Breakfast With Santa At Pottstown YMCA

Christmas in the post-War United States

Christmas in the post-War United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Freedom Valley YMCA at Pottstown, 724 North Adams Street, will host Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, November 24th from 8 to 11 am.   Santa’s making his list and checking it twice, so plan to share a pancakes & sausage breakfast with Jolly Ole St. Nick.   Proceeds benefit the YMCA’s Seahawk National Swim Team.  Photos ops with Santa will also be available.

Tickets are available at the Y in advance or at the door – $3 for ages 3-11; $5 for ages 12 and older and children under 3 eat free.

For more information, call 610.323.7300

Freedom Valley YMCA Members Approve Merger

English: Center City Philadelphia YMCA buildin...

English: Center City Philadelphia YMCA building. Now it looks like condos with the word “Metropolitan” over it’s doorway. On NRHP since December 2, 1980. 115 North 15th Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER PROVIDENCE — Several hundred members of the Freedom Valley YMCA approved a proposal to merge with the YMCA of Philadelphia & Vicinity in a vote Thursday night.  The final vote tally was 507 voting yes, 449 voting no, according to the tabulation on the Freedom Valley Y’s website.

The merger proposal had been presented to members attending a Monday night town hall meeting at the Spring Valley YMCA.  The proposal will merge the Freedom Valley YMCA, with locations in West Norriton, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Limerick and Pennsburg, with the larger Philadelphia YMCA, which has 10 locations in the Philadelphia region.

Proponents of the merger plan said it would allow the combined YMCAs to build a branch in Conshohocken, pay one national YMCA fee, tap into the larger corporate donor base of the Philadelphia YMCA and achieve cost savings with the larger organization.  Fees would not be increased due to the merger, members would continue using their “home” YMCA facilities and overcrowding would not be a by-product of the merger, officials said.

On Thursday night, YMCA officials provided bus service from three of the Freedom Valley YMCAs for members who wanted to vote during a two-hour period.

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Scranton School Board Votes Raise Transparency Issues

Editor’s note:  Did Mr. Hylton move to Scranton?

Members of the Scranton School Board deciding via telephone to remove the tentative budget from the public agenda “raises significant issues” with transparency, a legal expert said Thursday.

Other action taken by the board Tuesday, including voting for more than $130,000 in project change orders after work was done, and the approval of work by the district engineer after it was completed, also should concern the public, said Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

The board was expected to approve the 2013 tentative budget on Tuesday, but as Kathleen McGuigan, chairwoman of the budget and finance committee, started to read the motion, board President Bob Lesh stopped her. Mr. Lesh said he called directors and a majority agreed to remove the budget from the agenda. The tentative budget must be posted for 30 days of public review, and the final budget must be passed by the end of the year.

While the phone calls by Mr. Lesh may not be a violation of the Sunshine Act – the state’s open meetings law – it “raises significant issues,” Ms. Melewsky said.

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Scranton Mayor Proposes $109 Million Budget For 2013; 12 Percent Tax Hike

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty presented Thursday to city council a $109.6 million budget that contains a 12 percent real-estate tax hike.

Though formally proposed by the mayor, the budget had been prepared jointly by his administration and the council.  Cooperation between both sides on the budget proposal was a change from the prior two budgets that were marked by heated battles, council revisions, mayoral vetoes and council overrides of vetoes.

Read the Budget HERE

“This is the first step in our financial blueprint as we move the city forward, and I appreciate the cooperation of council,” Mr. Doherty said.

A precursor of the budget had been hashed out earlier this year during the mayor/council war over revising the city’s Act 47 recovery plan, which called for a 12 percent real estate tax hike on city residents and various other tax increases and/or new taxes, such as commuter and amusement taxes.

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Pittsburgh Ready To Light Up The Night

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh police are hoping Light Up Night revelers will avoid the buzz kill of a parking ticket or trip to the tow pound.

They are recommending extra caution tonight for those who drive to the festivities.  Because several parking meters have been removed and replaced with kiosks, the temporary “no parking” signs might not be as in-your-face as when they were attached to each meter.  They recommend that visitors park in lots or garages rather than on the streets.

As an added precaution, they are urging visitors not to leave valuables like iPods, laptops or GPS devices within sight in their vehicles.

“The holiday season is upon us and there are predators who seek the opportunity to vandalize vehicles when they observe unsecured valuables left in plain view,” said police spokeswoman Diane Richard.

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More Light Up Night info here:

Reading Phillies Fans: Leave Our Name Alone

READING, PA – In a city that has taken to calling itself Baseballtown, the sport is more than a pastime.  It’s become something of a lifeline.

The hometown Reading Phillies have come to symbolize endurance and pride for a community that the 2010 U.S. Census ranked No. 1 in the nation in poverty.  The Phillies remained long after the railroad screeched to a halt and the city’s “Outlet Capital” moniker faded. They’ve provided a welcome diversion from financial struggles and an 8 percent unemployment rate.

Given the 46-year love affair with the Philadelphia PhilliesDouble-A farm club, there was an understandable citywide gasp when the team announced it is changing its nickname, logo and jerseys.  The move was an unexpected change-up that is testing tradition and the city’s identity and polarizing a fiercely loyal fan base.

Ed Oswald, a retired hairstylist who lives outside the city, is among many who have balked at the idea.

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Boscov’s Adds Furniture Line, Eliminates Appliances

English: Boscov's Department Store in the Exto...

English: Boscov’s Department Store in the Exton Square Mall. Built c. 1998 as an expansion to the mall, it displaced the Zook House which was on the NRHP in Chester County, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Boscov’s is eliminating its section of appliances and electronics in its more than 40 stores and using the space to grow its furniture selections.

Albert R. Boscov, chairman of Boscov’s Department Stores Inc., said the furniture business is seeing growth, while sales of products such as televisions are not.

With high competition from stores that specialize in electronics, such as Best Buy, Boscov said the company is going to stick to what it does well.

Boscov’s is one of the last department stores that sell appliances, he said, selling those products longer than some of its competitors.

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Proposed Budget Hikes Berks Property Taxes For 1st Time In 8 Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Berks County property taxes would increase for the first time in eight years under a proposed $462 million budget for 2013 presented to the Berks County commissioners Thursday.

If the budget would be adopted as it stands, annual taxes would rise by 6.3 percent to 7.372 mills from 6.935 mills, or $43.70 annually on a property assessed at $100,000.

The spending plan represents a $2.8 million decrease from the current year’s budget.

The tax increase would raise about $7.7 million, Budget Director Robert J. Patrizio Jr. said.

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Postal Service Reports Record $15.9 Billion Annual Loss

USPS service delivery truck in a residential a...

USPS service delivery truck in a residential area of San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON – The struggling U.S. Postal Service on Thursday reported an annual loss of a record $15.9 billion and forecast more red ink in 2013, capping a tumultuous year in which it was forced to default on billions in payments to avert bankruptcy.

The financial losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year.  Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand, putting it at risk in the event of an unexpectedly large downturn in the economy.

“It’s critical that Congress do its part and pass comprehensive legislation before they adjourn this year to move the Postal Service further down the path toward financial health,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, calling the situation “our own postal fiscal cliff.”

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Fired West Reading Cops Who Scuffled Meet In Court

One day after losing their jobs for fighting in the West Reading police chief’s office, the chief and his adversary squared off again Thursday, only this time in a courtroom.

Edward C. Fabriziani, who had been chief for 16 years, and Ronald E. Ladd, an 18-year veteran of the borough force, gave their versions of the Aug. 31 scuffle that sent Fabriziani to Reading Hospital by ambulance.

After hearing the testimony of both men and a county detective who investigated the incident, Senior District Judge Paul J. Hadzick sided with Fabriziani’s version.

After a one-hour trial, Hadzick found Ladd guilty of a summary count of harassment and ordered Ladd to pay a $300 fine and court costs.

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Hostess, Maker Of Twinkies, To Close

Hostess Brands Inc. says it’s going out of business after striking workers across the country crippled its ability to make its Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and other snacks.

The company had warned employees that it would file a motion with U.S. Bankruptcy Court today seeking permission to shutter its operations and sell assets if plants didn’t resume normal operations by a Thursday evening deadline.

The closing would mean the loss of about 18,500 jobs.

“Many people have worked incredibly long and hard to keep this from happening, but now Hostess Brands has no other alternative than to begin the process of winding down and preparing for the sale of our iconic brands,” CEO Gregory Rayburn said in a letter to employees posted on the company website.

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