MCCC’s Sustainability And Innovation Hub In Pottstown Earns Montgomery Award For Excellent Planning And Design

Montgomery County Community College received one of the Montgomery County Planning Commission’s Montgomery 2016 award for the planning and design of its Sustainability and Innovation Hub. From left: Jill Blumhardt, Montgomery County Planning Commission board member; Dulcie F. Flaharty, Vice Chair, Montgomery County Planning Commission, Dr. David DiMattio, Vice President of West Campus; Dr. Kevin Pollock, MCCC President; and Jaime Garrido, Associate Vice President for Facililties and Construction at MCCC.

Montgomery County Community College received one of the Montgomery County Planning Commission’s Montgomery 2016 award for the planning and design of its Sustainability and Innovation Hub. From left: Jill Blumhardt, Montgomery County Planning Commission board member; Dulcie F. Flaharty, Vice Chair, Montgomery County Planning Commission, Dr. David DiMattio, Vice President of West Campus; Dr. Kevin Pollock, MCCC President; and Jaime Garrido, Associate Vice President for Facililties and Construction at MCCC.

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA— The Montgomery County Planning Commission recently  presented Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) with a 2016 Montgomery Award for the planning and design of its Sustainability and Innovation Hub at 140 College Drive, Pottstown.

MCCC was one of five award recipients to receive this honor during a recent awards ceremony held at Theatre Horizon in Norristown. The other recipients are The Courts of Spring Mill Station, Whitemarsh Township; Narberth Place, Narberth Borough; Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, East Norriton Township; and Reliance Crossing, Souderton Borough. Additionally, Paul W. Meyer, the F. Otto Haas Executive of the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, received the 2016 Planning Advocate Award.

MCCC’s Hub not only has programs in sustainability and innovation, but the building and property are themselves models of these principles. During the course of six years, MCCC transformed the building, a former energy substation, and three-acre brownfield site into a state-of-the-art center for education, innovation and conservation.

“The building is a sustainable energy hub outside–with the wind turbines, green roof and impervious parking lot—and inside—with programs in aquaponics, hydroponics, robotics, engineering and software development,” said Vice President of West Campus Dr. David DiMattio. “The Hub also represents collaboration with the community, through partnerships with the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage area, Riverfront Park, Schuylkill River Trail and Pottstown Borough.”

The architect for the project was Murray Associates Architects of Harrisburg, and the engineering company was Bruce Brooks and Associates of Philadelphia.

Pottstown Borough transferred the property to MCCC in 2007. The rehabilitation was both part of Pottstown’s Redevelopment Plan, as outlined in its 2003 “Riverfront & Memorial Parks Master Plan,” and a way for MCCC to expand its West Campus.

Starting in 2010, MCCC developed the site in three extensive phases, concluding in 2016 with the opening of the Hub on April 18.

Phase I started with the installation of a 202-space parking lot. The innovative design uses bioretention and includes the planting of more than 130 native plants and trees. Through an EPA grant, MCCC installed energy-saving LED lighting.

Phase II included abatement and cleaning of mold, lead and asbestos from the building and involved preparing the building’s south side infrastructure for demolition and remediation. MCCC replaced the leaking roof with an eco-friendly green roof; added a new entrance, handicap-accessible ramp and energy efficient windows; and updated water and sewer services.

Between Phases II and III, MCCC installed four wind turbines on the property. The turbines produce a collective 4,000 watts of energy–enough to power the LED parking lot lighting. The turbines were designed as a demonstration project to teach students and the community about alternative energy production.

Phase III involved the construction of the Hub’s classrooms and innovation spaces in the building’s south side. The Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area (SRHA) has its headquarters in the north side of the building since 2002, which also includes the River of Revolutions Interpretative Center for visitors.

The Hub’s first floor features an aquaponics and hydroponics teaching laboratory, which supports MCCC’s interdisciplinary Environmental Studies degree program, as well as future programs in the areas such as greenhouse technology, food production, horticulture and landscape design. Aquaponics and hydroponics involve growing fish and soil-less plants in a symbiotic system.

The Hub’s second floor features an Engineering Design Center, which supports MCCC’s Engineering Technology program and prepares graduates for careers in the advanced technology fields of instrumentation, communications and mechanical structures and systems. In this space, MCCC students, faculty and community businesses are working with robotics and 3D printing.

The Hub’s mezzanine floor is a flexible innovation space that can be used by the community, as well as for classes. MCCC holds its new Software Developer Academy in this area.

For more information about MCCC’s Sustainability and Innovation Hub, contact Dr. David DiMattio at or 610-819-2070.

Muhlenberg College ‘New Visions’ Festival Showcases Directorial Talents, Nov. 30 – Dec. 4

Allentown, PA — Two talented Muhlenberg College senior directing students will present their work in Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance’s “New Visions Directors’ Festival: Falling,” Nov. 30 – Dec. 4.

The evening includes 19th century playwright Oscar Wilde’s “Salome,” based on the biblical tale of the beheading of John the Baptist, and 20th century playwright Sam Shepard’s ominous exploration of Cold War anxiety, “Icarus’s Mother.”

“Despite the fact that ‘Salome’ is classical in style and ‘Icarus’ uses American vernacular, the plays complement each other,” says “Icarus’s Mother” director Karina Fox. “They are both about identity and self-acceptance in a judgmental universe.”

Oscar Wilde’s “Salome,” directed by Simon Evans, tells the biblical story of Salome, Princess of Judea, stepdaughter of Herod, the lecherous ruler. Salome’s affections lie with the prophet Iokanaan (John the Baptist), who rejects her sexual advances. To Herod’s delight, Salome finally agrees to dance the infamous Dance of the Seven Veils. When Herod offers her anything she wants in return, Salome makes a startling and gruesome demand.

In a departure from theatrical tradition, all of the characters in this production of “Salome” are performed by female actors.  

“We are creating a sort of parallel universe where men do not exist and female queerness and sexuality can be celebrated,” Evans says. “I want to explore how women can be empowered through their bodies and through their actions.”

Evans says he hopes to create a world the late playwright would have been proud to experience.

“I think the queering of the tale is really true to Wilde’s vision,” he says. “I’m trying to pay tribute to a really brilliant man who had some really awful stuff happen to him.” Oscar Wilde died destitute and humiliated after his imprisonment for homosexuality.

Evans says he hopes to create “beautiful stage pictures while really allowing the bodies onstage to tell the story.” He sees this production as a collaborative effort among himself, the production team, and the show’s 13 actresses.

“I’m really interested in working with my collaborators and finding what feels best for everybody,” he says. “I’m definitely open to new things, and allowing for work to go in directions I never expected.”

Collaboration is a value Evans shares with “Icarus’s Mother” director Karina Fox.

“I love to work directly and collaboratively with actors because the show belongs to all of us,” she says.

In “Icarus’s Mother,” by Sam Shepard, a lazy picnic develops into a surreal nightmare. While a group of young picnickers waits for the fireworks, they start acting bizarrely — sending smoke signals from the barbecue, playing cruel mind games, and play-acting disasters. The group dynamic spins into chaos, and the disastrous fantasies somehow become a fiery reality.

“In this piece, Shepard takes a seemingly perfect world and allows it to devolve into something mysterious, complex, and even terrifying,” Fox says.

Like Evans, Fox draws a lot of inspiration from her playwright.

“I chose this play because of Shepard,” she says. “I think he’s one of our most insightful modern playwrights. He creates really complicated dramatic worlds that explore what it means to be human in new and inventive ways.”

“Shepard is widely produced and well-beloved,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity to work with one of his earlier, less-produced works because I have a chance to really make it my own.”

Fox’s actors have spent the past few months of rehearsal digging deeply into the world of the play, examining group dynamics and trying to figure out what they would do in the face of crisis, she says.

This play was written in 1965, in the shadow of the Cold War. The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Kennedy assassination were recent memory, and anxieties ran high. Fox says the play’s uneasiness comes across as very contemporary in today’s similarly tense environment.

“I’m excited for the audience to experience the raw, human emotions that Shepard has created on the page,” she says. “It’s a fun play, but it’s also full of mystery and suspense. You will laugh as much as you are terrified.”

“New Visions Directors’ Festival: Falling” plays Nov. 30 – Dec. 4. Recommended for mature audiences. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Regular admission tickets are $15. Tickets for youth and LVAIC students and staff are $8.

Tickets and information are available online at or by phone at 484-664-3333. Performances are in the Studio Theatre in Trexler Pavilion for Theatre & Dance, Muhlenberg College, 2400 West Chew St., Allentown.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg College is a highly selective, private, four-year residential college located in Allentown, PA., approximately 90 miles west of New York City. With an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, sciences, business, education and public health. A member of the Centennial Conference, Muhlenberg competes in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for eight years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

2016 Trees For Troops At Bustard’s Christmas Trees

Christmas tree delivery to a military base thanks to Trees for Troops.

Christmas tree delivery to a military base thanks to Trees for Troops.

Trees for Troops (T4T) was launched by the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation in 2005. Since then, more than 176,096 real trees have been delivered via T4T partner FedEx to military families at 65 military bases throughout the United States and overseas. In 2015, 18,633 trees were shipped to every branch of the military.

Bustard’s Christmas Trees joins about 400 other Christmas tree growers and retail lots in 26 states throughout the U.S. Since the local Christmas tree farm began participating in Trees for Troops, it has contributed 2,300 trees. Last year, one of Bustard’s Fraser firs graced the White House Blue Room, which adds pride to military families who receive a tree from the 87-year-old family-owned business.

“People who are unable to attend T4T Weekend can still donate a tree,” advises Jay Bustard. “Make a check for $35 payable to Christmas Spirit Foundation and send it to Bustard’s Christmas Trees, 2210 Bustard Road, Lansdale, PA 19446. Checks must be received by December 5th. We will add these trees to the FedEx truck collection.”

Bustard’s Christmas Trees will launch the holiday season Friday, November 25th, the weekend before T4T. In addition to real Christmas trees, it sells handcrafted wreaths, swags, garlands and grave blankets. Real Christmas trees are also sold at Vernfield Village Market, 883 Main Street in Vernfield. Both locations will be open through December 23rd daily from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Both sites provide Bustard’s 2016 calendars, a Santa mailbox for kids and tree tying and bottom-trimming services. The Bustard Road store brews hot chocolate on weekends for customers to enjoy while shopping for trees and wreaths. For details, visit or call 610.584.4058 or Jay Bustard at 484.300.0634. Go to for Trees for Troops, a 501(c)3 public charity.

$9.99 RUSH For Contemporary Choreography At The Williams Center

Last Minute Discount…Only $9.99!
Friday, November 18, 2016
8:00 p.m.
Williams Center for the Arts
Lafayette College
317 Hamilton Street
Easton, PA 18042
From ballet to Breaking, internationally acclaimed choreographers are creating dance’s next wave right here in the Lehigh Valley!

This exceptional showcase offers up-to-the-minute, state-of-the-dance work in Nora Gibson’s 2^57,885,161 -1, an abstract ballet about the beauty and opacity of prime number theory, and in Land Bridge, French-Canadian artist Helen Simoneau’s meditation on traversing dualities, inspired by the endangered caribou. From the perspective of a mature artist in the form, 2016 Guggenheim Fellow Raphael Xavier explores the notion of sustainability in Breaking, a highly physical idiom associated with youth, in Point of Interest.

View an excerpt of Land Bridge on YouTube


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For additional information, please visit the Williams Center for the Arts website or call: (610) 330-5009.

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Event For Pottstown Historical Society At Manatawny Still Works

wp_20160922_20_31_53_proThe Pottstown Historical Society will meet Monday, November 21, 2016, at 7:00 pm at the Manatawny Still Works, at 320 Circle of Progress, in Pottstown. The cost is $15 per person, payable at the door. Entry includes a tour, one drink and a tasting of their local PA-distilled spirits, and a souvenir glass to take home. All are welcome. For questions, email PottstownHistory@gmail, or call 610-970-7355.

Water for the distillery is from the Manatawny Creek, fed by rare freestone streams at the base of the area watershed. The spirits have Pottstown namesakes, including J. Potts Whiskey, T. Rutter Rum, Keystone Whiskey, and Hidden River Gin. Come learn about how the earliest Americans made their spirits, and how that careful craftsmanship is translated into the 21st century.

Please join us for this fun and educational field trip with the Pottstown Historical Society.

Hoover Financial Advisors Fundraising Results For Chester County Food Bank

Malvern, PA – In 2012, Hoover Financial Advisors, PC, selected Chester County Food Bank as its charity of record. Each autumn it holds a Fall Funds for Food campaign to raise money for the food bank before the holidays. With participation from employees, clients and business colleagues HFA has brought in close to $50,000 since 2012.

At a recent check presentation, Pete Hoover, HFA founder and CEO, contributed $15,000 to the local food bank on behalf of HFA and its clients. “At this time of year, we look forward to upcoming holidays and many wonderful family dinners,” says Hoover. “What we too often overlook is the fact there are thousands of people who are unable to gather around the table and enjoy a delicious meal. Not in Chester County, you may say. Sadly, the fact is one in 14 people in the wealthiest county in Pennsylvania lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable nutritious food. HFA hopes to make the upcoming months brighter for these families.”

In addition to financial donations, this summer HFA’s staff created food boxes for kids and picked tomatoes at Pete’s Produce Farm. For each dollar donated by financial planning firm, Chester County Food Bank can provide four meals or five pounds of food. Since its inception in 2009, it has provided the equivalent of 1.7 million meals. Eighty-nine percent of the food bank’s operating budget supports the hungry.

HFA, which is headquartered on Moores Road in Malvern, was launched in 2005 by Hoover, who has been an independent financial advisor for more than 30 years. Since its inception, HFA has quadrupled in size. Employees include client relationship managers, financial planners, insurance and tax specialists, investment analyst and an information services manager. This year, HFA PC was named to the Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers list. In 2012, it was selected as Small Business of the Year by Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry. For more information, visit its website at or call 610.651.2777. To learn about Chester County Food Bank, call 610.873.6000 or go to

Dec. 11th – Pottsgrove By Candlelight Holiday Tour

news_finishing-touchesPottstown, PA – Revel in the spirit of the season at historic Pottsgrove Manor with the annual “Pottsgrove Manor by Candlelight” open-house on Sunday, December 11, 2016 from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and enjoy the beauty of the manor lit by candlelight and bedecked with greenery.

The public is invited to take a self-guided tour of the stately 1752 manor house, where costumed interpreters portray the colonial residents of Pottsgrove Manor. A walking tour guides visitors through the household of John Potts, his wife Ruth and their 13 children. In the formal parlor, an animated gathering is underway as 18th century “guests” socialize and enjoy the latest dances to the lively music of a harpsichord, flute and harp. The dining room displays an elegant dessert table filled with cakes and pastries, and a “glass pyramid” loaded with delectable seasonal treats – nuts, candied fruits, and colorful marzipan.

Cooks and servants bustle about the kitchen, busy concocting authentic dishes and cooking in its 8 foot wide fireplace, but not too busy to answer a passing question about methods or ingredients. Following passageways through the 17 room mansion, visitors continue to the 2nd and 3rd floors, to view the intimate chambers of a well-to-do colonial family, and learn about preparing for the holiday season.

After exploring the house, complimentary refreshments are available at the end of the tour, and young visitors will be able to create make-and-take free seasonal crafts as a souvenir of their visit. Guests will also want to visit Pottsgrove Manor’s museum shop for unique, historically-oriented gifts like locally-made redware pottery and ornaments, reproduction glassware, handcrafted candles and soaps, books, toys, games, and more.

Outside, in the manor’s courtyard, visitors will be able to enjoy historic carols sung by the Colonial Revelers singing group (performing from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm).

This is a free event! A donation of $2.00 per person is suggested. The tour will be held weather permitting. No reservations are needed. Visitors are asked to park at the Carousel at Pottstown (30 West King Street) or at Memorial Park (75 West King Street); a shuttle will transport visitors to and from Pottsgrove Manor throughout the event. Handicapped parking is available in the museum’s parking lot. The manor’s open house will also be featured as a stop on the Pottstown Historical House Tour that evening.

Can’t make it to the open house? Visitors can enjoy the spirit of the season at Pottsgrove Manor now through January 8, 2017 with a guided tour of the mansion, decorated for the holidays. Tours are offered during regular museum hours, and the museum shop will also be open for holiday shopping. Regular museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Tours are given on the hour. The last tour of the day begins as 3:00 pm. Groups of 10 or more should preregister by calling 610-326-4014. The site is closed Mondays, as well as Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.

Pottsgrove Manor 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, Trails, and Historic Sites Division of the Assets and Infrastructure Department. For more information, please call 610-326-4014, or visit the website at Like Pottsgrove Manor on Facebook here

RUSH For $9.99 Tickets To Aliens, Immigrants And Other Evildoers!

Last Minute Discount…Only $9.99!

Touchstone Theatre presents

Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers
an original show by José Torres-Tama


8:00 p.m.

Touchstone Theatre

321 East Fourth Street
Bethlehem, PA

Award-winning performance artist José Torres-Tama returns to the Lehigh Valley for his sixth visit since 1998 to present Aliens, a sci-fi Latino Noir Multimedia Solo. The performance, the second in a planned trilogy, satirizes the status of Latino immigrants as aliens and explores the trends in hate crimes against immigrants across the United States.

Torres-Tama deftly shape-shifts into a variety of ‘aliens’ — from a Swamp Shaman to a Nicaraguan woman to a Mexican Methodist Minister — who expose the hypocrisies of a system that vilifies the same people whose labor it readily exploits.

“Torres-Tama is both a versatile writer who can be lyrically evocative as well as bitingly humorous, and an impressive performer.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Torres-Tama treads that dangerously vague turf of performance art gracefully… He takes Latino life on a magical mystery tour with dexterity and daring.”
The Village Voice (New York)

Run time: 80 minutes, talkback with artist follows the show after a brief pause

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(price of regular General Admission ticket is $25.00)
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** Rush Tickets are available for GENERAL ADMISSION seating only.

** Convenience fee of $2.50 is charged at checkout in addition to the price of a standard Rush Ticket (total ticket price + convenience fee = $12.49)

Tickets or more information: / 610 867-1689
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MCCC Student Theatre To Present “Slip Shot” – Nov. 10, 11 And 12

slipshot-470-w-textPottstown, PA—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) West End Student Theatre and Theatre Arts program are proud to present “Slip/Shot,” a drama by Philadelphia playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger. Show dates are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10, 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. with a special afternoon performance Friday, Nov. 11 at 12:30 p.m. All performances will be held in the College’s South Hall Community Room, West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown, PA.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors. To purchase tickets, visit or call 215-641-6518.

During this mesmerizing drama, a rookie police officer finds even an accident can have paralyzing consequences when his gun goes off in an encounter with a young African-American man. Did his gun slip, or was it shot? A heartbreaking performance about violence, fear, and our need to move forward. This production contains adult themes and language.

“Slip/Shot” earned the Brown Martin Award and the Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play. Additionally, it was named one of the “Top 10 Productions of 2012” by “Philadelphia Weekly.”

“This is thoughtful and engaging work that encourages us to talk to each other,” says West End Student Theatre Advisor Tim Gallagher.

Directed by Samantha Clarke and stage managed by Morgan Carrasquillo, the cast includes James Rodgers, Maliah Buxton, Hailee Tyson, Erik Reyes, Zach Clark, Jeff Chernesky, and Phoebe Johnson. The production is designed, produced and presented by the students of the Theatre Production Workshop and West End Student Theatre, which includes Derek Peterson, Kayla Velasquez, Toby Taylor, Morgan Carrasquillo, Erika Blue, Maliah Buxton, Quin Newman Zachary Clark, Joe Donley, Tess Devlin, under the guidance of Chris Kleckner.