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

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

Archdiocese Of Philadelphia: Reviewing 14 More Parishes For Possible Merger, Closure

Weeks after completing its last round of parish mergers and closures, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Sunday that 14 more parishes in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties could be combined with nearby churches or shuttered.

This time, the archdiocese is targeting three clusters of churches for cutbacks:

In Delaware County’s Springfield Township, the parishes of St. Francis of Assisi, Holy Cross, and St. Kevin.

In Montgomery County, the parishes of St. Alphonsus in Maple Glen, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Joseph in Ambler, St. Catherine of Siena in Horsham, St. Genevieve in Flourtown, and Holy Martyrs in Oreland.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20141013_Archdiocese_of_Philadelphia__reviewing_14_more_parishes_for_possible_merger__closure.html#u17H63eOuBCeur6k.99

Sustainability: Pottstown Eyes Environmental Balance

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA – As any farmer can tell you, use any resource faster than it can be replaced — be it wood, water, money or patience — and eventually it will run out.

To put it simply, it’s not sustainable.

And where does that leave those who come after you?

Recognizing a responsibility to maintain a sustainable balance and to ensure resources are available to future generations, Pottstown may soon become the third municipality in Montgomery County to adopt a “sustainability plan.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141012/sustainability-pottstown-eyes-environmental-balance

Community Information Night At Limerick Generation Station

Date: October  16, 2014
Time: Visit us anytime between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Location: Limerick’s Learning Center

Meet our employees and learn how we produce electricity at Limerick Generating Station.  You can tour the main control room simulator, learn about our environmental programs and emergency preparedness, and get your own Limerick Generating Station souvenir badge! Children welcome!

Enter our property at the intersection of Sanatoga and Evergreen Roads in Limerick Twp. and follow signs for parking.

  • Exelon representatives will be stationed in the parking area when you arrive.  A shuttle will be provided to the learning center.
  • Contact us at LimerickGeneratingStation@exeloncorp.com with any questions.

We hope to see you there!

Green Lane Park Hosts “Flight Of The Falcon” Live Falconry Demonstrations Saturday, October 11, 2014 At 1:00 pm And 3:00 pm

English: no original description

English: no original description (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Green Lane, PA – Green Lane Park will welcome back special guest falconer Cheryl Heimbach of Baywing Falconry on Saturday October 11, 2014 with demonstrations at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm.

Using live birds of prey as teaching aids, Heimbach sheds new light on these amazing birds, their lifestyles, and their critical role in the environment. She also shares her deep passion for the ancient art of Falconry in a uniquely engaging fashion. This program also features some great photo-opportunities.

This free program is suitable for all ages. Meet near the Tennis Court parking lot in Green Lane Park located at 2298 Green Lane Road, Green Lane, PA 18054.

For more information, please contact Kevin F. Crilley, Environmental Educator, Region II, Montgomery County Department of Assets and Infrastructure, Division of Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites, at (215) 234-4528 or via email at kcrilley@montcopa.org. Visit Green Lane Park online at http://www.montcopa.org/greenlanepark.

Business Owner Stays True To Roots Of Skippack Days

Location of Skippack Township in Montgomery County

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

SKIPPACK TOWNSHIP, PA – When it comes to Skippack Days, Butch Kaelin is a purist.

Visitors strolling through Skippack Village during the two-day festival — set for Oct. 4 and 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — a time the town welcomes vendors from all over the country, will find only true craftsmen setting up shop outdoors on the Victorian Carriage Shops property, 4039 Skippack Pike, which is owned by Kaelin.

If you’re looking for all things artisanal, authentic and guaranteed to be fully twenty-four carat, genuinely, unequivocally handmade, this is where you’ll find them.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/business/20141003/business-owner-stays-true-to-roots-of-skippack-days

MCCC & GCC: Global Connections For Regional Impact

Global Corporate College (2)Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Community colleges have a proven track record in building the economic growth of the regions they serve by offering employers customized workforce development and training. But some institutions—like Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), with campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, Pa.—are thinking even bigger.

Close to 50 colleges and universities across the United States are part of the Global Corporate College (GCC), an international network that provides corporations with quality and consistent workforce training curricula for employees regardless of location, language and learning needs. Currently, GCC has global partners in 24 countries, which, according to its website, makes it the largest, multi-modal human capital development network in the world. Through a partnership with Growth Development Associates (GDA), GCC institutions also have access to extensive sales management and training curricula.

“Each GCC partner college has access to the largest body of incumbent worker training curriculum,” explains Dr. Brook Hunt, director of MCCC’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD). “As a result, this curriculum enables the colleges to build custom solutions for our customers at our competitors’ ‘off the shelf’ prices.”

Since 2012, Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development (CWD) has partnered with both GCC and GDA to provide custom training programs and industry forums for dozens of employers in the Greater Philadelphia business community. Clients include Cobham PLC, Lansdale; Blommer Chocolate, East Greenville; Pointroll, King of Prussia; HP Hood LLC, Hatfield and Philadelphia; SKF USA, Lansdale; Stein Seal, Kulpsville; and Curtiss-Wright, EST Group, Hatfield, among others.

Those employers cite positive experiences with GCC and GDA customized training.

“Through CWD and Global Corporate College, we customized a training program for over 50 employees…based on [their] needs and the company’s training goals,” said Joanne Reagan, senior human resources manager for HP Hood, LLC. “The training program was well received. We look forward to continuing our partnership with CWD and GCC.”

“Curtiss-Wright, EST Group, partnered with CWD and Growth Development Associates to energize our sales training efforts,” says Drew Bergman, director, sales and marketing. “The program that GDA developed was specifically tailored to our business, and has resulted in increased staff focus on closing techniques and supported a current initiative to gain “add-on” product accessory sales.  The results have been outstanding.  Our staff came away charged up and excited to put the techniques to use.”

For its efforts, MCCC was recognized with three distinguished awards during GCC’s annual Institute in Indianapolis over the summer. Dr. Brook Hunt was one of two recipients of the inaugural Spirit of Global Corporate College Award, given in recognition of an individual’s exemplary commitment, spirit and contribution toward fulfilling the mission of GCC.

MCCC was also earned nine “Pig” awards for securing or expanding GCC and GDA contracts and was the only 2014 “Poodle” award recipient, which is awarded to institutions that bring in five or more new contracts.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s Center for Workforce Development, visit http://www.mc3.edu, click on Areas of Study, then Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, followed by Center for Workforce Development.

Why Philly Area Gets Slighted By ‘Best Places’ List

Two of Philadelphia’s bigger burbs got mentions in Money Magazine’s annually perplexing exercise titled “Best Places to Live.”

If that seems disappointing, know this: The fault lies not in ourselves. It’s a very limited list.

Overall, Bensalem, ranked at No. 43, was the only area municipality to make Money’s Top 50, which was led by not-exactly-famous McKinney, Texas; Maple Grove, Minn.; and Carmel, Ind., in that order.

Money lauded Bensalem’s “access to stunning state parks” and such leisure options as concerts at the TD Bank Amphitheater, gambling and racing at the Parx Casino and Racetrack, and shooting at the Philadelphia Gun Club, noting “the local job market benefits from the presence of Fortune 1000 company Charming Shoppes as well as Ibanez Guitars and Tama Drums.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillylists/Local-town-No-2-for-Best-Places-to-Be-Rich-and-Single.html#7eG0vfTvDgxtwcMI.99

Focus On Student Learning Earns MCCC Recertification As Achieving The Dream Leader College

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Blue Bell/Pottstown/Lansdale, Pa.Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) continues to position itself at the forefront of student learning with recertification as a Leader College by Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count (ATD), a national non-profit organization committed to helping more community college students succeed.

Even before joining ATD in 2006, MCCC was hard at work improving student learning outcomes by placing student access and success as top priorities in its strategic planning.

“Montgomery County Community College takes a holistic approach to student success,” explained Dr. Karen A. Stout, president.  “By leveraging data to align our strategic planning efforts and budget decisions with student success goals, we are able to continually make improvements and remove barriers that impact retention and completion. At the same time, we’re able to engage faculty, administrators and staff from across disciplines and departments in our student success work.”

As part of its overarching Student Success Initiative, MCCC faculty and staff systematically examine all aspects of its students’ educational experiences both inside and outside the classroom—from enhancing student services, like advising and mentoring; to identifying and developing interventions for at-risk cohorts; to redesigning developmental curriculum and placement; to strengthening its focus on completion and increasing transfer opportunities.

Several of the College’s student success projects have national appeal. For example, Barbara Lontz, assistant professor of mathematics at MCCC, developed a new way of teaching basic developmental math by conceptual units rather than topics. Her curriculum, “Concepts of Numbers,” encourages active learning by starting with a problem, solving it as a group, and then learning the applicable algorithms. The method has increased basic math success rates by 20 percent and math confidence rates by 20-35 percent at MCCC, and institutions are adopting Lontz’s curriculum and textbook across the U.S. “Concepts of Numbers” was honored as a national 2010 “Innovation of the Year” recipient by the League for Innovation in the Community College.

Another example of a project with broad appeal is “Montco Money Matters” a multimedia financial literacy prototype that helps students understand how to pay for college. The 30-minute, self-guided pilot program, funded through a Next Generation Learning Challenges EDUCAUSE grant, introduces students to the concept of paying for college through topics such as financial aid, loans, grants, scholarships and the long-term implications of current and future debt. The project’s next steps are to build out additional modules under the umbrella of financial literacy and to make the program accessible to school districts within Montgomery County and to the general population at large.

In addition to its work with Achieving the Dream and EDUCAUSE, MCCC’s student access and success efforts continue to gain momentum with President Stout’s participation in White House Summit for College Opportunity. First held in December 2013 and continuing through next year, the Summit has enabled MCCC to further develop initiatives around student advising and planning, financial literacy and mentoring—specifically designed to improve college access and completion for at-risk students.

MCCC is one of 16 institutions in the country to be recertified as Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges in 2014. ATD also welcomed 16 new Leader College institutions to its ranks, bringing the total number of active Leader Colleges to 79. Other Pennsylvania institutions earning recertification this year include Community College of Beaver County, Community College of Philadelphia, and Delaware County Community College.

According to Achieving the Dream, Leader Colleges demonstrate the way in which data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole.

To learn more about Montgomery County Community College’s Student Success Initiative, visit its website at mc3.edu or its Think Success blog at mc3success.wordpress.com. To learn more about the work of Achieving the Dream, visit www,achievingthedream.org.

MCCC Hosts 10th Annual Straight Talk Program: ‘Building Resilience In Today’s Diverse Families’

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—The Montgomery County Teen Parent Task Force, in collaboration with Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), will host its 10th annual Straight Talk program on Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 6:30-9 p.m. The topic is “Building Resilience in Today’s Diverse Families.”

The program will be held in the Science Center Theater at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, with video-conferencing to South Hall 221 at MCCC’s West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The program is free and is open to the public; guests are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food for MCCC’s “Stock Up For Success” food pantry, which provides free breakfast and lunch items to students in need. Pre-registration is requested to Fran Wasserman at 215-688-0538 or franwasserman@verizon.net.

The Straight Talk program will include a keynote address by Abby Grasso, social services liaison with Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital, followed by a panel discussion and question and answer session. Panelists include Ron Husted, coordinator of the Fatherhood Program with Child, Home & Community, Inc., and Wendell Griffith, coordinator of mentoring services at MCCC. Literature and resources will also be available before and after the presentation.

Learn About Programs & More At MCCC Fall Open Houses

Blue Bell/Pottstown/Lansdale, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College will hold three open houses this fall to provide prospective students and the community with information about the College’s programs, campuses and activities. The open houses are free of charge and are open to the public. For more information and to pre-register, visit mc3.edu/open house or call 215-641-6551.

The College’s West Campus, located at 101 College Drive in Pottstown, will host an open house on Thursday, Oct. 16, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. in the South Hall Community Room.

The College’s Central Campus, located at 340 DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell, will host an open house on Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m.-noon in Parkhouse Hall.

Both open houses will provide prospective students and their families with information about MCCC’s credit and non-credit programs. Admissions representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions process, transfer opportunities, e-learning, financial aid and intercollegiate athletics, among other topics, and members of the College’s faculty will share information on the 100+ associate degree and certificate programs that are part of a comprehensive curriculum.

The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College will also host an open house on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 10 a.m.-noon at its new facility located at 1400 Forty Foot Road in Lansdale, Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the kitchens and classrooms while learning about MCCC’s Culinary Arts and Pastry and Baking Arts associate degree programs, as well as its Culinary Enthusiast classes. Student Success Center advisors will be on hand to answer questions about the admissions process and financial aid, among other topics.

To learn more about all the Montgomery County Community College has to offer, visit http://www.mc3.edu online.

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

Residents Facing Evictions At Jenkintown High Rise

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, P...

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some 200 Jenkintown residents, many of them elderly, are losing their apartments due to a dispute between local officials and the property owner.

“We’re the pawns in this,” said Marshall Jones, 93. “[The owner] is saying, ‘If you won’t do it our way, we’ll just close it down.’ “

Jones has lived in the Colonade high-rise apartments on Old York Road, in the Jenkintown section of Abington Township, for 16 years. He and other residents have had a string of complaints about leaks, electrical outages, broken elevators, cold water, broken heaters, and other issues, many of which ended up in the courts.

In 2012, the building was cited for more than 200 code violations, and the township’s solicitor was “looking into criminal charges,” according to an Inquirer report.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140904_Residents_facing_evictions_at_Jenkintown_high_rise.html#FfYzbjqVDIYStHix.99

MCCC Offers Workshop To Help Adults Transition Into College‏

Sept. 3, 2014, Blue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will continue to offer its popular Career Transition Workshop for adults who may be thinking about returning to college.

The next workshop will be held on Thursday, Sept. 18 from 10 a.m.-noon. in the Advanced Technology Center, room 101, at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The workshop is open to all adults and is free of charge, although pre-registration is requested. For more information or to RSVP, contact Denise Collins at 215-619-7313 or dcollins@mc3.edu.

During the workshop, prospective students will get an overview of the resources available to help them transition into college. Topics include using MCCC’s website and online registration tools, financial aid, assessment of credits for prior learning, stackable credentials, career pathways and job search tools.

After the initial session, MCCC advisors will follow up with participants one-on-one to help them identify programs and pathways that are right for them.

“Our goal is help adult learners be comfortable and successful at the College. We want this to be a place where they can get back on track with their education and transition into new careers,” said Denise Collins, who manages the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant at MCCC.

The grant is helping MCCC to develop a robust Prior Learning Assessment model and stackable credentials for adult students as part of the JobTrakPA framework—a joint initiative of Pennsylvania’s 14 community colleges to train and place underemployed and unemployed residents of the Commonwealth in high demand jobs.

The workshop also connects to MCCC’s participation in the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) Plus 50 Encore Completion Program, which looks to train 10,000 baby boomers for high-demand jobs through 2015.

MCCC, Montgomery County Host Presentation On Addiction

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— The Montgomery County Office of Drug and Alcohol and Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Student Support and Referral Team will host “The Other Faces of Addiction,” a program designed to help individuals cope with a loved one’s addiction, on Wednesday, Oct. 1 from 6:30-8 p.m.

The free program will take place at MCCC’s Central Campus, Science Center room 214, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and will be simulcast to the West Campus, South Hall room 221, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

During the presentation, participants will learn strategies to care for one’s own life while living with a loved one’s addiction. Family members will share their strategies and triumphs, and Mana Mobile Massage will provide information on self-care, yoga and meditation.

To learn more, contact Eileen Lafferty at 610-278-3538 or elaffert@montcopa.org.

Greater Norristown Police Athletic League International Festival Slated For Sept. 4

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA — The Greater Norristown Police Athletic League’s (GNPAL) 14th Annual International Festival, “A Wine and Food Extravaganza” will be held at the Plymouth Country Club Thursday, Sept. 4 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event, benefiting GNPAL programs, will feature live entertainment, a silent auction/raffle and an extensive menu featuring some of the area’s top culinary talents.

“The international food and wine festival is all about supporting our organization and the work we do in the community,” said GNPAL Executive Director Brett Wells.

“It’s our only big fundraiser of the year. We raise about 20 percent of our annual budget in just this one event,” Wells explained.

More than 100 local business have signed on as sponsors and 25 restaurants and vendors will be on hand to serve an estimated 1,000 to 1,300 guests.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140901/greater-norristown-police-athletic-league-international-festival-slated-for-sept-4