New Iron Exhibit Opens At Pottsgrove Manor With A Lecture By Dan Graham

Stove (1)Pottstown, PA (January 17, 2013) – On Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 1:00pm, Pottsgrove Manor will open a new exhibit on Pennsylvania’s colonial iron industry with a lecture from historian Dan Graham.

In 1715, a Germantown blacksmith named Thomas Rutter built the first ironwork in the colony of Pennsylvania along the Manatawny Creek, setting the stage for the development of an ironworking empire in the region.  John Potts’ father, Thomas, entered into business with Rutter in 1725, and the next few generations of their families came to dominate the colonial iron industry through technical skill, business acumen, and profitable marriages.  In the exhibit “Forging a Lifestyle: Ironworking with the Potts Family,” the ins and outs of the early iron industry will be explored, from the physical work that was involved—mining, making charcoal, powering the forges and furnaces—to the business decisions that were made by those who owned and ran the ironworks, like the Potts, Rutter, Nutt, and Savage families.

The exhibit will kick off with Dan Graham’s lecture: “Colonial Pennsylvania Cast Iron Fire Backs, Stove Plates, and Warming Stoves, 1726-1760.”  Graham has done extensive research on the Potts and Rutter families and the early Pennsylvania iron industry.  His talk will focus on two of the products that came out of the early Pennsylvania iron furnaces, fire backs and stoves.  He will trace the development of stoves from the simple five-plate jamb stove to the elaborate ten-plate cooking stoves and the Franklin stove.  After the lecture, guided tours of the new iron exhibit will be offered.

The exhibit is open to all ages and can be viewed on a guided tour of Pottsgrove Manor during the museum’s regular hours between March 9, 2013 and November 3, 2013.  There is a suggested donation of $2 per person for the tour.

Pottsgrove Manor, home of John Potts, colonial ironmaster and founder of Pottstown, is located at 100 West King Street near the intersection of King Street and Route 100, just off Route 422, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Pottsgrove Manor is operated by Montgomery County under the direction of the Parks and Heritage Services Division of the Assets and Infrastructure Department.

Regular museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.  Tours are given on the hour.  The last tour of the day begins as 3:00pm.  Groups of ten or more should pre-register by calling 610-326-4014.  For more information and a full calendar of events, please visit the website at: or like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook at:

Hazleton Scoured After Police Car Window Shot Out

Downtown Hazleton, PA

Downtown Hazleton, PA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAZLETON – Scores of police officers scoured a neighborhood in the Alter Street business district with guns drawn Wednesday morning after the rear window of an unmarked police vehicle “exploded” when it was shot with something while a Hazleton detective sat inside.

City Police Chief Frank DeAndrea said the unnamed detective was not hurt.

He said the unmarked vehicle was parked at Fourth and Alter streets about 11:45 a.m. when the window “exploded as if shot out,” blowing “90 percent” of the glass inside the vehicle.

“It was shot with something. I’m just not sure what caliber, if it was a BB from a passing motorist,” Chief DeAndrea said.

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‘Personal Issues’ Keeping Pittsburgh Mayor Ravenstahl Away From Recent Public Events

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)

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has raised questions in missing several public and political events in recent days.

Wednesday night, he was a no-show at a candidates’ night at Perry Traditional Academy in his North Side political base, and a public explanation from his close friend, Kevin Quigley, only added to the uncertainty created by his absences.

Just after city Controller Michael Lamb, one of Mr. Ravenstahl’s rivals for the Democratic nomination for mayor, spoke to Democratic committee members, Mr. Quigley, a city Public Works Department official who is also a ward leader, rose to speak in Mr. Ravenstahl’s place.

He offered an intriguing but finally opaque apology and explanation for the candidate’s absence:

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PPL Plans To Cut Rates For Electricity

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The state Public Utility Commission really wants electric users to switch from their utility to one of the dozens of alternative suppliers.

But PPL Electric Utilities inadvertently keeps giving electric users more motivation to stick with them.

PPL will cut its residential rate by 4.1 percent Friday, reflecting the cheaper prices it’s paying to obtain power on the wholesale market.

This latest change, announced Tuesday, is the third consecutive quarterly rate reduction for PPL.

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Ephrata Toy Store Plays With The Big Boys

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

If someone asked you to name the nation’s five best toy stores, it’s doubtful that The Fun-est Toy Store Ever would make the list.

But guess again.

According to the tourist-friendly travel website, Rates To Go, the Ephrata toy shop at 24 E. Main St., is one of America’s top five toy stores.  That puts the store up alongside the enormous Toys R Us in New York’s Times Square, Ambassador Toys in San Francisco, the huge LEGO Store in Chicago, and the world famous FAO Schwarz, where actor Tom Hanks danced on the gigantic floor piano in the movie “Big.”

“I was shocked,” store owner Melissa Palermo-Spero said when asked her reaction to the news. “I don’t know how we came to being put in the same category as some of these really large, well-known, iconic toy stores.”

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Major Blizzard Possible Next Week — Or Not

Winter Storm December 2007

Winter Storm December 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meteorologists are watching a low pressure system with the potential to bring a major winter storm with blizzard conditions next week to the mid-Atlantic, including the Lehigh Valley.

But don’t go altering travel plans just yet, because it also could just blow out to sea.

AccuWeather, a private forecasting company in State College, says there are indications the jet stream next week could form into an upward loop, similar to a an upside “U” or the Greek letter omega, and drop an “atmospheric bomb” on the mid-Atlantic.’s expert senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski says the system could bring “a foot or more of wind swept snow, travel mayhem, power outages and the whole nine yards with a storm hugging the coast.  Or, he says, it could just turn into “another non-event with the storm heading out to sea.”

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Pottstown Joint Meeting Wrestles With Jobs Versus Lost Tax Dollars

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN — During the first joint meeting of the year between borough council and the Pottstown School Board, discussion was free-flowing and frequent.

Perhaps highest on the list, and the subject which generated the most focused conversation, had to do with a business that wants to occupy the former 84 Lumber truss plant at the end of Keystone Boulevard.

Steve Bamford, the director of Pottstown Area Industrial Development Inc. and the borough’s chief economic development officer, gave for the third time, an overview of the Keystone Opportunity Zone program and the request from Heritage Coach Co. to occupy some of the space there.

Sellers of hearses and limousines, Heritage began as a side business for the Lankford family, which also operated a GM dealership in Conshohocken that was shut down during what Jay Lankford, a Hill School graduate, called GM’s “political sham of a bankruptcy.”

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Chesco D.A.: Norco Murder Scene Was ‘Doorway Into Hell’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

WEST CHESTER — Two weeks after the grisly discovery of a body inside a burning North Coventry apartment, authorities announced an arrest in the murder of 17-year-old Kevin Allen.

Shakeem Carter, 20, of Norristown, was arraigned Wednesday morning after an investigation concluded he was responsible for the brutal stabbing death of the Norristown High School student inside his father’s home at the Hanover Garden Apartments, officials said.

Allen’s body was discovered on Feb. 12 after a neighbor dialed 911 to report a “terrible struggle,” according to Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, who announced Carter’s arrest at a Wednesday morning new conference.

Officers from the North Coventry Police Department were the first to enter the apartment, but they had to retreat when they discovered the apartment was on fire.  Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames, but when they returned, they told police there was a body inside.

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Fired West Reading Chief Coming Back As Patrolman, Sources Say

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We think this is a bad idea…just sayin’.

West Reading’s fired Police Chief Edward C. Fabriziani will return to the force as a patrolman in a deal being ironed out by borough officials, borough sources said.

Fabriziani, who was fired in November, is listed on the patrol schedule starting in April to cover other officers’ vacations, according to borough sources.

Borough council is expected to vote on the matter either at its regular March meeting or at a special meeting.

Fabriziani could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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Corrections Officer Killed At Federal Prison In Wayne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Wayne County

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

A corrections officer from Nanticoke was killed by an inmate at a federal prison in Wayne County last night, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Eric Williams, 34, was killed by an inmate who used a homemade weapon at the U.S. Penitentiary, Canaan, a federal prison for male inmates.  He was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 11:30 p.m.

“This is clearly the darkest day in our institution’s short history, and we are in shock over this senseless loss of a colleague and friend,” Warden David Ebbert said in a statement.

Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said the prison remains in lockdown and that the FBI is investigating the attack.  He referred comment on potential charges to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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Mayer Tells Yahoo Staffers They Can’t Work From Home

Deutsch: Logo von Yahoo

Deutsch: Logo von Yahoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SAN FRANCISCO — Corporate America’s most famous working mother has banned her employees from working at home.  Now the backlash is threatening to overshadow the progress she has made turning around Yahoo Inc.

Marissa Mayer, one of only a handful of women leading Fortune 500 companies, has become the talk of Twitter and Silicon Valley for her controversial move to end telecommuting at the struggling Internet pioneer.

From the start, Mayer, who at 37 is one of Silicon Valley’s most notorious workaholics, was not the role model that some working moms were hoping for.  The former Google Inc. executive stirred up controversy by taking the demanding top job at Yahoo when she was five months pregnant and then taking only two weeks of maternity leave.  Mayer built a nursery next to her office at her own expense to be closer to her infant son and work even longer hours.

Now working moms are in an uproar because they believe that Mayer is setting them back by taking away their flexible working arrangements.  Many view telecommuting as the only way time-crunched women can care for young children and advance their careers without the pay, privilege or perks that come with being the chief executive of a Fortune 500 company.

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Reading Wants Altered Deal On Hiring Firefighters

The city, afraid that a $4 million grant to hire 30 more firefighters may force it to lay off many of them in two years, is asking federal officials to modify the deal to let it hire only 20.

But the costs and repercussions of either plan still aren’t fully known, and City Council on Monday again tabled an ordinance that would allow the city to hire either number.

“Council must understand what are the numbers,” Council President Francis G. Acosta said. “I want to see them in black and white. I’m not supporting this without the numbers.”

But council and the city must act soon; the deadline to accept the grant is March 8.  Council has no voting session before then, but said it would call a special meeting if necessary.

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Bethlehen Mayor John Callahan Apologizes To Wrestling Ref Who Ejected Him

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

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

Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan apologized Monday to the referee who ejected him from a high school wrestling match over the weekend, a story that media sites across the country picked up.

In an email, Callahan said he should have handled “the incident better no matter how I felt about the calls made during the match” and said he respects that the referee, Dennis Buchman, has “the right to call the match the way he sees it.”

“That said, both Mr. Buchman and I agree that this was a minor incident that has become overblown and unfortunately took away from the great effort and dedication shown by the young men who participated in the tournament,” Callahan said. “I hope that this will no longer distract from the real issues facing Bethlehem and Northampton County.”

Callahan did not return a telephone call seeking a comment.

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The Impact Of The Fiscal Cliff On The States: Sequestration

Click here to see a chart of all 50 states and where your state stands:

You can click on the state of your choice and get all the details broken down for you.

Mediterranean Diet Can Cut Heart Disease, Study Finds

About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found.

The findings, published on The New England Journal of Medicine’s Web site on Monday, were based on the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.

The diet helped those following it even though they did not lose weight and most of them were already taking statins, or blood pressure or diabetes drugs to lower their heart disease risk.

“Really impressive,” said Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. “And the really important thing — the coolest thing — is that they used very meaningful endpoints. They did not look at risk factors like cholesterol of hypertension or weight. They looked at heart attacks and strokes and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters.”

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Crime Has Some Thinking Twice About Philly Life

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BORN-AND-RAISED Philadelphian Danielle Harvey never really saw herself moving away from her hometown.

Then, last spring, she witnessed a shooting at the same bus stop where she had been robbed about a month before.

Harvey, 24, who worked at a law office in Center City, said that she was able to shake off the robbery, in which her phone was stolen and pockets rifled through at a bus stop outside Frankford’s Margaret-Orthodox El station.

“You live in the city, this stuff happens,” she said.  “That made me think this city is getting a little tiring to live in, but I never really imagined myself being somebody who could move.”

Then, about a month later, as she waited at the same bus stop, a man across the street from where she stood was shot in the neck.

“[The shooting] was pretty much the thing that more or less sealed it for me thinking I should get out of here,” she said.

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Horse Meat Found In Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs

English: Meatballs, produced in Sweden for IKE...

English: Meatballs, produced in Sweden for IKEA Food Services Polski: Klopsy, pulpety – wyprodukowany w Szwecji dla IKEA Food Services (Usługi żywnościowe) Svenska: Köttbullar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

STOCKHOLM – Swedish furniture giant Ikea was drawn into Europe’s widening food labeling scandal Monday as authorities said they had detected horse meat in frozen meatballs labeled as beef and pork and sold in 13 countries across the continent.

The Czech State Veterinary Administration said that horse meat was found in one-kilogram (2.2 pound) packs of frozen meatballs made in Sweden and shipped to the Czech Republic for sale in Ikea stores there.  A total of 760 kilograms (1,675 pounds) of the meatballs were stopped from reaching the shelves.

Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said meatballs from the same batch had gone out to Slovakia, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland.  Magnusson said meatballs from that batch were taken off the shelves in Ikea stores in all those countries.  Other shipments of meatballs were not affected, including to the U.S., even though they all come from the same Swedish supplier, Magnusson said.

“Our global recommendation is to not recall or stop selling meatballs,” she said.

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Teeth Will Grind As Drivers Detour For Lititz Pike Bridge Work

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

The good news is that PennDOT plans to keep the Lititz Pike bridge near the train station open while a new one is constructed next to it.

The bad news is that the road closures and detours necessary to complete the project will force drivers to make some difficult decisions in the year ahead to avoid snarled traffic.

The $12.7 million project involves constructing a bridge that will funnel Lititz Pike traffic directly onto Duke Street in the city.

The project is already under way, with the demolition of the Fulton Bank on Duke Street and the former Crouse used car lot across from the Stockyard Inn.

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Berks School Boards Face More Tough Choices In 2013-14 Budget Process

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s looking like another tough budget season for school districts across Berks County.

Of the 13 local districts that have prepared preliminary budgets, all but one spending plan included significant shortfalls, ranging from about $400,000 to $2.2 million.

Muhlenberg’s budget doesn’t have a gap, but it currently includes a property tax increase larger than the state permits.

Budget gaps among districts can be somewhat hard to compare, because some include tax increases or major cuts in their preliminary budgets while others don’t.

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Pa. May Pull Back On Funding For Redevelopment Projects

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania’s most sweeping economic development programs could see a limited spending cap and permanent guidelines under a recently passed proposal.

The state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (often called “R-Cap”) provides grants with borrowed money for private projects pursued by municipalities and local agencies.

That could include hospital expansions, parking garages or community centers — any project with a cultural, civic or historical connection that could create jobs and be tied to economic development.

But the program is often criticized as a questionable source of ballooning debt.

RACP’s debt ceiling is $4.05 billion, about 10 times what it was when it was created in 1986.

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