EITC Funding Helps Qualifying Families With Preschool Costs At MCCC

Blue Bell, Pa.—The Children’s Center at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is offering subsidized preschool education to low-income families for the 2014-15 academic year through Educational Investment Tax Credit (EITC) funding from North Penn United Way.

Funding is available for children ages three and four with a household income that is under 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines and who live in the North Penn or Souderton school districts. Those who qualify will have 70 percent of their weekly child care tuition covered. Funding is available on a first-come, first served basis and is open to current MCCC students and members of the community.

To learn more, contact MCCC Children’s Center Director Debbie Ravacon at 215-641-6618 or dravacon@mc3.edu.

The Children’s Center, which is located at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, is a fully licensed child care center that is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). It is recognized by NAEYC as an exemplary early childhood education program in the nation for its work to engage diverse families, has a top Keystone Stars rating of four, and is a consistent recipient of the Start4 Merit Award.

Research identifies cost and accessibility to affordable child care as reasons why lower-income students do not complete college. The Children’s Center supports MCCC’s strategic goal to expand access to education and increase student success by offering accessible child care at discounted rates and flexible schedules to maximize affordability.

For more information about MCCC’s Children’s Center, visit mc3.edu/student-resources/child-care.

Registration for fall semester classes at Montgomery County Community College is going on now. Classes are available in 14, 10 and seven-week sessions that start on Aug. 27, Sept. 24 and Oct. 15. Visit mc3.edu/Fall2014 to learn more.

MCCC, Kutztown University Officials Sign First ‘Reverse Transfer’ Agreement Between Community College And State System Institutions In Commonwealth

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

PHOTO: Montgomery County Community College President Dr. Karen A. Stout and Kutztown University Acting President Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto sign the first reverse transfer agreement between a community college and State System institution in Pennsylvania. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Blue Bell, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) and Kutztown University (KU) signed a “reverse transfer” agreement on Aug. 20—the first agreement of its kind between a community college and a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (State System) university.

Under the new agreement, students who complete at least 15 credits at MCCC now have the opportunity to transfer credits they earn at Kutztown back to Montgomery in order to earn an associate’s degree in a parallel field en route to earning a bachelor’s degree.

According to MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, the agreement builds on Montgomery’s strategic efforts to increase student access, progression and completion rates, and on work being done nationally to support community college degree completion.

“The associate’s degree has value and is an important credential for community college students,” said Dr. Stout. “By earning an associate’s degree, students demonstrate their ability to complete an area of study, which can help them in the job market or with career advancement while pursing their baccalaureate degree. While we encourage our students to earn their degree before transferring, it’s important for us to understand that our students take multiple pathways to complete their education.”

Close to 70 percent of MCCC students enter the College each year with the intention to transfer to a four-year institution, and Kutztown is a popular choice. In fact, last year, 182 of the College’s students transferred an average 44 credits to KU.

The institutions’ leaders envision that the new agreement will serve as a model partnership for Pennsylvania community colleges and State System institutions. MCCC and KU are not strangers to such innovation; in 2007, Montgomery became the first community college with which Kutztown signed a dual-admissions and core-to-core transfer agreement.

“Kutztown University is excited to once again partner with Montgomery County Community College in developing another program to benefit students of our region,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas-Aburto, KU’s acting president.  “Serving students is at the core of all that we do, and this is truly a student-centric program.”

MCCC Holds Open Houses For High-Demand JobTrakPA Career Programs

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will hold open houses in Blue Bell and Pottstown for individuals interested in learning more about its high-demand JobTrakPA career programs. Fall programs include Wastewater Technician; Health Information Technology; Medical Billing and Coding; and Warehouse and Logistics.

The open houses will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 6-7:30 p.m. at MCCC’s Central Campus, Parkhouse Hall room 112, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and on Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the College’s West Campus, South Hall room 221, 101 College Drive, Pottstown.

JobTrakPA programs are funded in whole or in part by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor—Employment and Training Administration. The programs are designed to educate and train displaced workers in high-demand occupations. Deferred payment plans are available.

According to the U.S Department of Labor, 57 percent of workers in trade-related fields hold only a high school diploma or its equivalent, and close to 60 percent of Pennsylvania’s trade workers are between 40 and 60 years of age. Employers cite a critical shortage of qualified workers to fill jobs in the growing industries of advanced manufacturing, energy and health care technology.

For more information about JobTrakPA programs at Montgomery County Community College, visit http://www.mc3.edu/workforcedevelopment/jobtrak, call the JobTrakPA hotline at 215-461-1468 or email jobtrakpa@mc3.edu.

New Certificate Launched To Fill Pharmacy Technician Demand

Blue Bell, Pa.—Pharmacy technician jobs are expected to grow by 20 percent through 2022—nine percent higher than the average growth rate for all occupations nationally according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. The demand holds true in Pennsylvania as well; the Commonwealth is ranked fourth among states in the number of pharmacy technicians currently employed.

To help fill the demand in this growing field, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) is introducing a Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program this fall. Classes are held Saturdays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. starting Oct. 4 and ending Dec. 20 at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Program tuition is $1,638. To learn more, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics, select areas of study, health sciences, and career training programs or call 215-641-6374.

MCCC’s Pharmacy Technician Certificate of Completion program is comprised of 55 hours of classroom instruction along with Health 21, a 21-hour online component that provides an overview of the health care industry. Students are required to complete homework assignments, as well as mid-term and final exams. Upon successful completion, graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam to become a Certified Pharmacy Technician.

Pharmacy technicians help licensed pharmacists dispense prescription medication to customers or health care professionals. Fifty-three percent of technicians are employed in pharmacies and drug stores, with others employed in hospitals, general merchandise and grocery stores, and ambulatory health care services. Positions may be full or part time and often include evenings and weekends.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reports that candidates with formal training or prior experience have the best opportunity for employment as pharmacy technicians. In 2012, the median salary for pharmacy technicians was $29,320 nationally.

MCCC Joins ‘Yellow Ribbon Program’ To Benefit Student Veterans

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) was recently selected to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the 2014-15 academic year. The program enables MCCC to assist up to 10 student veterans with fees associated with out-of-state residency.

“Many students return or relocate to Pennsylvania after their military service only to be charged as ‘out-of-state’ residents, which the VA does not cover under normal Post 9/11 G.I. Bill benefits,” explains former U.S. Marine Justin Machain, coordinator of veterans services at MCCC. “The College applied to, and was accepted by, the Yellow Ribbon Program to assist these students with out-of-state costs starting this fall.”

To qualify for funding, veterans must be eligible for the maximum benefit rate under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill and cannot be on active duty. Visit benefits.va.gov/gibill/yellow_ribbon.asp for full eligibility requirements.

Montgomery County Community College’s participation in the Yellow Ribbon Program builds on its commitment to a student veteran population that has grown by close to 130 percent since 2007. Fiscal year 2013-14 saw 705 student veterans enrolled at the College, which is nationally designated as a “Military Friendly School” by Victory Media for five years running.

The College’s support services for student veterans include a dedicated resource center, lounge, new student orientation, study groups, career counseling and yoga, among others, facilitated by a dedicated Veterans Support Team. MCCC also has an active Student Veterans Organization, which is an official chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA).

Veteran services are a part of MCCC’s overarching Student Success Initiative—expanding access to higher education and increasing student success through process improvements and support strategies that reduce the barriers for students to complete their education.

To learn more about Veterans Affairs at Montgomery County Community College, visit mc3.edu/student-resources/vrc or contact Justin Machain at 215-619-7307 or veterans@mc3.edu. For information about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, visit http://www.gibill.va.gov.

National BMX Race Coming To Pottstown This Weekend

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — This will be a town of national champions this weekend.

That’s because the BMX Quaker State Nationals are coming to Pottstown’s Trilogy Park.

Winning the bid to host the race is no easy task, and although its not Pottstown’s first time, its never a sure thing.

“We were competing with about 400 other tracks to get the race, and we have to put out a proposal, which the Valley Forge Convention and visitors Bureau puts together for us,” said Cathy Knapper, president of the Trilogy Park organization, which is located in Memorial Park.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140804/national-bmx-race-coming-to-pottstown-this-weekend

Dr. José Alicea Named Dean Of Academic And Student Affairs For MCCC’s West Campus

Jose-AliceaPottstown, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) welcomes Dr. José Alicea as dean of academic and student affairs at its West Campus in Pottstown. In his new role, Dr. Alicea will provide strategic leadership in the delivery of academic credit and non-credit programs and student services that lead to increased student progression, retention and completion.

Dr. Alicea comes to MCCC from Roxbury Community College (RCC) in Massachusetts, where he served in various roles since 2003. He began his work as dean of continuing education and community services. After one year, he became assistant to the vice president of academic affairs for programs and student services, and later the dean for institutional effectiveness, during which time he led the President’s Institutional Effectiveness Initiative. He also served as interim dean for RCC’s Division of Business and Technology from 2008-2010.

Most recently, Dr. Alicea served RCC as associate dean of academic affairs, where he was responsible for special academic programs, projects and partnerships; reviewing and formulating academic policies; providing leadership within the major division of the college; and representing the institution in the wider community.

Dr. Alicea holds a Doctor of Education degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy and a Master of Education degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education, as well as a Master in City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Legal Advocacy and Human Services from University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Schuylkill River Trail Extensions Will Connect Pottstown, Phoenixville

POTTSTOWN — It’s a simple truth, one that Kurt Zwikl repeats often: the longer a trail, the more people it attracts.

So perhaps that’s why as executive director of the Schuylkill River Heritage Association, he is so excited about the nearly $10 million of work being planned for his trail along the Schuylkill River.

Listed among hundreds of projects approved for funding in Pennsylvania and New Jersey by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, two relatively little items in Chester County are big news in terms of the Schuylkill River Trail.

Though small, they form crucial connections between two completed portions of the trail — from Mont Clare to Phoenixville and from Parker Ford to Pottstown.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140801/schuylkill-river-trail-extensions-will-connect-pottstown-phoenixville

Failed Norristown Condos Still A Burden To Buyers

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

Terry Derby had to surf on seven different couches. Ellen Frank was turned down for credit cards and had trouble leasing a car. Ryan Schofield figures he might never again be able to buy a house.

Home ownership was not supposed to be like this. Instead of buying a haven, five Norristown condominium owners say they wound up with a horror.

The residents are left fighting for their credit ratings and some sort of compensation.

It’s a years-long saga – one yet to end – that spurred changes in the way the seat of Montgomery County monitors construction projects. But that offers little help to the people caught in a financial and legal tangle not of their own making.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140728_Failed_Norristown_condos_still_a_burden_to_buyers.html#sRoLYajfK86r2qPy.99

Ursinus College Graduate Wins Fellowship For 12-Month Global Travel

POTTSTOWN, PA — Codey Young has been awarded a fellowship award that comes with a 12-month trip around the world.

Young, 22, graduated this spring from Ursinus College, and was recently accepted into the master’s program at Harvard Divinity School.

Young is now a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, one of only 43 students from selected colleges across the country.

Sponsored by the Watson Foundation, those students chosen are given $28,000 to travel the world for 12 months in pursuit of their thesis.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/social-affairs/20140725/ursinus-college-graduate-wins-fellowship-for-12-month-global-travel

All Aboard! $200K Grant Bolsters Plan For Boyertown-To-Pottstown Rail Service

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

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

BOYERTOWN, PA — Progress on the revitalization of the Colebrookdale Railroad these days means more than pulling refurbished passenger cars along the picturesque 9-mile track on the shores of Manatawny Creek.

These days progress is being measured in cars and engines acquired, being fixed up and put into service.

And Wednesday marked another milestone on the railroad’s journey to full service when Executive Director Nathaniel Guest announced last week’s awarding of a $200,000 grant to begin construction of “railroad station infrastructure right here in Boyertown.”

The announcement came after the train — pulling cars packed with more than 70 federal and state legislators, county commissioners and municipal officials of all stripes — arrived at the downtown yard to the applause of a crowd that had gathered to welcome it.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140723/all-aboard-200k-grant-bolsters-plan-for-boyertown-to-pottstown-rail-service

Kids Dice Vegetables For Healthy Pizzas And Learn About Nutrition

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — Kid chefs learned that a healthy twist on a traditionally baked dish was surprisingly tasty.

Children of the Oliviet Boys and Girls Club made no-bake pizzas with garden fresh vegetables last week at the Ricketts Community Center.

The youth cooking class is part of a summer nutritional program at the club.

Kristin Robinson, nutrition major at the University of Pittsburgh, is working alongside MOSAIC garden manager Laura Washington this summer to teach the kids about healthy eating.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/lifestyle/20140721/kids-dice-vegetables-for-healthy-pizzas-and-learn-about-nutrition

Meter Tamperer Generates Probation For Defrauding PECO Of $346K

NORRISTOWN, PA — A Philadelphia man who tampered with utility meters to reduce some account holders’ monthly PECO electrical bills, to the tune of nearly $350,000, has generated some court supervision in connection with the five-county theft scheme.

Marcelino Cuadra Jr., 47, of Aramingo Avenue, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to seven years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to charges of corrupt organizations, theft of services and conspiracy to commit theft of services in connection with the meter tampering incidents that occurred in Montgomery, Chester, Bucks, Delaware and Philadelphia counties between December 2009 and October 2012.

Judge Garrett D. Page also ordered Cuadra to complete 60 hours of community service as a condition of the sentence. Cuadra must pay $346,750 in restitution to PECO, the judge said.

Read more: http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20140714/meter-tamperer-generates-probation-for-defrauding-peco-of-346k

Alleged Domestic Assault Draws Large Police Response In Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — Police took a man into custody Thursday night after he allegedly assaulted a woman and dragged her into his house after she tried to leave.

Around 7:21 p.m., Pottstown police were dispatched to the 1400 block of Cherry Street for the report of a domestic disturbance outside.

Witnesses told police they saw a man, who has not been identified, forcibly pulling a woman into a house on the block. Police said they were told it looked like she was trying to flee from the man and that she may have tried to escape more than once.

Residents also reportedly told police that the man and woman were arguing for most of the day. It’s believed that the two are in a relationship but unclear to what extent.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140710/alleged-domestic-assault-draws-large-police-response-in-pottstown

Cali, 18-Year-Old Jaguar At Elmwood Park Zoo In Norristown, Has Died

NORRISTOWN, PA — The Elmwood Park Zoo announced the passing of Cali (pronounced “kah-lee”), an 18-year-old female jaguar, on Wednesday. She had been receiving chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with lymphoma in the fall of 2013. Zoo staff witnessed a substantial decline in Cali’s condition and made the decision to euthanize her Wednesday morning.

The jaguar, named after the Hindu Goddess Kali and whose name means “the black one,” was unlike typical spotted jaguars. Cali’s unique black coat was caused by melanism, a common condition among felines that is caused by an excess of the black pigment, melanin.

Cali was born at the Marion Nature Park in Ocala, Fla. on Sept. 19, 1995. She arrived at the Elmwood Park Zoo on Jan. 1, 1996. Cali was paired with Anasazi, Elmwood Park Zoo’s 2-year-old spotted male jaguar.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/lifestyle/20140710/cali-18-year-old-jaguar-at-elmwood-park-zoo-in-norristown-has-died

Temple University Student Study: Norristown Needs A Food Policy Council, Community Gardens

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN — An urban planning class presented the results of a study of food availability in Norristown to council Tuesday that included targeted recommendations.

Jennifer Krouchick, a Temple University student in the urban planning studio class taught by Professor Deborah Howe, said that Norristown is a car-dependent municipality for large food shopping but had also notched a 74 percent score in “walkability.”

Of Norristown’s 34,324 residents, 19.3 live below the poverty line, according to recent demographics. In addition, 2,484 of Norristown’s 13,058 households receive federal food assistance through SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

A resident group helped the students shape the food study during a task force meeting in January, Krouchick said. A community workshop was held in April allowing residents to explain what food issues were important to them.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140701/temple-university-student-study-norristown-needs-a-food-policy-council-community-gardens

Pottsgrove Manor Tto Host “A Visit From The Mantuamaker”

738_sewing1Pottstown, PA – On Saturday, June 14, 2014 from 11:00am to 3:00pm, historic Pottsgrove Manor will host a living history program, “A Visit from the Mantuamaker.”

As a wealthy family, the Pottses would have likely hired a professional “mantuamaker”—that is a dressmaker—to cut out, fit, and sew gowns for Mrs. Potts and her daughters. In this program, the Manor’s staff and volunteers will demonstrate the process of creating a gown from scratch, as well as other aspects of sewing and tailoring colonial garments. They will also be dressed in reproduction 18th-century clothing, giving visitors an up-close look at the fashion of the era. Visitors of all ages can try their hand at some of the needlework techniques and play dress-up in replica 18th-century clothing.

This program is being held in conjunction with the Manor’s current exhibit of both reproduction and original 18th-century garments, “To the Manor Worn: Clothing the 18th-Century Household,” which can be toured on the hour during the program. There is a suggested donation of $2 per person for this program. The museum shop will also be open throughout the event and will be having a special one-day-only sale—10% off all sewing-related items!

The clothing exhibit can also be toured during regular museum hours through November 2, 2014: Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. Tours are given on the hour. The last tour of the day begins at 3:00pm. The site is closed Mondays and major holidays. Groups of ten or more should pre-register by calling 610-326-4014.

Pottsgrove Manor is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery County under the direction of the Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites Division of the Assets and Infrastructure Department. For more information, please call 610-326-4014, or visit the website at www.montcopa.org/pottsgrovemanor. Like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pottsgrovemanor.

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Douglass (Montgomery) Official IDs Fellow Supervisor As Subject Of D.A. Investigation

Location of Douglass Township in Montgomery County

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

DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP (MONTGOMERY COUNTY) — The name of the township supervisor being investigated by Montgomery County Detectives was made public this week — by another supervisor.

At the May 19 board of supervisors meeting, Vice Chairman Anthony Kuklinski said publicly that fellow Supervisor Fred Ziegler is the subject of the county investigation first reported in the Feb. 25 edition of The Mercury.

In February, Township Solicitor Paul Bauer confirmed that the township had referred a matter concerning one of the elected supervisors to the Montgomery County Detective Bureau, but refused to name the supervisor.

Bauer did not return phone messages left at his office Thursday and Friday.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140523/douglass-mont-official-ids-fellow-supervisor-as-subject-of-da-investigation

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Gains And Losses In Philadelphia Region’s Population

A number of communities in the region’s Pennsylvania suburbs, notably in Chester and Montgomery Counties, grew substantially between April 2010 and July 2013, Census Bureau population estimates released Thursday show.

In Chester County, there were noteworthy upticks in municipalities such as Malvern, West Chester, East Brandywine, and West Goshen, and the same was true in Chester/Delaware County border towns such as Bethel and Chadds Ford. In central Montgomery County, Upper Hanover, Towamencin, and Salford were among the burgeoning towns.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia remained the fifth-largest U.S. city, with a population estimated at 1.553 million through July 2013, an increase of just over 27,000 from April 2010. It was the seventh year in a row of population growth, the census data showed.

(Population estimates for neighborhoods within the city limits will not be available until December.)

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140523_Gains_and_losses_in_Phila__region_s_population.html#MHpPEge1UgkCE6DR.99

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