate for families increase from 16.2 percent to 20.7 percent.

Erie County saw its poverty rate rise to 17.4 percent while the City of Erie’s poverty rate increased six percent to 30.2 percent and is the second-highest poverty rate in Pennsylvania.

The City of Reading has a poverty rate of 41.3 percent and comes in at numero uno!  Poverty rates for other major Pennsylvania cities are Allentown 27 percent, Philadelphia 26.7 percent, Pittsburgh 22.3 percent, 21.1 in Scranton and 20.9 in Bethlehem.

The poverty rate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is 13.4 percent or more than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians.  More than half a million people living in poverty are children under the age of 18!

These rates are higher for minority families.  For example, 45 percent of blacks and Hispanic families in Erie live under the poverty level.  The poverty rate is 25 percent for white residents.

The U.S.poverty rate hit a 17 year high of 15.1 percent.  46.2 million people in the United States were living below the poverty level in 2010.  The federal poverty level for a family of four is a yearly income of less than $22,314.