Police Search For Shooter In Killing Of 26-Year-Old Lancaster City Man

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

A 26-year-old father of three young children was gunned down late Sunday in Lancaster Township in what police believe was not a random attack.

The Lancaster County coroner identified the victim as Jonathan Santiago of 840 Prangley Ave., which is about a block and a half from where the shooting occurred.

Santiago was with a group of people walking near James Buchanan Elementary School when he was shot just after 11:30 p.m., Manheim Township police Lt. Robert Baldwin said.

The shooter was near a parked white Honda. The suspect and others fled in the vehicle after the shooting, Baldwin said.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/man-shot-and-killed-in-lancaster-township/article_6199f058-f53b-11e3-9491-0017a43b2370.html?mode=story

Pottstown School Board To Vote On $125K Electrical Outlet Upgrade

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — The Pottstown School Board’s facilities committee will ask the full board to spend about $125,000 to install an additional 263 outlets in classrooms at Barth Elementary School, the renovation of which was just completed in September.

The much-debated change-order will also replace seven “1950s-era” electrical panels with three modern ones, said Facilities Director Robert Kripplebauer, who made the recommendation.

The outlet changes were requested by teachers, who do not believe the older outlets in the building are adequate or in the right locations. Further, they are not comparable with the more modern outlets that will be in the renovated rooms at Lincoln, Rupert and Franklin elementary schools.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140415/pottstown-school-board-to-vote-on-125k-electrical-outlet-upgrade

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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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Pottstown Elementary Costs Rising By $2M, $10M Borrowing Set For Monday

POTTSTOWN — As the Pottstown school board prepares to borrow the second $10 million needed for the renovation and expansion of its elementary schools, it is doing so in the face of $2 million or more in change orders and additional costs.

As The Mercury reported in May, the renovation work on Barth Elementary School was well underway when the school board was told the cost of a new roof was not included in the project — an additional cost estimated at another $665,000.

In August, The Mercury reported that wiring for new computer and data systems were not included in the bid for the renovation of Franklin, Lincoln and Rupert elementary schools — an additional cost of an estimated $375,000.

On Thursday night the full board was informed that the cost for additional electrical outlets, boxes, panel boards and the replacement of old wiring at the three schools has added another $388,601 to the price of the projects.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/social-affairs/20131020/pottstown-elementary-costs-rising-by-2m-10m-borrowing-set-for-monday

Hazleton Community Center To Open With ‘Major League’ Backing

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

HAZLETON, PATampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon will be among the ribbon cutters Monday at the grand opening of a building he believes will help unify the community — the Hazleton One Community Center.

The community center, housed in the former Most Precious Blood Elementary School, at 225 E. 4th St., between Seybert and Hayes streets, is an initiative of Maddon’s Hazleton Integration Project, which he spearheaded to counteract a sense of divisiveness he detected in his hometown during a 2010 visit over the Christmas holiday.

Tension between ethnic groups seemingly had increased as the city’s Latino population rapidly grew over the last decade. The illegal immigration debate heated up around Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act ordinance, which would prohibit landlords and employers from renting to and hiring illegal immigrants.  The law was struck down, but the ruling is being reconsidered.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/600911/Community-center-to-open-with-major-league-backing

Edgewood ‘Family’ Says Goodbye In Heartfelt Closing Ceremony

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — The end of 44 years of educational tradition was marked Friday afternoon with closing ceremonies held at Edgewood Elementary School.

Students, teachers, staff, retirees, parents, administrators and school board members all gathered in the building’s steaming all-purpose room to say goodbye to the school they have called home for so many years, and to the people they have called “family” for just as long.

“This is a place that has welcomed every child as family,” Superintendent Jeff Sparagana told the assembly. “This is a school community that greets anyone who walks through the door as their own.”

He praised the work done at the school saying “never let anyone say our staff does not take the work they do seriously. If anyone in this region says the work we do here is not done well, I invite them to come here and visit and see for themselves.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130601/NEWS01/130539783/edgewood-family-says-goodbye-in-heartfelt-closing-ceremony#full_story

Objection To Pottstown Elementary Plan Focuses On High Street Crossing

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — Few objections were raised Thursday night when the official redistricting plan for elementary school attendance was unveiled, but the one that was focused on the safety of students crossing High Street.

“I think rather than throwing our children under the bus, we should put them on a bus and come up with a better transportation plan,” said North Hills Boulevard resident Madison Morton.

The only speaker on the subject of redistricting at Thursday night’s public meeting, Morton has a child that currently attends Edgewood Elementary and he is unhappy about the possibility that his daughter’s trip to Rupert Elementary may involve crossing High Street.

Currently, High Street is considered by PennDOT to be a hazardous road similar to Route 100 and, as a result, the district must bus students across it.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130223/NEWS01/130229714/objection-to-pottstown-elementary-plan-focuses-on-high-street-crossing#full_story

Violence Prevention Program Targets Reading’s Northeast

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

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

A joint effort to reduce youth violence is targeting the northeast section of the city, an area where most Reading kids will end up attending school.

For members of the Reading Youth Violence Prevention Project, who recently met at Albright College to discuss goals for 2013, the logic was simple.

Northeast Reading is home to Reading High and the Citadel intermediate high school.  There’s also Northeast Middle School, CHOR Day Academy, I-LEAD Charter School and four elementary schools.

“The northeast sector is not considered the neediest per se, but there are perhaps more assets to build upon,” said Laura M. Welliver, project coordinator at St. Joseph Medical Center.  “There are more opportunities to stabilize, using the schools as anchors.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=451722

Search For Answers Begins After Connecticut School Massacre

Map of Connecticut highlighting Fairfield County

Map of Connecticut highlighting Fairfield County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (Reuters) – Residents of the small Connecticut community of Newtown were reeling on Saturday from one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, as police sought answers about what drove a 20-year-old gunman to slaughter 20 children at an elementary school.

The attacker, identified by law enforcement sources as Adam Lanza, who once attended Newtown High School, opened fire on Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which serves children aged 5 to 10. He ultimately killed at least 27 people, including himself.

Police said another adult was found dead at a related crime scene in the town, which many media accounts indicated may have been the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza.

State police said they hoped to have more information by Saturday morning, including confirmation of the victims’ identities.  More than 12 hours after the shootings, police began removing the bodies from the school and bringing in parents to make identifications, NBC News reported.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/local/sns-rt-us-usa-connecticut-answersbre8be034-20121214,0,3298509.story

Geisinger CMC High Bidder For Audubon Elementary School

Scranton, PA – On the site where students attended school for a century, patients could soon see doctors.

With a bid of $750,000, Geisinger Community Medical Center agreed to purchase John Audubon Elementary School – its neighbor across the 1800 block of Mulberry Street – at the Scranton School District‘s auction Thursday. Geisinger will most likely demolish the building, though it has no specific plans, said Robert Davies, the health system’s chief support services officer.

After moving students out in 2010 because of mold, the district permanently shuttered the school earlier this year because it was too expensive to reopen.

GCMC may first demolish the school and use the property as a staging area for the hospital’s upcoming expansion project.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/geisinger-cmc-high-bidder-for-audubon-1.1409968

Many Wilson Students Will Go To Different Buildings

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

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

When classes resume Monday in Wilson School District, many students will find themselves in new surroundings.

Students at the now-closed Lincoln Park and West Wyomissing elementary schools will move to other buildings.

In addition, a redistricting effort impacts students at two more elementary schools and both middle schools.

To ease the transition for about 600 students, Wilson has scheduled open houses, tours, orientations and demo bus rides.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=411361

Pottstown School Board Rejects Second Look At School Project Plans

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — With a 7-3 vote Thursday night, the school board rejected a proposal to suspend work on designing additions to three elementary schools to allow the potential to save as much as $6.5 million to be explored.

The proposal, made by school board member Thomas Hylton, sought to take advantage of a recent change in long-standing state policy that was made with the passage of the most recent budget in Harrisburg.

Throughout the many years of discussion on the elementary school project, it has been state policy that it will not provide reimbursement to any school construction project that does not eliminate the use of modular classrooms.

The need to meet this requirement is among those driving the decision to add between 12 to 14 classrooms in additions to Rupert, Lincoln and Franklin elementary schools, which is where the $24 million project now stands.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120803/NEWS01/120809803/pottstown-school-board-rejects-second-look-at-school-project-plans&pager=full_story

Enrollment Increase Projected In Boyertown School District

Anticipating steep enrollment growth in coming years, the Boyertown School Board received an assessment Monday of the district’s ability to accommodate new waves of students in schools that are nearing, if not above, capacity.

In a presentation before six board members, representatives from the Harrisburg-based architecture and engineering firm EI Associates shared their finding that the district’s elementary schools were ill-suited for projected enrollment growth.

Their feasibility study, authorized in May, found that the Colebrookdale and Gilbertsville elementary schools were over capacity by 16 and 83 students, respectively.

Across its seven elementary schools, the district is at 96 percent capacity, with 3,761 students enrolled and a capacity of 3,900.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=402183

Meeting Set For Moving 5th Grade Out Of Barth

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, Pa. — When school opens at Barth Elementary School in August, it will not have a fifth grade.

Due to the renovation project that will be undertaken at Pottstown’s largest elementary school this summer and fall, the administration has decided to move both fifth grade classes out of Barth and over to Franklin Elementary school.

A meeting for parents of the 58 students this decision affects will be held tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in the gymnasium at Barth.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120529/NEWS01/120529312/meeting-set-for-moving-5th-grade-out-of-barth

Thomas Hylton Is Astonished By Plans To Add Classrooms To Pottstown Elementary Schools

The Grand Poobah of the Pottstown School Board, Thomas Hylton seems to suffer from convenient memory loss.  After carefully reading Evan Brandt’s account of the latest school board meeting, I found this quote by Numero Uno Responsible Citizen, Thomas Hylton rather humorous.

“Our first responsibility,” Hylton said, “is the economic viability of this community and, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is astonishing to me that we are thinking of adding extra classrooms to our elementary schools.”  

This cow patty of wisdom from the number one Rupert-lover himself.  What about the architecturally correct windows and geothermal heating and cooling that Responsible Tom proposed for Rupert?  Now suddenly we’re “astonished” that we want to add classrooms to house the Edgewood students.  Should we educate them on the lawn, Tom?

The Middle School would need to be retrofitted to segregate the elementary students from the middle school students.  That will cost money as well.  It was made abundantly clear by the parents of elementary students that they do not want their children mixed in with the middle school population.  I guess Tom forgot about the community outrage when he proposed putting 5th grade in the Middle School during his heyday as Neighborhood Schools Potentate.

I think somebody needs some Ginkgo biloba or the wifey needs to take better notes at meetings.

Wilson Board Says Close 2 Schools

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

Image via Wikipedia

After months of listening to parents praise the Lincoln Park and West Wyomissing elementary schools, the Wilson School Board voted 8-1 Monday to close both in June.

The schools are the district’s smallest, but parents who oppose closing them like the neighborhood schools, which they say perform well even if they don’t have the same amenities as the district’s larger schools.

Board members said they had to look at the big picture. Officials said the move will save $500,000 annually and spare the district the expense of millions of dollars in repairs.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=370764

Fleetwood School District Cuts Could Be Deep, Wide

Proposed staff cuts in the Fleetwood School District aimed at balancing the budget would primarily impact elective courses at the high school and speciality classes at the middle and elementary schools, district officials confirmed Friday.

The proposed cuts, which will be unveiled publicly at Tuesday’s school board meeting, include laying off three teachers and six support staff members, demoting seven teachers to part time and axing the district’s wrestling program. Four more teaching positions would be eliminated through attrition.

The school board will ultimately decide whether to go forward with the changes intended to help the district close a gap of at least $847,000 in its $38.6 million 2012-13 budget.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=370277

Kutztown School District Considers Closing Albany Elementary

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

Image via Wikipedia

In a potential belt-tightening move, the Kutztown School Board has raised the idea of closing Albany Elementary School next year.

At a recent budget and finance committee meeting, the board directed administrators to arrange for a public meeting on the issue.

That forum will be March 6 at 7 p.m. in the Kutztown High School auditorium.

Superintendent Nicholas Lazo Jr. emphasized that the board has not made a decision to close Albany Elementary, located along Route 737 near Kempton.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=366812

He’s Back In The Saddle Again – Thomas Hylton’s Neighborhood Schools Committee Rises From The Ashes

You may remember a while back that Mr. Hylton and his Neighborhood Schools Committee (NSC) were reigned in by the board for operating outside the normal limits of a committee.  They were placed under the Facilities Committee so that decisions would be made that included the entire board, not just “selected members”.

Oh, how times have changed.  Mr. Hylton’s power grab has landed him back in the catbird seat once again.  Mr. Hylton now has a majority of five votes on the board that will predictably go his way.  The NSC is now unfettered and free to act without the pesky interference of those other four trouble makers on the board who disagree with him.

On August 8th, the NSC held an 18 minute meeting to discuss a few issues.  Chairman Dennis Wausnock and Committee members Valerie Harris and Thomas Hylton were in attendance.  Déjà vu anyone.  There were some others in attendance, members of the administration, two other board members, Crabtree and Rohrbaugh folks and a couple of spectators.  Just a cozy little group, the way Mr. Hylton likes it :)

Mr. Thees (a former board member) asked some pointed questions:

  1. Will the cost summary be provided to the public?
  2. Mr. Thees asked about those darned historical windows that keep popping up.
  3. Is four weeks enough time for Crabtree and Rohrbaugh to go through the list?
  4. Why is Mr. Hylton the sole representative on the board for this project?

Mrs. Weand asked Mr. Hylton if the other eight members of the board are not to be involved in the day-to-day decisions.  Mr. Hylton replied that the board decided the Neighborhood Schools Committee has been appointed to oversee the work.  Ms. Harris chimed in that every board member has a say but that Mr. Hylton is the point person for the day-to-day dealings.   (The answer to Mrs. Weand’s question is a resounding NO!).

So Crabtree and Rohrbaugh have four weeks to provide a timeline to the NSC on the completion of renovations to Pottstown’s five elementary schools.  Of course, this motion passed with three yes votes.

Another motion was passed to authorize the preliminary work necessary to issue the $15 million bond ASAP.

Of course, the NSC voted to make Mr. Hylton the sole point of day-to-day contact between the PSD administration, Crabtree and Rohrbaugh, Stephen Kalis and others involved in the upgrade of our five elementary schools.

A motion was made and passed to develop a contingency plan for emergency student housing if the construction takes longer than anticipated.  (We can only imagine what this will entail!)

Eighteen minutes later, Mr. Hylton made the motion to adjourn.

Future meetings will be on an “as needed basis”.  (Sounds like the Shade Tree Commission)

If this doesn’t raise a few eyebrows then I am not sure what will.  Mr. Hylton has made himself Elementary Emperor.  He will be the only board member involved in this process and has effectively shut out the other seven elected school board directors from the day-to-day process of spending $15 million dollars to “band aid” five school buildings.

Does this seem unusual to anyone else?

You know those historical windows will end up in Rupert.  What you don’t know is that those windows will enrich the quality of education in the Pottstown School District tremendously.  Why I bet they will even make test scores in the high school go up to meet the state required levels.  The sense of pride in those historical windows will inspire our students to greatness.

Just another day in Pottstown.

Evidently Stupid Is As Stupid Does In Pottstown

Despite the enormous amount of time and effort put forth by the Task Force and the cross-section of people who were involved in the process; the Pottstown Hyltonville School District Board of Education has voted to maintain five old elementary school buildings in light of the fact that:  a. Hyltonville cannot afford them and b. in the long run taxes will increase more by doing nothing.

Great job!  Not!

Many thanks to the Task Force for their hard work and many thanks to the four forward-thinking school board directors (Huss, Hartman, Pargeon, Weand) who voted NO to this giant step backward.  Watch how many homes go up for sale now!

Please keep in mind the five school board directors (Harris, Hylton, Wausnock, White, Wilson) who voted for this stick your head in the sand “plan” so when your taxes spiral even further out of control you’ll remember who to blame!  In case you forget, I’ll remind you when the times comes.

Two gigantic Roy’s Rants thumbs down and a cyber raspberry.