ArtFusion Fundraiser Supports Free Field Trip Program‏

ArtFusion-color600 1Pottstown, PA – ArtFusion 19464, Pottstown’s non-profit community art center, will be holding its summer fundraiser on Saturday, August 13 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at the ArtFusion facility. This annual event gets a new twist this year, as the food offering has been expanded to three types of delicious barbeque.

Proceeds from this fundraiser are very important to ArtFusion’s upcoming fall programming. Funds raised help to provide free field trips to local schools in conjunction with ArtFusion’s fall educational exhibit. This year’s show is titled Reclaim and will feature artwork created from recycled, upcycled and salvaged materials. The artists have been challenged to reclaim the definition of art, to show that creativity and imagination can expand the view of art as just paint and canvas.

Each field trip is tailored to the age of the students and is a fun, interactive learning experience.  Students who visit during Reclaim will learn important facts about the environment, recycling and the newest inventions in the fight to tame our trash. They will also have an opportunity to create a piece of recycled art themselves. In keeping with the theme, field trip facilitators will talk with the students about how we can reclaim control over our how we interact with our world and how we affect the health and well-being of our planet.

Tickets for the fundraiser are only $25. If the event has not sold out, tickets will be available at the door. Tickets can be bought online at, in person at ArtFusion, or over the phone by calling 610-326-2506. Guests can choose a barbeque entrée, or a vegetarian option.

LowResVBCLogoVictory Brewing Company has once again generously donated their amazing beer for this event. The Butcher and The BBQ will be expertly crafting the entrees, and Montesano Bros. will again be creating their amazing side salads. The MOSAIC Community Gardens in Pottstown will be donating a fresh salad for everyone to enjoy. There will be soda and water in addition to Victory beer and homemade desserts to finish off the meal.

Along with enjoying great food and great beer, guests will have the chance to win fun door prizes.  Each guest will receive one door prize chance free with their paid ticket. Additional tickets will be on sale throughout the night. Those who are unable to make the fundraiser can still try their luck by purchasing raffle tickets at the ArtFusion website.

ArtFusionGuests could win a $50 Wegman’s gift card, a Bread of the Month gift certificate from Panera Bread, Steel River tickets, tickets for the Reading Fightin Phils, original artwork and special ArtFusion Experiences, where the winner will work with one of ArtFusion’s talented instructors for a one-of-a-kind creative experience. Topics include stained glass, pottery, fused glass and more.

ArtFusion 19464 is a 501(c)3 non-profit community art center located at 254 E. High St. in downtown Pottstown. The school offers day, evening and weekend classes to all ages. The goal of these classes is to help students develop their creative skills through self-expression and independence. ArtFusion’s gallery hosts rotating shows featuring local artists. The gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.  The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

MCCC Celebrates Earth Day With Sustainability Festival And Speaker

PHOTO: Yalmaz Siddiqui, senior director of environmental and supplier diversity strategy with Office Depot, will deliver an Earth Day presentation titled “Purchasing For Positive Impact,” on April 15 at 12:20 p.m. in the Science Center Theater at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, with a simulcast to the South Hall Community Room at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The presentation is free and is open to the public. Download tickets at

PHOTO: Yalmaz Siddiqui, senior director of environmental and supplier diversity strategy with Office Depot, will deliver an Earth Day presentation titled “Purchasing For Positive Impact,” on April 15 at 12:20 p.m. in the Science Center Theater at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, with a simulcast to the South Hall Community Room at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. The presentation is free and is open to the public. Download tickets at

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will join communities across the world in celebrating Earth Day 2015 with a series of activities that engage students and community members with the institution’s sustainability efforts. For information, visit MCCC’s “Think Green” blog at

While Earth Day itself is observed annually on April 22, MCCC’s celebration kicks off with a Sustainability Festival on April 15 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the quad at Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and in the South Hall Community Room at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Free and open to the public, both events will feature student and College exhibits, as well as information and activities from green vendors and community organizations. The Central Campus festival will also include a student ceramic arts sale and an eco-car exhibit.

Also on April 15, Yalmaz Siddiqui, senior director of environmental and supplier diversity strategy with Office Depot, will deliver a keynote presentation titled “Purchasing For Positive Impact,” at 12:20 p.m. in the Science Center Theater at the Central Campus, with a simulcast to the South Hall Community Room at the West Campus. The presentation is free and is open to the public; however, tickets are required. Free tickets can be reserved and downloaded at

Siddiqui has led global environmental strategy efforts at Office Depot since 2006 and supplier diversity strategy efforts since 2014. He helped initiate and integrate environmental initiatives into all functional areas of the organization, resulting in Office Depot earning the number one rank as America’s “Greenest Large Retailer” by “Newsweek Magazine” for three years.

Office Depot helped MCCC launch its Green Office Initiative in 2013. The initiative empowers offices to progress through a four-tier program based on sustainable purchasing and practices that ultimately save both resources and money. MCCC’s Green Office Initiative earned two awards last year: the Greener Purchasing Award from the Philadelphia Area Collegiate Cooperative and the Community College Leadership in Greener Purchasing Award from Office Depot.

In addition to the public events on April 15, MCCC will host programs for its students, faculty and staff through April 22. These include a World Café-style five-year planning session facilitated by MCCC’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council and a “Service Rewind” celebration that recognizes student community service projects and activities.

Since signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, sustainability has become a core value at Montgomery County Community College and is incorporated into the institution’s strategic plan, core curriculum, and in everyday best practices as they relate to facilities management, campus operations and transportation. Chaired by President Dr. Karen A. Stout, a team of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members comprise the Climate Commitment Advisory Council, which guides sustainability efforts toward attaining carbon neutrality by 2050.

To learn more about the MCCC’s Sustainability Initiative, visit

Tankers In West Virginia Explosion Were Newer, Supposedly Safer Model

The railroad cars involved in the fiery derailment in West Virginia on Monday were a newer model that was supposed to be safer than older tankers blamed in other oil train explosions.

The ruptured cars were built to specifications adopted by the railroad industry in 2011 amid criticism that older tankers were dangerously susceptible to puncture and a risk of explosion. Called CPC 1232 cars, they were also involved in an April 2014 derailment and explosion in Lynchburg, Va.

The specifications for the newer cars were issued by the Association of American Railroads, whose members include major freight carriers in North America. They came amid concerns that older models called DOT-111s, which still carry a majority of the crude oil shipped by rail, were unsafe.

CSX spokeswoman Melanie Cost today confirmed that the ruptured tankers that caught fire were CPC 1232 models.

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Nanticoke Resident Plans Community Garden

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

NANTICOKE, PA – Rebecca Seman wants to see the Nanticoke area community growing.

Mainly vegetables, but she’d like to see people grow some flowers, too.

About a month ago, Seman started the Greater Nanticoke Area Community Garden initiative with the idea of getting area residents interested in sustainable farming. She also wants to organize events to improve the community, including a cleanup and flower-planting at Patriot Square Park this Saturday.

“It’s just something I’ve kind of always wanted to do,” Seman said. “Lately I’ve seen a lot of places around the country are trying to become more sustainable. I’d like to see that in Nanticoke.”

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Organic Gardending Worshops To Be Held In Pottstown

laura-washingtonLaura Washington, Garden Manager for the Mosaic Community Land Trust in Pottstown will hold two organic gardening worships:

  • April 11, 2014 at 10:30am – Pottstown Area Seniors’ Center, 288 Moser Rd, Pottstown

  • April 22, 2014 at 6:00pm – Pottstown Regional Public Library; 500 E. High Street, Pottstown

These free workshops are presented by the TCN Environmental Health and Safety Committee.

To register call 610-705-3301, Ext 2

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Stability Spurs More Growth In Pittsburgh

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slow and steady wins the race: It works for the tortoise, and it seems to be working for Pittsburgh.

The latest annual “Pittsburgh Today and Tomorrow” report by PittsburghTODAY found that Pittsburgh continues to make modest economic progress after years of decline.

PittsburghTODAY is a nonprofit part of the University of Pittsburgh’s University Center for Social & Urban Research that tracks the region’s progress compared with 15 other areas of similar size, geographic and demographic makeups.

Doug Hueck, program director for PittsburghTODAY, highlighted data regarding population growth, unemployment levels and housing appreciation rates as examples of the city’s revival.

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Land Trust Acquisition To Boost Preservation

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

The North Branch Land Trust is about to preserve a 3,000-acre parcel of some of the finest forest land in Pennsylvania.

And, eventually, the goal is to protect an entire mountain ridge and create a protected forest that will run from Mocanaqua north to Crystal Lake and a connection to existing state forest lands.

It will be the North Branch Land Trust’s most significant move in its 21-year history of saving and preserving parcels of varying size. When acquired, the 3,000 acres will boost to 15,000 acres the total land mass preserved via the trust.

One sidelight to the success of the land trust is its support of the trails system being developed in the Delaware and National Heritage Corridor. The land trust is playing a role in extending a trail from Mountain Top to Oliver Mills in Laurel Run Borough and then around the mountain to Northampton Street in Wilkes-Barre Township.

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Highest-Ever CO2 Levels Killing Coral Reefs

This image depicts all of the areas that the M...

This image depicts all of the areas that the Millenium Coral Reef Landsat Archive covers. Red dots indicate coral reef data at the website: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people are by now familiar with the Keeling curve, a graph showing the steady increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere measured over decades by the Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s longest-running CO2 monitoring station.

The research, started by renowned climate scientist Dave Keeling in 1958, is considered one of the pillars of the scientific consensus that human activity is the main driver of climate change. This year, the data revealed a troubling milestone: CO2 concentrations had passed 400 parts per million for the first time since the dawn of human civilization.

Less familiar, but every bit as troubling to climate scientists, is a parallel slope on a different track of climate data: the increase of CO2 in the world’s oceans, which has been climbing almost in lockstep with the Keeling curve. The rising carbon level is cranking up ocean acidity with astonishing speed—probably 10 times faster than at any point in about 50 million years, according to scientists.

Among other concerns, scientists are now increasingly worried that the acidification of the oceans is likely to cause one of the first abrupt, severe and probably irreversible consequences of global climate change: the loss of tropical coral reefs.


Pennsylvania Climate Plan, Recommendations Released

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’s climate action plan arrived just in time for Christmas, but it’s already a year late.

The draft document — an update of a 2009 plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the state — comes out of the Department of Environmental Protection. It’s based on workplans recommended by a 15-person committee representing industry, government and nonprofits.

The legislation that required this report said the update should have been issued at the end of 2012.

The latest climate action plan proposes expanding natural gas distribution pipelines to give more Pennsylvanians access to the fuel. It also advocates encouraging operators of coal mines to capture some of the methane vented into the air before, during, or after mining activity.

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State To Undertake $500,000 Cleanup Of Pottstown Plating

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This is great news!

POTTSTOWN — The state is stepping in to make sure a half-million-dollar environmental cleanup at a closed plating facility in the borough gets completed after the bankrupt owner stopped work.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday it would take over the removal of hazardous materials left over at the former Pottstown Plating on South Washington Street at the intersection with Industrial Highway.

The company, which performed electroplating, opened in 1950 and closed in 2009 just before going bankrupt, according to the DEP.

When the DEP inspected the site in 2009, it found a number of environmental issues that needed to be addressed and the company’s owners hied a contractor to removed hazardous waste there.

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‘Code Orange’ Issued As Air Quality Expected To Be Poor Today

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast an orange air quality action day for ozone on Thursday, July 18, for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.

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PENNVEST Approves $28M For Harrisburg Sinkhole, Water Treatment Projects

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

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

HARRISBURG – Nearly $28 million in loans was approved Tuesday morning to fund sinkhole repairs and water treatment upgrades in the capital city.

The Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority board unanimously approved financing applications from the city and The Harrisburg Authority at its meeting Tuesday.

The Harrisburg Authority is getting $26.9 million; the city, $900,000.

The city’s loan is conditional on transferring ownership of infrastructure to The Harrisburg Authority.

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A 16th-Century Method May Revolutionize Mine Drainage Treatment

A technology dating to the 16th century and built with PVC piping available at any Home Depot or Lowe’s soon will be used to enhance and possibly revolutionize the treatment of abandoned mine drainage, still Pennsylvania’s biggest water quality problem.

The technology, called “trompe,” an old French word meaning trumpet, is a water-powered air compressor with no moving parts.  It has been adapted and developed by Bruce Leavitt, a mining hydrologist and professor of mining engineering at West Virginia University, to provide enhanced aeration of polluted mine water, which speeds the cleanup process.

Use of trompe technology is especially applicable to the hundreds of mine discharges flowing out of the Pittsburgh coal seam in Western Pennsylvania, said Mr. Leavitt, during a walking tour of a trompe-enhanced passive treatment system on the North Fork of Montour Run in Findlay, 2 miles south of the Pittsburgh International Airport.

“Trompe can reduce the size and cost of passive treatment systems for mine drainage,” he said, “And it can take a treatment system that’s not working, or not working well, and clean the water better.”

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Reading CIty Council Awards $5.35 Million Contract To Rebuild Fritz’s Island

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

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

Reading City Council voted unanimously Monday to award a $5.35 million contract to design the rebuilding of the city’s wastewater treatment plant on Fritz’s Island.

“It’s taken us awhile to get here,” Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said. “We’re on the way to making some good progress.”

The contract was awarded to York-based RK&K Inc., the winner after the city weeded out six other firms during what Managing Director Carole B. Snyder called an extensive review process.

Public Works Director Charles M. Jones and plant manager Ralph Johnson said the rebuilding project is expected to cost about $101 million.

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Suburban Areas Becoming More Convenient, City-Like

English: Text that accompanies the ULI logo.

English: Text that accompanies the ULI logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the past two decades, suburban areas have been making a slow transition from car-dependent to people-oriented design, with more options for walking, cycling or public transportation, according to Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization.

ULI recently published a report, “Shifting Suburbs: Reinventing Infrastructure for Compact Development,” detailing how this change is mostly driven by generation Y, who favor the convenience of urban-style living in more densely populated areas.

The U.S. population is expected to increase by 95 million in the next 30 years, and most of the growth will occur in suburban towns, which makes smart suburban land use essential to growth. But redeveloping these areas is harder in practice than in theory, according to the report.

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Michigan And Ohio To Cooperate On Lake Erie Algae

Lake Erie from satellite 2007. Photograph cour...

Lake Erie from satellite 2007. Photograph courtesy of NASA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Officials in Michigan and Ohio promised closer cooperation Wednesday in the quest for solutions to massive algae blooms in Lake Erie, a deadly threat to fish and a turn-off for tourists.

Delegations from both states, including their top environmental protection officials, agreed to push harder for reductions in phosphorus discharges from farms, waste treatment plants and other sources while sharing ideas and supporting research. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pledged technical and financial assistance.

“We all agreed that while more research is needed, that shouldn’t be a barrier to taking action now,” said Susan Hedman, chief of the EPA’s regional office in Chicago. “It’s absolutely clear that we need to reduce nutrient loading to the western end of Lake Erie.”

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Urban Gardening In Philadelphia Teaches Kids Life Skills

This story could be repeated in Pottstown.  The Mosaic Community Land Trust will be doing a community garden here in Pottstown and these great results could be replicated in our own community.

Watch the short but inspiring video:

Metropolitan Philadelphia Air Quality Alert!




Gulf Oil Spill Panel Findings Leaked!

GULF OF MEXICO (May 16, 2010) An oil containme...

Image via Wikipedia

Here is an article about the leaked findings from the presidential panel on the BP Oil Spill Disaster:

Pittsburgh Building Comprehensive Growth Plan With Participation From Thousands Of Residents

Duquesne University's view of the Pittsburgh s...

Image via Wikipedia

Pittsburgh is establishing a comprehensive growth plan to “right size” the city after years of population loss.  Year one has already been completed with thousands of residents taking part in helping to shape a way forward for Pennsylvania’s second largest city.

This plan, which is expected to be completed in 2014, will focus on the following areas in order:

Open spaces and parks – wrapping up

Cultural heritage and preservation – up and running

The next ten have yet to be started:


Public art



City-owned buildings


Economic development




Land Use

The Pittsburgh planning department is enthusiastically seeking participation from city residents!  The cost of this long-range plan is $2.3 million dollars.  Cities are not required to submit comprehensive plans but they can opt to do so.  Only a handful of cities have done this.  Pittsburgh is once again being a leading innovator in their approach to managed growth and sustainability.

These components were not accidentally chosen.  Open space is first because vacant land use will influence every other category on the list.  Pittsburgh has 5,500 acres of open space.   Half is parks and 14,000 vacant lots make up the rest.  Pittsburgh realizes that green space has an impact on property values.

These meetings last two hours and are held on various nights and in several locations around Pittsburgh to maximize citizen involvement.

Pittsburgh is consistently ranked as one of America’s most livable cities.