Memorial Park In Pottstown Is Closed Due To Flooding

The Mighty Manatawny has flooded Memorial Park in Pottstown.  Memorial Park is closed and police are asking residents to stay clear of the park as conditions are dangerous.

The bridge between the island and the rest of the park is in danger of being destroyed by pressure from high water and trapped debris.

Irene Causes Damage In The Hylton State Forest aka Pottstown

Sixth Ward Councilor and Man of the People Jody Rhoads was out and about this morning assessing storm damage in our fair borough.  Here are some photos Jody took around Pottstown showing the tree damage caused by Hurricane Irene.  Some of it is extensive.  Notice the curb tree damage.  Many thanks to Councilor Rhoads for sharing his photographs with our readers!

Wilkes-Barre Closes Flood Gates In Preparation For High Water

The Wilkes-Barre Department of Public Works has closed flood gates to bridges over Solomon’s Creek on South Franklin Street, Regent Street, Waller Street and Barney Street, in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irene.  Those bridges will be closed to traffic for at least 24 hours.

Harrisburg Area Hotels Reach Capacity – Irene Drives People West

Harrisburg area hotels are filled this weekend.  Many guests are checking in from NY, NJ and DE.  They are fleeing Hurricane Irene.

Area hotels are diverting business to Carlisle as they have reached capacity.  One local hotel manager contacted 20 other Harrisburg area hotels looking for anyone with a vacancy, but they were all full.

If you are looking to head inland to escape Irene, you will have to look somewhere else!  Harrisburg is booked!

King Of Prussia Mall Closing At 5pm Today!

King of Prussia Mall

King of Prussia Mall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Due to the anticipated impact of Hurricane Irene, King of Prussia Mall will be closing at 5 p.m. as a precautionary measure to help ensure the safety of shoppers, retailers and mall employees. The mall expects to re-open tomorrow at 11 a.m. for regular business hours. Should that change, more information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

SEPTA TO HALT SERVICE DURING HURRICANE IRENE

SEPTA logo with text

Image via Wikipedia

All SEPTA Services To Be Suspended During Hurricane Irene. Operations to Halt at 12:30 a.m. Sunday; Services to Resume Mid-Day Sunday, As Conditions Permit.

PHILADELPHIA, PA (August 26, 2011)

In the interest of public safety, with a hurricane of historic proportions approaching the region, SEPTA will cease all transportation operations at12:30 a.m. Sunday.

All trips scheduled after 12:30 a.m. Sunday will be cancelled.  Service is not expected to resume until at least mid-day Sunday, following damage assessments and repairs. Service will resume on a route-by-route basis, based on conditions.

SEPTA strongly urges all customers who normally ride the system during this time period to make arrangements to go to your destination well in advance of the storm and be prepared to remain safely at that location until the storm has passed and service has resumed.

Announcements regarding the resumption of service will be announced through the Office of the Mayor of Philadelphia and SEPTA’s Website, www.septa.org.

All SEPTA employees normally assigned to work during the period of the shutdown or who are assigned to emergency duty are required to report to work at their assigned locations.

Pottstown Borough Staff Have Taken Proactive Measures To Deal With Irene

Jason Bobst, Pottstown Borough Manager, reported that the Borough of Pottstown has taken a number of steps to make sure residents have the services they need once the hurricane hits; and in the case of a worst possible scenario, a place to go!

The water and sewer plants have enough diesel fuel to run on until Tuesday, in the event electricity is lost.

A temporary shelter is being set up at Pottstown High School in the event that anyone in Western Montgomery County is forced from their home and needs shelter.

Jason is also asking residents to please not drive through barricaded areas where there is high water.  Someone always does this and has to be rescued.  FYI… if you do this and get caught you will get a summary violation and fined.  This typically happens on Industrial Hwy or College Drive.

Borough employees are also ready to deal with fallen trees in the Hylton State Forest.  They have the equipment in place to handle any trees that are toppled by the storm and dispose of them.

Pottstown will wait a while longer before deciding to declare a state of emergency.  If this happens the borough will work with local fire departments to alert residents in the evacuation areas.

Two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to the borough for being proactive!

Pottstown Civic Activists Stage Rally Against Deadbeat Slumlords On King Street

Teri Lyn Jensen-Sellers and Katy Jackson, both neighborhood residents, organized a rally today to protest “landlord” Andrew Soule’s $10,000+ in back payments for sewer/water/trash to the Borough of Pottstown and the condition of his buildings in the 400 block of King Street.  Reporters from The Mercury, The Pottstown Patch and Roy’s Rants were on hand to document the effort of this group to draw attention to this huge problem plaguing Pottstown.  Absentee landlords with blighted properties and overdue bills are straining Pottstown’s already stressed tax base.

The Borough of Pottstown is owed over $700,000 in back water/sewer/trash payments from 200 people.  The top 10 people on the Pottstown Wall of Shame owe nearly $200,000.  As Pottstown Borough Manager Jason Bobst has stated, “It’s all the same people that we see time and time again.”  Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski uses the Hall of Shame tactic in Allentown very successfully.  Mrs. Jackson recently attended a webinar on this subject hosted by Allentown’s mayor to learn more about how other towns and cities are coping with this problem.

Mr. Soule was evidently on the scene when the first protestors appeared, but left upon their arrival.  Mrs. Jensen-Sellers questioned a man but he denied being Andrew Soule.  A neighbor stated it was Mr. Soule after the man departed.

Sixth Ward Councilor and Man of the People, Jody Rhoads was on the scene as the sole representative of Pottstown Borough leadership along with Gallery on High/Gallery School co-founder Cathy Paretti and Andrew Monastra, a real estate lawyer with an office in the borough.  A Code Blue member was in attendance as well as other concerned borough residents.

I interviewed two former tenants of Mr. Soule, both of whom had unpleasant dealings with the landlord.

Both Mrs. Paretti and Mr. Monastra shared their feelings about doing business in Pottstown and the challenges of being a business owner here.  Both see the potential Pottstown has to offer but understand that many things need to change before Pottstown can follow in Phoenixville’s footsteps.

Sidewalks On King Street vs. Curb Trees – The Trees Are Winning

While covering the Slumlord Rally today, I could not help but notice the horrible condition of the Thomas Hylton Memorial Sidewalk in the 400 block of King Street  In addition to slumlords ruining the neighborhood, the curb trees have overtaken King Street and the sidewalks are in dangerous condition!  Here are some pictures for your viewing displeasure!

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett Delcares State Of Emergency

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett declared a state of emergency today.  Hurricane Irene is expected to dump up to ten inches of rain on southeastern Pennsylvania along with winds gusting to over 60 miles per hour!

Hurricane Irene is expected to reach southeastern Pennsylvania by Saturday.

Pennsylvanians can find suggestions on how to prepare for the storm at the website www.ReadyPA.org or by calling 1-888-9-READY-PA.

The Jersey Shore Under Mandatory Evacuation

Atlantic Ocean shore at Atlantic City, New Jersey

Image via Wikipedia

New Jersey’s popular seaside destinations are normally full of tourists this time of year.  Hundreds of thousands of people swell the population along the New Jersey coastline in the summer.  Right now residents and tourists are being told they must leave because Hurricane Irene is expected to cause major damage and flooding along the coast.

Tolls were suspended on the Atlantic City Expressway to move people away from the shore points as quickly as possible.  The Atlantic City Expressway is the fastest way north and west toward Philadelphia from many beach resorts.  Some state roads are closed to southbound traffic so all lanes can be used by northbound traffic.  Eastbound Route 72 will be shut down tonight so that all lanes can be used to move people off Long Beach Island.

Cape May, the Wildwoods, Ocean City, Atlantic City hotels and casinos, Long Beach Island and everything in between is emptying out.  Governor Christie declared a state of emergency yesterday.

Pottstown Citizens Plan Protest Again Slumlords For Friday

Are you a Pottstown borough resident?

Are you sick of slumlords not paying their water/sewer/trash bills?

Are you sick of slumlords renting to anybody that breathes and can pay their rent (not doing criminal background checks)?

Are you ready to make a statement that Pottstown residents are ready to take back their town?

If so, a group is gathering tomorrow, Friday, August 26th at 5:30 pm in the 400 block of King Street, between Franklin and Washington Sts.  This event is for anyone who is ready to say ENOUGH!  There will be a press conference and protest to demand that these deadbeats pay up or get the hell out of Pottstown! 

Feel free to bring your picket signs!

Functionality And Beauty Are The Hallmarks Of StudioVB In Midtown Harrisburg

One of the many new businesses springing up in Midtown Harrisburg is StudioVB.  The interior design studio is co-owned by husband and wife team Logan and Valerie Betz.  Valerie is the Interior Designer and Logan is the Business Manager.

Valerie and Logan have beautifully renovated their own historic Midtown row house and are part of the emerging arts scene that is attracting hip, young professionals, who want the convenience of city living, to Midtown Harrisburg.

Valerie has two degrees, one in Fine Arts and one in Interior Design.   Valerie studied at the New York School of Interior Design and worked for several prestigious design firms in New York City before returning to her native Harrisburg.

Valerie’s love for design has grown into a passion and a great appreciation of the relationship between efficient functionality and beautiful design. She has a particularly strong talent for clean lines, small spaces, combining textures, and refined details.  In addition to being an interior designer, Valerie is a skilled artist.  Being a designer and an artist is a winning combination.

StudioVB is small enough to give you the personalized attention you deserve, yet large enough to tackle a full-scale interior design project.  No project or budget is too small.

StudioVB offers services such as:  interior design, home staging for sale, DIY design plans, re-design, green and sustainable design, e-design, event design, home organization and fine art.

StudioVB wants to help you with your design dilemma in an efficient and affordable way.  They want to make the most of your living space, while adding beauty and functionality to your life and home.

StudioVB serves Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Carlisle and Lebanon.  They will also consider projects across Pennsylvania and in surrounding states.

To learn more about StudioVB:

Internethttp://studiovbdesign.com/

Voice: (717) 884-8243

StudioVB, LLC

218 Verbeke Street

Harrisburg, PA  17102

Studio hours are by appointment only

Monday – Friday from 10am until 6pm

Please call to schedule an appointment.

Bethlehem ArtWalk, Saturday, August 27th

The Downtown Bethlehem Association (DBA), a council of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce (GLVCC), will feature over 100 artists and musicians lining the sidewalks of Main St. & Broad St. 2011 season of ArtWalks, which will take place on the last Saturday of May June, July and August from 4-9pm!

For children, the Main St. Commons will become KIDS’ CORNER from 4-7pm with a Hershey Park family-pack give-away, and Broad St will host a stage named Prolifick Place outside of the Bank of America building that will featured more vendors and music varieties!

To read all about it, click here:

http://www.downtownbethlehemassociation.com/Bethlehem_s_ArtWalk__.html

TriCounty Community Network’s SAFE Committee Presents “Mirror, Mirror” Safe Dating Play At National Conference

Pottstown, Pa. – The SAFE (Supporting Abuse Free Environments) Committee of the TriCounty Community Network (TCN), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health, social and environmental conditions in Western Montgomery, Northern Chester and Eastern Berks counties in Pennsylvania, presented a special safe dating workshop at the 37th Annual NOVA (The National Organization for Victim Assistance) Conference held in Philadelphia, Pa. on August 14-17, 2011.  The workshop included a presentation of the “Mirror, Mirror” safe-dating play that was written to spread awareness of domestic violence issues and give the audience information to recognize warning signals in order to prevent violence before it occurs.  TCN’s goal was to show other organizations at the conference how to replicate the play and facilitator-led discussions.

“Mirror, Mirror” was created and performed by Pottsgrove High School students in 2008 with the help of play-write Aileen McCulloh under the direction of Todd Kelly, Pottsgrove High School English teacher and Drama Director. The play has since been performed in many locations throughout the TriCounty area.  Each performance is followed by a professionally-led discussion about the issues presented in the play as well as how to get help if they or a friend or loved-one needs assistance.

This year’s NOVA Conference workshop was led by Todd Kelly, Pottsgrove High School teacher and TCN SAFE Committee co-chairs: Kristine Wickward, legal advocate for the Women’s Center of Montgomery County and Janine Kelly, community education director for Women’s Center of Montgomery County; as well as Chuck Gallun, coordinator of SAFE Project at Creative Health Services; and Karla Romberg of TCN.

Each year NOVA holds a conference at a variety of locations around the country to bring international agencies and individuals together for training, networking, and to provide up-to-date information on national advocacy issues.

To find out more information about the “Mirror, Mirror” performances please contact Jen Doyle at TriCounty Community Network at 610-705-3301.