Healthy Eats Stir Pottstown’s Food Scene At iCreate Cafe

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Until a few years ago, Ash Khalil ate meat.

Learning the health benefits of a nutrient-rich diet made of mostly plant-based foods inspired him to open the iCreate Cafe in Pottstown in 2012.

Those who visit the cafe often describe it to others as a mix of vegan, vegetarian and in some cases gluten-free menu musts, with strong Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences in many of the dishes.

Khalil is an eight-year survivor of kidney cancer and said not once did his doctors ever talk to him about the foods he ate and how they might have impacted his health situation.

See more at: http://readingeagle.com/money/article/healthy-eats-stir-pottstowns-food-scene-at-icreate-cafe#sthash.yi5Oznyg.dpuf

Twelfth Night Tours At Pottsgrove Manor

12th Night Tours 2_212x124_thumbFriday, November 28

Enjoy a guided tour of Pottsgrove Manor, decorated with greens and holly for the Yuletide season. Learn about traditional English celebrations of Twelfth Night and how they differed from our modern Christmas celebrations.

Date: November 28, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Time Details: Tours are offered during regular museum hours: Tue.Sat.: 10am-4pm; Sun.: 1pm-4pm. Tours begin on the hour; last tour of the day begins at 3pm. Closed Dec. 24, 25, 31, and Jan. 1.
Location: View Facility Pottsgrove Manor
Address: 100 West King St., Pottstown, PA 19464
Contact: 610-326-4014
Email: Email
Cost: $2 per person suggested donation

MCCC Honored For ‘Environmental Impact’ In Pottstown

Wind Turbines: Four, 25-foot wind turbines in front of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center in Pottstown are part of a Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Wind Turbines: Four, 25-foot wind turbines in front of Montgomery County Community College’s Schuylkill Riverfront Academic & Heritage Center in Pottstown are part of a Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement. Photo by Sandi Yanisko

Pottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) earned the 2014 Environmental Impact Award for its “green” approach to business during the Tri County Area Chamber of Commerce’s economic development luncheon last month.

According to the Chamber, the award is presented to businesses that are taking a “green” proactive approach for a more sustainable business environment. MCCC is the fourth environmental award recipient since 2009.

Guided by a Climate Commitment Action Plan and Advisory Council, MCCC is working toward the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050—a pledge made in 2007 as a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Areas of focus include education, transportation, energy, facilities and overall best practices.

While many of MCCC’s sustainability initiatives are implemented across all locations, the College’s West Campus in Pottstown boasts several unique—and visible—green elements, namely wind turbines and a green roof.

In April, the College installed four 25-foot vertical axis wind turbines outside its Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center at 140 College Drive, adjacent to Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill River. Each turbine produces 1,000 watts of energy, for a combined 4,000 watts—enough energy to power the parking lot LED lighting. More importantly, the turbines are providing real world teaching and learning opportunities for students and faculty around alternative energy.

The wind turbines at West Campus, along with solar panels at the College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell, are part of a Guaranteed Energy Services Agreement with Siemens Industry Inc. Collectively, through a broad series of self-funded energy conservation projects, MCCC will see 19 percent energy savings—and more than $6 million in cost savings—over the next 15 years.

Green RoofThe West Campus’ Schuylkill Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center also features the College’s first and only green roof. Installed in 2011, the roof features 13 different varieties of plants that were selected specifically for their growth, strength, and absorptions properties.

The plants help to reduce the amount of rainwater that goes into the storm system, thus protecting the surrounding waterways from excessive runoff. When saturated the plants absorb CO2 and release oxygen, thus helping the College advance toward its goal of carbon neutrality.

In addition to the wind turbines and green roof, West Campus sustainability highlights include two 240-volt electric vehicle charging stations in partnership with ECOtality, a recognized leader in the research and development of advanced energy systems specializing in alternative fuel campuses; a Segway program for Public Safety officers; and an increased emphasis on bicycle accessibility

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

MCCC’s West End Student Theatre And Theatre Arts Program To Present The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Drama, ‘Rabbit Hole’

Photo caption: Montgomery County Community College’s West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program will present “Rabbit Hole” on Nov. 13, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. in the College’s South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The cast includes Myasia Bynum, Carly Watson, Ron Quay, Sarah Koch, and Andrew Miller and is directed by Tim Gallagher. Photos by Sandi Yanisko.

Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College’s West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “Rabbit Hole,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by David Lindsay-Abaire. Show dates are Thursday-Saturday, November 13, 14 and 15, at 7 p.m. All performances will be held in the College’s South Hall Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, call 215-641-6518 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. or visit http://www.mc3.edu/livelyarts.

“Rabbit Hole,” the 2007 winner for the Pulitzer Prize, is a bittersweet drama about finding hope in the lowest moments of life and the paths taken to return to the light of day. It tells the story of Becca and Howie, two young parents who could be anybody’s neighbors in a typical suburb, until the accidental death of their four-year-old son tests everything about that life… and their marriage.

“There is no manual for mourning. How or when do you restart/redefine your life in the face of loss?  Becca and Howie are grieving the death of their son in very different ways. A terrible accident has uprooted their lives and created a wedge between them. Ultimately, this play is a journey home…a defiant, funny yet delicate journey home,” says director Tim Gallagher. This production contains adult themes and language.

Directed by Gallagher, assisted by Rianna Isbell, and stage managed by Desiree Humes, the cast includes Myasia Bynum, Carly Watson, Ron Quay, Sarah Koch, and Andrew Miller. The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the West End Student Theatre, which includes

Anthony Romano, Alex Hollowell, Nicole Corsey, Jeffrey Chernesky, Sarah Robbins, Freddy Ortiz, Joseph Donley, Lexi Lyon, Allie Johns, Sherry Smith, Edston Detrich, Sarah Robbins, under the guidance of Gallagher.

MCCC To Host ‘Color Blast’ Exhibit In Pottstown

Pottstown, PA— Montgomery County Community College continues its 2014-2015 fine arts season with the exhibit “Color Blast,” which opens on Monday, Nov. 3, at the Fine Arts Gallery, North Hall, 16 High Street, Pottstown. A “Meet the Artists” reception is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 5-7 p.m. Both the exhibit, which continues through Dec. 12, and the reception are free and open to the community.

“Color Blast” features the vibrant artwork of three artists, who are brought together through this exhibit and their shared enthusiasm for color:  Valley of Peace Burke of Long Island, New York; Lois Schlachter of Spring Mount, Pennsylvania; and Patricia Wilson-Schmid of Lederach, Pennsylvania.

While color unites the exhibit, each artist has her own distinct style and personality, as reflected in the art.

Working as both an artist and a registered cardiac surgery intensive care nurse, Valley of Peace Burke reinterprets the visual elements of the medical world into an artistic expression that explores the interwoven relationship between body and spirit. She believes and portrays the body and mind as “sacred and whole.”

“Color is healing. It carries life and beauty into the world. I have spent most of my life near the sea and am influenced by the elements of nature. These elements are also internal, as the human body is a microcosm of the earth,” she says.

This multi-faceted artist has studied oil painting under Judy Dupic in France and has traveled and painted throughout England, Ireland, Italy, Mongolia and Spain. In addition to her nursing degree, she also is a master of oriental medicine and acupuncture physician. Her great-grandfather, Joseph A. Burke, was composer well-known to the Philadelphia area during the 1920s-40s, and his songs were recorded by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby, among others. Valley is pleased to be exhibiting in the Philadelphia area where much of her family resides.

As an abstract artist, Lois Schlachter is in love “with the line, handsome vibrant color and a comfortable composition” and describes her work as simply “fun.” Working directly from her hand to the canvas, she lets her imagination direct her as playful and colorful images emerge.

“I feel that acrylic paint gives me the brilliant and intense color that I love,” she says. “I use color to navigate the viewer’s eye across the canvas providing an avenue to discover one fun spot after another.”

Schlachter is a graduate of The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and The University of the Arts, formerly Philadelphia College of Art.  She will be exhibiting approximately 40 acrylic works on canvas in a variety of sizes, all of which were created in the past 15 years.

For artist Patricia Wilson-Schmid, her style spans the range from representational to abstract, based upon her feelings when she views and interprets her subjects. Like her co-exhibitors, color profoundly impacts her work.

“As I paint from my emotions, the act of painting is who I am,” she says in her artist’s statement. “It is a line, a color, a shape, or an effect of light that inspires me. My spirit than directs me through the painting. Time embellishes my approach. In the end the paintings and I have traveled through much effort and feeling. Color is the vehicle by which I express my feelings. It is a part of who I am.”

Wilson-Schmid enjoys working in oil, watercolor, acrylic and pastels and has been painting since 1962. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and has taken post-graduate courses at Temple University, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Samuel S. Fleisher Art Institute and Montgomery County Community College. She has exhibited her work at various galleries and shows throughout the tri-state area, as well as in juried international online exhibitions hosted by Upstream People Gallery.

The show is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. and Fri. 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For more information about the exhibit or the gallery, contact MCCC Galleries Director Holly Cairns at 215-619-7349 or hcairns@mc3.edu.

For the more information about upcoming exhibits and activities, like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DestinationArts, and visit our website at http://www.mc3.edu/arts/fine-arts.

Help support the arts and art education programs at Montgomery County Community College by becoming a Friend of the Galleries. Donations are tax deductible. For more information, contact the College Foundation at 215-641-6535.

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

Pottstown Zoning Board Approves Variance For iCreate Cafe

iCreate Zoning Supporters

Front row: Left, Peter Dolan, Esquire, Right, Ashraf Khalil

POTTSTOWN, PA – Wednesday evening the Pottstown Zoning Board heard testimony from iCreate Cafe owner, Ashraf Khalil, regarding his request for a zoning variance to operate a cafe and computer training center at 130 King Street, Pottstown. The neighborhood is zoned TTN or Traditional Town Neighborhood.  After receiving a violation notice from the Pottstown Codes Department in August, a hearing was originally scheduled for September 17th.  However, Mr. Khalil’s attorney, Peter Dolan, requested a continuance to adequately prepare his case. The hearing was rescheduled for October 15th.

A large group of supporters gathered in the 3rd floor council chambers to hear the evidence be presented. After Mr. Khalil’s sworn testimony and some clarification questions from the board, the meeting was opened to public comment. More than a dozen people were allowed to speak in favor of iCreate Cafe and Mr. Khalil.

After the public testimony, the board met in Executive Session.  After a short recess, the board returned to the council chamber and rendered their verdict for Mr. Khalil and iCreate Cafe by allowing the variance.

First of all, we thank the Pottstown Zoning Board for being open-minded and seeing the value of this niche market small business that draws customers from all over the Delaware Valley and beyond.   Based on the passionate testimony made during the public comments, it’s obvious this is a very special place.

Secondly, we feel now that Pottstown is getting serious about economic development and tourism (by developing a Tourism District and leveraging all the attractions that surround Memorial Park and the Western Gateway) having a highly rated locally owned restaurant within walking distance is a win-win.  If you want people to come to Pottstown and “spend the day” they will need to eat.  They are not going to want fast food or chain restaurants.  They are going to want something they cannot get at home.  iCreate Cafe is the total package when it comes to something you cannot get just anywhere.  From the unique decor to the vegan/vegetarian food with a Middle Eastern flair, it’s far from ordinary.  Add a chef/owner with the gift of hospitality and you have a winning trifecta.

This was a great victory for small business and for Pottstown.  If Pottstown could attract more unique restaurants like iCreate and some funky boutiques so people could do some shopping while they are visiting, you would have yourself a destination.

Congratulations to Ashraf Khalil and iCreate Cafe.  We wish you much success.

Website: http://www.icreatecafe.org/

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

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!

ArtFusion Executive Director Wins Person Of The Year Award

cropped-artfusion-color600.jpgErika Hornburg-Cooper, ArtFusion 19464’s Executive Director and Co-Founder, was presented with the Pottstown Rotary Person of the Year Award on September 10, 2014. This is the sixth year for this particular award. Erika was honored for her commitment to Pottstown and for the great work ArtFusion has done in their 10 years to make the arts accessible to everyone in the community. In her remarks at the award ceremony, Erika thanked her family and the ArtFusion staff and board of directors for their support and credited them with having a large part in her receiving her award.

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.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs.

The main objective of Rotary is service- in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development. The Rotary motto is Service Above Self.