Three-Event Arts Alive Series

Arts Alive invites members who are eager to step behind the scenes of an arts experience and rub shoulders with the creative process. The 2017 series will explore the “intimacy of space” as imagined by a landscape architect, captured in a musical salon, and depicted in the wearable art of a metalsmith. All three events will take place at 11:00 am to 12:30 pm.

Seating is limited and preregistration is required at LVArtsCouncil.org. The admission fee for each event is $25 for members, $35 for nonmembers. There is special pricing of $60 for members only who purchase a three-event series ticket.

The series kicks off with the How Does Your Garden Show? event on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at Garden Design, Inc., with award-winning landscape architect Frederick Learey. Whether you like to entertain outdoors or seek sanctuary in nature or provide a playground for your family, you can make your landscape is a reflection of your personality. Mr. Learey’s extensive experience from designing formal estate gardens to outdoor living projects including full outdoor kitchens and roof-covered spaces with outdoor heaters, sound and video, will captivate and inspire you.

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, experience the Music of Friends as Satori introduces classical music selections in the ideal setting for chamber music. Janet and Malcolm Gross welcome guests into their lovely home to enjoy the intimacy of performance, followed by a light luncheon.

The final offering, Wearable Sculpture, is a visit to the Coopersburg studio of painter and metalsmith Loretta Tryon on Sunday, October 15, 2017. Tryon finds inspiration for her jewelry from the images in her abstract paintings, creating and embellishing three-dimensional shapes with patinas and engraving. Her process visually combines motion and gesture in metal. The studio tour will highlight the evolution of her thirty year career as an artist.

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Whose Business Is The Arts?

Throughout 2016, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council has been gathering data for the Americans for the Arts national economic impact study, Arts & Economic Prosperity V. Once every five years the Arts Council participates in this research by collecting information from cultural nonprofits and their audiences in the counties of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton. Thanks to your participation, we were able to provide nearly 100 organizational surveys and 800 audience surveys from the Lehigh Valley.

Americans for the Arts will analyze the data over the next several months and provide our region with its own detailed report in June 2017. At that time, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Lehigh Valley Partnership will co-host the Whose the Business is the Arts? public forum to release the results to the community and address challenges of mutual concern.

You are invited to serve on the planning committee for creating the agenda for the Whose Business is the Arts? Public Forum. The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 23, 2017, from 4:00 to 5:30pm, in the 2nd Floor conference facility in the Butz Corporate Center, 840 Hamilton Street in Allentown.

Please RSVP your intention to attend to rforte@lvartscouncil.org by January 18, 2017. I look forward to working with you.

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About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the region’s central voice for the arts, promoting arts awareness and advocating its value while strengthening access to the arts for all citizens in our community. The Arts Council’s mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community. Services include arts research and advocacy, professional development seminars, publications, and cooperative regional marketing initiatives.

ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES ANNUAL MEMBER RALLY AND GRANT AWARD CELEBRATION

ALLENTOWN, PA – Dragon sightings are on the rise in the Lehigh Valley and that is exciting news for our arts community! On the big screen, movie-goers are enjoying the performance of Allentown child actor Oakes Fegley in the title role of Pete’s Dragon. Another fire-breathing beast greets visitors at the entrance of the new manufacturing facilities of Smooth-On, Inc. in East Texas. Dragons are powerful, mythological creatures that epitomize courage, vigor, and unbridled imagination—vital attributes for risk-takers like artists.

In homage to the dragons in our midst, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council invites you to ignite your imagination at ARTS COUNT 2016, the annual arts rally and grant award ceremony. The magic happens on October 19, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Smooth-On, 1725 Willow Lane, East Texas, PA 18046.

“We are very grateful to Smooth-On for hosting this event,” says Randall Forte, Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “This international arts business is a giant in the realm of special effects.“ Smooth-On’s technologies and materials have been used to make movie figures and props for Star Wars, The Hobbit Trilogy, Harry Potter, The Walking Dead, and many other films and TV shows. (As a special treat, the Smooth-On staff will be on hand to give you scars, bruises, and bloody gashes.)

ARTS COUNT also serves as the occasion for the Lehigh Valley Arts Council to distribute grant awards to the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Project Stream recipients in Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties. Project Stream is open to individual artists and community groups who apply for support of an arts-related project with strong public impact. More than $34,000 in state funds will be awarded to 22 applicants for activities held from September 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017.

“ARTS COUNT celebrates the public/private partnerships that fuel the arts in our region,” says Executive Director Randall Forte, “and features local business and foundation leaders giving testimony on the value and impact of the arts.” Locally elected officials are invited to present checks to the grant recipients from their districts. In keeping with the spirit of fellowship, Arts Council members are encouraged to bring a guest and rally for the arts.

The October reception is free to Arts Council members and grant recipients; the cost to guests and nonmembers is $10. Refreshments will be served. R.S.V.P. to 610-437-5915 to attend.

For more information about the PPA grant application, contact PA Partners in the Arts Coordinator Zach Kleemeyer at ppa@LVArtsCouncil.org.

List of 2016-17 PPA Grant Awardees:
Allentown Public Theatre
Anthony Smith
Arts Academy Charter School
Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission
Buchanan Elementary School
Concord Chamber Singers
DanceLink
Emmaus Recreation & Entertainment Commission
Fairfield Duo
Friends of the Allentown Parks
Jennie Gilrain
Jim Thorpe Film Festival
Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange
Marilyn Hazelton
Moravian College
Pennsylvania Jazz Collective
Puertorrican Cultural Preservation
Sarah Steele
Summit Hill Heritage Center
Ukrainian American Heritage Foundation
WDIY 88.1 FM
West Park Civic Association

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About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the region’s central voice for the arts, promoting arts awareness and advocating its value while strengthening access to the arts for all citizens in our community. The Arts Council’s mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community. Services include arts research and advocacy, professional development seminars, publications, and cooperative regional marketing initiatives.

ARTS COUNCIL ANNOUNCES PROJECT STREAM GRANT WORKSHOPS

LEHIGH VALLEY, PA – The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is presenting 3 complimentary workshops in Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties in effort to support applicants in the planning stages of the 2016-2017 Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Project Stream grant application process.

“The PPA Project Stream is a critical source of state and federal funding for eligible individuals, community groups and nonprofit organizations interested in conducting arts projects with a clear public component,” stated Randall Forte, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley Arts Council. “As our region’s partner, we have accepted as many as 60 requests in any given year, awarding grants to community projects including, but not limited to exhibitions, films and performances that impact a wide range of constituents from young children to senior citizens, regardless of ability, ethnicity, culture or socioeconomic status.”

The keys to successfully navigating the Project Stream application process lie in a deeper understanding of content, format and fiscal expectations set forth by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. By attending one of the following workshops, applicants will gain a thorough understanding of review criteria, suggestions for constructing compelling and comprehensive narratives and guidance in building detailed project budgets.

Applicants are encouraged to RSVP and attend one of the following workshops:

May 10, 2016 | 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Arts Council; 840 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA

May 12, 2016 | 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Anita Shapolsky Art Foundation; 20 West Broadway, Jim Thorpe, PA

May 24, 2016 | 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Touchstone Theatre; 321 E. Fourth Street, Bethlehem, PA

UPCOMING HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES IN THE LEHIGH VALLEY

BACH & HANDLE CHORALE presents:

 

December 12, 2015 | 3:00 pm @ St. John’s Lutheran Church
Christmas Concert – St. John’s Lutheran Church

December 13, 2015| 3:00 pm @ St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
Christmas Concert – St. Paul’s United Church of Christ


YOUNG PEOPLE’S PHILHARMONIC presents:

December 20, 2015 | 4:00 pm @ Miller Symphony Hall
The Young People’s Philharmonic and Junior String Philharmonic Holiday Concert

 

PURCHASE TICKETS AT OUR BOX OFFICE TODAY!

Lehigh Valley Arts Council Appoints New PPA Program Administrator‏

LEHIGH VALLEY, PA – As of November 1, Lehigh Valley Arts Council appointed South Bethlehem native, Carlos M. Barata, as the new Pennsylvania Partners in Arts (PPA) Program Administrator. Barata will follow in the footsteps of Marilyn Roberts, a Lehigh Valley native who has served the region’s arts communities for over twenty years, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council for three.

Barata joins a small, but dedicated team tasked with promoting arts awareness, advocating its value, and facilitating communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community at large. “I am delighted that Carlos has joined the team at the Lehigh Valley Arts Council,” says Executive Director, Randall Forte. “His background in marketing and communications, as well as being bi-lingual and a musician, will enable the Arts Council to further expand the PPA Program into our diverse community.”

Barata is a graduate of Bethlehem Catholic High School, and Lafayette College, where he studied Music, Anthropology/Sociology, and Gender Studies. In addition to his role as an independent singer-songwriter and performer, his hands-on training and experience in music administration, communications, and event planning has afforded him positions throughout the Lehigh Valley with various organizations including Organizing for Action, ArtsQuest, Miller-Keystone Blood Center, and Klunk & Millan Advertising.

Barata will assist in coordinating the PPA Program, a state funding initiative of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) designed to widen the circle of funding opportunities in support of arts activities throughout 67 counties. The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is entering its 11th year as the PCA’s regional partner of the PPA by re-granting state funds to applicants in Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties through two streams of funding opportunities, Project Stream and Program Stream, which both expand community access and encourage local decision-making. The grant application and award process is administered by the Arts Council staff, who convene advisory panels from the cultural community to review the proposals. Panelists, selected to review applications according to guidelines provided by the PCA, provide the essential expertise, integrity, and commitment to the arts in the community.

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About the Lehigh Valley Arts Council

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is the region’s central voice for the arts, promoting arts awareness and advocating its value while strengthening access to the arts for all citizens in our community. The Arts Council’s mission is to promote the arts; to encourage and support artists and their development; to assist arts organizations; and to facilitate communication and cooperation among artists, arts organizations, and the community. Services include arts research and advocacy, professional development seminars, publications, and cooperative regional marketing initiatives.

***

Lehigh Valley Arts Council

840 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Allentown, PA 18101
610-437-5915 / operations@LVArtsCouncil.org
www.LVArtsCouncil.org / www.LVArtsBoxOffice.org

Pennsylvania Farm To Provide White House Christmas Tree In 2015‏

WHAT:                    Selection of Official White House Christmas Tree

Searching will take place at Bustard’s Christmas Trees, the 2015 National Christmas Tree Association Grand Champion winner of the national tree contest.

                                                                                                           

Glenn & Jay Bustard and their family will present the White House Christmas Tree in November/December.  The tree will be displayed in the Blue Room.

                                                                       

Harvest of the selected tree will take place just prior to the presentation.

                                                                                                                       

Winners of the National Christmas Tree Association national tree contest have provided the official White House Christmas Tree since 1966.

WHO:                      Glenn & Jay Bustard, Bustard’s Christmas Trees

                                   

WHEN:                    Wednesday, September 30 time 9:00 A.M. (eastern)

WHERE:                  Bustard’s Christmas Trees (Farm field to meet in Lehighton.)

                                GPS coordinates:  across the street from

                                T Johnson Collision Center

                                1270 Owl Creek Rd

                                Lehighton, PA  18235

ADDITIONAL:         Interviews or background information requests may be directed to Rick Dungey in the NCTA office at (636) 449-5071 or email to dungey@realchristmastrees.org.

Blue Mountain Resort’s Wine Me Up Festival – June 6th And 7th

Wine Me Up Festival

If you like wine, tapas and music.. you’re going to love our must-attend, premier event!

Red, White & Blush

Calling all wine-lovers and cheer-givers!  Celebrate with us and sample a variety of vino at our 2-day, Wine Me Up Festival atop PA’s highest vertical.  Plus, an exclusive Preview Night on Friday if you can’t wait for the weekend!

Friday, June 5 – Preview Night 7pm to 10pm outside in the Summit Courtyard – limited to 100 guests

  • $150 for 2 guests includes the following:
    • Featuring 4 Local Vineyards with exclusive tastings
    • Butlered Hors D’oeuvres and 6-course Tapas Dinner
    • Meet the Winemakers and Live Entertainment – Brain Axander Music
  • A VIP Goody Bag and Complimentary Valet Parking!
    • SALE FOR VIP TICKETS ENDS JUNE 3RD AT MIDNIGHT

Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 – Festival 12pm to 5pm each day outside on the Summit Terrace

  • $45 per person (per day) includes the following:
    • Featuring fine wine from Pennsylvania Vineyards – see confirmed list below
    • 20 Specialty Vendors with rare wares
    • Butlered Tapas and Live Entertainment
    • A Commemorative Wine Glass for sampling!
      • RATES INCREASE FRIDAY AT MIDNIGHT

Click link for website, more info and/or to buy tickets: https://www.skibluemt.com/upcoming-events/wine-me-up/

Bach And Handel Chorale Presents: 30th Anniversary Concert

ImageProxyThe Bach and Handel Chorale, founded in 1984 and based in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, will celebrate 30 years of bringing choral and orchestral music to Carbon County and surrounding area. The program will feature music for orchestra and choir by Telemann, Bach, Handel, and will conclude with the first public performance of “We Sing of God” written by founder and conductor, Randall Douglas Perry. During the intermission, the chorale members will host a reception with light refreshments for patrons and audience members in the Great Hall of the church.

This year the Chorale is proud to celebrate it’s 30th year with it’s Anniversary Concert featuring the talented Festival Orchestra. The Chorale now has singers ranging from 15 to 70 years in age representing Carbon, Lehigh, and Schuylkill Counties. These singer’s voices culminate with stunning orchestral sounds to create a feast for the ears!!!

For more information, visit: The Bach and Handel Chorale‘s website

BUY $9.99 RUSH TICKETS TODAY!

15% discount at partner restaurants with concert ticket purchase! :

Moya, 24 Race Street, Jim Thorpe

Bear Appetit, 29 Broadway, Jim Thorpe

Broadway Grille & Pub, 24 Broadway, Jim Thorpe

Encore (formerly Crave), 66 Broadway, Jim Thorpe

Through the Looking Glass, 111 Broadway, Jim Thorpe

Dom ‘N Ali, 777 State Route 903, Jim Thorpe

P.J. Whelihan’s at Platz’s, 101 Harrity Rd., Lehighton

Macaluso’s, Route 209, Nesquehoning

Saturday  April 26, 2014  3:00 p.m.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
21 Race Street
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229 

LVAC-4Lines

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Lehigh Valley Arts Council Presents Pennsylvania Council On The Arts Grant Opportunities

ImageProxy (2)Allentown, PA – Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) is a partnership connecting local artists and nonprofit organizations to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA). PPA re-grants state funds to support a wide variety of local and community arts activities through its regional partners; Lehigh Valley Arts Council is entering its 10th year as the PPA Partner who administers these funds in Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon County.

The PPA 2014-2015 Project Stream will provide funds of up to $2,500 to eligible individuals, community groups, and non-profit organizations to conduct arts projects. These projects must take place between September 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015, and each project (a single event or a series of activities) must have a significant public component. PPA Project Stream applications are reviewed by an invited panel of Lehigh Valley artists and arts advocates according to criteria provided by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council has accepted project grant requests from as many as 60 applicants in one cycle; and in the most recent fiscal year, we awarded grants to 24 projects. Activities successfully receiving PPA project funding have reached a wide range of constituents, from young children to senior citizens, and this year’s projects are engaging audiences in activities that include visual arts exhibitions; photography; musical performances from opera to jazz; documentary film; storytelling and dance. Visit http://www.lvartscouncil.org/programs for more details on the award recipients and their projects.

Project Stream Applicants, both new and returning, are encouraged to attend one of the May planning workshops which are sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Arts Council at no charge to the public. Three LVAC Workshops will be held in the region this year:

  • May 6th: Lehigh Valley Arts Council office in Allentown, 4:00 to 5:30 pm
  • May 8th: Sigal Museum in Easton, 4:00 to 5:30 pm
  • May 15th: Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, noon to 2 pm.

Conversations will include a review of the grant application, plans for constructing your narratives and budgets, and expectations for best practices for preparing work samples and supplemental materials. There will be an additional drop-in session for applicants to review their progress on June 3rd, from 11:30 am – 4:30 pm in our office at 9th & Hamilton Streets in Allentown. Attendees are encouraged to bring ideas, plans, and questions.

Email Marilyn J. Roberts, PPA Coordinator, ppa@lvartscouncil.org or call 610-437-5915 to share your interest in applying for a Project Stream Grant and attending one of these beneficial workshops. Include your organization and/or artist name, preferred email address, and a brief description of the project you are considering as well as your choice of workshop.

Link to the PCA’s eGRANT website after May 1st (http://ppa.egrant.net) to register on the application site and to access news about current PPA grant applications. June 20th, 2014 is the deadline to submit Project Stream Applications to the PCA electronically and to postmark the required forms and supplemental materials to the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.

For more information:
Call: 610-437-5915.
Email: PPA@LVArtsCouncil.org 
Web: http://www.lvartscouncil.org/programs/PPA%20Workshops.html
Attendance: Free, Reservations requested
Location(s):

May 6, 2014 – 4:00 to 5:30 PM
Lehigh Valley Arts Council
840 Hamilton Street, Suite 200 Conference Room
Allentown, Pa. 18101

May 8, 2014 – 4:00 to 5:30 PM
Sigal Museum
342 Northampton Street
Easton, Pa. 18042

May 15, 2014 – Noon to 2 PM
Mauch Chunk Opera House
14 W. Broadway
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229

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Pennsylvania Partners In The Arts Project Stream Grant Workshops

LVAC-4LinesCalling all artists, community groups and arts organizations!

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council invites you to apply for up to $2,500 from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Project Stream to fund arts projects or activities benefiting the communities of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties. Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to join us for one of our free PPA grant workshops.

May 6th, 4 PM to 5:30 PM: Lehigh Valley Arts Council (Allentown)

May 8th, 4 PM to 5:30 PM: Sigal Museum (Easton)

Mark your Calendar! The PPA deadline for Project Stream Applications is June 20th, 2014!

Click here for more information: http://lvartscouncil.org/programs/workshops.html

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Tamaqua Woman’s Body Found In Jim Thorpe

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Carbon County

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

The body of a Tamaqua woman was discovered Saturday morning by firefighters in Jim Thorpe working to extinguish a brush fire, a relative of the woman said Sunday night.

State police have called the case a “homicide investigation.”

According to Donald R. Serfass of Tamaqua, it was the body of his niece, Angela Serfass Steigerwalt, 35.

“She grew up in Tamaqua and went to Tamaqua high school. She worked at Kraft Foods down in the Lehigh Valley. She worked in inventory control. She was very clean cut. She supported animal rights causes, anything having to do with the welfare of animals,” Serfass said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/tamaqua-woman-s-body-found-in-jim-thorpe-1.1627795

Expect Heavy Snow But Not Blizzard In Lehigh Valley, Northwest New Jersey, Experts Say

A snowstorm headed toward the Lehigh Valley will likely fall short of becoming a blizzard locally, but meteorologists are expecting heavy snow to arrive Thursday evening and Friday morning.

The National Weather Service is putting out a winter storm warning for Lehigh, Northampton and Warren counties. The three counties under the warning could face 6 to 10 inches of snow and wind gusts ranging from 15 to 25 miles an hour, according to the weather service.

Snow is expected to start around 1 p.m. in the three counties, according to the service.

The same report placed Hunterdon County under a winter storm watch, saying it could see 3 to 7 inches of snow beginning around 2 p.m.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/01/reports_project_between_4_to_1.html

Jim Thorpe, Pa., Fights To Keep Body Of Namesake

English: Postcard picture from 1915 of a "...

English: Postcard picture from 1915 of a “bird’s eye view” of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, then known as “Mauch Chunk”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jim Thorpe, PA (AP) The hand-lettered donation jar on Anne Marie Fitzpatrick’s store counter says what many residents of this well-preserved Victorian-era town are thinking and feeling lately: “Keep Jim Thorpe in Jim Thorpe.”

The surviving sons of the famous American Indian athlete have long fought to get the remains of their father moved from Jim Thorpe, Pa., to tribal lands in Oklahoma, where he was born, and they recently won a crucial legal victory that put them close to their goal.

But Jim Thorpe isn’t letting its Olympian namesake go without a fight.  Residents and business owners are helping to raise money for the town’s appeal to be filed later this month saying they have honored, appreciated and respected a man long considered one of the 20th century’s best athletes.

Hence the donation jar on the counter of Fitzpatrick’s gift shop, prominently displayed between the cash register and a rack of cat figurines.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/apsports/9991496451882158/Jim-Thorpe-Pa.-fights-to-keep-body-of-namesake

Borough To Appeal Jim Thorpe Ruling

English: Postcard picture from 1915 of a "...

English: Postcard picture from 1915 of a “bird’s eye view” of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, then known as “Mauch Chunk”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jim Thorpe Borough Council has voted to appeal a federal judge’s order to relinquish the famed athlete’s remains so they can be reinterred on American Indian land in Oklahoma.

Thorpe’s sons sued the borough claiming the town amounts to a museum under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

Jim Thorpe council met on Thursday and voted 6-0, with Councilman Jay Miller absent for a medical reason, to appeal a federal judge’s decision to comply with NAGPRA.

“I feel council made the right decision,” Jim Thorpe Mayor Michael J. Sofranko said on Friday.

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/borough-to-appeal-thorpe-ruling-1.1487343

Jim Thorpe Faces Losing Its Namesake

English: Postcard picture from 1915 of a "...

English: Postcard picture from 1915 of a “bird’s eye view” of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, then known as “Mauch Chunk”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JIM THORPE, PA – Stewart Counterman stopped by Jim Thorpe’s tomb Monday afternoon after hearing the legendary athlete’s body might soon be moved.

Despite never having set foot in the town that now bears his name, the pro football pioneer and double-Olympic gold medalist provided the community a sense of purpose when it seemed to have none.

“It’s something that is really important,” said Counterman, of Lehighton, standing in the shadow of Thorpe’s red granite mausoleum.  “It’s something that we’re going to miss if it’s not here.”

In 1954, the struggling mining towns of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk were looking for a way to put themselves back on the map.  They made a deal with Thorpe’s widow Patricia, united under Thorpe’s name, and gave him the fitting tribute and final resting place his native Oklahoma would not.

Read more:   http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/456773/Jim-Thorpe-faces-losing-its-namesake

Rockland Family Finds Gator In Backyard Pond

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

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

Robert J. Hipp was enjoying his backyard fish pond Friday when he noticed something floating on the surface.

“It looked like an alligator and I thought maybe someone was playing a trick on me and put a plastic alligator in the pond,” Hipp said. “When I reached for it, it went underwater and I knew it was real.”

Upon closer inspection, Hipp said, he saw a 3-foot-long American alligator enjoying a swim. But the gator was also feasting on fish and frogs in the pond.

“We have koi in the pond and usually have a net over it because the blue herons will swoop down and take the fish,” Hipp said. “Herons can clean out a pond in no time.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=406034

Jim Thorpe: Revitalization Success Story – Pottstown: Umm, No…

Postcard picture from 1915 of a "bird's e...

Image via Wikipedia

I drove up to Jim Thorpe today thinking it would be cooler in the mountains (not) and because it is a funky place (this was not my first visit, hence I already knew it was funky).

Jim Thorpe is the county seat of Carbon County.  Carbon County has a total land area of 387 square miles and 65,249 residents, based on the 2010 Census (a population density of 171 persons per square mile).  Jim Thorpe’s population was 4,804 (2000 census) with a land area of 14.5 square miles (mostly undeveloped, obviously).  Carbon County borders Lehigh County to the south and Luzerne County to the north.

Jim Thorpe was originally two towns across the Lehigh River from one another – Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk.  The two towns merged and adopted the name Jim Thorpe, after famed Native American Olympian Jim Thorpe who is buried in the borough.  Originally, what is now Jim Thorpe was a railroad and coal-shipping center.  Like many Pennsylvania towns, Jim Thorpe found itself on the downside of post-industrialization and languished for many years.  Becoming Jim Thorpe was the first attempt to boost the local economy.  This offered only limited success and so the town leadership needed to find other means of ramping up their economy.

Today, Jim Thorpe is a bustling small town that has become a destination (are we paying attention Pottstown?) using its natural surrounding, its heritage and some good marketing. 

Jim Thorpe has capitalized on being a former railroad town.  You can take an awesome train ride along the Lehigh River.  During the trip you learn about local history, play games and answer questions.  It is very enjoyable and affordable.  Asa Packer and his son Harry Packer have mansions in Jim Thorpe.  Asa’s mansion is a museum and Harry’s mansion is a B&B.  Asa Packer founded the Lehigh Valley Railroad and Lehigh University.

Jim Thorpe is a river town.  The Lehigh River runs between both sides of town.  Taking advantage of being a river town, Jim Thorpe offers whitewater rafting on the Lehigh. 

Jim Thorpe is also a mountain town.  It’s called the “Switzerland of America”.  Taking advantage of being in the mountains, the town offers mountain biking and hiking.  They threw in paintball just because.  And don’t forget the Anthracite Triathlon, paying homage to being a coal-shipping center and part of the Coal Region.

Jim Thorpe is a historic town, full of 19th century architecture.  One can see examples of Federalist, Greek Revival, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Queen Anne and Richardsonian RomanesqueSt. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the Carbon County Courthouse, the Packer Mansions, the Train Station, the Hotel Switzerland, historic Broadway, the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Building and the Carbon County jail are some of the architectural attractions in town.

Jim Thorpe is so cool.  How cool is it??  Jim Thorpe was listed as number 7 on Budget Travel magazine’s America’s Coolest Small Towns in 2009.

Downtown Jim Thorpe is full of restaurants, bars, boutiques and stores of all kinds.  No empty buildings or mental health drop-in center.  Everything is clean and neat.  There is signage every where so you can find your way.  There is plenty of cheap parking…you have to pay but it is only a few dollars for the day.  There is plenty of foot and vehicular traffic coursing through the downtown.  Keep in mind this town has 4,804 people (or there about – not finding 2010 census results yet) and their downtown puts Pottstown’s to shame.  What’s wrong with that picture?  Jim Thorpe is 4 ½ time smaller than Pottstown, off the beaten path (Carbon County is not exactly Montgomery County with 800,000 people) and yet this town still finds ways to revitalize and thrive, even in a bad economy.

Would you suppose the Mayor of Jim Thorpe nuzzles the ear of the Carbon County Commissioners at local events and undermines the borough council’s downtown revitalization strategy and possibly harms a local business?  Would you suppose the Mayor of Jim Thorpe goes on the local radio station and bad-mouths borough council or that his/her spouse calls borough council a bunch of idiots while storming out of a meeting?  Would you suppose the Mayor of Jim Thorpe blows off out-of-town visitors and embarrasses borough council by promising to do something and then not doing it?

What do you suppose Jim Thorpe’s secret it?  Would you think the borough leadership came up with a plan and sticks with it?  Would you think there is a vision for Jim Thorpe and that the leadership works together and speaks with one voice?  Would you think taking advantage of a town’s history and natural surroundings is as good idea? Would you think creating a destination environment to attract repeat visitors is a good strategy?  Do you think embracing art and culture is a good strategy?  Jim Thorpe does.

Obviously, we are doing something very wrong in Pottstown that we are put to shame by a little mountain town in rural Carbon County.  They have left us in the dust.