Developers: West Manchester Mall Construction Could Begin By March

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United State...

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

The new year will bring a new West Manchester Mall, and developers said work could begin before winter ends.

“We’re trying to get started as early as we can. March is not an unreasonable target,” said Tony Ruggeri, co-founder of Dallas-based M&R Investors, which owns the mall.

The 32-year-old shopping hub at 1800 Loucks Road is set for a $47 million redevelopment that will change it from an enclosed mall to an outdoor plaza similar to Hunt Valley Towne Center in Maryland.

The York County commissioners and the West York school board recently approved a tax incentive financing (TIF) plan that will allow the mall to be revamped while receiving a limited tax break on the improved property.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_24764314/developers-west-manchester-mall-construction-could-begin-by

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Pennsylvania Climate Plan, Recommendations Released

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’s climate action plan arrived just in time for Christmas, but it’s already a year late.

The draft document — an update of a 2009 plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the state — comes out of the Department of Environmental Protection. It’s based on workplans recommended by a 15-person committee representing industry, government and nonprofits.

The legislation that required this report said the update should have been issued at the end of 2012.

The latest climate action plan proposes expanding natural gas distribution pipelines to give more Pennsylvanians access to the fuel. It also advocates encouraging operators of coal mines to capture some of the methane vented into the air before, during, or after mining activity.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2013/12/20/State-climate-plan-recommendations-released/stories/201312200062#ixzz2o2UTDBS7

Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Rate Falls As More Drop From Work Force

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in November from October’s 7.5 percent, the Department of Labor and Industry reported this morning.

The rate, which is seasonally-adjusted, fell mostly because people who were unemployed quit looking for work rather than because they found new jobs.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2013/12/20/Pennsylvania-s-unemployment-rate-falls-as-more-drop-from-work-force/stories/201312200143#ixzz2o2SV0sr4

7 Ways To Protect Yourself Against Credit Card Fraud

NEW YORKMainStreet) — You shopped at Target this holiday season. Bad news: your credit card is now one of the 40 million that may have been subject to a data breach that could cost consumers $4 billion.

What now?

There’s no panacea. “If you’re going to use a card there’s always this risk that the system could be compromised,” said Robert Heath, a consumer protection attorney in Pensacola, Fla.

But there are ways to mitigate your risk. Here are seven things you can do to protect yourself against fraud.

Read more: http://business-news.thestreet.com/philly/story/7-ways-protect-yourself-against-credit-card-fraud/1

‘Duck Dynasty’ Dad Preached About Gays At Pottstown Church

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

As the Duck Dynasty family was warning it might pull out of the show after patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended from anti-gay remarks in GQ, videos of him preaching similar thoughts at a Pottstown church have surfaced.

In the 2010 videos, Robertson was preaching at a Wild Game dinner at the Berean Bible Church. During the roughly hour-long talk, he weighed in on the immorality of gays, indicating they are experiencing God’s wrath. He also spoke on a range of issues, including his famed duck calls, Terry Bradshaw as his backup quarterback in college, and that he doesn’t believe in evolution.

No one at the Berean Bible Church, which was preparing for its Nativity Scene, was available to comment this morning. The videos were recorded before the Duck Dynasty show began airing.

Meanwhile, it was unclear if the show will continue on A&E.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Videos_Duck_Dynasty_preached_anti-gay_remarks_at_Pottstown_church.html#fEAAMgd0qIcUdyRd.99

Lebanon, Pa. Pastor Appeals Defrocking Over Gay Wedding

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lebanon County

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

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A United Methodist pastor defrocked for officiating at his son’s same-sex wedding has appealed the decision, a move that offered the latest evidence of a split in the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination and came as yet another state legalized gay marriage.

Frank Schaefer, who lives in central Pennsylvania, said he was shocked and upset that he could be punished for showing love for his son. He said he believed the penalty was meted out reluctantly by members of the church’s regional.

“So many of them came to me and they shook my hand and some hugged me, and so many of them had tears in their eyes,” Schaefer said. “They said, ‘We really don’t want to do this, you know that, don’t you?’”

Most other Protestant denominations have decided their position on the issue. But the Methodists, with about 7.7 million members in the U.S. and many more overseas, remain divided. At their last national meeting in 2012, delegates reaffirmed the church’s 40-year-old policy on gays.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20131220/lebanon-pa-pastor-appeals-defrocking-over-gay-wedding

Son Charged With Stabbing Mom In Pottstown Home

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — A 23-year-old man allegedly stabbed his mother multiple times with a butcher knife Wednesday evening on the 100 block of Third Street, apparently for no discernible reason, according to Pottstown police.

Jason James Payne, 23, was arrested shortly after he allegedly stabbed Pamela Hadrick and was taken to the Pottstown Police Department where he waived his rights to counsel and admitted to the crime, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by police.

The affidavit said that Payne was at home Wednesday night with his mother and younger brother and sister, both juveniles. He told police at some point before 7:45 p.m., he “got up and walked into the kitchen, grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed her.”

He said the knife was a foot long and “there was no problem between (him) and his mother that precipitated the stabbing,” according to the affidavit.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131219/son-charged-with-stabbing-mom-in-pottstown-home

After Brief Uncertainty, Reading Pagoda Fireworks Will Happen On New Year’s Eve

Picture 511A little more than a week after City Council finalized a deal with the Pagoda Foundation to run the Reading landmark, Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer on Thursday afternoon vetoed the agreement.

His move involves money transfers to the foundation, and the move temporarily put the Pagoda’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show into question over liability issues. But after a meeting of foundation members Thursday evening, Chairman Lee C. Olsen said the fireworks will go on.

The foundation has been running the programs at the Pagoda the last two years without an agreement. The group had been asking the city to approve the pact before the New Year’s Eve fireworks celebration, in which the foundation has a part.

Meanwhile, City Council President Francis C. Acosta said he has called for a special meeting of council early next week to override the mayor’s veto.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131220/NEWS/312209955/1052#.UrR4KfRDsxI

Lehigh Valley Arts Council Presents Fashion Writer, Editor, And Exhibition Curator G. Bruce Boyer

CuratingFashionThe Lehigh Valley Arts Council is pleased to present the first program in the Arts Alive 2014 series, titled Curating Fashion, on Saturday, January 18, 2014, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the Payne Gallery, Church & Main Sts. Bethlehem PA 18018, Moravian College. The event features noted men s fashion writer and editor G. Bruce Boyer, who will speak about his career in fashion and his upcoming exhibition, Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930’s, at the Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology from February 8-April 19, 2014.

G. Bruce Boyer has lived most of his life in Bethlehem an alumna of Moravian College, he went on to do graduate work at Lehigh University and taught literature for eight years at Moravian and DeSales University.

“The Lehigh Valley is fortunate to be home to so many artists whose work is respected around the world,” says Arts Council executive director Randall Forte.

G-Bruce-Boyer-webFor more than thirty-five years, Boyer has been a dynamo in the fashion media; internationally recognized for his articles in Esquire, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Forbes, among others. He was the men s fashion editor for Town and Country magazine for fifteen years and currently serves as their Consulting and Contributing Editor. Boyer has written several books on men s fashion history; one of his most recent, Gary Cooper: Enduring Style (PowerHouse Books, 2011) was co-authored with Gary Cooper s daughter Maria Cooper Janis. His extensive knowledge of the fashion industry has led him to image consulting and public relations for clothing manufacturers and retailers from Ralph Lauren to Bergdorf Goodman. He has also appeared on national TV, National Public Radio, and as a commentator on the TV documentary series, The Hollywood Fashion Machine.

His current exhibition, Elegance in an Age of Crisis, was organized by Patricia Mears, deputy director at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and co-curated by Boyer. They have written an accompanying book that provides a historical overview, examining how the Great Depression and political upheaval influenced the restrained style of the era. The best of both men’s and women’s fashion from the 1930’s are represented among the eighty outfits and thirty accessories from the finest dressmakers and men’s clothiers.

The exhibit examines the beginnings of modern fashion when cutting-edge technology meets fine hand-craftsmanship. Tailors and dressmakers were inspired by classicism to experiment with new techniques, creating designs that highlighted movement, proportions and the classically idealized body. The 1930’s glamorous new look spread internationally and revolutionized the fashion industry.

Arts Alive 2014 is a three-event series designed by the Lehigh Valley Arts Council for members and their friends who are eager to rub shoulder with the creative process. The fee for each session is $10 for members; $15 for nonmembers. Attendance is limited and reservations are required. Tickets are available at www.LVartsBoxOffice.org For further information, contact 610-437-5915.

FIT Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s Web Link:

www.fitnyc.edu/21807.asp<http://www.fitnyc.edu/21807.asp><http://www.fitnyc.edu/21807.asp

FIT Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930s Web Link:  www.fitnyc.edu/21807.asp

G. Bruce Boyer Interview:  www.ivy-style.com/bruce-almighty.html

Twelve Twenty Four Holiday Rock Orchestra ‘Rocks’ Sunnybrook Ballroom In Pottstown

Tonight Pottstown “rocked out” with the holiday sounds of Twelve Twenty Four at the Sunnybrook Ballroom.  If you have never heard of this group here is a synopsis in their own words:

“Established in 2002, 12/24 performs its Christmas music with a theatrical, rock edge and combines it with a narrated storyline to create a family friendly holiday show suitable for all ages. They are the first and foremost recreation of TSO and are making a name for themselves now with goals that aren’t stopping here.”

TSO stand for Trans-Siberian Orchestra if that acronym is unfamiliar to you.  I had the pleasure of attending TSO’s holiday show last year at the Giant Center in Hershey, so I was interested in seeing how well Twelve Twenty Four took on the legendary Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  Between the music and the light show, that’s a tall order.

The 22 member group did not disappoint!  The large and enthusiastic crowd was very vocal in their appreciation of the stellar performance.  Sunnybrook’s wonderful acoustics lend themselves very well to concerts.  If you live anywhere near Pottstown, you should really take advantage of the concerts there. Tickets are very reasonably priced, the restaurant has excellent food and the parking is free and plentiful.

The group appears to be Luzerne County based, from what I could gather on their website, so they are not far away.  They play many venues around Northeast Pennsylvania and beyond. This was their first trip to Pottstown.  They complimented the crowd which leads me to think they might come back again 🙂   We can only hope!

In addition to covering TSO songs, they did some original material.  They have just released their second CD, “Light in the Dark”.  They also drifted away from the holidays for a few minutes and did an amazing version of “Barracuda” by Heart and “Hotel California” by the Eagles.  We were also asked to take part in a sing-along of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Evidently, we did a good job based on the band’s comments.  It was recorded so we might get put on their website.

The musicianship was first-rate.  The instrumentalists and singers were superb.  Co-founder Jason Santos is the principal composer and arranger for the group’s original material in addition to playing keyboards, guitar and singing.  With a group this size, it is noteworthy to mention that everyone stood out in some way.

Here is a link to Twelve Twenty Four’s website:  http://twelvetwentyfour.net/  There are music samples, videos and pictures on the website.  In addition, you can order their CD’s or buy downloads.

Their Facebook fan page is:  https://www.facebook.com/twelvetwentyfour

What a great way to celebrate Christmas!  Thanks for coming to Pottstown!