Tourism District Proposed For Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA – Officials are hoping that as the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, a collective effort of the borough’s revitalization efforts will result in greater sums of grant money and tourist dollars.

Steve Bamford, executive director of Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. outlined a plan to borough council Tuesday that would see the many attractions clustered near Pottstown’s western gateway joining together in pursuit of funding and marketing.

The joint undertaking as part of a “tourism and recreation district” includes: Pottsgrove Manor, the Carousel at Pottstown, theColebrookdale Railroad, Manatawny Green miniature golf, Memorial Park with the splash park and Trilogy Park BMX track, Montgomery County Community College’s art gallery, the Schuylkill River Trail,Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill Heritage Area’s River of Revolutions interpretive center.

“There are some in place, some underway and some nearly ready,” Bamford told The Mercury Friday, referring to the state of the various sites.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141014/tourism-district-proposed-for-pottstown

Castor Praises Pottstown Carousel Project, Plans

Picture 011POTTSTOWN — Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. recently visited the Carousel at Pottstown and he likes what he sees.

Castor was given a tour of the former Pottstown Metal Weld building across from Memorial Park and had the particulars of the historic wooden carousel laid out for him.

Days later, Castor expressed his enthusiasm for the project to his fellow commissioners.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140911/castor-praises-pottstown-carousel-project-plans

Montgomery County Commissioners Happy With Progress Of Norristown’s Lafayette Street Extension

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — The Montgomery County commissioners took a tour Thursday to see the progress of what county officials are calling “the largest local infrastructure project in Pennsylvania” and found they were pleased with it.

Leading the tour was Leo Bagely, a transportation planner at the Montgomery County Planning Commission, who has helped to oversee the first phase of the construction project.

“We’ve been at this for a long time,” said Bagely. “What this is going to look like, with the landscaping we’re doing, is we’re going to change the look of how people come out of Norristown.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140731/montgomery-county-commissioners-happy-with-progress-of-norristowns-lafayette-street-extension

2014 Commencement Creates ‘Digital Moment’ For MCCC Grads

Blue Bell, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College’s class of 2014 made history on May 15, as graduates, faculty and guests participated in what may very well be the largest group of “selfie” photos taken simultaneously.

Dr. Celeste Schwartz, alumna and Vice President for Information Technology and College Services, initiated the selfie during her Commencement keynote address, encouraging close to 5,000 graduates, faculty and guests to take and share selfies to commemorate the evening.

Shared with the hashtag #ThinkBigGrad to a variety of social media platforms, many of these photos are archived on the College’s Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com or Pinterest at pinterest.com/mc3mustangs.

With a combined 90 years of service to MCCC, Dr. Schwartz along with Professor of Economics Dr. Lee Bender were selected as 2014 Commencement keynote speakers as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. Together, they painted a picture of 1960s and imparted wisdom from lessons learned to graduates from the Class of 2014.

One of those graduates, Michelle Sikora, Lansdale, had the opportunity to share her story as the selected student commencement speaker. During her remarks, Sikora a single parent to a child with significant medical needs, shared the challenges of balancing coursework with doctor appointments and hospital visits.

“Some trials are just a part of life. They are life’s pop quizzes; they are opportunities for growth and improvement, and they have rewards,” she shared. “We can benefit even from life’s toughest challenges by asking, ‘what can I learn from this experience? How can I approach this in a new way, and what can I change? And, most importantly, how can I use this experience to help others?’”

Graduating with a degree in Liberal Studies, Sikora will return to the College in the fall to pursue a degree in Nursing.

Sikora was one of 1,491 graduates from the class of 2014, who collectively earned 1,525 degrees and certificates. Included among these are a record 52 military veterans, who, for the first time, wore navy blue stoles embroidered with the words “Valor & Respect;” a record 340 students who completed their coursework at the College’s West Campus in Pottstown; 275 members of Phi Theta Kappa international honor society; 75 students with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.9 or higher; 35 international students from 17 different countries; a record 21 graduates from the College’s Honors Program; and 21 Mustangs student athletes.

Class of 2014 graduates range in aged from 17 to 81. Of note, 99 graduates began their college careers as dual enrollment students from 34 regional and cyber high schools.

Graduates were not the only ones lauded for their accomplishments during the ceremony. Assistant Professor of Economics Jill Beccaris-Pescatore, Glenside, received the 2014 Pearlstine Award for Teaching Excellence. The award, given on alternating years with the Lindback Award for Teaching Excellence, is named in honor of founding Trustee Gladys Pearlstine and is presented to a faculty member who embodies the principles on which the College was founded and who is nominated his/her peers and students.

During the presentation, Beccaris-Pescatore, who has taught at MCCC since 2003, was recognized for using new media and current events to teach complex economic principles, as well as her energy and enthusiasm in the classroom and her participation in college activities. She is also an avid runner and has completed the Boston Marathon in each of the last two years.

Several dignitaries celebrated with the graduates, including Pennsylvania State Senator John Rafferty, Montgomery County Commissions Josh Shapiro and Bruce Castor, and members of the College’s Board of Trustees. In addition to these, 19 alumni who graduated between 1968-1972 attended the ceremony to commemorate the College’s 50th anniversary.

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Montco Official Says Keim Street Bridge Project Moving Forward

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140331/montco-official-says-keim-street-bridge-project-moving-forward

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Norristown Residents Ask Commissioners How To Revitalize The Area

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — Conversation at the commissioners “conversations” meeting at Norristown Municipal Hall largely focused on bringing Norristown back to its glory days.

Peggy Dellisant, a Norristown resident who used to own Main Changes Clothing, said the town needs foot traffic on Main Street to make a comeback.

“I just retired. I watched Main Street die a slow death,” she said.

Dellisant said that the abandoned prison on Airy Street is beautifully made, and turning it into something modern would help to bring the foot traffic into Norristown that the businesses need.

“The prison on Main and Airy is coming apart,” she said. “It really would be a shame to see that building just deteriorate. This town really needs a lot of help.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140227/norristown-residents-ask-commissioners-how-to-revitalize-the-area

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New Dates For Montco Commissioners’ Postponed Town Hall Meetings

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Norristown, PA – The Montgomery County Commissioners have released the new dates for the “Conversations with your Commissioners” town hall meetings that had to be postponed because of the spate of bad weather over the past few weeks.

The wintry weather forced the postponement of three of the six town hall meetings.  Those postponed were in Lower Pottsgrove, Bryn Mawr, and Abington.  The new dates for those meetings are:

Wednesday, March 5 at 7 p.m.

Lower Pottsgrove Township Building

3199 Buchert Road

Pottstown, PA

Tuesday, March 11 at 7 p.m.

Lower Merion Township Building

75 East Lancaster Avenue

Ardmore, PA

Saturday, March 22 at 10 a.m.

Abington Township Building

1176 Old York Road

Abington, PA

“These conversations with the commissioners are another in a series of ways we are trying to keep residents informed about what we are doing,” said Josh Shapiro, chair of the commissioners.  “We also live stream our meetings online and use social media a great deal to inform everyone about what is going on in the county.”

“We urge residents to attend these conversations so they can hear what we have tried to do during our first two years in office, and we can hear what issues are most important to our residents,” Shapiro said.

For more information please call the Commissioners’ office at 610-278-3062.

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Montgomery County Commissioners Schedule 2nd Annual “Conversations” Caravan

Norristown, PA – The Montgomery County Commissioners have scheduled a series of six “Conversations with Your Commissioners” throughout Montgomery County during February.

Last year the inaugural series of “Conversations” was extremely well-attended and gave residents of the county the opportunity to discuss a wide range of subjects with the commissioners.

The 2014 series of conversations will be held in Lower Pottsgrove, Abington, Ambler, Bryn Mawr, East Greenville and Norristown.

“Last year’s “Conversations” were very successful and gave the commissioners a real sense of what issues were on people’s minds,” said Commissioner Chair Josh Shapiro.  “These sessions are just another way we use to keep residents informed about what we are doing.  We live stream our meetings on line and use social media a great deal to inform everyone about what is going on in the county, but the “Conversations” provide a true, personal level of contact the others do not.”

Shapiro said the commissioners plan to use the sessions to review what the county has done during the first two years of the administration and outline what plans are in store for the final two years.

The schedule is:

Thursday, February 6 at 7 p.m.

Lower Pottsgrove Township Building

3199 Buchert Road

Pottstown, PA

Saturday, February 8 at 10 a.m.

Abington Township Building

1176 Old York Road

Abington, PA

Monday, February 10 at 7 p.m.

Ambler Borough Hall

122 East Butler Avenue

Ambler, PA

Saturday, February 15 at 10 a.m.

Ludington Library

5 South Bryn Mawr Avenue

Bryn Mawr, PA

Monday, February 24 at 7 p.m.

The Grand Theater

252 Main Street

East Greenville, PA

Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m.

Norristown Municipal Building

235 East Airy Street

Norristown, PA

For more information please call the Commissioners’ office at 610-278-3062.

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Protestors Gather In Norristown To Oppose Parkhouse Sale

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montg...

Location of Upper Providence Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NORRISTOWN — Protestors rallied outside of the Montgomery County Courthouse Saturday in opposition to the sale of the Parkhouse geriatric center and its surrounding 220 acres of land in Upper Providence.

Upper Providence Supervisor Lisa Mossie, who has been at the forefront of opposition to the sale, said she was hoping the Montgomery County commissioners would notice the rally, cancel the sale and work out a new deal for the property.

“It’s my hope that it will change the commissioners’ minds that this is something nobody cares about. That it’s not a vocal minority. Everybody I have talked to is upset about this,” Mossie said. “My hope is that this sale is not done. It’s not finalized yet. They’ve cited that as their reason for not releasing the terms of the sale.”

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131228/protestors-gather-in-norristown-to-oppose-parkhouse-sale

Code Blue Issued For Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — The Montgomery County Commissioners, on the advice of the Montgomery County Department of Public Safety, have declared a Code Blue Cold Weather Emergency for Montgomery County based on a review of forecasts from the National Weather Service.

The Code Blue Declaration has been issued for Montgomery County for the period beginning at 9 P.M. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, until 9 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131126/code-blue-issued-for-montgomery-county

Montgomery County Holds Line On Taxes In 2014

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PAMontgomery County will balance its 2014 budget without raising taxes, according to Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson.

It will be second straight year tax rates in the county have not been raised, Monson told the county commissioners Thursday.

The county projects $371,510,842 in total revenues and $371,473,973 in expenditures for 2014, with a year-end operating surplus of $36,869 in the general fund budget, Monson said.

The county also expects to have just over $41 million in the fund balance at the end of the year, he said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/government-and-politics/20131122/montgomery-county-holds-line-on-taxes-in-2014

Montgomery County Quarterly Report Indicates Generally Favorable Outlook

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN — Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Uri Monson’s quarterly report highlighted a couple key points — the first time the county’s fund balance grew at all since 2007 and the first Annual Required Contribution (ARC) to the pension fund since the same year.

Details were laid out during Thursday morning’s bi-monthly meeting of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.

“Based on the Q1 revenue results, the county now projects to have an annual operating surplus for the year of over $2.6 million, on top of the nearly $2.6 million in reserves set aside to grow the fund balance,” said Monson.

“This would mark the first year-over-year increase in the fund balance since 2007.”

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130419/NEWS01/130419441/county-quarterly-report-indicates-generally-favorable-outlook#full_story

Montgomery County Issues $55M In Bonds For Infrastructure Projects

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN — The Montgomery County Commissioners issued $55 million in bonds this week to address some county infrastructure projects.

While it does not address every item on a long laundry list of infrastructure needs throughout the county, the issuance of the bond addresses a good part of those needs without increasing the county’s current debt service over the next decade, according to the county’s top money manager.

“The bond sale received strong interest from underwriting firms with 10 banks submitting aggressive bids,” said Uri Monson, the county’s chief financial officer.

The commissioners approved the bond ordinance last month. Monson said the bonds were sold through a competitive sale process via an online bid service.  The winning bidder was PNC Capital Markets, with a True Interest Cost (TIC) of 2.39 percent.  The reported difference between the lowest bid and the next lowest bid was .017 percent.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130405/NEWS01/130409500/montgomery-county-issues-55m-in-bonds-for-infrastructure-projects#full_story

Pottstown AFSCME Contract Extended A Year, Excludes Code Inspectors

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  I would get my resume updated and start looking for a new job…just sayin’….  As for the tardiness of the Codes Department review by Remington, Vernick and Beach, are we really surprised?  I hope not.  Another day in paradise.

POTTSTOWN — With a 5-0 vote Monday night, borough council approved a one-year extension of the contract with the union which represents borough hall, public works and parks and recreation workers.

However, it does not include the borough’s code enforcement officers.

With Councilman Joe Kirkland and Councilwoman Carole Kulp absent, the remaining council members supported the motion to extend the contract, which was recommended by Borough Manager Mark Flanders and Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr., the borough’s primary negotiators.

According to the information provided to council, the extension means no change in wages or health care contributions for either side.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130214/NEWS01/130219793/pottstown-afscme-contract-extended-a-year-excludes-code-inspectors#full_story

Montco Commissioners ‘Listening Tour’ Comes To Pottstown Monday

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Maybe they should call this the magical mystery tour!

POTTSTOWN — Issues of low-income housing concentrations and economic development are likely to command the agenda Monday when the Montgomery County Commissioners come to town as part of their ongoing “listening tour.”

The commissioners are holding the open meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at the Montgomery County Community College on College Drive.

The meetings serve as a way for residents to get answers and for the commissioners to get a sense of issues their constituents care about as a way to inform important decisions, particularly budget decisions, said Frank Custer, the county’s communications director.

It is the fourth of five such meetings set up around the county that so far have attracted moderate interest from the public, according to Custer.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130210/NEWS01/130219982/montco-commissioners-listening-tour-comes-to-pottstown-monday#full_story

Conversations With Your Montgomery County Commissioners

Join the Montgomery County Commissioners in a conversation on the administration’s first year in office.  Learn about new initiatives the commissioners will be working on in 2013, and have your questions about county government answered.  Monday, Feb. 11th, 7 pmMontgomery County Community College, West Campus, Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.  For more information please call the Commissioners’ office at 610-278-3062.

Voters Saddle Governor Corbett With Dismal Midterm Grade

Standard of the Governor of Pennsylvania http:...

Standard of the Governor of Pennsylvania http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us-pa.html#gov (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since a 1968 constitutional revision allowed Pennsylvania governors to seek a second term, every one of them has, and all five have been successful.

Gov. Tom Corbett has said he intends to keep the two-term tradition alive, but poll numbers released last week underscore the possibility that he could break that winning streak.

A Public Policy Polling survey noted that voters gave him some of the lowest approval numbers of any incumbent the organization has tested across the country.  Although his decision to sue the National Collegiate Athletic Association over the draconian sanctions it imposed on Penn State University has proved popular with the state’s voters (despite widespread condemnation by editorial boards), the support for his legal decision has not translated to a boost in his personal popularity.  According to the archives of the Franklin & Marshall College Poll, his midterm job performance numbers were the lowest approval of any recent Pennsylvania governor.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/voters-saddle-gov-corbett-with-dismal-midterm-grade-670203/#ixzz2Huxy3OZJ

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.

Montgomery County Prison’s $23.5 Million Expansion Completed

In an effort to eliminate overcrowding at the Montgomery County Prison, a new 512-bed addition has been constructed.  The new wing is completed and pending final inspection before prisoners can move in.

The new wing is a departure from a traditional cell block.  Prisoners will be housed in a dormitory setting, without bars.  Bunk-beds are placed along walls in large open rooms.  The new wing is for nonviolent offenders.  Of course, there are plenty of locked doors, guards and cameras.

The prison was built to house 1240 inmates.  It was then expanded and currently is home to about 1800 prisoners.

Keim Street Bridge Replacement Vote Tabled By Montgomery County Commissioners

I just read the Fishwrap‘s latest Keim Street bridge article.  I am left scratching my head.  If the quote in the article is correct, then we are lead to believe that the Montgomery County Commissioners learned of this “change of heart” in the newspaper.  Naturally they tabled the vote to approve the engineering contract.  Sadly, the $247,992 contract was going to a Pottstown area business.

Nobody thought calling Norristown to tell them about this “new thinking” would be prudent?  Instead, the commissioners were left to “read all about it” in the newspaper!  WTH!  This proposal should have been discussed “off-line” with the township and the county before any of this information was made public.

And while we’re at it, has anybody polled the North Coventry Township Supervisors or residents?  The Keim Street bridge does connect them to Pottstown so they may have some thoughts on the matter.  Were the township supervisors left to “read about it in the paper” as well?  So much for thinking “regionally”.

No wonder this town never gets any respect from the county.  What kind of message does this send?  Not a very positive one.  It’s like Alice In Wonderland, we just went down another rabbit hole.

COMMUNICATION people!

UPDATE!  North Coventy officials are PISSED!  Check this out!  http://www.pottstownmercury.com/articles/2011/08/11/news/doc4e449dba87aa2669813071.txt