Harrisburg’s 3rd In The Burg And Jazz Festival Tonight!

Recreation of the flag of the city of Harrisbu...

Image via Wikipedia

A great deal of activity is going on in our capital city tonight.  It’s 3rd in the Burg night (Harrisburg’s version of First Friday) and the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz Festival takes place today, Saturday and Sunday, at venues around Harrisburg!

For more information about tonight’ s 3rd in the Burg events:

http://3rdintheburg.com/

For more information about tonight’s Jazz Walk and this weekends 31st Annual Central Pennsylvania Jazz Festival events:

http://www.cpfj.org/festival_2011.html

Get out there and enjoy the arts in PA!

Bad Behavior At Council Meetings Is Not Limited To Pottstown – Wilkes-Barre Has Problems Too!

This is just scary.  Name calling, door slamming, being escorted out of meetings… sound familiar?

Evidently Wilkes-Barre City Council meetings get “buck wild” too.  Mayor Thomas Leighton of Wilkes-Barre allegedly called City Wide Towing & Repair’s owner “cupcake” during a city council meeting.  Bob Kudluboski (City Wide’s owner) erupted calling the mayor a “punk” and was escorted out of the building by city police.

When questioned after being ejected, one of Bob’s comments was “Why was he (the mayor) standing back there anyway?  Is he trying to make me punch him in the face?”

To read the rest of this inspiring story from the Times Leader:

http://www.timesleader.com/news/Mayor_rsquo_s_remark_enrages_tow_truck_operator_06-16-2011.html

Peter Pan At The TriPAC! Don’t Miss It!

I went to see Peter Pan tonight at the TriPAC.  The theater was FULL!  Lots of kids in attendance!

Great rendition of the Peter Pan story.  Tons of special effects, including flying!

Stand outs were Peter Pan, played by P.J. Schweizer, Mr. Darling/Captain Hook, played by Joe Ciresi (Joe is the Spring-Ford School District Board of Education President), Mrs. Darling, played by Rebecca Shoemaker and Wendy played by Maddie Aicher.

Many youth were involved in the production and everyone did a great job!  Deborah Stimson-Snow was the Director and did an a superb job!  The orchestra rocked as usual!

There are a few shows left before this run is over:

PETER PAN (June 2 – 19)
Friday, June 17 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, June 18 @ 3:00 pm & 8:00 pm
Sunday, June 19 @ 3:00 pm

Tickets
ADULT: Thurs $19; Fri, Sat & Sun $23
STUDENT/SENIOR(65+): Thurs $17; Fri, Sat, Sun $21
CHILD (12 & under): Thurs $13; Fri, Sat & Sun $15

TICKETS ARE SELLING FAST! Please log on to http://www.facebook.com/l/a4a16Q1PoJ135BDB9j13hW4CmCA/www.tripac.org to purchase your tickets online.

Another outstanding TriPAC production!

Amid A Storm Of Controversy, A Fallen Weiner Resigns And Enters Rehab

Anthony Weiner

Image via Wikipedia

What’s up with all the sex addictions lately????  Anthony Weiner has entered rehab (probably under the advice of Ed Rendell, M.D.) to hopefully get a grip on his sex addiction and learn a few things about social media and what not to tweet!

Weiner notified Nancy Pelosi that he intended to give up his U.S.Congressional seat.  Pelosi has been one of many Democrats, including POTUS Barack Obama, calling for Weiner to resign.  This once rising star of Democratic politics has hit rock bottom.  Last July, former POTUS Bill Clinton officiated at his wedding and now Democratic leaders cannot distance themselves from him fast enough.  The Democratic leadership is afraid of how this scandal could hurt their chances in 2012.

It is hard to feel sorry for a grown man who does not have the self-control not to tweet or text pictures of his anatomy.  Especially a newly married man who’s wife is expecting their first child.  Hopefully Weiner will develop some more appropriate hobbies as the result of his stint in rehab.

Today, Weiner held a news conference in Brooklyn and officially resigned.  He appropriately blamed himself for the predicament he “created”.  Unlike politicians in Pottstown, who do inappropriate things and say they are “passionate”, Weiner took responsibility for his error in judgment.  I at least give the guy credit for that!

Weiner Stands Firm – Will Not Resign!

Anthony Weiner

Image via Wikipedia

Even with most of the Democratic Party calling for his resignation, Anthony Weiner is refusing to step down.  While the Democrats are having apoplexy over Weinergate, there are some who took this “sexcapade” and turned it into a profitable enterprise.

Evidently one can buy an anatomically correct Anthony Weiner doll.  Demand is so high the website keeps crashing.  You can even get a miniature Blackberry for your Weiner doll as an accessory.  If Weiner resigns, the doll could become highly collectible.  Can you imagine EBay’s delight!

Only in America!

Berks County Services Center Floods Over The Weekend

Reading's Pagoda seen from Skyline Drive

Image via Wikipedia

On top of chunks falling off the façade and fluids leaking into the underground parking garage, over the weekend there was a flood on the sixth floor of the Berks County Services Center building that also damaged the fourth and fifth floors.  A broken water valve was the culprit.  Damage is estimated at half a million dollars.  $100,000 went specifically for the cleanup and $400,000 for the renovations the restore the building back to working order.

There are several hundred valves in the building that will be inspected after this disaster to hopefully avoid any repeats.  Good idea!

Fortunately, insurance will pay all but $50,000 of the damage.

TriCounty Community Network Meeting

TCN Membership Meeting

Join us for the final meeting of the fiscal year as we celebrate the accomplishments of our programs.

Learn more about the work and achievements of TCN Programs:
Build Up Youth, CARE, Environmental Awareness, Family Literacy, Homeless Services, SAFE, and Workforce Development.

We will recognize new members, committee volunteers, partners and friends of TCN.

Tuesday, June 21, 8am-10am

Montgomery County Community College, West Campus

South Hall, 1st Floor, Community Room, 101 College Drive, Pottstown

Please RSVP by Friday, June 17. Call 610-705-3301, Ext. 2.

Special thanks to our breakfast sponsor

Creative Health Services

Just a reminder . . .

There are no membership meetings in July and August.

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, September 20th.

Have a great summer!

Partnering to improve health, social and environmental conditions.

TriCounty Community Network

260 High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464

TCN Information & Questions – 610-705-3301, Extension 2
First Call Information & Referral Service – 610-705-3301, Extension 3
www.TCNetwork.org

 

The Cesspool That Is Pottstown Politics

Last night, the smell was much worse in City Hall than passing by the sewer plant on Moser Road in the summer.  The stench of political agendas, the overt pandering to those agendas, the lack of leadership (not applying to Rhoads and Weand) and the undeniable rewarding of poor behavior left me reaching for a barf bag.  I might start bringing my own if I continue to sit through these council meetings.  I think we need a “honey wagon” STAT at City Hall as the municipal diaper is FULL!

A total travesty is what I would call that meeting.  Only two Councilors had the chutzpah to call Missy Mayor on the carpet.  The other four (Allen absent) were falling all over themselves trying to kiss her derriere.  The mayor’s position is “ceremonial”.  If the mayor is so gung-ho to monopolize every council meeting, let her run for COUNCIL!  And yes Steve, you are correct, it is your fault for letting her talk too much.  She talks more than most of the Councilors we elected into those positions.  The woman has an opinion about everything!

WEAK MAYOR – WEAK MAYOR – WEAK MAYOR!!!!  Capiche??

We need a total change of leadership – Weand/Rhoads or Rhoads/Weand need to be President and Vice-President of council.  Stick a fork in the rest of y’all; you’re done!

While we’re at it…since we pay Jason a tidy sum, why don’t we stop tying his hands behind his back and let him do his job.  He’s an educated, municipal expert who we are paying to manage Pottstown.  We hire a professional manager for a reason.  Council people are not experts in municipal government.  Most have full-time day jobs.  This is Jason’s full-time job which he is highly skilled at.

That is as polite I can be.  I have waited 28 years for Pottstown to “come back”!  I am sick and tired of waiting.  I am sick and tired of the “good old boy” network in this town that continues to hold it hostage.  At this juncture, I highly doubt this town will ever change.

So color me still crabby today!

Cathy Paretti’s Speech As Read At Tonight’s Pottstown Borough Council Meeting

Below are Cathy Paretti’s remarks, in their entirety, as read to Pottstown Borough Council!

June 13, 2011

I feel compelled to speak tonight so all facts are on the table concerning the Gallery School and what has happened with the county funding this year.  First, to get the information correct about the Gallery School of Pottstown, we are a 501c3 non-profit community art center.  We attained our non-profit status in 2005 in order to fulfill our mission of being a positive attraction not only for the downtown district but Pottstown as a whole.  We specifically kept the name Pottstown in our title, even though at the time it was more fashionable to claim to be a tri county entity.  We wanted to make Pottstown a name that was recognizable and associated with a positive reaction.  Erika Hornburg-Cooper and myself are the co-founders of the organization. The Gallery School rents 254 High Street from CLE Properties, of which Erika and myself are partners along with a third person who owns 51% of the property.  The third partner has no interest in the school.  The Gallery School is seeking to purchase the property from CLE in order to renovate the third floor of the building so we can expand our programming and also attain an asset to make us more financially stable.  Our board of directors will not invest in raising funds to renovate a building that it does not own, and the third partner of CLE will not invest money in the building, as she has no faith that Pottstown will pull itself out of its current downturn.  As per the guidelines of the county revitalization program, we are well within the parameters of applying for the funds to purchase the building, just as Tri Pac has done in the past.  Our current proposal only includes money to pay off the mortgage on the building, as well as any transfer fees that will occur from the transaction.  As for the payout of the partners, our board of directors will be responsible to raise those funds as agreed to by the partners.  All money secured by us from the county will go towards paying off the mortgage, and we provided ample evidence to the county to prove that this is the case.  Neither Erika nor myself will receive any financial gain from the funds.  We understand how this proposal may have raised some eyebrows, and went above and beyond to make ourselves available for questioning in the hopes of achieving maximum transparency in the matter.  In short, we have nothing to hide.  I have worked at this organization for the past seven years without taking a paycheck and am constantly paying out of my own pocket for expenses to keep the building and the organization running.  Our only interest is in making sure that the organization is secure for the future.

I’d now like to discuss the events leading up to the mess we currently find ourselves in.  As the facts currently stand, on March 14th council voted on the prioritization of projects to propose to the county.  The results were that the Gallery School was chosen as the top priority and the Western Gateway was chosen as the second priority, with the vote breakdown being four for Gallery School, two for the Gateway, and none for the Skyline project.  The borough staff was also on board with this decision.  However, when it came time to present our projects to the county, they were to be presented in the order prioritized by council, and suddenly the Skyline project was now being presented as the second priority.  At the time I wondered why this would be but, against my better judgment, decided not to question it, as we were not involved with either project.  But now I can’t help but ask why, without a single vote from council, the Skyline project was suddenly presented as the second priority?  The only entity against council’s decision of prioritization was Mayor Heath, whose opinion in the matter does not override that of the council.

In addition to this, Mayor Heath then took it upon herself to contact Commissioner Hoeffel and advocate for a project that was not supported by one member of borough council as far as any record of the matter is concerned.  Her actions make our town look as if we do not have our so-called ducks in a row, and has once again cast Pottstown in a bad light with the county.  Please correct me if I am wrong, but I did not feel at any time that our council and our borough staff were at odds with each other over the decision of March 14th.

I would also like to speak about recent events which I believe call into question the extent of the Mayor’s involvement in the county’s decision.  On Friday, June 3rd, Mr. Mason Craig was approaching people in town and informing them that the Skyline project had been awarded funding by the county per recommendations by the county staff.  This is important because that information was not to be made public until Monday, June 6th, when the county staff’s recommendations would be emailed to all involved parties.  In those recommendations emailed on June 6th, it was outlined that the Skyline had been awarded $241,000, while the other two projects were not to receive funds.  It wasn’t until June 7th when the revitalization board made their first ever decision not to follow the county staff’s recommendation and instead leave the decision to the commissioners.  Still, I’d like to know how Mr. Craig was aware of the staff’s recommendations three days before they were to be announced.

To be clear, I have no political agenda.  I only want to ensure that the Gallery School of Pottstown can keep its doors open to serve the community and help the town move forward.  As for Mayor Heath, her actions may have serious consequences.  Because of her and Mr. Wildrick’s appeal to Commissioner Hoeffel, Pottstown is now in a position where we may not see any county funding at a time when the economy is in serious turmoil.  I understand that borough council cannot control the actions of its citizens, but Mayor Heath is an elected official.   You may correct me here, but I believe Pottstown has a council – manager form of borough government, which means that the mayor did not have the authority to go against borough council’s wishes.  Her interference in this process is, I believe, unethical, and I do hope that council reprimands her for her actions.

I have given all council members a copy of what I have said here tonight.   I have also included copies of letters that we receive from students and parents of the children that attend our programming and classes.  We have dozens more in our files.  I hope these speak to the impact that we do make and can continue to make in the Pottstown community.

Thank you all for your attention.

Cathy Paretti,

Co-Founder, Gallery Director of the Gallery School of Pottstown

Cathy Paretti Blasts Pottstown Mayor Bonnie Heath Over Gallerygate

Cathy Paretti, Co-founder of the Gallery on High/Gallery School of Pottstown read a prepared statement during the Comments from Citizens Present part of tonight’s Pottstown Borough Council Meeting.  Evidently only Councilors Weand and Rhoads were listening.  Bonnie appeared unphased (probably because she knew four members of council support her bad behavior).

Mrs. Paretti broke down the series of events which lead to Gallerygate.  Mayor Heath meddled in a council decision and caused the Gallery’s request for grant money (to pay off the mortgage on their building and expand their services) to be denied.  Mrs. Paretti also brought some interesting facts to light about an inappropriate release of information, by the mayor’s husband, before it was to be made public.

If Mrs. Paretti would like to have her remarks published on Roy’s Rants, in their entirety, we would be glad to do so!

We applaud Cathy Paretti and Erika Hornburg-Cooper for not allowing the mayor’s highly inappropriate behavior to go unchallenged, and for all they have done to help the Borough of Pottstown and the Greater Pottstown Area.  You ladies ROCK!

“Teflon Bonnie” Dodges Bullet – Escapes Pottstown Council’s Ire Over Gallerygate

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Where to begin! 

Bonnie’s Mayor’s Report started off as the usual cheerleading session and turned into making excuses for her bad behavior, which she is not sorry for.  Bonnie said she did what she did because she is “passionate” and she felt the Gallery School Project was a bad idea.  She blithered on about differences and stepping on toes etc… but any apology in all that was missing, from what I could tell.

During the Announcements part of the meeting, which comes right before Adjournment, Councilor Weand raised a motion that we limit the mayor’s speaking at council meetings to the Mayor’s Report, if she was asked a direct question or if she needed to break a tie vote.  The other part of the motion was to forbid Bonnie from speaking negatively in public against Borough Council, like on WPAZ or to the County Commissioners, for example.

Councilor Gibson seconded the motion but only for the sake of debate.  Only Councilor Rhoads sided with Councilor Weand.  Maureen Allen was absent.  Chomnuk, Gibson, Kirkland and Toroney all sided with the mayor.  Councilors Gibson and Toroney expressed their displeasure at Bonnie’s recent behavior but felt it was not proper to limit her “face time” at meetings.  Councilors Kirkland and Chomnuk did not think her speaking time should be limited.

So once again, bad behavior in Pottstown is rewarded.  It’s okay to go outside the chain of command, bad mouth at will and undermine binding votes of council, all in the name of being “passionate”.

Expect more bad behavior, more diatribes and insubordination from our mayor in the future, now that she has been further empowered to do so.

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Councilor Weand for doing the right thing and to Councilor Rhoads for backing him up and voting yes.

At this time, I will refrain from comment about the rest of Council until such time as I can think of a polite way to say what is on my mind.

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre – Accessible Performance Of “Godspell”

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre

to present accessible performance of

Godspell

 

July 17 performance of “Godspell” at Muhlenberg

will feature Open Captioning and Audio Description

for hearing impaired and visually impaired patrons


Allentown, Pa. (June 13, 2011) – Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre will present a performance of “Godspell” at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 17 with Open Captioning (OC) for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing and Audio Description (AD) for patrons who are blind or visually impaired. This performance is sponsored in part by the Tri-County Accessible Arts Coalition.

“The Tri-County Accessible Arts Coalition is working to accomplish several goals,” says Jessica Bien, general manager of Muhlenberg’s Theatre and Dance Department. “The first is to educate local organizations about the need for accessible performances and events in the region. The second is to educate the communities that the accessible performances will serve. Since many individuals have not ever experienced an open captioned or audio described performance, they need to understand what the performance will be like. Finally the Coalition is hoping to be able to secure the necessary equipment for these services so that any organization in the area may borrow the equipment to offer audio description or open captioning.”

Prior to the performance, there will be a tour and reception for audience members utilizing the services. The performance will be held in the Baker Theatre in the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance on the Muhlenberg College campus in Allentown, Pa.

“We are hoping that this performance provides the chance for other theaters and organizations in the Lehigh Valley to experience audio description and open captioning so that they can begin to offer these types of performances as well,” Bien says.

“Godspell,” Stephen Schwartz’s upbeat retelling of biblical parables, is one of Broadway’s biggest successes, featuring a beloved and sparkling score—including the international hit “Day By Day.” The show will run July 13-31.

“We are excited to bring the first audio described and open captioned performance to the Lehigh Valley community,” says Bien. “By offering these types of performances, we are hoping to provide a whole new audience with the opportunity to experience live theatre and some of America’s greatest musicals.”

Audio Description is a form of audio-visual translation, using the natural pauses in dialogue or between critical sound elements to insert narrative that translates the visual image into an audible form that is accessible to individuals who otherwise lack full access to live theatre. Using a single earpiece connected to an infrared headset, patrons who are blind or have low vision can listen to trained audio describers give live, verbal descriptions of actions, costumes, scenery, and other visual elements of a performance.

Open captioning provides the audience with an electronic text display to the side of the stage which displays what the actors are saying or singing in real time. The display also describes sound effects on stage.

To purchase tickets for the July 17 performance of “Godspell,” call Jess Bien at 484-664-3087 or email boxoffice@muhlenberg.edu. The number of headsets available for Audio Description is limited so it is suggested that reservations be made early. Tickets are only $10 for hearing impaired and visually impaired patrons and one companion can also purchase a ticket for $10.

Each year, Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre mounts major original productions of Broadway musicals featuring the work of accomplished directors, designers, performers and musicians. Tickets are still available for all three Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre shows – “The Music Man,” running June 15 – July 3; “Cinderella,” our children’s theatre show, running June 22 – July 30; and “Godspell.”

Tickets for regular performances can be purchased online at muhlenberg.edu/tickets, by calling 484-664-3333, or by visiting the box office located on the lower level of the Trexler Pavilion for Theatre and Dance, Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information contact Scott Snyder, at 484-664-3693 or scottsnyder@muhlenberg.edu.

 

Camp Wanna-Be Fit: Outdoor Summer Camp

Camp Wanna-Be Fit

Outdoor Summer Camp Fun!

Youth Ages 7 to 10

June 20 through August 26, 2011

9 AM – 3:30 PM Monday through Friday

Fernbrook Access Park in North Coventry

 Children may be dropped off at the YWCA between 6:30 and 8:15 AM. 

At 8:30 AM, a bus will transport the staff and children to the park for the day, returning to the YWCA at 3:45 PM. 

Children can be picked up anytime from 4 PM to 6 PM.

Rate:  $155 weekly

Subsidized Families Welcome!

Call YWCA at 610-323-1888 to Register

 

Sixth Ward Councilor Jody Rhoads’ Comments From Wednesday’s Committee Of The Whole Meeting

You will note that the local print newspaper did a report on Jody’s comments at the end of Wednesday’s COTW meeting.  Councilor Rhoads has given me a copy of his comments which I am printing in their entirety.

Jody’s comments:

It’s been ten years since I retired.  It wasn’t long after that I started attending council and committee meetings.

Since then, I have pretty much gotten to know “who’s who” and “what’s what”.  I now have some observations and opinions, and am appalled at some of the “grown up” behavior in this town.

  1. I have heard of those who say they are the most powerful person in town.
  2. I have seen first hand and heard of those who name call frequently using the term “idiot”
  3. I have come across those who try to discredit others for their efforts and accomplishments.
  4. A few, just plain think and act like they run the town.
  5. I have seen personal agenda’s that are not for the good of the community.
  6. And I have witnessed some, who when they don’t get their way, pack up and leave.
  7. And those who send hateful, anonymous letters.

For all the above behavior I list as:

  1. irresponsible
  2. childish
  3. insulting
  4. unprofessional
  5. inappropriate
  6. disrespectful
  7. embarrassing
  8. disgusting
  9. unproductive

Until this type of behavior disappears, our community will continue to stagnate.  I’m seeing a big problem concerning the paid advertisements in our local newspaper by The Citizens for Responsible Government.  These articles have been attacking, at one time or another, the school district, the administration, the school board, school board members, the Task Force, Pottstown Borough, past Economic Development Directors, Borough Council and individual Councilors.

These ads are nothing more than someone’s desperate attempt to use the print media as part of a strategy to promote a political campaign and to buy someone’s victory in the election process.

What is really strange and upsetting is our local newspaper has been known to refuse any type of political comments until just before an election.  It appears to me that advertisements are being use for political reasons all year-long.  The individual behind this group always asks for transparency and complete factual information, but refuses to practice what is preached.

There is a common denominator between Citizens for Responsible Government and Trees Inc., that being Thomas Hylton – Secretary/Treasurer.  The Trees Inc. website is www.pottstowntrees.org.  There is conflicting information on this website.

The home page clearly states “Today, thanks to Trees Inc., Pottstown has among the best maintained street trees in Pennsylvaniaat no cost to the taxpayer.  Let me repeat, at no cost to the taxpayer.  We’ve heard this many times.  Then searching the financial page we see the following:

Councilor Rhoads had a handout of the budget information from the Trees Inc. website which he distributed…it was relating to the years Pottstown Borough gave money to Trees Inc.

Next comes requests for information.

I submitted the following emails to Thomas Hylton regarding Trees Inc. Councilor Rhoads had a handout with this information.  Councilor Rhoads sent eight emails to Thomas Hylton, requesting various information, regarding Trees Inc.  Councilor Rhoads never received a response.  The emails were sent between February 24, 2010 and April 9, 2010.

I have also received a request for information to Thomas Hylton from another individual who was also refused.  A Right To Know request was sent to Mr. Hylton on 3/10/2010 regarding the May 2009 audit done on Trees Inc. by Rabowski & Company.  A follow-up request was sent on March 23, 2010.  No response was received.

Here again, where is his (Mr. Hylton’s) transparency?

There’s some things out of control and we better start coming to grips. 

END

Jim Thorpe: Revitalization Success Story – Pottstown: Umm, No…

Postcard picture from 1915 of a "bird's e...

Image via Wikipedia

I drove up to Jim Thorpe today thinking it would be cooler in the mountains (not) and because it is a funky place (this was not my first visit, hence I already knew it was funky).

Jim Thorpe is the county seat of Carbon County.  Carbon County has a total land area of 387 square miles and 65,249 residents, based on the 2010 Census (a population density of 171 persons per square mile).  Jim Thorpe’s population was 4,804 (2000 census) with a land area of 14.5 square miles (mostly undeveloped, obviously).  Carbon County borders Lehigh County to the south and Luzerne County to the north.

Jim Thorpe was originally two towns across the Lehigh River from one another – Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk.  The two towns merged and adopted the name Jim Thorpe, after famed Native American Olympian Jim Thorpe who is buried in the borough.  Originally, what is now Jim Thorpe was a railroad and coal-shipping center.  Like many Pennsylvania towns, Jim Thorpe found itself on the downside of post-industrialization and languished for many years.  Becoming Jim Thorpe was the first attempt to boost the local economy.  This offered only limited success and so the town leadership needed to find other means of ramping up their economy.

Today, Jim Thorpe is a bustling small town that has become a destination (are we paying attention Pottstown?) using its natural surrounding, its heritage and some good marketing. 

Jim Thorpe has capitalized on being a former railroad town.  You can take an awesome train ride along the Lehigh River.  During the trip you learn about local history, play games and answer questions.  It is very enjoyable and affordable.  Asa Packer and his son Harry Packer have mansions in Jim Thorpe.  Asa’s mansion is a museum and Harry’s mansion is a B&B.  Asa Packer founded the Lehigh Valley Railroad and Lehigh University.

Jim Thorpe is a river town.  The Lehigh River runs between both sides of town.  Taking advantage of being a river town, Jim Thorpe offers whitewater rafting on the Lehigh. 

Jim Thorpe is also a mountain town.  It’s called the “Switzerland of America”.  Taking advantage of being in the mountains, the town offers mountain biking and hiking.  They threw in paintball just because.  And don’t forget the Anthracite Triathlon, paying homage to being a coal-shipping center and part of the Coal Region.

Jim Thorpe is a historic town, full of 19th century architecture.  One can see examples of Federalist, Greek Revival, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Queen Anne and Richardsonian RomanesqueSt. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the Carbon County Courthouse, the Packer Mansions, the Train Station, the Hotel Switzerland, historic Broadway, the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Building and the Carbon County jail are some of the architectural attractions in town.

Jim Thorpe is so cool.  How cool is it??  Jim Thorpe was listed as number 7 on Budget Travel magazine’s America’s Coolest Small Towns in 2009.

Downtown Jim Thorpe is full of restaurants, bars, boutiques and stores of all kinds.  No empty buildings or mental health drop-in center.  Everything is clean and neat.  There is signage every where so you can find your way.  There is plenty of cheap parking…you have to pay but it is only a few dollars for the day.  There is plenty of foot and vehicular traffic coursing through the downtown.  Keep in mind this town has 4,804 people (or there about – not finding 2010 census results yet) and their downtown puts Pottstown’s to shame.  What’s wrong with that picture?  Jim Thorpe is 4 ½ time smaller than Pottstown, off the beaten path (Carbon County is not exactly Montgomery County with 800,000 people) and yet this town still finds ways to revitalize and thrive, even in a bad economy.

Would you suppose the Mayor of Jim Thorpe nuzzles the ear of the Carbon County Commissioners at local events and undermines the borough council’s downtown revitalization strategy and possibly harms a local business?  Would you suppose the Mayor of Jim Thorpe goes on the local radio station and bad-mouths borough council or that his/her spouse calls borough council a bunch of idiots while storming out of a meeting?  Would you suppose the Mayor of Jim Thorpe blows off out-of-town visitors and embarrasses borough council by promising to do something and then not doing it?

What do you suppose Jim Thorpe’s secret it?  Would you think the borough leadership came up with a plan and sticks with it?  Would you think there is a vision for Jim Thorpe and that the leadership works together and speaks with one voice?  Would you think taking advantage of a town’s history and natural surroundings is as good idea? Would you think creating a destination environment to attract repeat visitors is a good strategy?  Do you think embracing art and culture is a good strategy?  Jim Thorpe does.

Obviously, we are doing something very wrong in Pottstown that we are put to shame by a little mountain town in rural Carbon County.  They have left us in the dust.

2011 Pennsylvania State Fair Guide

Here it is folks, back by popular demand, the PA State Fair Guide.  This handy PDF file shows Pennsylvania, broken down by region, and all the events taking place this year.  Do not sit home wondering what to do with yourselves this summer.   Get out there and experience Pennsylvania!

Click below for the link to all the info:

http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_24476_10297_0_43/AgWebsite/Files/Publications/PA%20Fair%20Guide_2011v79optiv3.pdf

Wilkes-Barre Area School District Has As Many Elementary Schools As Pottstown

Here is another example that demonstrates Pottstown School District has too many elementary schools.  Wilkes-Barre Area School District has 9 schools.  Five elementary schools, one junior high and three high schools.  The enrollment for Wilkes-Barre Area is approximately 6700 students or about twice as many as Pottstown.  Very similar to Norristown Area School District, which I profiled the other day.

Elementary schools are K – 6th grades.

The Solomon/Plains Junior High School is 7th & 8th grades only. 

There are three high schools.  It was just announced that Wilkes-Barre Area is looking at possibily closing one of the three high schools (Meyers High School which has the lowest student population of the three with 840 students in grades 9 – 12 is being studied for closure).

The Wilkes-Barre Area School District encompasses 123 square miles and only has five elementary schools.  I would think a borough of 5 square miles, with half  of the student population of Wilkes-Barre Area, could easily get away with three elementary schools.

District data from Wikipedia and GreatSchools.org

Fellow Dems Call For Weiner To Resign And Enter Rehabilitation

Anthony Weiner

Image via Wikipedia

Allyson Schwartz has publically called for Anthony Weiner (D-NY) to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives.  Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) is in charge of candidate recruitment and member services for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.  Her call for Weiner’s resignation indicates to many that the party wants Weiner to step down.  This kind of scandal will make Democratic victories more challenging in 2o12.

More commentary on Weinergate by yet another country heard from – Fast Eddie Spendell (D-PA), former bankruptor of Pennsylvania said that Weiner should resign and go to rehab, even going as far as suggesting in-patient treatment.  Well thanks for the medical opinion there Eddo.  Betcha didn’t know Fast Eddie had a medical credential along with his other various and sundry talents.

Of course, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has called for an ethics investigation to determine if Weiner broke House rules.  Knowing Nancy is on the job makes me sleep so much better at night.

Stay tuned for more breaking news on Weinergate!

Pottstown Borough Council And Task Force Derailed By Heath And Hylton

It would appear we have no need for a borough government or a school board in Pottstown.  We have two people who have managed to insert themselves into two separate processes and derail them both. 

Why bother to have a borough council and a professional manager when the mayor can “pull people aside” at functions and override decisions made by our town leadership?

Why bother to have a task force and a school board when Mr. Hylon’s advertorials have the task force sputtering and some members have drunk the Kool Aid?

It would appear Pottstown only needs two people to run it.  If we get rid of the entire borough staff and the school district staff, and let Bonnie and Tom run our town and educate our children, just think of the cost savings!

We can shepherd all the children into the football stadium every day, give Tom a bullhorn and he can educate them himself.  Bonnie can use her influence with the county to get things done in Pottstown so why pay people to run our town?  Bonnie can handle it.

Is this really what you people want?  As ridiculous as it sounds, it’s closer to the truth than fiction.