Hillary Clinton Takes The Stage, And The Speculation Heats Up

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillar...

Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After a temporary tour as a lieutenant in President Obama’s army, Hillary Rodham Clinton rejoined the Clinton family business on Thursday and went right to work on one of its main objectives: advancing the Clinton brand.

Mrs. Clinton appeared alongside her husband, Bill Clinton, in a crowded ballroom here and left little doubt that she planned to reclaim the political stage she exited more than four years ago to become the nation’s top diplomat.

At the annual gathering of the foundation established by her husband, Mrs. Clinton delivered a speech that plunged her back into the heart of the conversation about the country’s future, highlighting the need for creating jobs for young people and expanding early childhood development programs.

“In too many places in our own country, community institutions are crumbling,” she said, expressing concern about “disconnected young men in our society.”

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/us/politics/hillary-clinton-steps-onto-a-stage-again.html?hp&_r=0

Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Production Of Rock Opera ‘Superstar’ Explores Human Side Of Crucifixion Story

Allentown, PA– James Peck vividly remembers the best rock concert he ever attended: U2 at the Meadowlands in 2011.

“It was one of the most quote-unquote ‘ritualistic’ theater experiences I’ve ever had,” he says. “It had that seize-your-body, wash-over-you aspect of rock-and-roll—that feeling that you’re part of something larger than you. That aspect of ritual.”

That’s the feeling that Peck wants to create as the director of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” opening July 10 at the Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre.

“‘Superstar’ is a big epic rock musical about one of the greatest stories ever told,” Peck says. “In the way that a really great rock concert makes you feel like you’re part of something big and cosmic, I think a great production of this show should work the crowd into a sort of oceanic sense of being in touch with something in the universe.”

This summer marks not only the Muhlenberg premiere of “Superstar,” but also the return of former Muhlenberg dance professor Charles O. Anderson. Anderson returns from Austin, Texas, where he teaches dance at University of Texas Austin. Ken Butler serves as the musical director.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” runs July 10-28, Wednesday through Sunday on the Empie Stage, MuhlenbergCollege.

“Superstar” dramatizes the last seven days in the life of Jesus, from his entry into Jerusalem through his crucifixion. Set to a rock score by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the show looks at those seven days through the eyes Judas, the disciple who betrays Jesus and “one of history’s great so-called villains,” Peck says.

“It is unusual for a show to take the vantage point of Judas,” Peck says. “But it’s what makes ‘Superstar’ unique.”

The show features the hit songs “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Superstar.”

What interests Peck most, he says, is the way the play explores the humanity of the characters—real people at the epicenter of one of history’s great moments.

“You get a sense of Jesus as a human,” he says, “of how exhausting it must be to be at the heart of a world movement.”

“Superstar” features a cast of 27, including Muhlenberg alumni Dan Cary ’08 as Jesus, Jessie MacBeth ’13 as Mary Magdalene, and Equity guest artist Kennedy Kanagawa ’08 as Judas. The show also features guest artists from the LehighValley including Ed Bara as Caiaphas, Bill Mutimer as Herod, and Joshua Neth as Pontius Pilate.

“What I love about ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ is that it takes these iconic figures that we are used to thinking of abstractly, and it humanizes them,” Kanagawa says. “They have emotions and desires and allegiances and secrets. The idea of returning to my alma mater and making these discoveries along with this brilliantly talented creative team is thrilling.”

The show features a spare, earthy design by Tim Averill, who brings his interest in sustainable theater design to the production. Annie Simon’s costume designs draw from 1970s and contemporary grunge fashion. Lighting design by John McKernon brings a rock-show sensibility to the performance. The five-piece band led by Vince Di Mura will feature a lean rock-band sound—less lush Broadway score and more rock-and-roll.

The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre has been bringing excellent theatre to the LehighValley for 33 years. All productions are performed at MuhlenbergCollege, one of the top-rated college performance programs in the country according to the Princeton Review rankings. Muhlenberg is a liberal arts college of more than 2,200 students in Allentown, Pa., offering Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance.

“Jesus Christ Superstar” runs July 10-28 in the Empie Theatre, Baker Center for the Arts, Muhlenberg College, 2400 Chew St., Allentown, Pa.

Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Regular admission tickets for the first four shows are $32; seniors (65 +) are $28; students and children are $20. For the remainder of the run, regular admission tickets are $38; seniors (65+) are $35; students and children are $20. Family matinees on Sundays are just $10 for children. For groups of 15 or more, tickets are $25 per person and $16 for students and children.

Tickets and information are available at 484-664-3333 or http://www.muhlenberg.edu/smt

Touting Lehigh Valley’s Benefits, To Locals

When he took over the region’s main economic development agency last year, CEO Don Cunningham promised to refocus the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. on its primary goals, especially marketing the Lehigh Valley.

That apparently includes marketing to the people living here, especially business leaders.

LVEDC rolled out a sweeping billboard campaign this week designed to promote the Lehigh Valley to the Lehigh Valley and its business leaders.

Or wait, just Lehigh Valley. Drop the “the.”

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-lehigh-valley-billboards-20130612,0,3517196.story

Architect Plans $5 Million, 7-Story Condominium Project In Downtown Lancaster

Three decades after building Steeplehouse Square, architect John de Vitry again is building condominiums in downtown Lancaster.

Magnolia Place, a seven-story building he wants to build at North Duke and East Chestnut streets, would be the first entirely new downtown residential project since Steeplehouse opened in 1982.

The 13-unit building would replace the building on the northeast corner of the intersection, which was built as a gas station and later served as a law office.

De Vitry and his partners hope to begin construction of the $5 million-plus project in October, with occupancy of the units by September 2014.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/860653_Architect-plans–5-million–7-story-condominium-project-in-downtown-Lancaster-.html#ixzz2W7xdrWlt

Votes Push Development Along Pottstown’s Keystone Boulevard

Editor’s note:  We find ourselves in agreement with the majority on council who voted for this undertaking.  We also feel the tax breaks for Heritage Coach Co. were necessary.  Having that property sit idle accomplishes nothing and provides no income for the borough or the school district.  It also provides no employment which means there is less money to be spent on existing Pottstown businesses.  Until the word gets out to the investment community that Pottstown is open for business and that establishing a business in Pottstown is a good idea, incentives will need to be used to attract development.  

Cleaning up Pottstown would go along way towards fostering development.  Nobody wants to open a business in a crime-ridden community.  Unfortunately, that is the perception you are dealing with, whether it’s entirely true or not.  Perception IS reality.  Cracking down on crime, Section 8 housing and the pervasive drug problem need to be priority one in order to attract business, industry and homeowners.   The number of rental units is too high, partly due to reputation of the Pottstown School District, the reputation of Pottstown Borough and the high taxes.  Any real estate professional will tell you the same thing.  Selling a home in Pottstown is difficult.

POTTSTOWN — Prospects for development along Keystone Boulevard have been bolstered by two votes of borough council Monday evening.

With a unanimous vote, the council approved a “memorandum of understanding” with West Pottsgrove that pledges both municipalities to pursue efforts to extend Keystone Boulevard, which runs parallel to West High Street and the Schuylkill River, into West Pottsgrove to connect with Grosstown Road.

“It’s a conceptual agreement for defining a path to move forward,” Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. explained to council.

The extension of Keystone Boulevard through the former Flagg Brass property in West Pottsgrove and over to the Stowe interchange has long been envisioned and was the subject of an $81,000 study by the Rettew Associates engineering firm.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130613/NEWS01/130619600/votes-push-development-along-pottstown-s-keystone-blvd-#full_story

$3M Bike Lane/Sidewalk Project Would Create Safe Routes To Schools In Pottstown

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — An ambitious $3 million plan to repair sidewalks and install bike lanes throughout the town as part of an effort to establish “Safe Routes to Schools” was unveiled Monday before borough council.

The idea is to combine state transportation funding and seek funding from the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation as a match to undertake the upgrades, which would include repairing numerous damaged borough sidewalks at no cost to property owners.

At the same time, said Pottstown School District Superintendent Jeff Sparagana, the district would seek to incorporate the idea of physical fitness into its curriculum and encourage students to walk or ride a bicycle to school and home again.

Sparagana offered up two towns, Naperville, Ill. and Titusville, Pa., where similar efforts were undertaken and have proven successful.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130613/NEWS01/130619676/-3m-bike-lane-sidewalk-project-would-create-safe-routes-to-schools#full_story

Census: Asians Fastest-Growing Group In Berks

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

An increase of Asians in Berks County is now outpacing a persistently booming growth of Latinos while the number of non-Latino whites has decreased.

With a growth rate of 8.7 percent between the April 1, 2010, Census and estimates taken July 1, 2012, Asians were the fastest growing minority nationwide and in Berks, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Click here for charts showing population growth in Berks County, Pennsylvania and the nation

Berks reflects long-standing state and national trends of rapid growth among Asians and Latinos.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=484432

A Petition To Stop Housing Visions Of Syracuse, NY From Building More Low-Income Housing In Pottstown

We implore the State Government, the PA Finance Housing Agency to deny tax-credits to the recent low-income developer, Housing Visions of Syracuse, NY, who would like to contribute 43 more rental housing units for low-income people.

Please sign our petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/deny-…

Homeowner occupants in the Borough of Pottstown struggle to pay their taxes, maintain their homes, safeguard what is left of their quality of life, and watch their home values sink.

We are a borough of 5 square miles, population 22,000 in Montgomery County, PA one of the Wealthiest Counties in the U.S.  By the counties own figures, Pottstown has a rate over 7 times higher than the county average of Voucher Housing residents.  The poor, disabled, drug addicted and mentally ill are warehoused here as sex offenders and other criminal elements find respite within our slums.

The streets and sidewalks of our town are land mines of trash and discarded households, raw sewage runs freely, crossing public walkways into the gutters and storm water drains while greedy rental income investors milk the taxpayers, collect their government checks and blatantly neglect their properties, their tenants, their taxes and this community.

Rental homes fill with moisture and mold, faulty furnaces go unchecked while dangerous electrical wiring lies hidden beneath false ceilings.  Drug dealers rule the streets and young women, who give them shelter in their Section 8 dwellings, have more babies that we cannot afford.

Pottstown and Norristown Boroughs carry an untenable weight of segregation of the poor and non-whites so that the wealthy white communities of Montgomery County, PA will never have to know the reality of impoverishment.