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


Click Here to Buy
Last Minute Discount
RUSH Tickets
for ONLY

(price of regular General Admission ticket is $23.00)
Rush Tickets available online only
through Lehigh Valley Arts Council Box Office
Please Note:
** 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).

**For admittance, please present the Rush Ticket print-out sheet to “will call” in the lobby.

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

Lehigh Valley Arts Council

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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.