John Crowe is the top North American executive for Saint-Gobain, the $55 billion- a-year French construction- materials maker that traces its roots to the group that built Versailles for King Louis XIV. Crowe has been looking for a place to build another palace – in Pennsylvania – as Saint-Gobain’s U.S. base and showroom.
To replace the company’s aging U.S. headquarters near Valley Forge, Crowe scouted sites for “an absolutely spectacular building that will incorporate all aspects of what we know as a building-materials company in terms of energy efficiency and a sustainable, open, collaborative workplace,” he tells me. Plus, a research and development center to replace the old labs in Blue Bell.
The search, extended by the recession, took Saint- Gobain six years. The company plans to announce this week that it has picked a potentially spectacular fixer-upper, an $80 million-plus expansion of the once-innovative but now-rusted and vacant complex built in 1969 by the former National Liberty Life Insurance Co. on 65 acres north of Malvern, close to the new State Route 29 ramp from the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Area natives Daryl Hall and John Oates will formally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The most successful duo of the rock ‘n’ roll era — including six gold-selling No. 1 singles and 29 hits overall on Billboard’s Top 40 chart between 1976 and 1990 — Hall & Oates will be part of the hall’s Class of 2014 performer inductees, which include Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Kiss, Cat Stevens, Linda Ronstadt, and The E Street Band.
Hall & Oates are expected to be among the inductees performing during the ceremony, which will be broadcast May 31 on HBO.
When asked if he could offer any hints as to what songs Hall & Oates would play, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum President and CEO Greg Harris said he expected the duo to cover their major hits while representing each era of their career.
WEST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP, PA – Sunoco Logistics Partners L.L.C. was granted a continuance Thursday night of its zoning hearing regarding a pump station it wants to put in at the corner of Boot Road and Route 202, much to the objection of hundreds of residents.
According to zoning board solicitor Mark Thompson, Sunoco originally appeared before the zoning hearing board three weeks ago and asked for the hearing to be continued to Thursday night. Between the last zoning hearing and Thursday, Sunoco submitted a request for continuance of the hearing. Thompson said he believed the reason for the request was to allow Sunoco time to find out answers to questions raised during the last hearing.
The project in the township, part of Sunoco’s Mariner East pipeline, includes the development of a pump enclosure, piping, valves and a vapor combustion system to be 34-feet high, according to the zoners.
The pump station would be constructed over existing pipelines that Sunoco previously shipped distilled petroleum through. The pipelines would be re-purposed to deliver natural gas liquids from Marcellus Shale areas in western Pennsylvania to the Marcus Hook refinery in Delaware County, Pennsylvania and New Castle County, Delaware.
LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP, PA — Not that she needed a reminder that all politics are local, but Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards still remembers one of the first calls she got on the historic night she and Commissioners Chairman Josh Shapiro made history by being the first Democrats to take the majority in 100 years.
“I’ll never forget one of the first calls I got on election night,” she said March 24 as she, Shapiro and Commissioner Bruce Castor conducted the last of their roundtable meetings around the county, this one at the Lower Pottsgrove Township Building.
“I said ‘hello’ and the voice on the other end said ‘so when is the new Keim Street Bridge going to be finished?’”
The answer, she gave Monday, is that the project is “moving forward.”
WESTTOWN TOWNSHIP, PA— Abruptly and without explanation, township supervisors have replaced Township Manager Bob Layman.
“We don’t discuss personnel matters,” said Carol DeWolf, chairwoman of the board of supervisors. “We have handled all of this in executive session as we are allowed to.”
Supervisors declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding Layman’s departure.
According to the township code “the Manager shall be appointed for an indefinite term by a majority of all the members of the Board, shall serve at the pleasure of the Board, and shall be subject to removal by the Board by majority vote. At least 15 days before such removal, the Board shall furnish the Manager with a written statement setting forth its intention to remove the Manager.”
Layman served the township for 11 years.
It’s now officially spring, but more snow is on its way to the Philadelphia region.
The National Weather Service says a few inches of snow are expected to fall between Tuesday morning and early Wednesday, with most of the Philadelphia area seeing between 1.5 and 3.5 inches.
Unemployment in the Philadelphia metropolitan area rose in January to 7.1 percent, up from 6.4 percent in December, but down from 9 percent in January 2013, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday.
WEST CHESTER, PA – A 23-year-old man addicted to heroin told a Common Pleas Court judge he wants to make a change in his life when the time comes for him to walk out of prison.
Instead of robbing banks to fund his addiction, as Michael Brown pleaded guilty to before Judge Anne Marie Wheatcraft on Tuesday, he would rather find a job that allows him to speak to people dealing with the same problem.
Brown, a high school dropout who had been addicted to heroin for three years, told the judge he would appreciate the chance to tell others just starting on the road to drug addiction about how he had made the same mistake, only to see his life ruined by having to feed his habit, court observers said.
Wheatcraft appeared impressed with Brown’s determination, and in a recommendation to the state Department of Corrections, suggested that he be allowed to serve his prison sentence at SCI Chester, which has an advanced drug rehabilitation program for inmates.
It looks like the storm we have been watching for days will take on a similar track as the one two weeks ago, when most of the snow fell across southeast New Jersey and Delaware. This storm should generally follow the same path.
Computer models for the last several days have differed largely on the outcome for this storm. Ranging from the North American model blasting us with heavy snow, the global forecasting model ejecting the storm off the Florida coast and the European and Canadian models painting a swath of heavy snow just east of Philly.
Then a wild swing with the global models put Philly back into the heavy snow as the North American model completely went the other way – with no snow for Philly.
Teleflex Corp. responded to American industrial decline by selling or closing down its old car, boat and factory controls plants. It shrank its workforce by half (and by two-thirds in the U.S.)., and switched to the medical-devices business. It worked, if the stock market is the measure: The company has been trading at record levels.
Next step was to do something about its old Limerick Township headquarters. “We were in a large campus, off the main thoroughfares, where we had manufacturing facilities for the now-divested operations, reflective of our previous era,” says Cam Hicks, Teleflex’s vice president for global HR.
“We wanted a place where we could get access to new talent, and position ourselves for growth, while increasing our visibility, without a net increase in commute time” for headquarters workers scattered through Philadelphia’s western suburbs.
Last week the company moved into its new digs at CrossPoint, a Tredyffrin office park near US 202, which has itself been recycled out of foreclosure. To build the center, 1970s-era buildings at the former Valley Forge Office Center have been connected by a glass atrium packed with amenities that office workers used to have to drive off to find, and updated from an earlier, Monopoly-board vision of suburban business, which set office parks here, restaurants up there, recreation over that way.
The nor’easter that crippled the region yesterday dumped more than 20 inches in parts of Chester County, according to newly revised figures – and a bit more could be on the way for the entire Philadelphia region.
The official National Weather Service reading at the Philadelphia International Airport was 11.5 inches of snow. But totals varied with Birdsboro, Berks County, recording 20 inches, and Allentown, Lehigh County, with 18.8 inches – good news for skiers on a long President’s Day weekend. Closer to the city, West Caln, Chester County recorded 18.7 inches.
New Jersey saw higher amounts farther north, with Florence, Burlington County, seeing 12.7 inches and Washington Township, Gloucester County, seeing 12.7 inches. The shore was largely spared snow.
Update: At 8:45 a.m. Saturday, about 152,000 were still without electricity, according to Peco, down from 715,000 at the outage’s peak. Sixteen percent of the Pennsylvania suburbs remain without power; including 30% in Chester County.
Nearly 40 percent of Chester County remained powerless late Friday, with several communities entirely dark for a third straight night and officials warning that it might be days before all the lights were back on.
Peco, which had more than 5,000 utility workers – half from out of town – clearing downed trees and repairing wires Friday, continued to make progress restoring power, with more than 60,000 customers brought online during the day. At 10 p.m. Friday, about 182,000 were still without electricity, down from 715,000 at the outage’s peak.
Peco ranked the event as the largest winter power outage in its history, second overall to 2012′s Hurricane Sandy.
Our thanks go out to VVA Chester County Chapter 436 for their donation of $1,000.00 to the Memorial Fund for the Pottstown Chapter. Everyone was very surprised and very grateful. Frank Strunk, Pottstown Chapter president (left) is receiving the check from Ken Schweitzer, Chester County Chapter (right).
The funds will go to help with the upkeep of the memorial and also help with all the services scheduled to start in the spring.
Thanks again guys for the support!!
Snow has been falling at rates of 1-2 inches per hour, with some places, such as northern Chester County counting 7 inches as of 11 a.m., and Horsham and Worcester in Montgomery County and West Rockhill Township in Bucks County, counting 6 inches.
Some places in Lehigh Valley are reporting 6 inches, as well.
Closer to the City of Philadelphia, Brookhaven in Delaware County, near the airport, was reporting 3.5 inches as of 10:30 a.m.
Just across the river, as of 11:15 a.m., the rain-snow line has halted, and actually in Haddonfield has changed back to some rain and sleet as that line oscillates around 10 miles south and east of the city.
WEST CHESTER, PA – Officials have finalized the list of individuals who will serve on the task force that is updating the borough’s comprehensive plan over the next year.
The 11-member committee was formed after council members participated in more than three hours of interviews Wednesday night.
Council Members on the task force are Bill Scott and Cassandra Jones. Other members selected were: Holly Brown, business representative; Diane Herrin, BLUER representative; and John Theilacker of the Brandywine Conservancy.
Residents on the group include Linda Landenberg, Jonathon Long, Mark Thompson, Courtney Finneran, Jeff Beitel, Dennis Harney.
Things are looking up for regional rail.
In an attempt to increase passenger capacity, SEPTA is in the early stages of considering bi-level coaches. With an upstairs and a downstairs, these coaches could transport anywhere from 120 to 170 passengers. Most important to SEPTA, they would provide an efficient remedy to booming regional rail ridership. Silverliner Vs can seat 109 passengers.
Last year alone, SEPTA passengers took 36 million regional rail trips – a record high on the system that has seen 50 percent regional rail ridership growth in the last 15 years. Now, aided by Act 89 funding, SEPTA is looking to increase its capacity and better serve those customers. One way the authority plans to do so is to build up.
“The real elegant solution to dealing with capacity issues, the most efficient one is to utilize the infrastructure you have but go up in the air with the cars so you can increase seating,” said Jeff Knueppel, deputy general manager.
SOUTH COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, PA— The Owen J. Roberts School Board unanimously approved a real estate tax appeal settlement with Coventry Retail, LP, that lowers the assessed value of the Coventry Mall from $98 million in 2012 to $23.2 million in 2014.
The reassessment will equate to a loss of about $2 million a year in property tax revenues to the district.
In addition to the revenue loss, the agreement is retroactive to 2012, so the district will have to repay mall owners $1,619,799 of taxes paid in 2012, 2013 and 2014. In accordance with the agreement, $650,000 of that will be paid in cash within 60 days, according to attorney David L. Allebach Jr., who represented the board on this matter. The remaining funds will be credited to the mall against future taxes,
District officials had anticipated that cost and have reserved the full $1.6 million, according to district Chief Financial Officer Jaclin Krumrine. Therefore, the district has the $650,000 on hand to pay back the mall owner. The remaining nearly $1 million will help balance the 2014-15 budget to make up for the tax credit the mall will receive during that fiscal year.
WEST CHESTER, PA — A Chester County Court jury awarded $32.8 million to a young North Coventry girl who was born with brain damage at Phoenixville Hospital, finding negligence on the part of two nurses who were attending her pregnant mother.
The verdict came late Friday after the panel of eight men and four women deliberated more than nine hours in the case of Lily Ciechoski, who suffers from spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. The jury found that the nurses had improperly failed to alert the girl’s mother’s doctor about a drastic change in the baby’s heart rate for 13 minutes during labor.
That failure and other delays in the delivery caused the baby to suffer the brain damage she now struggles with, said her attorney Jason Archinaco of the Pittsburgh law firm of Archinaco Bracken.
“I compare it to an airplane going into a nose dive for 13 minutes and no one telling the pilot,” Archinaco said in an interview Wednesday.
(UPDATED 10:45 a.m.) An Atlantic Clipper snowstorm traveling across the East Coast Tuesday could drop up to 9 inches of snow in some areas, causing some schools to close and others to institute early dismissal.
Pottstown, Phoenixville, Upper Perkiomen, and the Pottsgrove school districts were all dismissing students early as the snowstorm was expected to worsen in the afternoon.
Collegeville, East Greenville, Spring City Borough, Lower Pottsgrove, and Upper Pottsgrove townships declared snow emergencies Tuesday morning. The snow emergency in Spring City was declared for 9 a.m. and will be in place until noon Wednesday.