Montgomery County Declares Code Blue Due To Cold

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

NORRISTOWN, PA – Color Montgomery County blue once again. Code blue, that is.

County commissioners heeded the advice of the Department of Public Safety and have declared a Code Blue Weather Emergency that will run until 9 a.m. on Monday.

A Code Blue Weather Emergency is when there is “extreme, life-threatening weather, defined as a windchill factor of 20 degrees or below,” the county’s website says.

The declaration triggers expanded social services for people, such as homeless adults and families, who are more vulnerable to the frigid weather.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20140102_Montgomery_County_declares_Code_blue_due_to_cold.html#8oUEGxXZ6PUebMrR.99

Spotlight’s Off, But Reading’s Challenges Remain

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The journey to tell a television Christmas story in poverty-stricken Reading began two summers ago in holiday-decorated Hope Lutheran Church on North Front Street.

A national TV audience, estimated at more than 1.4 million homes, observed the 2012 Christmas Eve broadcast of “One Christmas Story: People Rich in Spirit,” a production of Odyssey Networks, a New York-based multifaith media coalition.

It was a story designed to depict Reading’s hope and faith amid economic challenges. At the time, it sparked energy and excitement.

But, one year later, at Christmas 2013, many of the city’s social challenges remain unchanged.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131222/NEWS/312229955/1052#.UrbPPPRDsxI

Job Posting

Salvation Army of Greater Pottstown

On Call Monitor – Family Residence

This position functions as the primary day-to-day resource person for the residents.  Enforces House Rules and ensures safe and good order of operations.  Prepares and serves meals in accordance with the posted menu, while ensuring safe food handling and food storage processes are used.  Performs routine custodial work assigned to that shift, which may include: laundry tasks, managing the laundry facility and assisting clients in remembering and implementing house details.  Completion of clerical duties related to direct service including but not limited to: daily census, food supplies and other inventories, room checks, recommend food and other purchases, and log food distribution.  Performs related duties as assigned.

Please send, fax or e-mail your resume and a cover letter to: Wendy Egolf, Director, The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 378, Pottstown, PA 19464.

Wendy_Egolf@use.salvationarmy.org

Phone: 610-326-1621 or Fax: 610-326-8606

Lawyers Slam Demolition Work At Center City Philadelphia Collapse Site

PHILADELPHIA – Attorneys for four people suing over the collapse of a downtown building that killed six people last week lambasted the demolition work after surveying the site Sunday.

Lawyers and consultants walked gingerly on piles of debris, indicating to photographers and videographers what they wanted documented. Meanwhile, other consultants on a hoist far above scanned the site where a four-story building under demolition gave way and toppled onto an attached Salvation Army thrift store Wednesday, killing two employees and four customers and injuring 13 others.

Afterward, attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, who said his firm represents three plaintiffs in lawsuits against the property owner and contractor, said his initial examination indicated that the building that collapsed had brick-bearing walls and wooden girders without steel support and should have been demolished by hand rather than using heavy equipment. In addition, he said, the backhoe appeared to not be high enough to pull the wall down on the side away from the thrift store.

“Of course, a demolition from the top down by hand would have been much more time-consuming and expensive but was really the only way to get this done safely,” he said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130609_ap_lawyersslamdemolitionworkatpacollapsesite.html#ibzXi0JbVdKrHgE2.99

Source: Machine Operator In Collapse To Be Charged

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

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

The 42-year-old man who was operating the excavator in Wednesday’s building collapse in Center City will be charged with risking and causing a catastrophe and six counts of involuntary manslaughter, a senior law enforcement official told The Inquirer on Friday.

Blood tests revealed marijuana in Sean Benschop’s system at levels that “he was unfit to perform safety-sensitive, job-related duties,” according to a toxicology report.

Benschop, who has also used the name Kary Roberts, according to court records, will additionally be charged with reckless endangerment and will face other charges from the injuries to 14 victims of the collapse.

The charges of causing a catastrophe and risking a catastrophe are felonies.  The involuntary-manslaughter charges are first-degree misdemeanors.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130608_Source__Machine_operator_in_collapse_to_be_charged.html#6r84qROfFDJVp5xO.99

Where’s The Collapsed Building’s Owner?

I STOPPED by the super swank Symphony House residences yesterday to have a chat with Richard Basciano about his killer building.

“Is he expecting you?” the cranky concierge asked.

Well, I didn’t know if the owner of the crumbling building that flattened a neighboring Salvation Army thrift store was expecting me.  But he should’ve been expecting someone - like officials from the city seeking answers about his choice of a discount demolition crew, for starters.

Basciano’s company paid some insta-demolition crew $10,000 for a job demo experts said should have cost closer to $250,000.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130609_Stop_hiding__Richard_Basciano.html#eIFpQjReFm5KIPiW.99

Woman Found Alive | 6 Dead | 14 Hurt Cleanup Underway

English: Center City viewed from West Philadelphia

English: Center City viewed from West Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Though the rubble is being cleared, the collapse of two buildings in Center City that left five women and one man dead, in addition to the dramatic late night rescue of a survivor, will surely go down as one of the biggest tragedies in Philadelphia’s history.

City officials were still grappling with the events of yesterday early this morning.  They have yet to make an announcement as to what may have gone wrong at a demolition site that led to the destruction.

A search and rescue operation that was expected to continue today has apparently been suspended.  Early this morning, firefighters were standing by, not actively combing the site.  The ambulances that lined Market Street for much of yesterday are gone.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/6_dead_in_Philadelphia_building_collapse.html#18GCkOqYMexevE2F.99

Building Collapses In Philadelphia; 2 People Trapped

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighti...

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighting Center City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PHILADELPHIA — A four-story building being demolished collapsed today on the edge of downtown Philadelphia, injuring 12 people and trapping two others, the fire commissioner said.

Rescue crews were trying to extricate the two people who were trapped, city Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said. The dozen people who were injured were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, he said.

The collapse involved a building that once housed a first-floor sandwich shop and apartments above.  It collapsed, sending debris onto a Salvation Army corner thrift store next door.  The two are adjacent to an adult bookstore and theater that had been taken down earlier.

Rescuers were using buckets and their bare hands to move bricks and rubble to search for survivors.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=482938

Family Reading Night At The Salvation Army Of Pottstown

Family Reading Night

January 25th, 6:00pm – 7:30pm (approx)

The Salvation Army of Pottstown, 137 King Street - Story time, fun-style dinner, craft time, and each child leaves with a book to keep.  Adult(s) must accompany child(ren) throughout the evening.  Very budget friendly — it’s free!  48 spaces available, call to RSVP 610-326-1621.  This event is repeated on the 4th Friday of the month until May 2013.

Pottstown Codes Deptartment Gets Reprimanded By State

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  This made the Mercury’s 2012 Top Stories list…always good to keep the shenanigans in Pottstown on our minds!  Be vigilant!

POTTSTOWN, PA — The state agency which oversees code and inspection functions in Pennsylvania has issued a “formal warning” to the Pottstown Codes office for a number of violations, including allowing inspections to be conducted by personnel not certified to perform those inspections.

In a letter issued Oct. 2, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry informed the codes office manager, Maria E. Bleile, of the results of its complaint investigation.

The letter outlines eight complaints regarding inspections at both commercial and residential properties, ranging from Pottstown Memorial Hospital, to the Salvation Army to four residential properties.

Issues ranged from inspectors conducting “plan reviews” and inspections without the proper certification; to no records of reviews or certain inspections being conducted at all; to missing dates in inspection reports.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121224/NEWS01/121229767/pottstown-codes-dept-gets-reprimanded-by-state

Montgomery County HEARTH Act Community Forum

Montgomery County Office of Housing and Community Development is Seeking Your Participation!!

In 2009 Congress passed the HEARTH Act, the first new federal legislation governing homeless programs since 1987.  The Act provides for increased local flexibility in developing and prioritizing local strategies and may substantially change the way housing and services will be delivered to homeless families and individuals in Montgomery County. 

The Montgomery County Collaborative is partnering with the Montgomery County Office of Housing and Community Development to provide the community with current information on the HEARTH Act and the Montgomery County Housing Blueprint as well as to solicit your ideas and suggestions about how the County can best prevent and end homelessness and improve housing stability for all families and individuals.

You are invited.

You are invited to any of our community forums to learn about current affordable housing and homelessness in the County and to share your experiences and ideas about:

• Priorities for addressing different homeless subpopulations

• The performance of current local homeless programs

• Gaps and unmet needs in homeless housing and services

• Suggestions for program improvements

• Future strategies, including allocation/reallocation of resources.

Thursday, March 8, 9am – 11am

Salvation Army of Pottstown

137 King St. Pottstown, PA 19464

Hosted by the TCN Homeless Services Committee 

Please RSVP to Natina Parker at 610.705.3301 x 2 or by email to nparker@tcnetwork.org

TriCounty Community Network To Host Program On Homeless Services

Pottstown, Pa. (November 9, 2011) – TriCounty Community Network (TCN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health, social and environmental conditions in Western Montgomery, Northern Chester and Eastern Berks counties in Pennsylvania, today announced that its Homeless Services committee will be hosting a meeting on Tuesday, November 15 from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at The Salvation Army of Greater Pottstown located at 137 King Street. 

Open to the local community, the meeting is aimed at increasing awareness of homelessness in the area and providing valuable information about how individuals and organizations can help the area’s homeless.  CADCOM (Community Action Development Commission) will sponsor the breakfast which enables local agencies to share information about their work in the surrounding counties.

“We hope to draw awareness to the homeless problem and dispel the many myths that go along with this stigma,” states Joanne Class, Aging and Adult Services Intake and Referral case manager and co-chair of the TCN Homeless Services Program committee.  “Many people do not know how wide-spread the problem is because they do not see it.  People are hiding to protect themselves and protect the only valuables they have left in this world.  Many of the homeless desperately want help but resources and beds are limited.  Homelessness is also on the rise.” 

According to the Pottstown Mercury’s May 3, 2010 article, titled “Number of Homeless in Montco on the Rise”, there were 244 homeless people in 2007, 407 homeless in 2008 and 749 homeless people in 2009. 

With program funding being drastically cut, there are not enough resources to go around; however, individuals and businesses can help by working to find permanent housing for those who are struggling and help add security and stability for the community. 

“We have an incredible amount of great resources and agencies in our area that we will highlight at the November 15 meeting,” added Class.  “And Pottstown is full of generous, intelligent community members who can help make this situation better.  Our goal is to get the community members connected to the agencies to help improve our resources.”

Donations of packages of new, men’s tube socks are requested to be brought to the meeting to help the homeless in the area fight off frost bite throughout this winter season.  To attend, RSVP to TriCounty Community Network at 610.705.3301.

About TriCounty Community Network                 

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 seven key programs: Build Up Youth, C.A.R.E. (Caring in Alternative Residential Environments), Environmental Awareness, Family Literacy, Homeless Services, S.A.F.E. (Supporting Abuse Free Environments), and Workforce Development.  For more information on TCN, visit www.tcnetwork.org.

Pottstown YMCA 21st Annual Halloween Safehouse

Pottstown YMCA

21st Annual Halloween Safehouse

Y Cares Treat Trail & Food Drive

Friday, October 28, 2011, 6-8 PM

Ages 12 & under with Adult

Admission Fee – Canned Food Item or Donation

Food donations benefit the pantries of The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities & the Salvation Army.

Monetary donations benefit the Y Cares Program of Freedom Valley YMCA

Freedom Valley YMCA at Pottstown, Adams & Jackson Streets, 610.323.7300 or  www.fvymca.org