Theaters, Playhouses Fear Financial Problems And Technical Demands Will Lower Their Curtains

At Oyster Mill Playhouse, the aging rooftop heating and air conditioning system is threatening to stage a death scene worthy of “King Lear.”

With audiences — and therefore revenues — down, there’s no money for a replacement, so managers of the not-for-profit community theater in East Pennsboro Twp. are hoping the community will donate about $25,000 to keep Oyster Mill going for another year.

“Like many other theaters, we are having our financial problems,” said Howard Hurwitz, vice president of the 91-seat theater’s board of directors. “This year has been kind of a bad year. We just haven’t been getting the attendance. We used to sell out on opening nights, but now we are lucky if we get the theater half-full.”

Oyster Mill is far from alone.

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End In Sight For Route 724 Construction In Reading

750 mm by 600 mm (30 in by 24 in) Pennsylvania...

750 mm by 600 mm (30 in by 24 in) Pennsylvania shield, made to the specifications of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), 2003 Edition (sign M1-5). Uses the Roadgeek 2005 fonts. (United States law does not permit the copyrighting of typeface designs, and the fonts are meant to be copies of a U.S. Government-produced work anyway.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the roadblocks went up on Route 724, Melanie Degler’s commute to her job in Douglassville instantly became 10 minutes longer.

The bit of the highway she usually takes to get on Interstate 176 and then Route 422 from her home in Cumru Township’s Flying Hills development was closed so the Reading Area Water Authority could install a 16-inch main.

Now, she has to go south on Route 10 only to come back north on the interstate.

“We don’t have a lot of streets here to take as alternatives, so you have to go out of your way to go around it,” Degler said.

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Whooping Cough Is Back With A Vengeance

The United States is in the midst of the worst epidemic of pertussis, or whooping cough, in more than 50 years, and Allegheny County is mirroring the national trend.

Nationwide, the outbreak is startling: 32,000 cases reported as of Oct. 24, along with 16 deaths, most of them infants.  The all-time recorded peak was in 1959, with 40,000 cases.

In Allegheny County, the incidence has almost quadrupled: 201 cases so far this year compared with 51 cases in all of 2011.  Patients have ranged from babies to those in their 70s, but most have been 12 or 13.

Megan Casey, nurse epidemiologist at the Allegheny County Health Department, said the local incidence peaked in June; the number of cases showing up now are back to normal levels.  No one has died, she said, although seven have been hospitalized.

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Eagles Reach A New Low Under Andy Reid

Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles' coach, after t...

Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles’ coach, after the Eagles’ training camp in Lehigh, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To be an Eagles fan is to be an expert in disappointment, a connoisseur of dashed hopes.

The team has suffered almost every flavor of defeat in Andy Reid‘s final season.  There was the shocking blowout in Arizona, the near-miss in Pittsburgh, the collapse against Detroit, the whipping administered by Atlanta, the failed gut-check in New Orleans.

But this one? This cruel beatdown at the hands of the hated Dallas Cowboys was a rare blend, indeed.  In an absolute must-win situation, the Eagles reached out for the faint sweet glimmer of hope, only to have it cruelly snatched away and replaced by the most bitter of defeats.

There was hope in the form of rookie quarterback Nick Foles, who led the team on two third-quarter scoring drives to take a 17-10 lead.  There was hope in the sudden competence of a defense that had been AWOL for the previous three-and-a-half games.

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More New Jersey Shore Residents, Students Return

Map of New Jersey highlighting Ocean County

Map of New Jersey highlighting Ocean County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The slow process of recovery from Hurricane Sandy continues in New Jersey.

Students were reportedly back at school this morning on Long Beach Island, where residents were allowed to return Saturday and stay, if conditions permitted.

Power is back on for 99.8 percent of the 2.7 million who lost power after the Oct. 29 superstorm.  Still in the dark this morning were about 4,400 Jersey Central Power & Light customers, and only about 80 between PSE&G and Atlantic City Electric.

Traffic backed up this morning heading into Seaside Heights, in northern Ocean County, as residents were allowed to return to assess damage from Hurricane Sandy.

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Pottstown Police Department Versus Scranton Police Department

Editor’s note:  Scranton had a population of 76,089 according to the 2010 census.   The city is 25 square miles.  According to, Scranton had 150 police officers and a department of 170 as of 2010.   The crime rate in Scranton for 2010 was 275.7 (US average is 319.1).

Scranton currently has an acting Chief of Police whose salary is the same as the permanent Chief who stepped down three months ago.  The salary for running a department of 170, in a city of 76,000 people is $81,073.

Pottstown had 22,377 residents according to the 2010 census and is 5 square miles.   Pottstown had a police department of 46 officers (58 total) per’s data for 2010. Pottstown’s crime rate for 2010 was 539 (US average 319.1).  

Pottstown’s Chief of Police/Acting Borough Manager is already making more than $100,000.00 a year.

The cost of living differences being taken into consideration, Scranton is 3 1/2 times the size of Pottstown in population, 5 time as large as Pottstown in area and has a police department 3 times the size of Pottstown’s and yet Scranton’s Chief of Police makes $20,000 less a year than Pottstown’s???  We won’t even get into the difference in the crime rate between the two (HINT: Scranton is safer).

Does this not illustrate why Pottstown’s budget is grossly over inflated?  Does this not indicate paying a new borough manager way more than Jason Bobst was making is fiscal insanity?  

The mayor of Scranton, who is the chief executive and not a ribbon cutter like Pottstown’s Missy Mayor, makes $81,872 (far less than Jason did) and he runs a city 3 1/2 time the size of Pottstown.  And trust me, running Scranton is more challenging than running Pottstown.

Pottstown Borough Council might as well start a bonfire in Smith Plaza, throw the taxpayer’s money in, make a few s’mores and call it a day!

Here is the link to the article about how Scranton is handling their police department: