Rep. Mark Painter: Farmers’ Market Vouchers Available For Seniors.

SANATOGA, PA –  State Rep. Mark Painter, D-Montgomery, reminds older residents about a program that provides low-income seniors with vouchers redeemable for fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs at local farmers’ markets.

The Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides qualified seniors with four vouchers totaling $20 that they may exchange for Pennsylvania-grown produce. Recipients are given a list of participating farmers and farmers’ markets when they receive their checks.

“This program is immensely beneficial for senior citizens to enhance their daily diet with nutritious produce grown right here in Pennsylvania,” said Painter, a member of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

To qualify, recipients must be 60 or older by Dec. 31, with a total household income before taxes of less than $21,589 for a single person, $29,100 for a couple and $36,611 for a family of three, based on 2013 income.

The vouchers will be distributed at the Pottstown Cluster from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursdays and Fridays; and at the Pottstown Senior Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The vouchers, made available through funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, are distributed on a first-come basis.

Painter said constituents with questions may contact his office at 610-326-9563.

Contact: Tom Andrews, 717-787-7895

MCCC Wind Turbines Now Part Of Pottstown Landscape

Wind Ribbon Cutting

Wind Ribbon: Pictured cutting the ribbon during Montgomery County Community College’s wind turbine dedication on April 21 are (from left) MCCC Trustees Andrew Cantor and Ed Mullin, MCCC Trustee Chairman Michael D’Aniello, Pottstown Borough Mayor Sharon Thomas, MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, MCCC West Campus Vice President Dr. Steady Moono, Pottstown Borough Council President Stephen Toroney, and Pa. Representative Mark Painter. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pottstown, Pa—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) cut a symbolic green ribbon on April 21 to dedicate four brand new wind turbines at its West Campus in Pottstown.

Pa. Rep. Mark Painter, Pottstown Borough Council President Stephen Toroney and Pottstown Mayor Sharon Thomas joined College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and members of MCCC’s Board of Trustees in cutting the ceremonial ribbon. 

The 25-foot vertical axis wind turbines were recently installed outside MCCC’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center at 140 College Drive, adjacent to Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill River. While the turbines won’t power major facilities on campus, the demo project will provide real-life teaching and learning opportunities for students and faculty.

Each wind turbine produces 1,000 watts of energy, for a combined 4,000 watts, enough energy to power the LED lighting in the Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center parking lot. The lightweight carbon fiber and fiberglass blades have a cut-in speed of 7.83 miles per hour, meaning that winds must be at least eight miles per hour to generate usable electricity.

While the turbines may look big in stature, they are quiet to operate. Each turbine produces about as much noise as a desktop computer—quieter than most air conditioning units. The turbines, which are similar to those found at Lincoln Financial Park in Philadelphia, are endorsed by the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, the National Audubon Society, and by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Wind Turbines vertical

Wind Turbine Vertical: Four, 25-foot wind turbines now stand outside of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

The new wind turbines are part of the College’s Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc., which has enabled MCCC to implement a series of self-funding energy conservation projects. Collectively, these projects will result in 19 percent energy savings—and more than $6 million in cost savings—over the next 15 years.

Other conservation initiatives include converting several buildings from propane to natural gas; retrofitting lighting with energy-efficient units; weatherizing buildings; installing water-conservation commodes; improving heating and cooling units; upgrading building automation and energy management system; and incorporating renewable energy sources—like solar panels at MCCC’s Central Campus, and now wind turbines at MCCC’s West Campus in Pottstown.

To learn more about MCCC’s Sustainability Initiative, visit http://www.mc3green.wordpress.com.

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Pow Wow On Mantawny Creek Celebrates Pottstown’s Native American Heritage

Pottstown, PA - In 1859, workers clearing a mound in an area on the south side of the borough unearthed skeletal remains and artifacts of an ancestor of the Lenni-Lenape people.  Over the next twelve years many more remains and artifacts were unearthed in this area.  Many of the remains and items were initially exhibited locally, but over time they have been lost.

memorial

memorial.jpg an image of the memorial on Industrial Highway

In 2000, then mayor Anne Jones headed up a campaign that resulted in the Memorial currently located at the intersection of South Franklin Street and Industrial Highway. The site sits on land generously donated by the family of Mr. Tim O’Conner, owner of Humphrey Flag Company.

The memorial, which was originally dedicated on May 5, 2000, is an acknowledgement and a recognition of the people whose spirits inhabit those grounds.  Unfortunately, in recent years, the memorial has been neglected. In an effort to bring new life and attention to this memorial, Ron Williams and Clanmother Star Harbach have organized a re-dedication of the memorial on May 3 and a pow wow on May 3 and 4. Williams says: “The Memorial is my primary objective.  The Pow Wow is a way of creating interest. I am hopeful that in time we can do more to make this memorial a local landmark that we can be proud of. It should be a place of cultural awareness.  Future plans will include warm weather monthly story-telling circles, new plants representing the indigenous  features of the pre-colonial period, a medicine wheel, lighting and a sculpture representing the culture of the Native Americans, for starters.”

The rededication ceremony will begin at 9am on Saturday, May 3 at the site, which is at the corner of Franklin St. and Industrial Highway near the river. Frankie and Johnnie’s has generously offered the use of their parking lot for those who want to attend. Afterwards the festivities will switch to Memorial Park.

The pow wow will take place from 10am-6pm on Saturday and from 10am-5pm on Sunday at the Veteran’s Memorial in Memorial Park. Visitors will be treated to dances from many different tribes. In between the dances, a storyteller will entertain and educate with traditional tales. Guests will be able to shop at different Native American vendors, who will be selling leather crafts, jewelry, beadwork, instruments, wood sculptures, herbal teas and more. Author Gretchen Hardy will be selling signed copies of her book. Buttons & Beads: Lenape Princess Wynonah and the Future President, an historical fiction book illustrated by Zoungy Kligge, takes what is known of these intrepid ancestors and weaves them into one Lenape woman, Wynonah, who becomes their collective voiceA portion of the sales of her book will be donated to the Memorial fundraiser.  There will also be an interactive education tent run by Laura and Ron Buckwalter where visitors can learn more about the Lenape people. Outside of the main pow wow site, other local groups including ArtFusion 19464 will be set up.

SpritWing.jpg the group giving a free concert at the pow wow on Saturday night

SpritWing.jpg the group giving a free concert at the pow wow on Saturday night

The event will begin with a Grand Entrance and opening ceremony at 12pm on Saturday. Following the opening ceremony, there will be a Veteran’s Dance, where military veterans and those currently serving are invited to participate to honor their service. The dancing will continue until 6pm. At 7pm, group Spirit Wing entertain the community with a free concert open to the public. The pow wow on Sunday will also begin with a Grand Entrance at 12pm. The events that day will end at 5pm.

Clanmother Star will MC the event and Joe Camaho will be whip man for the event, a ceremonial position responsible for lining up the dancers for the Grand Entrance. Medicine Horse Singers will drum for the dancers.

The entrance fee for the pow wow is $5, cash only. Children 6 and under are free. Visitors can park in the Memorial Park lot and at the lot by the Carousel building on King Street. There will be a free trolley running from the Carousel parking lot up to Pottsgrove Manor, where the annual May Day festivities will also be taking place on Saturday.

Please note that the back gate at the Veteran’s Memorial in the park will be closed to the public. All events will run rain or shine.

The organizers and dancers ask that visitors only take pictures when they are told it is allowed, as a matter of respect. Those who do not follow these rules will be escorted from the event. This is a pet friendly event. Well-behaved pets on a leash are welcome, and owners are asked to be courteous and clean up after their pets.

All funds raised during this weekend will go toward establishing an annual celebration and the maintenance and improvement of the monument. The site will be updated to make it a place of learning, with a regular schedule of storytelling and other events that will take place on site. The pow wow will be an annual event, in an effort to continue the recognition of what was lost.

In conjunction with this effort to create the awareness of the Native American contribution to the history of this nation, Representative Mark Painter will also be presenting a resolution in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on June 2, to recognize this year as the 90th anniversary since Native Americans were granted full United States citizenship.  Until 1924, Native Americans were not citizens of the United States, but on June 2, 1924 Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. under the Indian Citizenship Act.

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POW/MIA Flags To Be Hung In Downtown Pottstown

Art fusionIn preparation for ArtFusion 19464’s fall educational exhibit When We Were Soldiers, downtown Pottstown will soon be flying POW/MIA flags.  The flags will be hung the week of July 4th and be on display through Veterans Day.

This display was made possible through the support of the greater Pottstown community and beyond. Representative Mark Painter’s office donated 2 flags.  Generous donations were also made by the following individuals and organizations: David Garner , Esq., Pottstown Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Positively Pottstown, Federation of Concerned Organizations, POW/MIA Forget Me Nots, American Legion Post 244 and Jack and Cathy Paretti, Theresa Orlosky, Sharon Shulby.  Billy Worrell, member of American Legion Post 244 and a Vietnam Veteran, was very instrumental in getting the donations and arranging the purchase of the flags.

When We Were Soldiers will focus on the personal recollections of veterans of the Vietnam War.  The show will open September 20 with a Welcome Home reception and run through Veterans Day.  As part of the reception, local motorcycle clubs will be participating in a welcome home ride.  The reception will run from 5-8pm. Light refreshments will be served.  While this reception is free, ArtFusion will be collecting donations for a free arts program for veterans as well as to fund maintenance for the Pottstown Vietnam Memorial.

The Pottstown Keystone Chapter 565 of Vietnam Veterans meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7PM at the VFW located on High Street in Pottstown.  Anyone is invited to attend a meeting.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center located at 254 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown.  The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages.  The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence.  ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.  The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm.  The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

Attached:  POWMIA flags.jpg: presentation of flags at Borough Hall; Frank Strunk, President of Pottstown Keystone Chapter 565 of Vietnam Veterans of America; Billy Worrell, of American Legion Post 244; and Mark Flanders, Pottstown Borough Manager.

Pottstown, Phoenixville Split By Court-Approved Re-Districting Plan

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Both Pottstown and Phoenixville will be split into two different legislative districts under the legislative re-districting approved Wednesday by the state Supreme Court.

The new districts will take effect in the 2014 election cycle and shift legislative lines for the state House and Senate seats throughout Southeast Pennsylvania and may change who is representing you in Harrisburg.

In Pottstown, the plan unanimously approved by the court, puts the first, second and part of the seventh wards of Pottstown into the 26th District, currently represented by longtime Chester County Republican Tim Hennessey.

The third, fourth, fifth, sixth and other half of the seventh wards will continue to be represented by the 146th District, a seat currently held by freshman Democrat Mark Painter according to the plan.

Read m0re:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130508/NEWS01/130509321/pottstown-phoenixville-split-by-court-approved-redistricting-plan#full_story

Blighted Pottstown House Owned By State Rep.’s Chief Of Staff

Editor’s note:  There are a couple of take away items here.  a.  The Pottstown Codes Department evidently can’t process an address change.  Does that require a $5,000.00 “donation”?  b.  The house is in poor condition and needs repairs.  c.  This illustrates the pitfalls of being an “investor” in Pottstown.  Most likely that amount of damage didn’t happen overnight, from the sounds of the report.  How often are problem properties being checked on by an owner or property manager?  It sounds like the house should be demolished except the owner owes money to the bank.  It will be a LONG wait until conditions improve enough in that neighborhood to make fixing up this property economically viable.  So just add another vacant property to Pottstown’s housing stock.

POTTSTOWN — The district chief of staff for state Rep. Mark Painter, D-146th Dist., is the owner of a Walnut Street home that the borough has recently identified as “blighted.”

The designation was advertised in the legal notices of Wednesday’s edition of The Mercury.

Michael A. Lavanga, who heads up Painter’s district office in Sanatoga and has appeared on his behalf at local government meetings, expressed surprise Wednesday when contacted by a reporter about the advertisement.

According to the legal notice, Lavanga has 30 days to make repairs to the property including repairing or replacing rain gutters, loose paint, windows and the front steps to 409 Walnut St.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130412/NEWS04/130419776/blighted-pottstown-house-owned-by-state-rep-s-chief-of-staff#full_story

Pottstown School Board Approves Keystone Tax Break For New Business

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  See what happens when we are all on the same page!  This sends a positive signal to the investment community that Pottstown is “OPEN FOR BUSINESS”.   This needs to happen more often.  Two Thumbs Up to all involved!

POTTSTOWN — With a 7-2 vote Monday night, the Pottstown School Board endorsed a property tax break for a business that wants to re-locate to the former 84 Lumber truss plant on Keystone Boulevard.

School board members Polly Weand and Andrew Kefer cast the only votes against endorsing the Keystone Opportunity Zone tax exemption for Conshohocken-based Heritage Coach Co., which sells hearses and limousines.

The vote comes just three days after state Rep. Mark Painter, D-146th Dist., announced his support for the tax break.

Under the terms of the deal negotiated by Schools Superintendent Jeff Sparagana and Borough Manager Mark Flanders, Heritage would pay no property taxes in the first three years of the 10-year deal.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130326/NEWS01/130329480/pottstown-school-board-approves-tax-break-for-new-business

TriCounty Community Network To Hold Meeting On Preventing & Preparing For School Emergencies

The TriCounty Community Network (TCN) Build Up Youth Committee will be hosting a meeting on “School Emergencies: Prevention, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery”.  In the wake of recent tragedies, the speaker, Matthew Moyer, principal at Rupert Elementary School will talk about how the TriCounty community can help our schools protect our children.

State Rep. Mark Painter will also be at the event and will speak to the attendees.

Tuesday, February 19, 8am – 10am

Montgomery County Community College, West Campus

Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown

  Breakfast Sponsor: Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania

Click here to register or call TCN at 610-705-3301 ext. 2.

TCN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, membership-based organization that partners with nonprofits, businesses and community members to improve health, social and environmental conditions.  Serving Western Montgomery, Northern Chester and Eastern Berks counties in Pennsylvania, TCN offers six key programs: Build Up Youth, CARE (caregivers support), Environmental Awareness, Homeless Services, SAFE (Supporting Abuse Free Environments), and Workforce Development.  For more information on TCN, visit www.tcnetwork.org.  

Annual MLK Service Draws Big Crowd In Pottstown

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deutsch: 1964: Martin Luther King Português: Martin Luther King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — Each year, the interfaith prayer service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. celebrated by the borough’s various religious communities strikes a special chord with the Rev. Vernon Ross Jr.

“This is something I look forward to,” Ross said. “It’s really a part of me.”

Ross, the pastor of Bethel AME Church, grew up in Mississippi and, as a football player in high school, was president of his chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In 1977, when Ross and other members of the organization tried to go to church to share their faith with their Christian coach — a white man — the athletes were told that only white players were allowed inside.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130121/NEWS01/130129952/annual-mlk-service-draws-big-crowd-in-pottstown#full_story