Pottstown Mayor Bonnie Heath Tops Roy’s Rants Most Wanted List

I never thought the day would come when someone in this community would irritate me more than Mr. Hylton.  However, that day has now arrived.

Mayor Heath’s recent behavior is that of a petulant child.  The mayor stormed out of the last Pottstown Borough Council meeting after not getting her way on a vote.  Following close behind was her husband (Mr. Mayor), who as I reported in my last council coverage, made a derogatory comment about the collective intelligence of our council.

Pottstown has a weak mayor, strong council form of government.  We employ a professional manager (Jason) and the council dictates the course of action we take as a community.  Everyone takes direction from council.  Those seven elected officials, representing each ward of our borough, make the decisions that shape our future.  The Office of the Mayor is ceremonial (aka spirit bunny/ribbon cutter) and in the event of a tie vote on council the mayor is called on to cast the deciding vote.  The mayor also “oversees” the police department, which again appears to be fairly ceremonial as Chief Flanders runs the department.

After Bonnie’s stellar performance last month she went on WPAZ to bad mouth council and whine about the PDIDA vote, which Mo Gallant reported on her Pottstown’s Blog.  Again, is this a professional way for a mayor to act?  She may only be ceremonial; however, she is an elected official!  I suggest Bonnie run for council if being mayor does not have enough “teeth” for her liking.  Stop trying to make your job more important than it is!

Now we come to the most disturbing and egregious offense the mayor committed recently.  During the dedication ceremony at Pottsgrove Manor a few weekends ago, Bonnie approached two Montgomery County Commissioners and pushed for the PDIDA Downtown Lighting Project to be the number one priority for funding as Pottstown’s revitalization project.  Pottstown Borough Council had already voted and approved the Gallery School project as our top priority in March.  A presentation was made to Montgomery County, by the borough, supporting the Gallery School project as our number one priority for funding.  There was much debate by the Councilors about what Pottstown’s priority project should be at March’s council meeting.  A roll call vote was requested by President Toroney and the Gallery School project won.  This should have been the end of any debate!

In Bonnie’s “talks” with the Commissioners she relayed that the Galley School would profit greatly if the county funded the purchasing of their building.  This “information” was taken back to the committee who decides the funding.  This “information” is one of the reasons cited for their hesitation in funding the Gallery School project.  The final decisions have yet to be made, but Pottstown may get cut out completely for this round of revitalization dollars.  Once again, it appears to the county that Pottstown does not have its act together – a common complaint from them.  Unity of vision and speaking with one voice is essential when applying for grants and any kind of funding.  The ULI Report remarked that Pottstown’s in-fighting was a serious problem.

I must say this behavior is shocking.  This one woman side-show could not only hurt Pottstown but it could hurt one of the few businesses on High Street.  Council has gotten its act together and has worked better as a group lately.  They can agree to disagree.  As Councilor Gibson stated after Bonnie stormed out of the meeting – he doesn’t get mad when a vote doesn’t go his way; he has to respect his fellow Councilors and the will of the majority.  That is how things work in a democracy.  This meddling by the mayor could seriously jeopardize our downtown revitalization.  The mayor should be held directly responsible for any negative repercussions that her loose cannon behavior causes.  I again call upon Pottstown Borough Council to formally reprimand/censure, whatever terminology you would like to use, Mayor Bonnie Heath for totally overstepping her authority as Mayor of Pottstown; and knowingly and willfully undermining a binding vote of council (toward the revitalization of our central business district.)

Lastly, Mayor Heath was asked to do something that actually falls within her limited realm of mayoral responsibilities.  The mayor was asked to speak at a welcoming event for a family who is bicycling across the United States.  They were making a stop in Pottstown for the BMX event at Trilogy Park.  The mayor agreed to speak at the welcoming event on May 26th at PMMC.  As part of the welcoming event, the family was to be presented with gift certificates to cover their meals while in town.  The mayor also agreed to go to three restaurants to get donated gift certificates for the family.  On May 26th, the Mayor never showed up at the hospital to welcome the family nor did she speak with any businesses.  After the ride was finished down High St., people went and got the three gift certificates and presented them to the family the next day.  If you check out the family’s blog, they wrote a nice article about their stay in Pottstown.

http://www.ridethenation.org/1/post/2011/05/good-food-good-friends-good-racing.html

The next council meeting is Monday, June 13th at 7:00 p.m. in Pottstown Borough Hall.  If you are as outraged by this behavior as I am, I would invite you to address council during the portion of the meeting that allows residents to comment.

Personally, I think our mayor should resign.  This is disgraceful behavior and harmful to Pottstown.  She should hang her head in shame!

GALLERY SCHOOL OF POTTSTOWN AND BOSCOV’S PARTNER FOR 5TH ANNUAL FASHION PLATES FUNDRAISER

Pottstown, PA – Spring is here, which means that it is time once again to join the Gallery School of Pottstown as they host their annual Fashion Plates fundraiser on Sunday, April 10th, from 1-4 pm at Brookside Country Club.  Now in its 5th year, the theme of this year’s event is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and promises to be a fabulous time for all who attend.

“As always, we are happy to hold our Fashion Plates fundraiser at Brookside Country Club,” said Cathy Paretti, Gallery Director and co-founder of the Gallery School.  “We are also extremely excited to be working with Boscov’s for this year’s show.  The Gallery School and Boscov’s have fostered a tremendous working relationship, and we are thrilled that they will be on hand to showcase their fantastic styles at our biggest fundraising event of the year.”

Tickets are $60 and include appetizers, lunch, dessert, the fashion show, and an endless supply of Tiffany Punch, this year’s signature drink.  Magical Sight and Sound will provide music for the afternoon, and the Remi from High Street Ballroom will be on hand to present a dance demonstration.  There will also be door prizes and a silent auction running throughout the show.  To purchase tickets, please visit www.galleryonhigh.com, or stop by the Gallery on High at 254 High Street.

The Gallery School of Pottstown is a non-profit organization that aims to provide an excellent education in the arts to both the youth and adults of our community. Our instructors are all professional artists who limit class size for more individualized instruction. We help students to foster their creativity and develop their talents for both their personal enrichment and as a foundation for advanced studies in the arts. The school also offers an after-school program for children in our community, as well as an art camp that runs through the summer and on no school days during the school year.  For more information on the Gallery School of Pottstown please visit www.galleryonhigh.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON FASHION PLATES PLEASE CONTACT:

Cathy Paretti

610-326-2505

254 High Street

Pottstown, PA 19464

cathy@galleryonhigh.com

Gallery School Of Pottstown To Offer Spring Classes

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

Pottstown, PA – Come out of winter hibernation and celebrate the arrival of spring!  The Gallery School has great classes starting in April.  Engage your child in the arts with Creative Kids, a wonderful drawing and painting class, for ages 7 – 12, beginning on April 9.  Kids learn to create in glass with Fused Glass Suncatcher on April 14 or May 14.  For the young artist age 3-6, our Cray Pas class begins April 6.

Get your hands dirty too!  Our Mom and Me Pottery class is the perfect opportunity for a parent and child to create together.  Mom and Me Pottery begins April 7.  Rolley Poley Pals, on April 16, and a fun Canvas Tote class, on May 7, teach your child how to sew.  Does your child love manga or like to draw cartoon characters?  Then our Cartooning class, beginning April 7, is the perfect choice.  Teens can learn to express themselves through art in Teen Studio, beginning April 7 or April 9. 

We didn’t forget the adults either!  Join Introduction to Drawing, beginning April; 7, or learn to use watercolors, oils and pastels in Draw and Paint Studio, starting April 5.  Turn beautiful glass and tiles into art with Mosaics; you can join this fun class on April 2 or April 5.  Our Open Studio Fused Glass class allows beginners to create gorgeous glass art.  If fiber arts are more your style, try our Yo-Yo Flag class on April 5 and 7. 

Students can register online at www.galleryonhigh.org, over the phone at (610) 326-2506 or in person at 254 E. High Street in Pottstown.  Registering now to ensure your spot!

The Gallery School of Pottstown is a 501c3 non-profit community art school and gallery.  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.  The Gallery on High hosts rotating shows featuring local artists.  The Gallery also sells handcrafted, one-of-a-kind gift items.

Cathy Paretti, Co-founder

Contact:  Julie Tonnessen

Email:  julie@galleryonhigh.com

The Gallery School of Pottstown @ Gallery on High

254 E. High St.

Pottstown, PA 19464

Voice:  (610) 326-2506 

Internet:  www.galleryonhigh.org

PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF ART AND ANXIETY

New show opens at the Gallery on High exploring anxiety disorders through Art.

Gallery School of Pottstown @ Gallery on High ** 254 E High St., Pottstown  **  610-326-2506

By order of an inner driving force, something he cannot fight, Dennis Ryan is a conceptual fine artist. He paints, draws and prints about psychological disorders (i.e. anxiety, phobias, depression, mainly focused on OCD — obsessive compulsive disorder).

Why paint about these mental disorders? The artist is raising awareness about how debilitating mental illness can be and because he finds them profoundly interesting! Don’t you? For the mind controls every aspect of our bodies and without healthy minds… we are a bit screwed.

As an up and coming fine artist, Dennis creates his fine art in a studio that’s located in the land where the Amish buggies roll. He finds plenty of inspiration to create art and paint from the cow filled, countryside pastures on the western outskirts of Philadelphia, PA.

He grew up on the south side of Easton, Pennsylvania. His art skills noticeably started to develop in his early childhood years. He moved away from his hometown his freshman year in high school, and with that move, consequently lost a good many of his lifelong friendships. In solitude, his focus turned central to art.

At age 18 he entered the military. Ryan chose this nontraditional path for an artist to help right his life’s direction, and to get money for secondary education through the GI Bill. While in the Navy, even though his drill sergeants and Chief Petty Officers tried to strip his individuality, Ryan continued to express himself and create artwork at every opportunity. In boot camp, he was chosen to paint the company flag, and then also to paint a wall mural in the Naval Hospital on base. Once on the ship, he even graffiti stenciled his job symbol — of a Gunner Mate Missile Tech — onto the back of his military uniform jacket, surprisingly without consequence.

After the military, he went on to fine art studies from PCA&D (Pennsylvania College of Art & Design) in downtown Lancaster, PA, and then on to Millersville University in Millersville, PA where he completed his bachelor’s degree in the arts with honors. He now resides in a county on the outer edge of Philly. This home base affords easy striking distance to many art galleries in central Philadelphia and Lancaster, Pa.

Dennis is creative by nature and has a passion for drawing, printmaking and painting. With artworks on permanent display in Great Lakes, IL, Easton, PA, and Newport, RI, he approaches the creation of his art with a focus on line, shape and color. The art’s concept is vital to his work… after all he is a conceptual artist. He likes to experiment with how line can define itself in the form of the written word, like a signature, and also how the same line can encapsulate and create form. Silhouettes are a recurring theme in Ryan’s fine art as he enjoys their presence and ambiguity.

Conceptual fine artist Dennis Ryan, with painting titled Sensational, outside his studio in Philadelphia, PA.

The Gallery on High is proud to announce our new exhibit “A Journey Through Anxiety,”  running from March 26th through April 23rd.  There will be no opening reception, as the Gallery and the artist feel that this is a show to be experienced by everyone in a personal way.  The Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 – 4:30 and Saturdays from 10 – 3.  We encourage schools and groups in the Greater Pottstown area to take advantage of this exceptional exhibit by arranging a tour of the show.  Please email cathy@galleryonhigh.com if interested in group outings.  There will also be a small exhibit running concurrently with “A Journey Through Anxiety” that will display the artwork of several people who took part in a workshop directed by Dennis with the help of Erika Hornburg-Cooper, executive director of the Gallery School and also education director.  These people have been clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and have found the workshop to be a helpful tool in understanding what they experience on a daily basis.  The workshop was held in partnership with Creative Health Services in Pottstown.

Cathy Paretti

Gallery School of Pottstown

www.galleryonhigh.com

Pottstown Borough Council Supports The Arts

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Image via Wikipedia

One of the agenda items at tonight’s Pottstown Borough Council meeting was:

8.  Motion to approve the submission of an application to the Montgomery County Community Revitalization Board and prioritize from the following projects:

  1. Western Gate
  2. Gallery on High
  3. Pottstown Skyline Lighting Project

Councilor Joe Kirkland made a motion to change the order making the Gallery on High the first priority, the Skyline Project would be second and the Western Gateway would be third. 

After making his motion, Councilor Kirkland spoke in favor of the Gallery on High in downtown Pottstown.  People attending shows, exhibits and classes can then take advantage of their proximity to places like the Brick House, Juan Carlos, Funky Lil’ Kitchen and other downtown bars, restaurants and shops.  In light of the recent budget cuts in Harrisburg, the Gallery School has offered to partner with Pottstown School District in the event arts funding is severely cut or eliminated so students will still have this important educational component.

Councilor Chomnuk disagreed and stated he preferred the Western Gateway be made the number one priority as it would be more beneficial to Pottstown.  Since the Gallery Building was already renovated, Chomnuk did not think the Gallery on High’s project would be approved by the county.

Councilor Allen agreed with Councilor Chomnuk.  She did express her feelings that the Gallery on High does good things but she feels the Western Gateway would be more beneficial.

Councilor Rhoads spoke in favor of the Gallery on High because they are an existing business and contribute to downtown Pottstown.  (If the Gallery could buy their building and make the necessary renovations to the third floor, basement and reconfigure their current layout, the Gallery could contribute even more to downtown Pottstown.)

Councilor Weand spoke in favor of the Gallery on High for many of the same reasons listed above.  He sees the benefit of having a thriving business on High Street that brings people into downtown Pottstown “our mall”.

President Toroney spoke in favor of the Gallery on High. The arts are listed in the Urban Land Institute Report as a way to revitalize downtown Pottstown and we should follow the suggestions of this study.  He also recognizes the contribution the Gallery and TriPAC make to our downtown.  President Toroney and his wife attended “The Crucible” production at the TriPAC and he stated he only recognized about three people.  People are coming into Pottstown from outside the borough to attend these productions.

Councilor Gibson did not speak as he was not present at tonight’s meeting

After much discussion, a roll call vote was taken:

Allen – NO

Chomnuk – NO

Kirkland – Yes

Rhoads – Yes

Weand – Yes

Toroney – Yes

Gibson – absent

Mr. Kirkland’s motion passed making the Gallery on High proposal the borough’s number one priority when applying for these county funds.

Cathy Paretti, Co-Founder and Director of the Gallery addressed Council during the comments from citizen’s present, before the vote.  Mrs. Paretti asked Council to please make this project a priority.  She explained that if the Gallery could buy their building they could make the necessary renovations to expand their presence downtown and services to residents.  Cathy also mentioned that the Gallery has a great relationship with the Pottstown School District and if arts education gets cut from the budget, due to decreased funding from Harrisburg, the Gallery would be there to pick up the slack.  Also present in a show of support was Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Gallery School, Erika Hornburg-Cooper.

Roy’s Rants gives Pottstown Council two thumbs up for supporting an existing downtown business, supporting the arts and paying attention to the ULI Report’s recommendations to move Pottstown forward. 

We hope the county sees the wisdom of this decision.  Jason Bobst, Borough Manager and Erica Weekly, Assistant to the Borough Manager will be presenting this proposal to the county so I feel we are in good hands as they are excellent public speakers who can effectively articulate our needs.