Dr. Karen Stout Establishes Phi Theta Kappa Challenge Fund In Support Of Student Completion At MCCC

PHOTO: Dr. Karen A. Stout (center) stands with officers from Montgomery County Community College’s Alpha Kappa Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Student officers include (from left) Reginald Harris, secretary; Michelle Sikora, vice president of service; Jennifer Cutler, vice president of scholarship; Mamata Tharima, president; Raymond Straughter, vice president of fellowship; Thomas DeLucia, secretary; and Wilfredo Montijo, vice president of leadership.   Photo by John Welsh

PHOTO: Dr. Karen A. Stout (center) stands with officers from Montgomery County Community College’s Alpha Kappa Zeta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa. Student officers include (from left) Reginald Harris, secretary; Michelle Sikora, vice president of service; Jennifer Cutler, vice president of scholarship; Mamata Tharima, president; Raymond Straughter, vice president of fellowship; Thomas DeLucia, secretary; and Wilfredo Montijo, vice president of leadership. Photo by John Welsh

Blue Bell Pa.—To encourage and inspire students to become part of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for two-year colleges, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) President Karen A. Stout has generously pledged $30,000 to establish a Phi Theta Kappa Annual Challenge Fund through the College’s Foundation.

Phi Theta Kappa membership offers students a significant advantage when it comes to college success and completion. In fact, a recent national study reveals that PTK members in Pennsylvania have an overall success rate of 92 percent—that’s four times higher than the success rate for all of the state’s community college students.

However, despite the documented impact, only 14 percent of PTK-eligible students nationally join the organization. With a current membership fee of $60, cost is a likely barrier for many eligible students.

The Karen A. Stout Phi Theta Kappa Challenge Fund will support qualified students by defraying half the cost of a PTK membership, while challenging students to match the remaining cost. Students must be eligible for Pell Grant funding and PTK membership to qualify. Members of PTK must maintain a 3.5 GPA and must have completed at least 12 credits.

As a member of MCCC’s Phi Theta Kappa chapters—Alpha Kappa Zeta at the Central Campus in Blue Bell or Beta Tau Lambda at the West Campus in Pottstown—students are afforded the opportunity to grow as scholars and servant leaders. By working with their peers and faculty advisors, PTK members examine real-life issues facing their communities, while gaining leadership skills through the organization’s Honors in Action programming.

For example, this year’s PTK chapters collected more than 500 pairs of shoes for the community organization In Ian’s Boots; cleaned up a portion of the Schuylkill River; and partnered with Theatre Horizon and the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center in Norristown on a community education/public art project. In addition, both of MCCC’s chapters achieved the distinction of Five Star Status—the highest level of national recognition possible—for progressing through the organization’s Five Star Chapter Development Plan.

PTK members also have access to exclusive transfer scholarship information and opportunities, which will help them continue their education after graduating from MCCC.

The Karen A. Stout Phi Theta Kappa Challenge Fund is part of the Foundation’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Futures Rising: The Campaign for Montgomery County Community College,” which looks to raise $9 million for student scholarships. To learn more or to get involved, visit http://www.mc3.edu/futures.

Anisha Robinson Keeys Appointed To MCCC Board Of Trustees

ANISHA ROBINSON KEEYSBlue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College is pleased to announce the appointment of Anisha Robinson Keeys, of Norristown, to its Board of Trustees by the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. The 15-person Board of Trustees is the policy and governing body of Montgomery County Community College.

With 18 years of fundraising and marketing experience, Robinson Keeys serves as Chief Executive Officer of Lance + Lee Planning. She advises corporations and philanthropists on how to make the largest impact with their money. She also helps organizations and thought leaders with corporate fundraising and organizational development.

In addition to operating a consulting practice, Robinson Keeys has held leadership roles with a variety of organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and Teach For America.

Robinson Keeys is a frequent speaker at conferences and leadership retreats across the country.

She is also the author of the book and curriculum “Get Corporate Sponsorship: A Step By Step Guide To Securing Funding From Corporations” and “51 Retailers That Want To Help You Raise Money.”

Robinson Keeys holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Chestnut Hill College. She is also a member of the institution’s Woman Donors Network, where she serves as an advisor for the Reflective Democracy Initiative. She also serves on the board of directors for the Columbia North YMCA, Rosebug 1919 Foundation, Livingbattlefield and the Solomon Principal Group.

Expanded Archaeological Adventure On Tap For MCCC Students At The Speaker’s House

Photos by Alana J. Mauger Field School 1: Montgomery County Community College student Cydney Rader, Skippack, shows an artifact that was found during 2014’s Archaeology Field School at The Speaker’s House in Trappe.

Photos by Alana J. Mauger
Field School 1: Montgomery County Community College student Cydney Rader, Skippack, shows an artifact that was found during 2014’s Archaeology Field School at The Speaker’s House in Trappe.

Trappe, Pa.—This summer, students don’t need to travel far to gain world-class archaeological field experience. In fact, students who participate in the Archaeology Field School at The Speaker’s House in Trappe, Pa. can earn up to six college credits through a unique partnership with Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) while they get hands-on experience at an active archaeology site.

In its seventh year, the Archaeology Field School is comprised of two intensive three-week sessions led by archaeologist Dr. Lydia Garver at The Speaker’s House, which was the home of Frederick Muhlenberg, first Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and first signer of the Bill of Rights.

The program runs Tuesdays-Saturdays from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The first session is held May 26-June 13, and the second session runs from June 16-July 3. No previous experience is necessary, and the program is open to anyone age 15 or over.  The Field School is ideal for students who are interested in studying anthropology, history or museum studies, as well for students who enjoy working and learning outdoors. To learn more, visit http://www/speakershouse.org/fieldschool or contact Lisa Minardi at info@speakershouse.org.

Participants will receive training in excavation techniques, record keeping, artifact identification, processing, cataloging, and classification. This summer, excavation in the first session will focus on a large pit feature filled with 19th-century kitchen artifacts and the remnants of an 18th-century smokehouse, along with another small outbuilding. During the second session, students will complete closing excavation tasks and learn to curate, analyze and research artifacts found during the first session. Field trips and guest lectures will also be offered.

Photos by Alana J. Mauger Field School 2: Archaeology Field School students Chuck Cannon (left), Harleysville, and Brad James, Towamencin, excavate the area around an outbuilding wall last summer.

Photos by Alana J. Mauger
Field School 2: Archaeology Field School students Chuck Cannon (left), Harleysville, and Brad James, Towamencin, excavate the area around an outbuilding wall last summer.

Students can earn three college credits per three-week session for their participation in the Field School by enrolling through MCCC. To enroll as a guest student, visit mc3.edu/admissions, select course selection and registration, then follow the instructions for guest students. Current MCCC students and alumni should register through Web Advisor by logging into the MyMC3 Portal. The course titles are Archaeology Field School I (ANT 120) and Archaeology Field School II (ANT 121).

Enrollment is limited to 20 participants per session, and preference will be given to students taking the course for credit through MCCC. Students will pay standard MCCC tuition and fees. Tuition information is available at http://www.mc3.edu/admissions. All participants will receive a complimentary 2015 student membership in The Speaker’s House.

Built in 1763 by German immigrant John Schrack, The Speaker’s House was owned by the Muhlenberg family from 1781-1803. Other notable owners include Charles Albrecht, a piano maker; Dr. Lewis Royer, physician and legislator; and Ursinus College, which used the house as a dormitory from 1924-1944. The property is also the location of a general store, built in 1782 by Frederick Muhlenberg, and is one of the few archaeological sites in the region that yields information on commercial as well as domestic activities.

Honors Anthropology Students Gain Cultural Insight Through Service Learning

CCATE 1: Montgomery County Community College Honors Program student Sussan Saikali works on homework with Kevin, a participants in the Center for Culture, Art, Training, and Education’s (CCATE) after school program.

CCATE 1: Montgomery County Community College Honors Program student Sussan Saikali works on homework with Kevin, a participants in the Center for Culture, Art, Training, and Education’s (CCATE) after school program.

Blue Bell, Pa.—Eleven students enrolled in Dr. Lynn Swartley O’Brien’s Honors Cultural Anthropology course at Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) recently participated in a service learning project in partnership with the Center for Culture, Art, Training, and Education(CCATE) in Norristown.

“I wanted to give [the students] an immersive experience in another culture,” O’Brien said. “I wanted them to experience culture shock and look at others, and ultimately themselves, in a new perspective.”

Throughout the fall semester, the students—all scholars in MCCC’s comprehensive Honors Program—volunteered at least two hours, one night per week as peer mentors at CCATE’s after school program. The program works to equip Norristown Latino middle and high school students with the skills needed to succeed socially and academically in American culture, while respecting their Latin roots.

O’Brien believes that service projects, particularly peer-mentor programs, are innovative because they create a mutually beneficial relationship between mentors and mentees.

CCATE 2: Montgomery County Community College Honors Program student Samantha Smyth read with students in CCATE’s after school program in Norristown.

CCATE 2: Montgomery County Community College Honors Program student Samantha Smyth read with students in CCATE’s after school program in Norristown.

“Students in CCATE had positive role models who helped them with their homework [while]…the Honors students reported that the experience was a positive one,” O’Brien said.

Cassandra Davis, one of the Honors students who volunteered at CCATE, felt culture shock in the form of a language barrier.

“My first Spanish reading session at CCATE made me feel completely isolated. All the students and even most of the volunteers could speak Spanish,” Davis said.

Davis could not speak the native tongue of many of the young children with whom she worked.

The culture shock did not last long, however. The reciprocal relationship of the mentor-mentee model was illustrated when two of the young mentees helped to ease Davis’s anxieties by teaching her some Spanish.

“I would help them with homework, then they would help me with Spanish during reading time,” Davis said.

O’Brien said that some students have reported that the experience was “life changing.”

This seems to be especially true for Davis, who still volunteers at CCATE even though the requirements of the project ended months ago.

Davis and her classmates are not the only students who have seen the value of service learning projects under O’Brien’s tutelage.

In fact, last semester, O’Brien had her online cultural anthropology students research charities that work on significant social issues outside the United States and Europe. One group of online students chose to raise money for Heifer International, a non-profit organization that works to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable community development.

“[The students] raised over $300—enough to buy a water buffalo for a family in need,” O’Brien said. “They learned about the sustainable gift of an animal—a gift that will keep giving and producing more for an agricultural family in need.”

O’Brien has also overseen fundraising projects that have procured money for Aid for Africa and other organizations. She has even organized a project that had students volunteer at a local excavation site as part of her archaeological anthropology course.

“Overall, I think my civic projects have been successful,” she said. “Some students have initially been resistant or indifferent, but many more students have had positive outcomes.”

Multiple Honors students reported that they have benefited from the cultural values they learned from the predominately Latino community at CCATE. For example, student Jessica Miller recognized the emphasis Latinos place on family.

“I believe there are hidden diamonds in every culture, and we need to be active in discovering them and, if appropriate, incorporating them into our own lifestyles. For example, Latinos highly value family relationships. I want to do the same,” Miller said.

O’Brien believes that anthropological studies are an important component of a liberal arts education, emphasizing multiculturalism for this very reason.

“Students in cultural anthropology learn about the endless cultural diversity that abounds in our world. It is amazing when students learn that things in their world that they take as ‘natural’ such as family, gender, and economics, can be construed and understood in profoundly different ways by different cultures in other parts in the world. I think it is inspiring,” O’Brien said.

“When we have the self-realization that our circumstances are a product of culture, we begin to understand the power we have to change them,” she continued. “As the anthropologist Margaret Mead said, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’”

These lessons seem to be firmly engrained in Samantha Smyth, another one of O’Brien’s Honors students.

“CCATE has made me understand that it is important to be involved in your community and that things are not just going to magically get better in society. We have to work towards betterment and it takes efforts like this to begin the process,” Smyth said. “I now know that all it takes is two hours a week to change a young person’s outlook on things.”

Miller also recognized how easy it was to make an impact on a child.

“Because of [those] 10 weeks, I believe that I can make a difference in the life of a child, even if I never verbally express how important they are. By taking the time to listen to their stories; by chasing them up and down the gym; by dancing with them to help them memorize their multiplication tables, kids realize that they are worth a person’s time, energy, and resources,” Miller said.

“Overall,” Miller added, “service learning has a circular effect and creates role models for the next generation.”

O’Brien is encouraged by the work her students did in the fall semester and believes that she will see the rewards of this “circular effect” in the near future.

The mere presence of college students who care implicitly communicates a very important message to the young middle and high school students—that college is an attainable goal.

“I can’t wait to see some of these students at CCATE in my classes at MCCC in just a few years. I know that what we are doing there as mentors and volunteers will help to pave the way for these young people going to college,” O’Brien said.

Cadets Graduate From MCCC Municipal Police Academy, Raise $3,000 For Angel Trust Fund

Photos by Matt Carlin Police 1: Cadet Lt. Brian Manion (right), Conshohocken, presents Class 1404 Valedictorian James Reilly, Chalfont, with a certificate for his academic accomplishments.

Photos by Matt Carlin
Police 1: Cadet Lt. Brian Manion (right), Conshohocken, presents Class 1404 Valedictorian James Reilly, Chalfont, with a certificate for his academic accomplishments.

Blue Bell, Pa.— Thirty-one cadets graduated from Montgomery County Community College’s Municipal Police Academy Class 1404 on March 25 during a ceremony held at the College’s Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The cadets took on a special project during their 22-week program at the academy: raising funds for the Chester County Angel Trust through DNB First Wealth Management to help six-year-old abuse victim Ryan McMillian rebuild his life. During a guest lecture at the academy, Chester County Deputy District Attorney Michelle Frei shared details surrounding the 2014 murder of Ryan’s three-year-old brother Scotty McMillian, prompting the cadets to take action.

During the ceremony, Cadet Sarah Couch, Royersford, presented Frei and attorney Skip Persick, who oversees the trust, with a check for $3,000. According to Persick, the money will ultimately be used for McMillian’s education expenses to “create a career for this young man.”

Photos by Matt Carlin Police 2: Cadet Tori Adams (left), Langhorne, receives the James R. Miller Marksmanship Award from Cadet Lt. Brian Manion.

Photos by Matt Carlin
Police 2: Cadet Tori Adams (left), Langhorne, receives the James R. Miller Marksmanship Award from Cadet Lt. Brian Manion.

Cadet Cpl. Nicollette DeBiasio, Oaks, led the Pledge of Allegiance to begin the formal portion of the ceremony, followed by a moment of reflection from Director of Criminal Justice, Fire Science and Emergency Management and Planning programs Benn Prybutok. Cadet Daniel Mease, Bethlehem, served as color bearer.

Parkesburg Borough Police Department Chief Brian Sheller was selected by class 1404 to give the keynote address, during which challenged the cadets to “make a difference” in the communities they serve.

“Police are many things to many people in their times of need. Treat everyone with dignity and respect,” shared Sheller, who is also an instructor at the Academy.

Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce L. Castor Jr. and Montgomery County Department of Public Safety First Deputy Director Jesse Stemple were also in attendance, along with representatives from Abington, Bethlehem, Falls Township, and Upper Merion Township police departments. From MCCC, Dr. Aaron Shatzman, dean of social sciences, and Suzanne Holloman, dean of workforce development, assisted with certificate confirmation.

Photos by Matt Carlin Police 3: Cadet Lt. Brian Manion (right) presents Cadet Cpl. Amal Yasin, Philadelphia, with the Award of Distinction, given to a cadet who demonstrates exemplary dedication and teamwork.

Photos by Matt Carlin
Police 3: Cadet Lt. Brian Manion (right) presents Cadet Cpl. Amal Yasin, Philadelphia, with the Award of Distinction, given to a cadet who demonstrates exemplary dedication and teamwork.

Earning the highest GPA in his class, Cadet James Reilly, Chalfont, offered remarks on behalf of the graduates. He described impact of the moment when, as a group, the cadets’ focus shifted from individual success to class success.

“It was about being better as a class, and successful as a class,” he shared, before thanking the academy’s leadership, faculty, family and friends for their support.

Interim Municipal Police Academy Director Jude McKenna presented a series of awards as part of the ceremony. Cadet Lt. Brian Manion, Conshohocken, received the Platoon Leader Award of Merit. Cadet Tori Adams, Langhorne, received the James R. Miller Marksmanship Award, presented in memory of Upper Dublin Police Sergeant Jim Miller, who died in an automobile accident while on duty in 2004. And the Award of Distinction, given to a cadet who demonstrates exemplary dedication and teamwork, went to Cadet Cpl. Amal Yasin, Philadelphia.

Cadets from class 1404 attended the academy full time, Monday through Friday for 22 weeks. Graduates include Cadet Cpl. Kevin Adams, Horsham; Tori Adams, Langhorne; Cadet Ssgt. John Beck, Hatboro; Alex Beres, Schwenksville; Mark Borkowski, Blue Bell; Cadet Sgt. Patrick Brehm, Bethlehem; Cadet Sgt. Daniel Chonko, Upper Black Eddy; Sarah Couch, Royersford; Jose Cruz, Warrington; Cadet Cpl. Nicollette DeBiasio, Oaks; Madeline Elgazzar, Blue Bell; Bradley Guldin, Royersford; John Krchnavy, Hellertown; Carl Kruse, Glenside; Samantha Lehman, Perkasie; Cadet Cpl. Ronald MacPherson, Langhorne; Cadet Lt. Brian Manion, Conshohocken; Daniel Mease, Bethlehem; Reinaldo Melendez, West Chester; Ryan Melley, Ridgefield Park, N.J.; Nicholas Phillips, Reading; Cadet Sgt. Daniel Prior, Harleysville; James Reilly, Chalfont; Patrick Rooney, Philadelphia; John Sands, Warminister; Cadet Ssgt. Erik Schwab, Bensalem; cadet Sgt. Joshua VanHorn, Brookhaven; Nicholas Windfelder, Quakertown; Cadet Cpl. Amal Yasin, Philadelphia; Cody Young, Sellersville; and Darrien Zivkovic, Hatboro.

Montgomery County Community College, in conjunction with the state training commission, operates the Municipal Police Academy at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Campus, 1175 Conshohocken Road, Conshohocken.

The academy has been the training ground for more than 3,500 cadets with a consistent graduation rate of more than 90 percent. The 800-hour curriculum allows successful students to articulate up to 15 credit hours toward an associate’s degree in Criminal Justice Studies.

Gain Skills, Credentials In MCCC’s Office Assistant Certificate Program

Blue Bell, Pa.— Building on the success of its fall cohort, the next session of Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Office Assistant Certificate program will begin on May 12. The program—part of the national Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) Initiative—provides built-in job placement assistance and a coach to guide students through the training and certificate completion.

The spring/summer iteration of the Office Assistant Certificate program begins May 12 and runs through Aug. 28. The course is primarily taught online, with optional open labs on Thursdays from noon-3 p.m. at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Students are also required to attend three workshop sessions on May 29, June 12 and Aug. 28 from noon-3 p.m. The cost is $495, which includes instruction, workshops and course textbooks. To learn more or to apply, call 215-461-1468 or email JobTrakPA@mc3.edu.

Students enrolled in the Office Assistant Certificate Program will learn critical computer literacy and other skills expected by employers in business environments. Course modules include Business Software Essentials, Microsoft Word Applications and Modern Office Management.

“Local industry is in search of qualified office assistants,” said Suzanne Holloman, dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education at MCCC.  “This 135-hour certificate is laser-focused to train individuals who are unemployed for a middle-skills job.”

After completing the certificate, students may pursue the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam for Microsoft Word 2013. This sought-after credential provides students with marketable skills that will further increase their chances for employment. In addition, students who complete the certificate can apply the courses to the College’s Office Administration Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, office and administrative support occupations comprise one of the largest occupation groups in the Commonwealth. The Center for Workforce Information and Analysis projects 105 annual openings in this field in Montgomery County. Additionally, there is a growing need in the Montgomery County Region for general office clerks, with an expected 338 annual openings in the County and an estimated 14,620 total jobs in 2016.

Through JRWA, MCCC joins 17 other community colleges across the country in providing middle-skills training, industry recognized credentials, and access to employment across varying industry sectors for unemployed individuals. The initiative is funded by a three-year grant from the Walmart Foundation and is led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

Joint Investigation Being Conducted On Pottstown Homicide

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Pottstown Borough Police Chief F. Richard Drumheller announce the joint investigation into a homicide, which occurred outside of residences near Washington and Beech Streets, Pottstown Borough.

On Friday, March 20, 2015 at 11:27 AM, the Pottstown Borough Police Department responded to Washington and Beech Streets for an unresponsive person. The victim, Artie Bradley, age 38 of Pottstown was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Saturday, March 21, 2015 an autopsy was performed on the body of Artie Bradley at the Montgomery County Morgue. The autopsy revealed that Bradley died as a result of multiple gunshots. The manner of death was ruled homicide.

The Pottstown Borough Police Department and the Montgomery County Detective Bureau are investigating this homicide. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pottstown Police Department at 610 970-6570 or Montgomery County Detective Bureau 610 278-3368

Pottstown Murder Victim Identified

Pottstown, PA – The victim of Friday night’s homicide was identified today as 38-year-old Pottstown man Artie Bradley.

Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele said that the Montgomery County coroner performed an autopsy Saturday that determined Bradley died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150323/pottstown-murder-victim-identified

King Of Prussia Rail: Where Will It Go?

As SEPTA moves further down the line in planning a rail extension to King of Prussia, there are a few things we know – and many more that we don’t.

Among the decisions so far: It will be a spur off the Norristown High-Speed Rail Line. The entire five-mile route will be on an elevated concrete track. It will stop at the King of Prussia Mall, end at the Valley Forge Casino and Convention Center, and include two to four stops along the way.

But transit planners, township officials, and business groups are still studying some of the most crucial details, including which of five proposed routes would get the most ridership, how much each route would cost, and how each would affect noise, traffic, and other environmental conditions.

With planning well underway and strong potential for federal funding, SEPTA says the line could be running by 2023.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20150322_King_of_Prussia_rail__Where_will_it_go_.html#ADk7y2t3i7i1u2V0.99

2015 MONTCO HOUSING FAIR

Saturday, April 18

The Montgomery County Partners for Home Ownership, in conjunction with the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Development, invites you to join our annual HOUSING FAIR. The Housing Fair is free to the public and will include an exhibitor area for non-profits, banks, mortgage companies, realtors & insurance companies, home inspectors, credit companies and other housing-related organizations. Workshops will be running throughout the day!

Date: April 18, 2015
Time: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Location: Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
Address: 201 E. Germantown Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
Contact: 610-278-3540

Job Seekers Invited To Annual Career Expo At MCCC

Blue Bell, PA — Montgomery County Community College will hold its annual spring Career and Internship Expo on Wednesday, April 8 from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Physical Education Center, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Parking is available in the Cathcart Road lot. The Expo is free of charge and is open to the community.

A wide range of companies and institutions will be on hand to recruit applicants for diverse employment opportunities, including full-time, part-time, internships and seasonal. Over 100 recruiters are anticipated to attend. Starting March 25, a list of confirmed employers will be available at facebook.com/MC3CareerServices.

The list will also be available to MCCC students and alumni who register with the College’s job posting site at CollegeCentral.com/MC3, where they can view job opportunities year round.

Questions can be directed to the College’s Office of Career Services at 215-641-6619.

Moody’s Upgrades Montgomery County’s Bond Rating Outlook To ‘Stable’

NORRISTOWN, PA – Moody’s Investor Service upgraded the county’s bond rating outlook from “negative” to “stable” on Monday, according to a press release.

The county is expecting to refund $25.6 million in outstanding bonds in the coming weeks and had its rating “affirmed” to an Aa1 rating, according to the release sent out Monday afternoon.

“With the upgrade, Moody’s is recognizing the remarkable turnaround in the fiscal situation in Montgomery County,” commissioners’ Chairman Josh Shapiro said in the press release.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150317/moodys-upgrades-montgomery-countys-bond-rating-outlook-to-stable

Memories And Sadness Greet Montgomery Hospital Demolition

NORRISTOWN, PA – The start of a six-month demolition of the seven-story Montgomery Hospital building on Powell Street this week has unlocked a flood of emotional responses from former patients, employees and residents of the nearby Locust Street block.

“It’s sad, but it is what it is,” said Leah Yzzi, a 16-year resident of Norristown who worked at the hospital as both a switchboard operator and as a teenage candy striper. “It was stupid to move the hospital to East Norriton.”

Yzzi gave birth to her three children — Kailee, 13, Jordan 12, and Angelo, 8 — at Montgomery Hospital.

“I made a lot of friends there. My mom, Kathy Kriebel, worked there for 15 years as an oncology nurse,” she said. “My step-dad, Dave Trumbore, worked there as an infectious disease doctor. I actually candy striped there for two summers in high school. I liked doing that.”

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150312/memories-and-sadness-greet-montgomery-hospital-demolition

Nominations Sought For 2015 Teaching Excellence Award

Blue Bell/Pottstown/Lansdale, Pa.—To recognize and honor exceptional teaching, Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Office of Academic Affairs invites students, faculty, alumni and interested community members to submit nominations for its 2015 Teaching Excellence Award.

The Teaching Excellence Award annually recognizes an MCCC faculty member whose teaching is intellectually stimulating and accessible for all students and who demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of students both inside and outside of the classroom. Nominees must be current, full-time faculty members in good standing to be eligible.

Nominations may be submitted online at surveymonkey.com/s/MCCCTeachingAward. Nominations are vetted by a faculty committee comprised primarily of past award recipients. The committee then forwards its recommendation to the vice president of academic affairs and provost, and then to the president. The winner will be announced during MCCC’s 2015 Commencement ceremony on May 21.

This year’s award is sponsored by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, which annually recognizes outstanding faculty from 52 Pennsylvania and New Jersey colleges and universities with its Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

At MCCC, the Lindback Award is given on alternating years with the Pearlstine Award for Teaching Excellence, named in honor of founding MCCC Trustee Gladys Pearlstine. Seventeen total awards have been presented to outstanding faculty since 1998. To view a full list of past recipients, visit mc3.edu/academics/faculty/teach-award.

MCCC Dental Hygiene Clinic Seeks Additional Patients For Spring Semester

Blue Bell, Pa.—The Dental Hygiene Clinic at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell is still in need of patients with periodontal (gum) disease for the second half of the spring semester.

Interested patients will be screened for eligibility on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday during the spring semester, and those who qualify will begin treatment.

The treatment includes complete assessment of the patient’s oral and periodontal health, dental x-rays (if necessary), education in self-care, scaling, tooth polishing and fluoride treatment. Multiple, three-hour appointments are necessary.

Interested persons should contact the Dental Hygiene Clinic at 215-641-6483 and leave a message with their name and telephone number. The Clinic is located in room 211 of the Science Center, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, near the 1313 Morris Road entrance to the campus.

Are These The 10 Best Philly Suburbs?

Editor’s note:  No surprise that the future tourism mecca of Western Montgomery County is missing from the list.  I guess mini-golf, carousels and train rides aren’t enough to propel a crime infested borough to the top of any great places to live list.  Not sure why the cart is always put before the horse.

Real estate website Movoto.com has compiled a list of the 10 best Philly suburbs.

With nine towns in Pennsylvania and one in New Jersey, the site ranked these towns based on many factors such as amenities per capita, standard of living, crime rate, and average commute time to Philly.

Coming in at number one is Devon, which the site says has the highest graduation rate, a median income of more than $142,000 per year, and is the “safest place for miles near Philadelphia.”

Six towns in Montgomery County made the list, while the rest were in Chester, Delaware and Camden counties.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/philadelphia-real-estate/Are-these-the-10-best-Philly-suburbs.html#6shZWa03k79QQEqc.99

Special Project: Is Pottstown Becoming More Dangerous?

Editor’s note:  Nice job, Evan.  Make sure you read the whole article because this is a good news, bad news piece.  Crime is still a problem in Pottstown.

POTTSTOWN, PA – Crime is not up in Pottstown, at least not according to the numbers.

Crime in the borough last year was, in nearly all categories, below the borough’s 10-year average, according to a Mercury analysis of crime statistics provided by the Pottstown Police Department.

The numbers of serious crimes like murder, rape and arson have remained relatively flat since 2005, and in addition, the statistics show that 2014 saw 13 percent fewer major crimes and a decrease of more than 16 percent in all reportable crimes.

Pottstown has not had more than two murders per year since 2007.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150308/special-project-is-pottstown-becoming-more-dangerous

EVENT CANCELED: MCCC Hosts Physicians For Social Responsibility Program On Fracking‏

Physicians for Social Responsibility has postponed its program on fracking, originally scheduled for March 11 at 7 p.m. at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus in Blue Bell.  We will provide a new date and time when one becomes available.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

CANCELLED – MCCC Hosts Physicians For Social Responsibility Program On Fracking

Blue Bell, PA— Far from the Marcellus Shale fields of southwestern and northeastern Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia region has largely escaped some of the direct impacts from the exploration, drilling, transportation and waste handling from natural gas operations—commonly referred to as fracking. However, a proposal of an energy hub in Philadelphia and new pipelines headed to the region may bring it closer to home.

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Philadelphia will hold a program at Montgomery County Community College on March 11 at 7 p.m. to review the different operations of fracking, the risks of harm to health, and the exponentially higher releases of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The program, which is free of change and open to the public, will be held in MCCC’s Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

PSR is a public health, non-profit organization that provides education, training and direct services and advocacy on issues that threaten health and that medicine cannot cure. Andrea Thomas, MCCC alumna and current graduate student in Arcadia University’s Public Health and Medical Science program and PSR intern, will help participants gain a clear understanding of the ways fracking operations can impact health and the environment.

The program is sponsored by MCCC’s Division of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in collaboration with MCCC Diversity Faculty Fellow Natasha Patterson. For information, call 215-641-6445. To learn more about Physicians for Social Responsibility, visit http://www.psr.org.