Pottstown Mayor Bonnie Heath Tops Roy’s Rants Most Wanted List

I never thought the day would come when someone in this community would irritate me more than Mr. Hylton.  However, that day has now arrived.

Mayor Heath’s recent behavior is that of a petulant child.  The mayor stormed out of the last Pottstown Borough Council meeting after not getting her way on a vote.  Following close behind was her husband (Mr. Mayor), who as I reported in my last council coverage, made a derogatory comment about the collective intelligence of our council.

Pottstown has a weak mayor, strong council form of government.  We employ a professional manager (Jason) and the council dictates the course of action we take as a community.  Everyone takes direction from council.  Those seven elected officials, representing each ward of our borough, make the decisions that shape our future.  The Office of the Mayor is ceremonial (aka spirit bunny/ribbon cutter) and in the event of a tie vote on council the mayor is called on to cast the deciding vote.  The mayor also “oversees” the police department, which again appears to be fairly ceremonial as Chief Flanders runs the department.

After Bonnie’s stellar performance last month she went on WPAZ to bad mouth council and whine about the PDIDA vote, which Mo Gallant reported on her Pottstown’s Blog.  Again, is this a professional way for a mayor to act?  She may only be ceremonial; however, she is an elected official!  I suggest Bonnie run for council if being mayor does not have enough “teeth” for her liking.  Stop trying to make your job more important than it is!

Now we come to the most disturbing and egregious offense the mayor committed recently.  During the dedication ceremony at Pottsgrove Manor a few weekends ago, Bonnie approached two Montgomery County Commissioners and pushed for the PDIDA Downtown Lighting Project to be the number one priority for funding as Pottstown’s revitalization project.  Pottstown Borough Council had already voted and approved the Gallery School project as our top priority in March.  A presentation was made to Montgomery County, by the borough, supporting the Gallery School project as our number one priority for funding.  There was much debate by the Councilors about what Pottstown’s priority project should be at March’s council meeting.  A roll call vote was requested by President Toroney and the Gallery School project won.  This should have been the end of any debate!

In Bonnie’s “talks” with the Commissioners she relayed that the Galley School would profit greatly if the county funded the purchasing of their building.  This “information” was taken back to the committee who decides the funding.  This “information” is one of the reasons cited for their hesitation in funding the Gallery School project.  The final decisions have yet to be made, but Pottstown may get cut out completely for this round of revitalization dollars.  Once again, it appears to the county that Pottstown does not have its act together – a common complaint from them.  Unity of vision and speaking with one voice is essential when applying for grants and any kind of funding.  The ULI Report remarked that Pottstown’s in-fighting was a serious problem.

I must say this behavior is shocking.  This one woman side-show could not only hurt Pottstown but it could hurt one of the few businesses on High Street.  Council has gotten its act together and has worked better as a group lately.  They can agree to disagree.  As Councilor Gibson stated after Bonnie stormed out of the meeting – he doesn’t get mad when a vote doesn’t go his way; he has to respect his fellow Councilors and the will of the majority.  That is how things work in a democracy.  This meddling by the mayor could seriously jeopardize our downtown revitalization.  The mayor should be held directly responsible for any negative repercussions that her loose cannon behavior causes.  I again call upon Pottstown Borough Council to formally reprimand/censure, whatever terminology you would like to use, Mayor Bonnie Heath for totally overstepping her authority as Mayor of Pottstown; and knowingly and willfully undermining a binding vote of council (toward the revitalization of our central business district.)

Lastly, Mayor Heath was asked to do something that actually falls within her limited realm of mayoral responsibilities.  The mayor was asked to speak at a welcoming event for a family who is bicycling across the United States.  They were making a stop in Pottstown for the BMX event at Trilogy Park.  The mayor agreed to speak at the welcoming event on May 26th at PMMC.  As part of the welcoming event, the family was to be presented with gift certificates to cover their meals while in town.  The mayor also agreed to go to three restaurants to get donated gift certificates for the family.  On May 26th, the Mayor never showed up at the hospital to welcome the family nor did she speak with any businesses.  After the ride was finished down High St., people went and got the three gift certificates and presented them to the family the next day.  If you check out the family’s blog, they wrote a nice article about their stay in Pottstown.

http://www.ridethenation.org/1/post/2011/05/good-food-good-friends-good-racing.html

The next council meeting is Monday, June 13th at 7:00 p.m. in Pottstown Borough Hall.  If you are as outraged by this behavior as I am, I would invite you to address council during the portion of the meeting that allows residents to comment.

Personally, I think our mayor should resign.  This is disgraceful behavior and harmful to Pottstown.  She should hang her head in shame!

Weiner Admits Tweeting Lewd Photo

Anthony Weiner

Image via Wikipedia

How to put this delicately…

Does anyone else see the irony in the above headline?  A man named Weiner tweeted a photo of his….well, you get the idea.

U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) just got married last July.  Today, Weiner admitted having online sex relationships with “about six women over the past three years”, after his botched cover-up attempt failed.

We should feel good knowing that Mr. Weiner never had “sex” outside of his marriage, HOWEVER he continued to have online relationships with other women after he in fact DID get married.  Ummmm…does anyone else find comfort in this revelation?  Mr. Weiner also stated he “believes” the women he sexted were all adults, but he does not actually know their ages.

Another juicy bit of irony here is that former President Bill Clinton officiated at Mr. Weiner’s wedding. 

Ya gotta love politics!

Pottstown School Board/Administration Speak Out Against Thomas Hylton’s Propaganda Blitz

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County
Image via Wikipedia

One can hardly pick up a print edition of the Pottstown Quicksilver these days without seeing some sort of advertorial from Pottstown Citizens For Responsible Government Treasurer and School Board Director Thomas Hylton.  Mr. Hylton has tried to sway public opinion about all things Pottstown School District for some time.

Recently, Mr. Hylton went on the attack against Pottstown Superintendent of Schools Dr. Reed Lindley, current school board directors, school board candidates and the Task Force.  Things came to a head at last Thursday’s school board meeting when Dr. Lindley, Director Polly Weand and Director Robert Hartman called Mr. Hylton on the carpet for his campaign of misinformation directed toward Dr. Lindley, fellow school board members and the Task Force.

Evan Brandt’s coverage of the meeting and the background information leading up to Mr. Hylton’s tongue-lashing by Lindley, Weand and Hartman was well documented and unbiased.  I am glad to see that Mr. Hylton’s monetary contributions to the local print newspaper are not buying him “protection” from scrutiny.  Frankly, I think today’s front page article portrays Mr. Hylton in an unfavorable yet realistic light.  It’s about time!

We still think Mr. Hylton should turn over the money from Trees Inc. to the borough. 

If Mr. Hylton truly cared about Pottstown, he would stop wasting money on ridiculous advertorials, supplements and glossy post cards and use that money for something constructive.  The tens of thousands of dollars wasted could have been used for the Community Land Trust, the PDIDA Main Street Manager program, to fund a downtown ambassador program, the Pottstown Cluster or any number of projects that would benefit the citizens of Pottstown.  Instead, this money was squandered to feed Tom’s massive ego and to advance one man’s agenda.  It was not used to make a positive difference in the community he supposedly cares so much about. 

Maybe voters should think about that when election time rolls around!

Luzerne County Courthouse Getting Extreme Makeover

The Luzerne County Courthouse in Wilkes-Barre is a large and visually stunning building.  The courthouse was constructed a century ago and is in need of some work; $5.2 million worth of work, to be exact.  However, don’t expect anyone to yell “move that bus” when the job is done!

Stairs are being removed for a new support system to be installed, the waterproof coating is being replaced which entails scrapping off ALL the old coating first, exterior stone is being cleaned, repaired and repointing and the five domes will be repainted a new color.  Historians believe gray was the original color of the domes when the courthouse was constructed.

New flashing is being installed and the building’s stained glass windows are being removed, cleaned and releaded.  The old window frames are being replaced because they are rotting.

The original date for completion was October, but with all the rain we had this spring that date will most likely be pushed back.

If you would like to see a picture of the Luzerne County Courthouse click on the link below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LuzerneCountyCourthouseRiverCommons.jpg

When Animals Attack: Three People Attacked By Rabid Beaver In Philly

Line art drawing of a beaver.

Image via Wikipedia

Three people were attacked, in two separate incidents, along Pennypack Creek in Northeast Philly by a rabid beaver(s).  On Wednesday, a couple was subjected to an unprovoked beaver attack while fishing.  The wife was bitten on the leg.  The husband was bitten on both arms and his chest (egad!).  On Thursday, a child was bitten by a beaver (also along Pennypack Creek).  Fortunately, a park ranger was nearby Thursday and killed the beaver, which tested positive for rabies.  It is believed to be the same beaver responsible for Wednesday’s attack.

In April, a fisherman was attacked in Chester County by a rabid beaver.  The man drowned the beaver but not before being bitten on the leg and hand in the process.  It too tested positive for rabies.

During 2009 and 2010, no rabid beaver cases were reported in Pennsylvania.

I would suspect being bitten by a beaver is quite painful judging by the size of their teeth!  Getting rabies shots is not exactly high on anyone’s fun meter either.

A word of caution; if you see any beavers – steer clear.  If one moves toward you, run like hell!

Reading Skyscraper Falling Apart!

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Image via Wikipedia

The not quite 20-year-old Berks County General Services building is having some major structural problems.  The 16-story building (Reading’s second tallest) is either in front of or behind, depending on your perspective, the 19-story Berks County Courthouse (tallest building in Reading).

Pieces of the facade have fallen off the building and there are “fluids” leaking on parked cars and damaging them in the four-level underground parking garage.  Evidently there were problems with the roof  installation back in 1992 that are creating these issues.

There are two options to fix the problem.  Close the parking garage for 4-5 months, bite the bullet and get it done, or make repairs in stages and the project will take 4-5 years.  The first option would be cheaper.

It is truly amazing that a building this new is having significant problems.  Let’s hope the situation gets immediate action before something worse happens!

Happy 111th Birthday Flossie Carter

Pittsburgh resident Flossie Carter is celebrating her 111th birthday!  Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl declared yesterday “Flossie Carter Day”.  Flossie, believed to be Pennsylvania’s oldest resident, said turning 111 is “a bit of a miracle”.  We agree!

Miss Flossie moved to Pittsburgh after the Great Depression.  She was born in 1900 and hails from Alabama.

Can you image how interested having a conversation with Miss Flossie would be!  Think of the things she has seen in 111 years!

God Bless You Flossie!

Gunsmoke’s Marshall Dillon Dies At 88

James Arness, the actor who made a lasting impression on generations of television viewers portraying Marshall Dillon, died today at the age of 88.  Mr. Arness passed away at his Brentwood home.  Gunsmoke was one of the longest running shows on television (1955 – 1975).  Arness was a quiet man who shunned the Hollywood scene and was intensely private.

James Arness’ younger brother, actor Peter Graves, also rose to fame on the small screen as the star of Mission ImpossiblePeter Graves died March 14, 2010, four days before his 84th birthday.

Norristown Area School District Faces Huge Deficit And Tax Hike

The Norristown Area School District is staring into an almost $6 million dollar budget hole.  They need to cut, cut, cut AND increase taxes.  The district is looking to outsource some in-house functions, layoff 15 teachers, freeze wages and raise taxes to keep the district on a level playing field.

If the cost cutting measures are implemented by the board, district homeowners still face a 2.17 percent tax increase.  The increase comes to $83 a year in additional tax for the average homeowner.

The Norristown Area School District has six elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools (one is an alternative high school).  There are 6,727 students.  The district spends $14,075 per pupil and has 12 students for every full-time equivalent teacher.  In 2008 the dropout rate was 5 percent, 22 percent of students have an IEP and 10 percent of students are ELL.  Data from Wikipedia and Education.com

Just a NOTE for 222 Chestnut Street aka Mount Olympus.  Norristown has twice as many students as Pottstown but only has one more elementary school.  Plus NASD covers Norristown Borough along with East and West Norriton Townships, so their district is far more spread out.

The elephant in the room – why does “Responsible Tom” feel we need to have five elementary schools in Pottstown when THREE would be sufficient???  Yet the plaid one has the chutzpah to wag his glossy finger at others and call them “big spenders” while advocating keeping two schools open that we do not need and cannot afford.  And please do not forget Mr. Hylton’s push to put in pretty windows and geothermal heating on top of keeping five elementary schools open.

Wegman’s Tells PLCB To Remove Their Wine Kiosks

All is not peachy on the automated wine kiosk front.  The PLCB has placed wine vending machines around the state, in various locations.  This was done to help sell more wine and to offer customers a more convenient place, besides the dreaded Wine & Spirits store, to purchase their vino.

Wegmans asked the PLCB to remove all 10 kiosks from their stores in the next 30 days citing too many customer complaints and malfunctioning equipment.  Wegmans said in some cases the problems were harmful to their business.  The kiosk pilot program started about one year ago.

But have no fear…it looks like Wally World is lining up to stick some wine machines in their stores as soon as this summer.  Can you imagine the Walmart photos these will generate??  I cringe in anticipation!

2nd Annual Race to Shelter the Homeless – Riverfront Park Pottstown!

Wings of Victory Outreach Corp. Presents:

2nd Annual Race to Shelter the Homeless

Money raised will benefit our program for homeless women.

5K Run (3.1 miles) & 1 Mile Fun Walk

DATE:  Saturday, June 18, 2011 – 8:30 A.M.

Moms/Dads with Strollers Welcome

COST:  Minimum donation of $30 required

to receive a tee-shirt.

See details and print registration form at www.WingsofVictoryOutreach.org

Donations may also be made on line.

I HEAR AMERICA SINGING – A Concert At Emmanuel Lutheran Church Pottstown

I HEAR AMERICA SINGING: A CELEBRATION OF THE AMERICAN SPIRIT

The professional chamber ensemble CANTATICA will return to Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 150 North Hanover Street, Pottstown, Pennsylvania for the final concert of its 2010-2011 concert season on Sunday, June 5, at 4:00 PM.

The program, I Hear America Singing: A Celebration of the American Spirit, will feature solo voices, chamber choir and instruments (clarinet, violin, cello, bass and piano) performing early American hymns, Shaker songs, Afro-American spirituals, Appalachian folk songs and fiddle tunes, contemporary classical settings of Civil War texts, and classic jazz.  Included on the program will be works by Stephen Foster, Aaron Copland, John Williams, Erik Santos, Carol Barnett, Kirke Mechem, James Syler, Daron Hagen, John Dankworth, Jerome Kern, and George Shearing.

Admission to I Hear America Singing: A Celebration of the American Spirit is $14 Adults, $12 Seniors, and $6 Students.  Tickets may be purchased by email at info@cantatica.org, by telephone at (484) 951-5113 and at the door.  Reservations and additional information are available at info@cantatica.org or (484) 951-5113.

Now completing its fourth year of existence, CANTATICA is a new, progressive, non-profit musical organization devoted to broadening the scope of choral, vocal and instrumental music – its cultural connections, programming, and performance.  As a chamber ensemble and online resource center, CANTATICA seeks to contribute fresh ideas and new perspectives to the art and excellence of choral, vocal and instrumental music.  It also aims to celebrate and promote greater appreciation of the many wonderful musical styles and organizations in existence today.

CANTATICA is further dedicated to strengthening, enriching and diversifying the musical offerings in the Lehigh Valley, Greater Philadelphia and beyond.  And it is especially dedicated to supporting young and emerging professional musicians.

The CANTATICA Chamber Ensemble, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Tamte-Horan, Founder, Artistic Director and Conductor, is a unique, professional choral, vocal and instrumental ensemble making its debut in the summer of 2007.  The ensemble, based in the Lehigh Valley and Greater Philadelphia of Pennsylvania, is dedicated to high quality, innovative and engaging performances of a broad and eclectic range of musical styles including early to contemporary classical, folk/roots/world, theater/opera, a cappella, jazz, Celtic and Jewish.  The ensemble presents performances as part of an annual concert series, often in collaboration with other musicians and musical organizations in the region.

Membership in the CANTATICA Chamber Ensemble consists of a varied number of performers depending on the program being presented – established, emerging and aspiring professional musicians from Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Included are voices and various instruments including piano/synthesizer/organ, strings, winds, guitar, harp and percussion. All musicians are classically trained, versatile and highly competent as both solo and ensemble performing artists.

Dr. Michael Tamte-Horan is a choral conductor, educator and singer of more than 30 years, and an acknowledged leader in creative choral music programming and excellence in choral performance. He has conducted university and community based choral and orchestral organizations in various parts of the Mid-West and Eastern United States.  He is a former member and soloist with the renowned Dale Warland Singers, and has studied and/or sung with many leading choral conductors including Robert Shaw, Eric Ericson, Philip Brunelle, Joseph Flummerfelt, Maurice Casey, Louis Halsey, Donald Neuen, Alfred Mann, Weston Noble, Lara Hoggard, Howard Skinner, and Jon Washburn.

Dr. Tamte-Horan is listed in Who’s Who in America, a recipient of the VocalEssence/American Choral Directors Association MN Award for Creative Programming and Excellence in Choral Performance, and a past board member of the American Choral Directors Association.  His choirs have been featured at the major professional organization conferences and he has guest conducted numerous choral festivals in various parts of the United States.

Further information about CANTATICA is available at http://www.cantatica.org.