Montco Town Hopes Carousel And Train Will Revive Economy

Picture 040The wooden animals, sanded and painted to resemble the 109-year-old originals they replaced, are waiting for visitors at the end of a restored railroad line in Pottstown.

The horses, giraffes, and reindeer on the Derek Scott Saylor Memorial Carousel are part of a merry-go-round meant to be more than an amusement.

The attraction – and the similarly restored old train that will drop visitors at its doorstep – are the centerpieces of a downtown revitalization effort for a slumping Montgomery County borough taking steps toward a comeback.

The carousel and train are scheduled to officially begin operations next fall.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20141213_Montco_town_hopes_carousel_and_train_will_revive_economy.html#rzbZLGpexQxRw0vQ.99

RRTA, Berks Transit Merger Complete

It is the state’s largest transit merger, and it is now official.

Lancaster County officials and Red Red Rose Transit Authority leaders took a little trip just over the Berks County line Thursday morning to meet with their Berks counterparts — and celebrate a transit consolidation nearly a year in the making.

They have established the new South Central Transit Authority to oversee both the Lancaster-area RRTA and the Berks Area Regional Transit Authority.

The RRTA name and logo on buses, as with BARTA in Berks, will not change, and the public may not notice much of a difference, transit official David Kilmer said Thursday, “We’re on a good track, and ready to move forward,” said Kilmer, who was named executive director of the new SCTA, which will oversee operations of both RRTA and BARTA.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/rrta-berks-transit-merger-complete/article_dc4c0840-817c-11e4-b535-1b031a28a372.html

Der Belsnickel Craft Show In Boyertown, Coming Soon

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2014 Show will be held
November 28 and 29, 2014
at the Boyertown Senior High School
The hours are:
11:00 AM-6:00 PM (Friday)
10:00 AM-4:00 PM (Saturday)
$5.00 Admission
No charge for children 12
and under.

 

Belsnickel website: http://www.boyertownhistory.org/craftshow.html

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Ring In 2015 At The Abraham Lincoln Hotel, Reading

Ticket and Room Packages for New Year’s Eve
Call 484-416-1223
PLEASE LEAVE A MESSAGE AND A HOTEL REPRESENTATIVE WILL RETURN YOUR CALL TO CONFIRM PACKAGE.
General Admission Ticket – $20 ( available soon )
Package info: All packages include ticket (tickets) to the show.
Single person for Buffet and Open Bar – $65
Per couple packages :
Couple for Buffet and Open Bar – $100
Classic Room and Buffet / Open Bar- $200
Executive Suite Room and Buffet / Open Bar – $235
2 room Suite and Buffet / Open Bar – $270
Jacuzzi Suite and Buffet / Open Bar – $300

Abraham Lincoln Hotel New Years

 

Voter Turnout Around 45 Percent, About Average For Governor’s Race, Officials Say

Although nice weather and busy poll stations may have given the impression of above-average voter turnout Tuesday, election officials in Chester, Berks and Montgomery counties indicated it was anything but.

“It was a little lower than it was four years ago,” said Deborah Olivieri, director of the Berks County Office of Voter Services.

“But it’s better than 17 percent,” she said, referring to the anemic voter-turnout in the spring Primary Election.

According to figures posted on their respective websites, voter turnout ranged between a high of 48.2 percent in Montgomery County, where 262,738 votes were cast, to a low of 41 percent in Berks County, where 100,731 votes were case.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20141106/voter-turnout-around-45-percent-about-average-for-governors-race-officials-say

Colebrookdale Railroad Unofficially Opens With First Public Ride

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boyertown, PA – Stepping through a rock-strewn railyard in Boyertown, families lined up to board the historic train that made its unofficial debut on the Colebrookdale line Saturday.

Beginning with a 10:30 a.m. departure for the first train, hayrides on the “Secret Valley Line” offered by the Colebrookdale Railroad drew in patrons of all kinds.

They were treated to a two-hour ride in a train used in 1869 through a valley of scenic fall foliage and other natural and historic attractions, travelling from Boyertown to Pottstown through Colebrookdale and Douglass (Berks) townships. Throughout the ride, historical narration was provided by train workers to give context to the sights along the way.

The line follows the Ironstone and Manatawny creeks and passes by the village of Pine Forge.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141018/colebrookdale-railroad-unofficially-opens-with-first-public-ride

Pottsgrove Football Team Volunteer Was 1 Of 2 Shooting Victims

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Washington Township, PA – State police are investigating the deaths of two young men whose bodies were found early Friday in the front seat of a car parked in an isolated wooded area near Barto.

Both appear to have died of gunshot wounds, police said.

One of the men found, Stephen Mixon, 27, of Walnut Ridge in Lower Pottsgrove, was a volunteer coach with the Pottsgrove High School football team and the retail manager of the Schuylkill Valley Sports store in Audubon.

The other man in the car was Joseph McCullough, 20, of Eighth Street in Pottstown.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141017/pottsgrove-football-team-volunteer-was-1-of-2-shooting-victims

Changes Coming To Lancaster And Berks Transit, But A Combined New Authority Won’t Look Different To Bus Riders

Picture 565Lancaster’s Red Rose Transit Authority board took its first formal step toward a merger with Berks County’s BARTA system on Wednesday.

But the combined South Central Transit Authority will be indistinguishable from the present RRTA and BARTA.

“We’ll form a new authority and nobody will know the difference,” RRTA Executive Director David Kilmer said.

The single authority will operate RRTA and BARTA buses in their respective counties. The names on the buses will not change, nor will their colors.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/changes-coming-to-lancaster-and-berks-transit-but-a-combined/article_090e5798-3ec5-11e4-a7b4-001a4bcf6878.html

MCCC, Kutztown University Officials Sign First ‘Reverse Transfer’ Agreement Between Community College And State System Institutions In Commonwealth

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Blue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) and Kutztown University (KU) signed a “reverse transfer” agreement on Aug. 20—the first agreement of its kind between a community college and a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (State System) university.

Under the new agreement, students who complete at least 15 credits at MCCC now have the opportunity to transfer credits they earn at Kutztown back to Montgomery in order to earn an associate’s degree in a parallel field en route to earning a bachelor’s degree.

According to MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, the agreement builds on Montgomery’s strategic efforts to increase student access, progression and completion rates, and on work being done nationally to support community college degree completion.

“The associate’s degree has value and is an important credential for community college students,” said Dr. Stout. “By earning an associate’s degree, students demonstrate their ability to complete an area of study, which can help them in the job market or with career advancement while pursing their baccalaureate degree. While we encourage our students to earn their degree before transferring, it’s important for us to understand that our students take multiple pathways to complete their education.”

Close to 70 percent of MCCC students enter the College each year with the intention to transfer to a four-year institution, and Kutztown is a popular choice. In fact, last year, 182 of the College’s students transferred an average 44 credits to KU.

The institutions’ leaders envision that the new agreement will serve as a model partnership for Pennsylvania community colleges and State System institutions. MCCC and KU are not strangers to such innovation; in 2007, Montgomery became the first community college with which Kutztown signed a dual-admissions and core-to-core transfer agreement.

“Kutztown University is excited to once again partner with Montgomery County Community College in developing another program to benefit students of our region,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, KU’s acting president.  “Serving students is at the core of all that we do, and this is truly a student-centric program.”

New Route 345 Bridges Open In Birdsboro

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BIRDSBORO, PA — Two new bridges carrying Route 345 over the Schuylkill River and the Norfolk Southern railroad are now open to traffic.

According to a press release from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s District 5, traffic was directed over the two new bridges for the first time on Thursday. There is no weight restriction on the new bridges, which daily carry 6,189 vehicles, PennDOT said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140815/new-route-345-bridges-open-in-birdsboro

All Aboard! $200K Grant Bolsters Plan For Boyertown-To-Pottstown Rail Service

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BOYERTOWN, PA — Progress on the revitalization of the Colebrookdale Railroad these days means more than pulling refurbished passenger cars along the picturesque 9-mile track on the shores of Manatawny Creek.

These days progress is being measured in cars and engines acquired, being fixed up and put into service.

And Wednesday marked another milestone on the railroad’s journey to full service when Executive Director Nathaniel Guest announced last week’s awarding of a $200,000 grant to begin construction of “railroad station infrastructure right here in Boyertown.”

The announcement came after the train — pulling cars packed with more than 70 federal and state legislators, county commissioners and municipal officials of all stripes — arrived at the downtown yard to the applause of a crowd that had gathered to welcome it.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140723/all-aboard-200k-grant-bolsters-plan-for-boyertown-to-pottstown-rail-service

Three Birdsboro Residents Arrested In Drug Ring Investigation

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA — A joint investigation between state and local officials uncovered a large-scale drug ring that spanned three counties.

The results of the year-long “Operation Tourniquet” lead to the arrests of “48 mid- and street-level drug dealers,” a press release from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office said.

The dealers, the release said, “were part of two organizations, who were loosely tied and responsible for distributing drugs throughout at least three counties including Berks, Lancaster, and Schuylkill.”

Three Birdsboro residents where among the alleged “street-level” dealers who were arrested.

Read more: http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20140624/three-birdsboro-residents-arrested-in-drug-ring-investigation

Former Amity Cop Convicted Of Shoplifting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN, PA — A former Berks County police officer finds himself on the other side of the law now that he is a convicted shoplifter.

Former Amity Township Police Officer Glenn James Oesterling, 36, has been sentenced in Montgomery County Court to two years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of retail theft in connection with a June 2013 incident that occurred at the Upland Square Giant store in West Pottsgrove. Judge William R. Carpenter, who accepted a plea agreement in the case, also ordered Oesterling to complete 36 hours of community service.

Specifically, Oesterling admitted that he stole items valued at $296.35 from the store on June 18. Authorities said Oesterling passed the store checkout area without paying for merchandise he placed into blue, reusable shopping bags in the shopping cart he was pushing.

Oesterling did not offer an explanation for his conduct.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140505/former-amity-cop-convicted-of-shoplifting

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