Montgomery County’s Wacky Political Landscape

Location of Norristown in Montgomery County

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Here is a funny but fairly correct assessment of the nonsense that is Montgomery County politics.  This is a primary year so it would pay to be informed on what is going on in Norristown!

A short but entertaining read:

http://eyescoop.blogspot.com/2011/01/chips-are-falling.html

Business Incubator Hatches At York College

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United State...

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I am always excited to report on these things! 

The 7,100-square-foot Kings Mill Depot is now open to any for-profit corporations in the start-up phase, small businesses entering a growth phase or existing companies launching new projects.  The best part is that the incubator is for firms dealing with technology, health care, sciences or engineering.  The incubator is all about creating good paying jobs that have a high growth potential.  Lord knows Pennsylvania needs decent paying jobs that will support families!

Applications are being accepted through the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship at York College.  Faculty, staff and students are available to help with business development! 

Contact Jeff Vermeulen at (717) 815-6639 if your firm would like to take advantage of the awesome opportunity!

Bethlehem also has a very successful job incubator at Lehigh University.  You can also read about that here: https://roysrants.wordpress.com/2010/04/13/bethlehem-job-incubator-recepient-of-6-million-dollar-federal-recovery-act-grant/

American Idol Opens To Mixed Reviews

The first week of American Idol has come to a close.  The New Jersey and New Orleans auditions are behind us now. 

Personally, I was not going to watch any more but decided, to be fair, I should at least give the new panel a chance.  Never did much care for Randy.  Loved Paula and Simon.  Kara (disliked) and Ellen, who is funny and I enjoy her show, was not really suited for AI by her own admission.

When they announced Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez I was more than a little upset.  Based on who they could have considered I felt maybe this was not such a good idea.  Really wanted Harry Connick, Jr. but he evidently had too many commitments to be a judge.

I must say I was surprised by Steven Tyler.  I think he is funny, has a good eye for talent and is very respectful of the contestants, even the bad ones.  People seem to love him or hate him.  I did see more positive comments from people than negative ones. 

Jennifer Lopez needs to say no more.  Otherwise, I think she will be fine.  I am hoping she gets tougher as the season moves along.   I think people are more evenly divided on whether they like her or not than Steven Tyler.

Some good talent so far.  Looking forward to the rest of the auditions.  350 people made it to Hollywood from what I read.  Largest group ever.  In the end, they still have to get down to 20 (new this year) so as long as AI foots the bill, who cares.

Hillandale Farms Installing Biomass-To-Energy Plant

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Adams County

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You have probably seen Hillandale Farms eggs in your local grocery store.  This forward-thinking Adams County egg producer is investing in a revolutionary new green technology that will use 80,000 tons of manure to create energy!

Hillandale Farms is one of the nations leading egg producers/suppliers.  It is always gratifying to see large companies looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint.  This new energy plant will create enough energy to power 2,500 homes a year! 

Hillandale Farms is planning on expanding their egg production facility in Adams County by another 1.5 million hens.  This means 5 million chickens will call Tyrone Township home.  Utilizing animal waste to create power is amazing.  This new process will turn manure into steam that can be used to heat and cool.

Another added benefit will be 13,000 tons of left over nutrients from the biomass process will be recycled into fertilizer or livestock-feed supplement.  This will contribute to a 3.5% reduction of nutrients and a 4.4% reduction of phosphorus being released into the Chesapeake Bay.  Those percentages are for the entire state of Pennsylvania in just one production facility!

The plant is expected to be up and running by the first quarter of 2012. 

If you are environmentally conscious, you may want to consider including this egg supplier in your weekly shopping.

http://www.hillandalefarms.com/

Lansdale Looks To “Beef Up” Economic Development Committee

Location of Lansdale in Montgomery County

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Lansdale Borough Council is looking to expand the size of their Economic Development Committee (EDC) in the next two months.  The EDC will expand to seven members, four of whom will be borough residents or borough business owners.  The other three members will be council members, by appointment.  The chair of the EDC will also be a councilor.

The strength of the EDC is that this committee is borough business focused by cutting red tape and being an advocate for business and not government focused.  The idea is not to create another budget item.

Wednesday evening, council gave approval to create an ordinance to formally establish the committee.  This came about by changes in legal requirements when council passed an economic incentive development ordinance last year.  The economic incentive development ordinance gives discounts on electricity purchased from the borough to qualified businesses.  Ordinance language mandates that any business who is interested in this program needs to go before the EDC.  Officially establishing this committee by ordinance was connecting all the dots.

The Lansdale Business Association (LBA) will also continue to stay involved with this committee by hopefully continuing to have an LBA member on the EDC.  The EDC will also be working closely with the Communications Commission.  The newly created Communications Commission is tasked with creating a “marketable brand” for the borough.  Initially the EDC and the Communications Commission will be working together to create an image and branding for Lansdale.

Once these tasks are completed, the EDC will take the newly developed brand image and market Lansdale.  The Communications Commission will be responsible for technology, signage, the website, attracting technology and keeping residents updated.

We give this well thought out effort, with expanded resident involvement, two Roy’s Rants thumbs up!

Two Fast Food Conglomerates Looking To Sell Off Divisions

A Taco Bell and a KFC on adjacent lots in Burl...

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Two major US fast food conglomerates are looking for ways to maximize profits.  Selling off several chains that do not fit into their long-range plans are being considered.

Yum Brands is looking for a buyer for their A&W and Long John Silver’s restaurant chains.  Yum Brands is concentrating on overseas development and neither Long John Silver’s or A&W have an international presence.  That would leave Yum Brands with KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, which all have international locations.  A&W and Long John Silver’s have a combined total of 1, 630 locations nationwide.

Wendy’s is looking to sell Arby’s so they can concentrate on Wendy’s development.  Wendy’s/Arby’s combined have over 10,000 restaurants.  Wendy’s is the larger chain with over 6,500 restaurants.  Arby’s is struggling because they tend to be more expensive than other fast food chains and offer less of a dollar menu.

Wendy’s/Arby’s is also the target for a potential takeover bid after receiving an inquiry to buy the chain in June of last year.

Reading Woman Falls Into Fountain At Berkshire Mall While Walking And Texting

You have to love this stuff folks. 

A Reading woman was strolling through Berkshire Mall and texting on her cell phone at the same time.  You know what they say about walking and chewing gum…so I suppose texting and walking is about the same.  When we are not paying attention to what we are doing, accidents happen.  Consequently, the woman fell into a fountain at Berkshire Mall in Reading. 

Now, she is angry that the security footage was released.  The “victim” has hired a lawyer and is contemplating a lawsuit against Berkshire Mall.  She thinks mall security should have been more concerned about her welfare.  However, she immediately got up and walked away, apparently unharmed.

The reason people know her identity is because she released her own name to the public.  Her face was digitally covered in the video footage.

OH PLEASE!  Does somebody want their 15 minutes here or what?

UPDATE – this just keeps getting better.  Read all about the “faller” in this Reading Eagle article http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=280672

Bryn Mawr’s Yangming Chinese Restaurant Rated Number One In America

Home made Tangyuan, a typical Chinese food.

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20 years ago, Michael Wei opened a formal Chinese restaurant in Bryn Mawr.  It also featured fusion cuisine.  Neither of these concepts was associated with Chinese cuisine then.  Chef Wei took a huge risk. 

Wei received the prestigious award in San Francisco, where the Top 100 Chinese Restaurants Awards was first started in 2004.  Yangming won for best overall-excellence.  In this category, restaurants are judged on consistency, quality, taste, variety, décor, atmosphere, customer service, cleanliness, presentation and value.  WOW! 

It is estimated there are 50,000 Chinese Restaurants in the United States.

If you are a lover of great Asian/American cuisine, a trip to Yangming should be in your future.

Yangming is located at 1051 Conestoga Boulevard, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010.

Voice: (610) 527-3500

Website: http://www.yangmingrestaurant.com/index.htm

Harrisburg Mulls Surveillance Camera Installation In High Crime Areas

Mayor Linda Thompson stated one of her goals for 2011 is to have surveillance cameras installed throughout the city.  Public grants can be used to fund this project.

South Allison Hill and parts of Uptown and Downtown Harrisburg are being targeted as the most likely places to have cameras installed.  These areas experience high crime and surveillance cameras would act as a deterrent as well as provide police with evidence.

Wilkes-Barre has installed 230 cameras in various sites around the city.  They used $3 million in state funds from the Department of Community and Economic Development.  In Wilkes-Barre’s case, the cameras have not been a deterrent; however, the footage has helped police solve more crimes.  Wilkes-Barre has only experienced very minor equipment malfunctions.  Police officers rotate on camera duty.  The footage is monitored 24/7!

Larger Scranton has only installed 12 cameras (obviously not nearly enough).  The say the cameras malfunction often and are down sometimes for two weeks at a time.  Scranton obtained a grant for $200,000 to pay for their project.  Unlike Wilkes-Barre, the camera monitor is put behind the front desk.  The officer on duty is constantly being distracted with other work so footage is only monitored “as time permits”.  (See Wilkes-Barre model, Scranton PD)

And then there is progressive Lancaster!  Lancaster has had cameras installed since early in the last decade.  There are 165 cameras monitored by the Safety Coalition.  The Safety Coalition is a nonprofit volunteer organization.

During a six-month period is 2009, surveillance footage assisted in 51 arrests.  Police requested footage for 166 cases.  The Lancaster police love cameras!  Public and private grants fund the camera system.  Delegations from Baltimore, New York and Warren, OH have paid a visit to Lancaster to learn how their system works.  An interesting story is told of a man who was found dead on a sidewalk in Lancaster.  Police reviewed the surveillance footage and watched the man trip and fall.  He was not the victim of a crime.  Think of the cost savings to city residents by not having detectives investigate a simple slip and fall as a possible homicide!!

Carlisle is spending $270,000 in federal grants to install 15 cameras in their downtown area.

Harrisburg does have “some” surveillance cameras already in place.  Harrisburg Police and the Dauphin County District Attorney feel more cameras would be helpful.  Residents of Allison Hill and Uptown reacted favorably to surveillance cameras hoping they will reduce crime in the neighborhood.  Neighbors said the idea makes them feel safer and more protected.

We think these cameras are a great idea.  Personally, I would love to see them in Pottstown!  Remember, grants can pay for these projects.  No taxpayer cost involved.

City Of Harrisburg Switching To Dauphin County Police Dispatch Services

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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Mayor Linda Thompson announced that the City of Harrisburg will move their emergency police dispatching to Dauphin County.  Dauphin County has been courting Harrisburg for months now trying to get the city to commit to a switch.

If all goes well, it will take Dauphin County about six months to ramp up before the switch.  The county feels this transition of services can be accomplished seamlessly.

Fortunately, Dauphin County Commissioners included money in their 2011 budget in the event Harrisburg decided to use the county dispatch services.

Harrisburg officials feel they can save an estimated $400,000 a year if they make this change.

Montgomery County has been slowly taking over these services for many municipalities in our area.  Centralization of services usually makes sense from a cost saving perspective.

Update!  And informed reader has supplied this information about Montgomery County dispatch centralization:

There are currently seven departments who have not made the switch: Abington, Lower Merion, Narberth, Upper Merion, Lower Providence, Upper Dublin and Pottstown.  Horsham and Montgomery are planning to switch in the next couple weeks.
 
Lower Providence did switch but was unhappy with the results and resumed their own operations

‘Master Choreographers’ Dance Concert, Feb. 10-12, Displays Talents Of Acclaimed Choreographers, 40+ Dancers

Allentown, Pa. (Jan. 18, 2011) — Muhlenberg College will showcase world premiere dance works created by seven of the region’s most accomplished choreographers, in the College’s annual “Master Choreographers” dance concert, Feb. 10-12.

Featuring a diverse selection of styles and genres, ranging from classical ballet to jazz, tap, and modern dance, “Master Choreographers” also will showcase performances by more than 40 Muhlenberg dancers. The performance will take place on the Empie Theatre stage, in Muhlenberg’s Baker Center for the Arts.

“This concert is a spectacular evening of ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance,” says Karen Dearborn, the director of dance for Muhlenberg’s Department of Theatre & Dance, and the artistic director for “Master Choreographers.” “We are fortunate to be showcasing new works by internationally acclaimed guest artists and faculty.”

This season’s “Master Choreographers” concert will feature works by: Charles O. Anderson, artistic director of the Philadelphia-based dance theatre X; Corrie Franz Cowart, co-artistic director of Co-Art Dance; Heidi Cruz-Austin, alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet; Nicholas Leichter, director of Nicholas Leichter Dance; Shelley Oliver, director of Shelley Oliver Tap Dancers; Trinette Singleton, protege of ballet icon Robert Joffrey; and New York-based multidisciplinary performance artist Nicole Wolcott.

[Full biographies of the choreographers follow.]

“I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to work with such a talented group of professionals,” says Kelsey Griffith, a senior at Muhlenberg, who will perform in the concert, as well as serving as its production manager. “Working so closely with faculty and guest artists, we get to experience a deeply creative, artistically intense studio process. I’ve learned an incredible amount about the creative process of these choreographers.”

Performances of “Master Choreographers” will take place Feb. 10-12: Thursday, Feb. 10, at 8 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, Feb. 12, at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for patrons 17 and under. Performances are in the Empie Theatre, in the Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown. Information and tickets are available at 484-664-3333 or muhlenberg.edu/dance.

Charles O. Anderson is artistic director of the Philadelphia-based dance company dance theatre X. Both as a solo artist and with dance theatre X, Anderson has presented his work nationally and internationally. His choreographic research has led to collaborations with international choreographers working in fusions of traditional dance forms and contemporary movement styles. In the fall of 2010, Anderson premiered his new evening-length work “World Headquarters,” inspired by the writings of late science fiction writer Octavia Butler. Recipient of numerous grants and awards, Anderson was most recently selected as one of 12 “Emerging Scholars” for 2011, by Diverse magazine. He is an associate professor of dance at Muhlenberg College and the director of the African American studies program.

Heidi Cruz-Austin is an alumna of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and she has danced featured roles in works by choreographers ranging from Alvin Ailey to George Balanchine. In addition to dancing with Pennsylvania Ballet, Cruz-Austin has performed with the Philadelphia-based company Ballet X and as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe. As a choreographer, Cruz-Austin was a winner for the 2003 Ballet Builders showcase in New York City. She has been commissioned to create works for Franklin and Marshall College, Bryn Mawr College, Repertory Dance Theater, and Ballet D’errico, and she was a recipient of the 2004-2005 New Edge Residency at The Community Education Center of Philadelphia.

Corrie Franz Cowart has performed with the Mary Miller Dance Company, LABCO Dance, Minh Tran and Company, the Dance Theatre of Oregon, and the Pittsburgh Opera. She is also the co-artistic director of Co-Art Dance and has performed both nationally and internationally with Impact Productions’ “Dayuma,” and “The Masterpiece.” Cowart continues to perform and choreograph for her own company Co-Art Dance, a contemporary dance company she co-founded in 1997 with her husband Tim Cowart. Corrie is an assistant professor at Muhlenberg College, where she teaches modern, dance composition, and dance on camera.

Nicholas Leichter is the director of Nicholas Leichter Dance, for which he has created more than 25 works. He was a member of Ralph Lemon Company from 1993 to 1995, and has performed with the companies of Jennifer Muller, Ronald K. Brown, and others. Leichter has taught throughout the United States, at festivals in Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, and Canada. He has been on faculty at Tisch School of the Arts and the American Dance Festival in Durham, New York, Russia, Korea, and most recently, Shanghai. Leichter and his company presented “The Whiz,” a reimagining of Broadway’s “The Wiz,” at the Zoellner Arts Center in January in conjunction with the Muhlenberg Dancers.

Shelley Oliver has more than 20 years experience as a professional tap dancer. She is a founding member of the noted dance ensemble “Manhattan Tap,” and she has toured extensively throughout Europe, China, the Caribbean, Canada and the United States, performing with such tap notables as Savion Glover, Jimmy Slide, Buster Brown and Chuck Green. She has conducted lecture demonstrations for Lincoln Center, New York City public schools, and universities throughout the United States. She teaches a comprehensive jazz tap program at Muhlenberg College and directs the Muhlenberg Jazztap Ensemble, providing community outreach programs in the Allentown area. Oliver’s piece will feature live musical accompaniment by the David Leonhardt Jazz Group.

Trinette Singleton is a protege of ballet icon Robert Joffrey and was on faculty at The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City, teaching until 2004. Singleton has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Europe in ballets by such notable choreographers as Joffrey, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Kurt Jooss, and Twyla Tharp. She was the first dancer to ever appear on the cover of a national news magazine — Time, in 1968. Currently, Singleton is co-artistic director of Repertory Dance Theatre in Allentown, and is on the faculty at DeSales University. Her original work “Capriccios” garnered the Outstanding Choreographer award at the semifinals of the Youth America Grand Prix, spring 2010.

Nicole Wolcott is a choreographer, teacher, and performance artist based in New York City. In 2003 Wolcott co-founded Keigwin + Company with Larry Keigwin and was the associate artistic director until 2010. Nicole has performed at the Metropolitan Opera House under the direction of Julie Taymor and Mark Dendy, worked with site-specific choreographer Noemie Lafrance, was a featured dancer in Doug Elkin’s original “Fraulein Maria,” appeared in music videos and concerts with Fischerspooner; and is a featured dancer in “Across the Universe,” an Oscar-nominated film by director Julie Taymor.

Artistic director Karen Dearborn has choreographed more than 70 works in concert, theater, and musical theater, including national tours of the Tony Award-winning National Theatre of the Deaf and several Equity theatres. She has provided choreography for the Muhlenberg theater productions of “Oklahoma!” “Urinetown,” and “West Side Story,” and Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre productions of “The Sound of Music,” “The Who’s Tommy,” and “Oliver!” to name just a few. Dearborn is the founding director of Muhlenberg’s dance program. Her scholarly research has been published in the Journal of Dance Education, and she contributed an essay to the book “Performing Magic on the Western Stage.” She serves on the executive board of the American College Dance Festival Association.

Muhlenberg College is a liberal arts college of about 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa. The College offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

Scranton Parks Slated For $400,000 Boost From Community Development Block Grants And State Funds

Downtown Scranton, looking East from West Moun...

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Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty is a man on a mission in 2011.  His goal is to make improvements at two existing city parks and create a new pocket park.  Doherty hopes to use Community Development Block Grants and a $50,000 state grant from the governor’s office, which was verbally committed to by Ed Rendell.

1700 Perry Avenue was formerly the site of a school and is now a vacant lot.  Doherty thinks this site would be ideal for a pocket park.  Scranton City Council eliminated funding for the proposed park from the 2011 budget.  Undeterred, Doherty is seeking other funding as listed above and additional grants through Lowe’s, Home Depot and Kaboom.  The mayor estimates he needs $75,000 to complete the North Scranton pocket park, which will feature a swing set, playground area and bike path which will also include a small BMX trick park.  This vacant lot is a blighted property.  Creating the park will clean up blight, add more recreation and improve property values in the neighborhood.

The Clover Field Park is next on the agenda.  The Mayor hopes to add a playground area to a section of the park.  The playground area would serve neighborhood children and the children who take part in the West Side Jets junior football program. The West Side Jets use the park as their home base.  The cost for these improvements will be $135,000 and funded through the Community Development Block Grant program.

The third project will impact the Novembrino swim complex, 10th Avenue, also on Scranton’s West Side.  The deep water pool is going to be eliminated and a splash park added in its place.  Adding a splash park eliminates the need for lifeguards and cuts down on the city’s water bill.  The splash park is expected to cost $183,000.  The city is looking at their pools, which are all around 40 years old.

Doherty said “We have an obligation to reinvest in neighborhoods, stabilize them and maintain property values.”  Mr. Mayor, we could not agree more!

Muhlenberg College Professor Wins Major National Award

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – (January 6, 2011) — Charles O. Anderson, associate professor of dance and director of the African-American Studies program at Muhlenberg College, has been named one of 12 “Emerging Scholars” for 2011.  The scholars are chosen by and profiled in Diverse magazine.

In its Jan. 6 edition, Diverse profiles 12 “under 40” scholars from around the country who are making their mark in the academy through teaching, research and service. These outstanding scholars serve as an inspiration to both students and colleagues.

Anderson, a native of Richmond, Va., holds a B.A. in performance and choreography from Cornell University, and an M.F.A. with honors from Temple University. Over the past 10 years, his choreography has been presented through such venues as Mulberry Street Theatre, Danspace at St. Mark’s Church, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Danceboom! at the Wilma Theatre, WAX Performance Space and Here Arts Center among others.

He has performed in the companies of such noted choreographers as Ronald K. Brown, Sean Curran, Mark Dendy, Talley Beatty and Miguel Guttierez among others. Charles’ choreography has been funded by Dance Advance, The Community Education Center’s New Edge Residency, the Susan Hess Choreographer’s Project and The Puffin Foundation.

Anderson continues to enjoy a successful career as choreographer, performer and artistic director of his Philadelphia based dance company, dance theatre X. He was recently awarded a Dance Advance Grant (an organization sponsored by Pew Charitible Trusts) to collaborate with South African choreographer Vincent Mantsoe.
 
Diverse, then Black Issues In Higher Education, first published its “Emerging Scholars” edition in 2002. It has remained one of the magazine’s most popular editions since its inception. Diverse  editors selects honorees from a pool of candidates recommended by various scholars, department chairs, university public information officers, and others.
 
Each scholar is selected based on research, educational background, publishing record, teaching record, competitiveness of field of study, and uniqueness of field of study.

The “Emerging Scholars” for 2011 are:

Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, associate professor of higher education, The Ohio State University
Dr. Rochelle Parks-Yancy, associate business professor, Texas Southern
Charles O. Anderson, associate professor of dance and director of the African-American studies program at Muhlenberg College.
Dr. Chekesha Liddell, associate professor of materials science and engineering, Cornell University.
Dr. Wayne Alix Ian Frederick, associate professor, Howard University Medical School, specializes in surgical oncology.
Dr. Gina Núñez-Mchiri, an assistant professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at UT El Paso
Dr. Federico Ardila, assistant professor of mathematics at San Francisco State University,
Dr. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University;
Dr. Carlos D. Bustamante, a population geneticist at Stanford University
Dr. Ashlesh Murthy, research assistant professor of biology, University of Texas-San Antonio
Yiyun Li, an associate professor of English, at the University of California at Davis
Sarah Deer, Assistant Professor, William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota.

Neapco Moving Headquarters To Michigan – Today’s Mercury Coverage

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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According to a write up in today’s Pottstown Mercury, Neapco is now moving their corporate headquarters to Michigan.  A Neapco VP says this will have a minimal impact on what’s left here in Pottstown.  Still very sad.

Then, as one reads along, a bomb is dropped.  The article is talking about how manufacturing was consolidated in Beatrice, Nebraska and how the state of Nebraska gave Neapco a $1 million dollar loan.  The expansion of production facilities in Nebraska created 70 jobs. (how nice for Nebraska)

The next paragraph made me absolutely sick.  The same VP, Keith Sanford, goes on to say “no financial incentives to consolidate the company’s manufacturing in Pottstown were offered by any organization in Montgomery County or the borough.”  90 jobs were eliminated in Pottstown as a direct result.  Nebraska offered Neapco financial incentives to move our jobs out of Pottstown!

Well isn’t that just special!  If somebody would have called Harrisburg there is money for these types of things.  Ed Rendell, when not busy yelling at Leslie Stahl, has gotten involved with numerous other communities to keep jobs in PA! 

Considering that jobs are hard to come by in Pottstown, other than fast food and retail, we should have at least tried to offer them something.  It sounds like they might have been receptive.

We have a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) in this town with one business in it (that I am aware of).  I bet Harrisburg would have come up with money to expand on Queen Street OR build Neapco a new modern facility in our KOZ, which offers tax incentives to businesses!  

We could have kept our 90 jobs and added more jobs.  Instead, Nebraska added 70 more jobs and we lost 90!

Keystone Opportunity Zones are such a breakthrough idea that Business Facilities magazine calls them “the number one economic development strategy in the nation.” By eliminating specific state and local taxes within specific underdeveloped and underutilized areas, communities within Pennsylvania are experiencing economic growth and investment.  

Here is a link to the website where the above quote is from:

http://www.newpa.com/build-your-business/locate/keystone-opportunity-zones

Don’t Expect Fast Eddie To Fade Away Into The Sunset

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

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According to the Philadelphia news media, we should not expect Ed Rendell to quietly retire.  Personally, I think Tionesta, PA would be a great place for Ed to go and watch the grass grow.

Ed’s tenure as govenator is mercifully at a close, however, Rendell is acting like he has four more years:  calling press conferences, pontificating, yelling at Leslie Stahl and throwing money around like the Commonwealth just won Mega Millions.

Eddo has already said he will publically shoot off his pie hole if Tom Corbett so much as changes a jot or tittle of the Rendell legacy.

Old governors don’t fade away, they just find new ways to stay in the spotlight as long as possible.  And of course, Ed is penning a book that will be a “must have” for every coffee table in America.

Don’t despair folks, Ed will still be around.

Bridgeport Landmark Meets The Wrecking Ball

What a sad turn of events this is.  Anyone who lived or worked in the Norristown/King of Prussia area probably has a memory of this place.  Camelot in Bridgeport was “the place” to have a wedding reception or other large event.  I would say it was Bridgeport’s Sunnybrook.

Having worked in that area for 25 years, I knew many people who had their events at Camelot.  Camelot was demolished this week.  The owner, Gary Johnson, declined comment on any plans for development of the property.

Camelot was a casualty of the recession.  Renovations were too costly.  Although there was interest in reopening the property, the economy kept potential buyers at bay.

Interestingly, Joe Torac, the former owner of Lakeside Inn, ran Camelot.  Torac was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 1998.

Thankfully, the Lakeside Inn (Copperfield’s) and Sunnybrook are still standing and going strong.  Unfortunately, for Bridgeport, there is no happy ending to this story.

Carmike To Build At Upland Square – Commerce Corner Sputters

Looks like Carmike is heading across Route 100 to Upland Square shopping center.  Frankly, I would rather see Upland Square get filled up before we build another shopping center on the same intersection.  By the way, I would really like to see Pottstown Plaza get filled up!!!

Read the entire story from my good buddy Joe Zlomek over at the Sanatoga Post:

http://sanatogapost.com/2011/01/13/carmike-switches-sides-of-rt-100-to-upland-square/

***New Blog Category***

A new category labeled Revitalization has been added so that readers, specifically interested in municipal revitalization/economic development, can find all related posts under this subject in a single location.

I went back through all 930 posts to ensure they were all included.  As of this writing, there are 60 posts about revitalization and economic development in various Pennsylvania cities and towns under the Revitalization category.

Lancaster And Harrisburg Promote The Arts And Their Revitalized Downtowns With Monthly Events!

This is an inspiring story about how Lancaster’s success with their First Fridays event has inspired Harrisburg to follow suit.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Lancaster’s First Fridays event now involves 70 venues!  This free event brings thousands into downtown Lancaster!  This not only benefits the arts scene but all downtown businesses and restaurants.  First Fridays runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every month, without exception!  People come from as far away as Philadelphia and Baltimore!  Franklin and Marshall College is the presenting sponsor of this event.  As a side note, Franklin and Marshall has been instrumental in helping Lancaster with economic development!

While Lancaster has a larger population than Pottstown, it is also a very walkable city of only 7.40 square miles (land area).  A year-round monthly event in downtown Pottstown could yield similar results that would benefit our emerging arts community and our downtown stores and restaurants.  And maybe attract new ones.

Here is a link to Lancaster’s First Fridays event.  Check out this map and list of venues:  http://www.lancasterarts.com/_files/live/FirstFriday_Guide_2011_1st_Qtr_LArts.pdf

Some folks in Harrisburg had watched the success of Lancaster’s First Fridays.  A year ago, three downtown business owners got together and started 3rd in the Burg.  This idea has grown into a monthly event with up to 15 venues participating already!  That is great for the first year! 

The next 3rd in the Burg takes place on January 21st and will feature art, music and food from downtown to midtown!  Nonna’s Delisioso! will feature a 3rd in the Burg dinner special.  Nonna’s co-owner, Grace Diaz was quoted as saying, 3rd in the Burg has “introduced people from here and neighboring towns and cities to the revitalization that has taken place in our developing arts community.”  Bingo!!  What better way to entice people to come take a “look-see” than with the arts, food and music.

Participating businesses are experiencing increased sales and foot traffic at their locations.  The event draws many people into downtown Harrisburg who would not ordinarily go there.  Having multiple participants increases the public’s enthusiasm, creates a positive “buzz” and creates a snowball effect.  The ball started out with three participants, now there are 15.  As the momentum builds and the crowds increase, other merchants will take part in making the ball bigger.  As shoppers stroll between participating merchants, they will pass other stores and restaurants along the way.  I can bet you they will stop in those places as well.

The other part of the snowball effect is the arts community.  As this event grows, it will inspire other artists to take part and possibly move to Harrisburg.  Thereby increasing Harrisburg’s arts community and growing 3rd in the Burg further.

The desired result of 3rd in the Burg is to make Harrisburg a “destination” for the arts, shopping and dining.  I give that two Roy’s Rants thumbs up!

Here is a link to 3rd in the Burg:  http://3rdintheburg.com/

Hershey Chocolatefest This Weekend! A Chocoholics Paradise!

Welcome sign on the east end of Chocolate Aven...

Image via Wikipedia

Imagine a chocolate festival in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  That took some serious thought, LOL!

On January 15th and 16th, Chocolatefest will take place at the Hershey Lodge located at Chocolate Avenue and University Drive in Hershey.  Festivities start at 6 p.m. on Saturday and continue on Sunday morning, starting at 11 a.m.  Doug Allen, from WGAL TV in Lancaster, will host the events.

A ChocolateBall will begin the festivities at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening.  The theme is Jamaica.  The black-tie affair includes a reception, silent auctions, a raffle, dancing and music by Class Act featuring Rita.  The cost is $100.00, per person.

On Sunday morning things continue with a reception of champagne, wine, hors d’oeuvres and a cake competition at 11 a.m.  The reception is $50.00.  The reception will be followed by two tasting sessions of confectionary samples from local restaurants, retailers, hotels and caterers.  The first session will start at 1 p.m., followed by a second session at 3:15 p.m.  Both sessions will last 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Tickets are $20.00 in advance or $25.00 at the door. (Tickets are limited)  Children ages 5 – 12 are $5.00 (there will be children’s activities

What is the best part of Chocolatefest?  It is a fundraiser for Keystone Human Services, a family of nonprofit organizations which provides comprehensive community-based services for children, young people, adults and families in the areas of intellectual disabilities (mental retardation), autism, mental health, early intervention and children and family services.  You can learn more about this organization by clicking here http://www.keystonehumanservices.org/

Tickets can be purchased by calling 717-232-7509 or directly from Boscov’s, The Hershey Lodge, Giant Food Stores and Metro Bank.