33rd Annual Dinner Northeast Chapter Of The Pennsylvania Sports Hall Of Fame

The 33rd annual dinner of the Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame will be held on Sunday, October 4th in the DeNaples Center of the University of Scranton, 800 Mulberry Street beginning at 5:00 pm.  This year the Northeast Chapter will induct 10 local athletes.

Tickets are $40.00 per person and $25.00 for children 10 years and up, and may be obtained by contacting Bob Walsh (570) 346-2228 or Alice Foley (570) 346-5796.

The Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization.

iCreate Cafe – The People Chronicles

iCreate Cafe
Ashraf Khalil’s journey brought him, not just from Syria, but through a battle with cancer to wellness and a vegan lifestyle. He has his career and shares not just recipes but his technical skills.

First Friday In Lancaster City Draws Thousands To Downtown For Food, Music and Shopping

Another great First Friday in Lancaster City.  The day appeared to possibly be “iffy” weather wise but despite some ominous looking clouds at one point in the afternoon, the sky cleared in the early evening and the sun came back out.

There were a bevy of food trucks on the plaza next to the Hotel Lancaster. Musicians lined the streets. The pianos are back and we didn’t pass one that somebody was playing.  We even heard some very good jazz being played in Lancaster Square.  People from many cultures mingled and enjoyed the entertainment, shopping, eating and warmer weather.  The Lancaster Police Department was present along with the Ambassadors ensuring everyone behaved themselves.  There was even a break dancing competition going on next to the food trucks that drew a very large crowd.

We also checked out the new pop up pocket park on Prince Street before the First Friday throng arrived. What a nice thing for tourists and city residents, alike.  A coffee company and an ice cream vendor (selling Carmen & David’s ice cream) have set up shop here.  The park makes use of a parking lot which eventually will be a boutique hotel.  The asphalt was been painted, trees and flowers and seating were added.  There was even a television crew there from Blue Ridge Cable TV who were filming and interviewing the vendors.  Many people were checking this out.  When we went by much later in the day it was very full!  People were really liking the space!

Lancaster is such a great example of what revitalization can do for a downtown.  Up until the 90’s there was no reason go to downtown (other than Central Market).  Now, it’s full of shops and restaurants. There are always people on the streets taking advantage of all downtown has to offer.  There is nothing better than spending time in a vibrant city!

To check out Passenger Coffee Roasters, click on


Overhaul Possible For West Mifflin’s Century III Mall

The Century III Mall could be in for a dramatic makeover as the owner considers demolishing part of the complex to provide more retailers with outside entrances and bring in medical offices and a hotel.

A preliminary plan posted — and later removed on Thursday — from the website of the mall’s owner, Las Vegas-based Moonbeam Capital Investments, called for opening the center part of the 1.3 million-square-foot complex so that it would resemble more of a outdoor shopping plaza.

It also called for a movie theater and 14,800-square-foot hotel, as well as transforming a vacant Sears store into medical offices or an assisted living facility.

Calls and email messages left for Moonbeam officials were not returned. However, West Mifflin officials said they had been talking with Moonbeam about the overhaul.

Read more: http://triblive.com/business/headlines/8458529-74/mall-moonbeam-century#ixzz3bXtyh8Hk
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Add $325 Million To Price For Philadelphia Gallery Makeover

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and the Macerich Co. say it will take $325 million in new investment to transform the Gallery at Market East into what they are calling Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia.

That is on top of the $250 million already spent by PREIT to assemble what had been privately owned property in the project area, bringing the total development cost to about $575 million.

The rest of the area still owned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority will be conveyed to the developers as part of the revitalization plan being reviewed by City Council.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150529_Add__325_million_to_price_for_Gallery_makeover.html#F7QlJvyP5ed6ECxM.99

Changing Skyline: Could Haddon Township Be Cool As Collingswood?

Editor’s note:  This is a very good article about how to revitalize an urban walkable community. Maybe some of the Pottstown leadership might take 5 minutes and read something constructive on how to bring about revitalization.  A simple phone call to either of these communities might provide invaluable information.  People like to share their successes!

For years, planners and residents have been trying to understand why Haddon Township isn’t more like Collingswood, the millennial enclave that is South Jersey’s answer to Fairmount and East Passyunk. Situated side by side in Camden County, the two towns are old-school commuter suburbs, with small house lots, good sidewalks, and great transit to Center City. They even share a main street, Haddon Avenue, which runs through the center of both.

The pair are models for what smart-growth advocates call walkable urbanism, but Collingswood’s downtown is by far the buzzier place. You can stroll for blocks along its part of Haddon Avenue, poking into vintage stores, stopping for coffee, enjoying an al fresco meal at a BYOB. In the evenings, it’s common to see pedestrians toting a wine caddy or pushing a stroller.

In Haddon’s downtown, known as Westmont, you might not see any pedestrians for blocks.

Westmont is a frustrating example of potential unrealized. Like Collingswood, it boasts a burgeoning restaurant scene and a weekly farmers’ market. It has some great blocks filled with early 20th-century storefronts that would look at home on Passyunk Avenue. But those destinations are just lonely islands in a stream of dreary strip malls and parking lots.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20150529_Changing_Skyline__Could_Haddon_Township_be_cool_as_Collingswood_.html#fXSPdB7XQKlcWW7o.99

Lancaster City Seeks Proposals For Bulova Building, Adjacent City Property

Lancaster city is formally seeking proposals for the vacant Bulova building and adjacent city-owned property in hopes of connecting a stagnant part of downtown.

The city intends to use eminent domain to take the Bulova building at North Queen and East Orange streets. That means the city would pay fair market value for the property and the building’s lien holders would then be paid.

The city issued requests for proposals on Friday.

Randy Patterson, the city’s economic development and neighborhood revitalization director, said the property is in a critical location downtown.

Read more:


Upscale Eateries Give Struggling Malls A Lift

After perusing a few boutique stores and getting her hair done at Rizzieri Salon & Spa at Moorestown Mall, Jamie McCulloh-Martin decided to go for dinner at Osteria a few doors down.

“I’ve been here more in the last 1½ years since [Osteria] opened than in all of my 22 years living in Moorestown,” said McCulloh-Martin, 50, owner of a physical therapy chain, who ate outdoors with her administrative director, Kelly Casio. “The mall is really changing, and for the better.”

In the new mall world order, you can taste Jose Garces’ tacos at Moorestown Mall, Bobby Flay’s burgers at Cherry Hill Mall, and filet mignon at Morton’s – the Steakhouse at King of Prussia Mall.

The mall and high-end restaurants have struck up a marriage that’s holding on to shoppers longer and generating a better return for powerhouse owners such as Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) and Simon Property Group.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20150524_Upscale_eateries_give_struggling_malls_a_lift.html#61pW5raHst0VyXYE.99

10 Reasons To Visit Downtown York This Summer

If you love bacon, beer and the beach, then a trip to York City might be worth your while this summer.

Downtown York might not be the island vacation you’ve been dreaming about, but you will be able to feel the sand between your toes during at least one York event this summer.

We spoke with Downtown Inc. marketing director Meagan Feeser and some downtown businesses about some of the events, attractions and activities coming to the city in the next few months.

See all ten reasons by clicking here:


In The Lead: Carnegie / The Comeback Continues

Hans and Virginia Gruenert wanted to start a theater company when they lived in New York City. That’s where you’d do something like that.

But Off the Wall Theater Co. was destined to be born in Western Pennsylvania when Mr. Gruenert’s work brought the couple here in 2007. And after five years in Washington, Pa., they found a better fit in Carnegie.

Their decision happened to mesh with the borough’s trajectory of late.

The economic doldrums that gripped the region for years didn’t miss Carnegie. Then in 2004, when Chartiers Creek overran the business district as a remnant of Hurricane Ivan, dozens of businesses were damaged and many did not return.

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Conshohocken AMBUCS’ Ninth Annual Restaurant Rally Set For May 17

CONSHOHOCKEN, PA – According to one French proverb, “A good meal ought to begin with hunger.”

Conshohocken Restaurant Rally organizer Vince Flocco isn’t about to try one-upping the French when it comes to matters of cuisine. But Flocco would add this for food-lovers who plan to participate in Conshohocken AMBUCS’ ninth annual Restaurant Rally Sunday, May 17 from noon to 4:30 p.m.:

“You really have to pace yourself. You’re not getting a full meal at these restaurants, but when you have 20 or so offering a very generous taste, it’s a substantial amount of food by the time the day ends. People can always use the shuttle buses (provided as part of the Rally) to get from restaurant to restaurant. But, maybe, it’s best to just walk it off.”

Walk or ride, no one leaves hungry. Restaurant Rally tickets are $60, and you’d be hard-pressed to find more bang for your buck.

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Progress 2015: Wilkes-Barre, Pittston Lead Charge In Revamping Downtown Ecomomic Atmosphere

Shopping outside from store to store has almost become a thing of the past in some areas. But don’t tell that to downtowns in the Wyoming Valley, especially Wilkes-Barre and Pittston.

Downtown shopping in both communities is thriving thanks to the advancements each city has made over the past several years. Couple that with the excitement and enthusiasm of business owners and residents and youv’e got a recipe for success. The success in downtown Wilkes-Barre starts with Public Square.

Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association President John Mayday, who is a resident of South Wilkes-Barre and does all of his shopping in the downtown area, said the excitement and enthusiasm is something he hasn’t seen before. And it can only get better, he said.

“New businesses are constantly moving in,” he said. “Our mission is to create the opportunities for our customers and residents to come downtown. They’re been absolutely well-received by the public.”

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#1In the fall of 2008 Ron Garza, chef-proprietor of Juan Carlos Fine Mexican Cuisine on High Street in Pottstown, was scouting locations to realize his dream of opening a fine dining restaurant.  Classical guitarist Russell Ferrara was, at that time, in the eighth year of disability from his lifelong music career. He was taking baby steps, post spinal surgery, to reactivate his performance activities.  He had just accepted an invitation join the music faculty of the soon to be opened Steel River Playhouse.

In early 2009 Ferrara began to notice construction activity at the northwest corner of High and Penn Streets just three doors down from Steel River Playhouse.  Spring brought signage which indicated that the storefront was becoming a Mexican restaurant. When work was nearly complete he walked in unannounced and began playing amidst the construction. Garza hired him on the spot and the two have remained close since.  Ferrara returned to Juan Carlos on Friday nights a few weeks ago after an eight-month absence during which he was on the road with his group Lackawanna Sky featuring Native American Flute player David Rose. Lackawanna Sky broke out at the April 2014 Launch Festival in Lancaster, PA where they were signed by Spirit Wind Records.  They subsequently toured in Georgia and Wisconsin, returning to PA to perform at the Kipona and Spirit of Oneness festivals in Harrisburg and in a continuing series of weekend performances in the Central Market of Lancaster. They are finishing up their first album and will return to Georgia in June.  Surprisingly, Ferrara credits much of this success to his tenure at Juan Carlos.

“I was introduced to the Native American flute at Juan Carlos,” Ferrara states. “On a quiet night I noticed a woman had lingered long past dessert. She approached me asking if I could wait ten minutes until she returned. She returned with a case full of flutes, chose one, announced the key and off we went!”  Within three weeks, the duo had made a demo and been accepted to perform at the 2010 International Native American Flute Association festival.”  That partnership did not work out long term but the recordings circulated and came to the attention of David Rose of Elizabethtown. Ferrara again: “David contacted me in June of 2013 as I was leaving for a tour with Candace Keach, Principal Flute of the Macon Symphony. Not long after I returned David and I gave our first ever performance at Juan Carlos.”

For his part, Garza was busy during Ferrara’s absence as well. Juan Carlos was nominated in two categories of the WPHL 17 ‘Hot List’ competition.  Garza brought home a win in the “Best Mexican” category as well as a second place in the “Best BYOB” category.  In addition, Garza collaborated with Steve Armstrong of Armstrong Ales in East Pikeland to create the first ever Mexican-style lager brewed in Pennsylvania.  Garza credits Ferrara with lending a hand in the first year the restaurant was open. “I guess we were a little green when we first opened.” Garza stated. “Russ introduced me to Anthony Bellapigna of sister restaurants Ariano and Fellini’s in Media, PA.  We met with him on a night that Russ was playing at Ariano.  Anthony helped me to streamline the menu.  He sent one of his best managers to Juan Carlos and made lots of great suggestions. Russ has been with me since the beginning.”

The two often talk about their goals and display a genuine regard for each other’s artistry. “I’m a foody,” Ferrara states. “My father owned restaurants and cooking is my hobby. I immediately noticed the passion and creativity that Ron displays in the kitchen.” Garza’s response to that was simply, “Yes, Russ and I are the same in that way.”

Juan Carlos, 235 E High St. Pottstown is open 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday. Catering is available anytime in the Wine Cellar.  Ferrara holds forth every Friday night.

Lancaster, Strasburg Among Top 10 Most Beautiful Towns In Pennsylvania

WP_20150413_15_01_39_ProThe folks at the Culture Trip recently released its guide to the 10 most beautiful towns in Pennsylvania, and two of their choices are located here in Lancaster County.

Related: Central Market among top 10 fresh markets in the world

Lancaster city was lauded for its “unique shops and boutiques, a plethora of outstanding restaurants and a beautiful countryside,” while Strasburg was recognized for its railroad attractions and its countryside, which was described as “rich in history and beauty.”

Related: Lancaster dog park tops list of 10 best amazing dog parks in U.S.

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Three Pop-Up Beer Gardens This Year From PHS

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Pop-Up Garden has been annual warm-weather hit – what with the transformation of a vacant lot into an urban oasis, complete with beer and great food.

Why not do three of them this year?

PHS plans to set up in new spots in East Passyunk and Logan Square and to return to 1438 South St., starting the first week of June. The closing date for each beer garden is October 1.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/Three-pop-up-beer-gardens-from-PHS.html#eLQfqpkxFaEqp1Mz.99

Hotel Bethlehem Named Among Top 100 U.S. Brunch Restaurants

Hotel Bethlehem has earned a hat trick of brunch awards.

For the third year, the hotel’s Sunday Musical Brunch in the Tap Room has earned a spot in the top 100 brunches list from OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards.

The list is compiled by five million reviews through the last year from OpenTable diners, according to a news release.

Read more:


Hazleton Alliance Predicts Revitalized Downtown With Strategic Plan Completion

HAZLETON, PA — If the strategic plan for the continued revitalization of downtown Hazleton becomes a reality, the planner believe Broad Street will again be filled with shoppers, students, employees and neighbors, bringing fresh blood, an improved streetscape and a much needed increase in economic activity.

The five-year plan, which outlines specific strategies for achieving goals, was finalized last week after nearly a year of meetings, surveys and pubic input.

Krista Schneider, executive director of the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, the non-profit organization which commissioned and coordinated the effort, credits its Board of Directors, area leaders and Hazleton residents for their support of the project and willingness to “think outside of the box” when it comes to the city’s future.

Schneider said the effort reflects goals directed by Pennsylvania’s Main Street Program, a four-pronged approach that includes organization, promotion, restructuring and design.

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Vote Clears The Way For Food Trucks In York City

Free-market ideology narrowly overpowered fears of the unknown Tuesday with the York City Council’s 3-2 vote to legalize and regulate food trucks on city streets.

The decision marks the end of a long and sometimes divisive debate over the financial impact roving restaurants could have on traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.

Where some saw food trucks as a potential boon for a growing downtown business landscape, others saw a potentially diluted customer base wreaking havoc on profit margins.

In the end, mobile food proponents got what they’d asked for and more.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/ci_27869256/vote-clears-way-food-trucks-york-city

Fly Magazine Keep South Central Pennsylvania Up To Date On Entertainment, Dining and Nightlife

http://flymagazine.net/ is a great site to visit if you live in or visit Lancaster, York or Harrisburg.  Keeps you up to date on what’s going on, events, dining, music and arts and culture.  Happy Friday!