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

Birdsboro Men Among 6 Indicted On Sex Charges With Limerick Boy (with mugshots)

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — Calling it a “significant” crackdown against child exploitation, authorities have charged six men, including two from Birdsboro and another from Upper Providence, with having inappropriate contact with a teenage boy from Limerick.

Mark David “Wilco” Wilczopolski, 22, of the 500 block of East Second Street, Birdsboro, was indicted by federal authorities on Thursday for allegedly using the Internet to entice a teenage boy to engage in sexual conduct and receiving and possessing child pornography, according to U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger.

Montgomery County authorities previously charged Wilczopolski with unlawful contact or communications with a minor and related offenses in connection with incidents that occurred between May and October 2013 with the 14-year-old Limerick boy, according to court documents. Wilczopolski is already awaiting trial on those charges in county court.

The federal indictment against Wilczopolski was announced by Memeger at a joint news conference Friday with county District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, Limerick Police Chief William Albany and other federal officials. Wilczopolski was scheduled to be arraigned in federal court Friday afternoon.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140425/birdsboro-men-among-6-indicted-on-sex-charges-with-limerick-boy-with-mugshots

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Former Amity Cop Drops Attempt To Have Shoplifting Charges Dismissed

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

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — A former Berks County police officer accused of shoplifting more than $300 in groceries from a West Pottsgrove store has withdrawn his request for a judicial review and dismissal of the charges.

“At this stage, it is being withdrawn without prejudice,” Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill said Tuesday, referring to the previous request for dismissal made by former Amity Township Police Officer Glenn James Oesterling, who faces charges of retail theft and receiving stolen property in connection with alleged shoplifting incidents at the Upland Square Giant store in June 2013.

In a habeas corpus petition filed late last year, defense lawyer Adam Sager, on behalf of Oesterling, asked a judge to dismiss the charges and to re-examine the previous decision by a district court judge, who found prosecutors presented sufficient evidence, or “a prima facie case,” at a preliminary hearing to move the case to trial. Judge O’Neill was slated to hold a hearing on that request on Tuesday but Oesterling, a 12-year veteran corporal of the police force who was fired by Amity Township supervisors last year, left the courthouse without a resolution to his case.

“After a discussion with my client, while we think that we have very good defenses, we do concede that the court would probably find that there was a prima facie case established by the commonwealth if we went through with the habeas corpus petition. Therefore, we voluntarily, and without prejudice, withdrew the habeas petition,” Sager explained.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140408/former-amity-cop-drops-attempt-to-have-shoplifting-charges-dismissed

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Crowd At Daniel Boone School Board Meeting Gets Wish As Birdsboro School Closing Put Off

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

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

AMITY TOWNSHIP, PA — Daniel Boone Area School Board members responded to the voices of a community, canceling the hearing to close the Birdsboro Elementary Center and unanimously tabling a vote to realign students.

It also tabled the vote to replace two failing boilers at Birdsboro Elementary School.

Concerned residents, many of whom brought their children to the meeting — some with signs to “save our school” — filled the auditorium of the Daniel Boone Area Middle School and described to the board the love they have for their community’s school.

The crowd’s applause was deafening at times as residents said Birdsboro Elementary School has been a pivotal part of their upbringing, and one they want for their children and their small town’s future.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140325/crowd-at-daniel-boone-school-board-meeting-gets-wish-as-birdsboro-school-closing-tabled

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Reading Royals To Be Sold To Berks Businessman

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

The Reading Royals will be sold to Berks County businessman Jack D. Gulati, officials involved in the deal announced today.

Gulati said he plans to keep the Kelly Cup winners in Reading and based out of the Santander Arena.

He has agreed to buy 100 percent of the team shares. Ownership had been split between the Berks County Convention Center Authority and SMG, the company that operates the arena.

The sale is contingent on EHCL, formerly East Coast Hockey League, approval.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/news/article/reading-royals-to-be-sold-to-berks-businessman#.Uv-jHPRDsxI

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Storm Topples Trees Throughout Berks, Causing Power Outages

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

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

The heaviest precipitation that will hit Berks County today is over, but the storm has toppled numerous trees in the area, blocking roadways and causing power outages.

Nearly 9,000 customers are without power in the Met-Ed and PPL service areas in Berks.

As of 10 a.m., Met-Ed reported there were 5,500 outages in Reading and eastern and northern Berks, while PPL reported 3,200 customers were without power in Wyomissing, western Berks and the Morgantown area in southern Berks.

PPL reported 60,679 of its customers in a 16-county area of the state were affected by outages, while Met-Ed’s parent company, FirstEnergy, said there were 78,000 Pennsylvania customers affected.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/news/article/storm-topples-trees-throughout-berks-causing-power-outages#.UvKMBWOPKM8

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Snowstorm Leads To Closures, Traffic Accidents Throughout Berks

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

That darn groundhog.

Within 24 hours of forecasting six more weeks of winter, large dense snowflakes began falling in Berks County early Monday, and the storm continued to drop about an inch an hour before tapering off to flurries about 2:30 p.m.

Blame Phil if you were stuck in traffic behind one of the numerous crashes that occurred through the day or lost power from outages, but remember he wasn’t the only messenger.

Forecasters at AccuWeather, near State college, predicted this storm would bring wet, heavy snow that would affect the morning commute, and did it ever. By 11 a.m., with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees, at least a half a foot of snow had fallen in Berks County.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/news/article/snowstorm-leads-to-closures-traffic-accidents-throughout-berks#.UvA5BvRDsxI

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Fire Guts Friendship Farm Market In Amity

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

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

AMITY TOWNSHIP, PA — More than a dozen fire companies responded to a fire that destroyed much of Friendship Farm Market on Route 662 Sunday night.

Firefighters responded quickly after those living near the restaurant heard a loud “boom,” saw a wall of flames and called 911 around 7:45 p.m.

“We heard a big boom. It sounded like a car backfiring,” said Jared Martz, who lives diagonally across the street from the restaurant. “It sounded like glass breaking.”

Going to the windows with his family, Martz said he saw an entire wall of the restaurant on the 700 block of Route 662 engulfed by flames which went about “20 feet in the air.”

They then called 911.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140126/fire-guts-friendship-farm-market-in-amity

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Snow Causes Accidents, School Cancellations

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

(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.

Boyertown, Daniel Boone, Owen J. Roberts and the Spring-Ford School District all cancelled classes and all afterschool activities.

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.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140121/updated-snow-causes-accidents-school-cancellations

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Electricity Capacity Is Maxed Out Near Reading Regional Airport

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

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

Berks County‘s next industrial park sits in an area ripe for development. It’s 155 acres close to Route 222 and surrounded by many potential workers.

Now that Berks Park 78 has opened, this industrial site near Reading Regional Airport is the next big economic development project community leaders hope will attract jobs, tax revenue and business investment.

First, though, this underdeveloped area in Bern Township needs more electricity and gas to become shovel-ready.

“You need to have an adequate amount of electric and gas for the prospects that might be coming to your industrial park,” said Thomas C. McKeon, executive director of the Berks County Industrial Development Authority. “It’s essential to have the infrastructure, to have an adequate amount of it in the ground and readily available so that there’s no questions for anybody when they come.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140121/BUSINESSWEEKLY/301219999/1052#.Ut6oxvQo6c8

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Caboose Ride Between Boyertown And Pottstown Brings Hopes Of Local Railroad Tourism

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

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

The brick-red caboose rolled into town, the relic greeting its new home as its wheels ground to a halt on the rails.

“Welcome to Boyertown!” announced Nathaniel Guest, president of the Colebrookdale Preservation Trust, who was decked out in a traditional railroad conductor’s uniform.

The 20 or so passengers who took the hourlong scenic excursion Friday afternoon applauded and then gathered their things.

The recently renovated caboose had just completed its inaugural run from Pottstown to Boyertown on the Colebrookdale Railroad, an almost 9-mile stretch of track that connects the two communities.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140120/NEWS/301209949/1052#.Ut1Qc_Qo6c8

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Auditor General: Reading School District’s Efforts To Fix Problems ‘Ridiculous’

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

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eight months ago, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale lambasted the Reading School District.

In an audit report that he called the worst ever of a school district in Pennsylvania, he derided the district’s leadership, financial management and ability to provide students with a quality education. He said if things didn’t change quickly, there would be a more than strong chance the state would take the district over.

On Friday, DePasquale was back in town to provide an update. The story wasn’t much better.

“It is, again, not a pretty picture,” he said during a press conference at the Reading State Office Building.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140118/NEWS/301189948#.Utqg8PQo6c8

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16 Arrested On Drug Charges After Raid On Reading House, Undercover Operation

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

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

Sixteen people were arrested on drug-related charges Wednesday after a search warrant was executed and, in another operation, undercover officers posed as drug dealers.

According to authorities:

City officers obtained the warrant for a house in the 800 block of Muhlenberg Street after receiving complaints about drug sales.

Officers searched the house about 1 p.m. and recovered drug paraphernalia, an electronic surveillance system, money, a personnel schedule and a drug ledger.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140117/NEWS/301179933#.UtlvdfQo6c8

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Spencer, City Council To Discuss Reading Water System Options

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer and City Council will explore a more-lucrative lease or the possible sale of the water system to help Reading avoid its looming fiscal cliff.

Those two options are among several that could help close a $15 million budget gap that will open each year beginning in 2015.

In a three-page memo given to council at an executive session Monday, Spencer requested both sides jointly begin what he called a comprehensive and objective assessment of all the city’s options.

“These are things we can’t do without the support of council; they have to be part of it,” Spencer said later.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140117/NEWS/301179948/1052#.UtltFfQo6c8

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Details Of Ashley Lynn Kline’s Murder Pain Family

Ashley Lynn Kline walked past the fish tank, the TV and the family pictures and was talking to somebody on her cellphone when she went out the front door the night before New Year’s Eve, so her father really did not have a chance to say much to her.

What Michael Kline told his 23-year-old daughter was, “Be good.”

It was the last time Michael Kline saw Ashley alive.

On Thursday afternoon, 17 days after Ashley left the modest three-story brick home in Robesonia where she had grown up, her father sat in the kitchen and reflected on the fact that two young men had been charged with killing Ashley by stabbing and burning her.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140117/NEWS/301179949/1052#.Utlqb_Qo6c8

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Recap Of Live Coverage: DA Says 2 Men Charged In Ashley Lynn Kline Homicide Case

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Two Berks County men are charged with beating and stabbing Ashley Lynn Kline, then setting her body ablaze in a Clay Township wildlife area, according to officials.

Adam M. Lynch, 21, and Ryan M. Schannauer, 19, were both charged Thursday morning with the brutal killing of Kline, a 23-year-old Berks County woman who had been missing since Dec. 30.

Police allege on that night Lynch and Schannauer picked up Kline from her home, killing her sometime later in the night or next morning.

Both are locked up at Lancaster County Prison, without bail, after being arraigned on counts of homicide, arson, abuse of a corpse and conspiracy to commit all three of those crimes.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/944824_Recap-of-live-coverage–DA-says-2–men-charged-in-Ashley-Lynn-Kline-homicide-case.html#ixzz2qa6gw4y1

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Death Of Woman Found In Clay Township Ruled A Homicide

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

The death of a woman who was found Sunday in a Clay Township wildlife area has been ruled a homicide.

Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni said Monday afternoon that the woman died of “substantial trauma” to her body.

He declined to elaborate on the trauma.

The coroner said dental records are being used to identify the woman, who had been dead in Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area for “at least days.”

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/943494_Death-of-woman-found-in-Clay-Township-ruled-a-homicide.html#ixzz2qJPFC1nd

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Spate Of Taxi And Food-Delivery Robberies Leads To Caution And Anxiety In Reading

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

You can forgive taxi drivers and food-delivery drivers if they’re a bit jumpy of late.

Five drivers, including two cabbies and three food-delivery workers, have been robbed in the city over a one-week span through Thursday night, according to Reading police.

They were all approached after they pulled up to a specific address to pick up a fare or deliver food at night, police said.

Both cab drivers and a food delivery driver were robbed in the 1200 block of Moss Street.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140111/NEWS/301119955#.UtFqZPRDsxI

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