Police Probe Pottstown Shooting, Victim Flown To Lehigh Hospital

Editor’s note:  Unfortunately, I was almost right in the middle of this tonight.  Getting a little too close for comfort.  I think the Attorney General’s Mobile Task Force is sorely needed.  Much of the crime in Pottstown is drug related.  It’s time to get serious and ferret out these criminals.  This needs to be the first order of business, not tourism. People are not going to flock to Pottstown if it is NOT SAFE! You are putting the cart before the horse.

POTTSTOWN – A shooting that took place in the area of a downtown alley Wednesday evening resulted in at least one victim being taken by car to the hospital and then flown by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Hospital for further treatment.

The patient’s condition and name were unavailable at press time.

Personnel at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center refused to provide any information or even confirm a shooting victim was or had been in the hospital.

However, The Mercury learned from another source that a patient flown from the hospital’s helicopter pad was the shooting victim.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150211/police-probe-pottstown-shooting-victim-flown-to-lehigh-hospital

Borough Of Pottstown & Pottstown School District Joint Meeting On Fair Funding For Schools

Join us at a joint meeting of the Pottstown School Board and Borough Council on Thursday, January 29th, 7:00 pm at Rupert Elementary School. Mr. Larry Feinberg, a member of the State Circuit Riders team, will talk and answer questions about what is being done to bring fair funding to public education. Hear what your elected officials from both the School Board and the Borough have to say about the issues. Before the meeting, a tour of Rupert will be given at 6:30 pm. See links below for more information.

Belovich Announces Bid For 4th Ward Council Seat In Pottstown

Editor’s note:  We endorse Ross Belovich for 4th Ward Councilor.  We think he would be a wonderful addition to the borough government and brings may good ideas on how to move Pottstown forward.  Something that is desperately needed!

POTTSTOWN, PA = Within days of Pottstown Borough Council President Stephen Toroney announcing he will not seek another term representing the Fourth Ward, another Democrat has announced his candidacy.

North Hanover Street resident Ross Belovich, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for mayor in 2013, has thrown his hat into the ring.

In an announcement posted on Facebook, Belovich wrote that “I believe that individually we can do good, but together we can do great.”

Toroney announced he would not seek a fifth term at the end of the Jan. 12 council meeting.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150116/belovich-announces-bid-for-4th-ward-council-seat-in-pottstown

Pottstown Borough Council President Toroney Won’t Seek A 5th Term

Editor’s note:  We hope this leadership change will usher in a new era of reduced crime and economic prosperity for Pottstown. The taxpayers have waited long enough to see their tax burden lessened and to feel safe in their homes.

POTTSTOWN, PA - Borough Council President Stephen Toroney announced Monday night that he will not seek election to a fifth term in the November election.

Toroney read from a prepared statement, saying “the decision not to run was easy.”

He did not elaborate.

However, he did choke up slightly when he said “what will be difficult is not serving this borough which I love.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150112/pottstown-borough-council-president-toroney-wont-seek-a-5th-term

Pottstown Beech Street Lofts Project Gets Council Approval

While details at this time are not available, the Citizens Action Committee for Pottstown is reporting that Pottstown Borough Council has approved the Beech Street Lofts project for the old Fecera’s building.  The building is currently vacant and in need of redevelopment.

This project will stabilize the neighborhood, provide traction for the arts community (ArtFusion 19464 and Steel River Playhouse) and send a clear message that Pottstown is serious about revitalization.  We believe this will be the transformative project that jump starts a wave of redevelopment in the borough.

You can find more information about the project here: https://www.facebook.com/beech.streetlofts?fref=ts

Harmony and Unity in Pottstown…

Roy:

We here at Roy’s Rants wholeheartedly support the Fecera’s project as the needed catalyst for revitalization in Pottstown Borough. One large project that is successfully completed will demonstrate to other developers and investors that the climate has changed. A large, empty building does nothing except breed blight and crime. A restored, well lighted and full building will transform a neighborhood. Council needs to approve this project for the betterment of Pottstown. Failure to do so will contribute to the downward spiral of this once great community.

Originally posted on Corruption, Cronysim, Poverty Pimps in Pottstown, Pa:

That’s a rare sighting in this little borough.

If you happen to be among those Pottstownians who aren’t sure they can get behind the Beech St. Lofts project, a couple things to think about:

Pottstown has only ONE non-profit, community art gallery/school – ArtFusion19464 – in fact, ArtFusion just celebrated TEN YEARS in Pottstown. It’s pretty phenomenal that the gallery/school has weathered their own financial storms and the years long national economic downturn.  It is cause for celebration…

Declining conditions in Pottstown haven’t exactly been a boon to their business either – but again – the art gallery/school is a SURVIVOR!!

The High St. building that ArtFusion has occupied for lo these many years is on the market, FOR SALE. ArtFusion’s future might have lingered in the balance instead…

The vision for the Beech St. Lofts nicely dovetailed with their own desire to grow, to have more space for the arts, to…

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All Hell Breaks Loose In Pottstown Over The Weekend….Again

Pottstown Borough Hall

Pottstown Borough Hall

Apparently, the inmates are running the asylum in good old Pottstown.  Several shootings, one fatal stabbing and a gas leak happened over the weekend. Sounds like your tax dollars are hard at work. Apparently, council is adding $6 million to the budget bringing it to $44 million.  Frankly, that should include a dozen more police officers and somebody should be reaching out to county and state officials for help.  This mess needs cleaned up once and for all.  It’s the same crap, in the same part(s) of town, over and over again.  We all know it’s drug related, gang related or a turf war etc…  Hey, Ma, “Pass the Section 8 housing please.  I want a heapin’ helpin’ so I can smother it in drugs.”  Happy Thanksgiving, Pottstown style.  Who needs mashed potatoes and gravy ;).  We sure know who the turkey is!

If you check out the Mercury, you can read all about it: http://www.pottsmerc.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/pottstown.mercury.

I can tell you people are scared.  They are afraid to take out their trash at night, drive through town at night etc…  The comments on Facebook by residents are upsetting to read.  You can feel the anger, fear, frustration and almost panic in their comments.  Some think it’s hopeless.

So I say to you, pack the council chambers for meetings and express your outrage to the people who hold the purse strings and can actually do something about it.  Pressure them to clean up Pottstown. They will cave in and do something if enough people complain.  But if the same 20 people show up at meetings every month they pass all this off as a few malcontents and naysayers causing problems. They are more interested in speed traps and tourism than public safety.

There is a bigger problem here than the leadership is willing to admit.  The “keep a lid on the powder keg” strategy has been an #epicfail and proactive policing needs to happen.  Stop putting lipstick on a pig and start throwing money at a huge public safety issue!  People are dying, isn’t that enough motivation?????

Hazleton PA and Pottstown PA By The Numbers

Reading the City of Hazleton’s 2015 Proposed Budget got me thinking about spending and waste.  These two towns are a good comparison because of population, ethnic diversity, demographics and even physical size.  Pottstown’s budget is more than 4 times are large as Hazleton’s, so here are some numbers to ponder courtesy of http://www.CityData.com:

 

Population:

Hazleton (2012) 25,224

Pottstown (2012) 22,480

 

Races:

Hazleton –

  • White alone – 14,580 (57.9%)
  • Hispanic – 9,717 (38.6%)
  • Black alone – 422 (1.7%)

Pottstown –

  • White alone – 15,377 (68.7%)
  • Black alone – 4,147 (18.5%)
  • Hispanic – 1,785 (8.0%)

 

Physical size (land area):

Hazleton is 5.97 square miles

Pottstown is 4.83 square miles

 

Crime rate – U.S. average = 296.6:

Hazleton (2012) 306.3

Pottstown (2012) 434

 

Police Department size:

Hazleton – 38 officers, hiring 10 new police officers built in the $9.3 million proposed budget (they think they have a crime problem).

Pottstown -46 officers, (they don’t think they have a crime problem)

 

Unemployment:

Hazleton – July 2013, 12.8%

Pottstown – July 2013, 6.7%

 

Population density:

Hazleton – 4,222 people per square mile

Pottstown – 4,655 people per square mile

 

Municipal Budget:

Hazleton – $9.3 million (2015 Proposed budget)

Pottstown – $44.8 million (2015 Proposed budget)

 

Cost of living index:

Hazleton – 95.3 (near average, U.S. average is 100)

Pottstown – 103.7 (near average, U.S. average is 100)

 

Average home value:

Hazleton – $93,389 (2012)

Pottstown – $134,796 (2012)

 

Average rent:

Hazleton – Median gross rent in 2012: $631

Pottstown – Median gross rent in 2012: $762

 

Estimated median household income:

Hazleton – $30,492 (2012)

Pottstown – $41,864 (2012)

 

Registered sex offenders:

Hazleton – there were 10 registered sex offenders living in Hazleton, Pennsylvania as of November 10, 2014

Pottstown – there were 49 registered sex offenders living in Pottstown, Pennsylvania as of November 10, 2014

Tourism District Proposed For Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA – Officials are hoping that as the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, a collective effort of the borough’s revitalization efforts will result in greater sums of grant money and tourist dollars.

Steve Bamford, executive director of Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. outlined a plan to borough council Tuesday that would see the many attractions clustered near Pottstown’s western gateway joining together in pursuit of funding and marketing.

The joint undertaking as part of a “tourism and recreation district” includes: Pottsgrove Manor, the Carousel at Pottstown, theColebrookdale Railroad, Manatawny Green miniature golf, Memorial Park with the splash park and Trilogy Park BMX track, Montgomery County Community College’s art gallery, the Schuylkill River Trail,Riverfront Park and the Schuylkill Heritage Area’s River of Revolutions interpretive center.

“There are some in place, some underway and some nearly ready,” Bamford told The Mercury Friday, referring to the state of the various sites.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141014/tourism-district-proposed-for-pottstown

Sustainability: Pottstown Eyes Environmental Balance

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA – As any farmer can tell you, use any resource faster than it can be replaced — be it wood, water, money or patience — and eventually it will run out.

To put it simply, it’s not sustainable.

And where does that leave those who come after you?

Recognizing a responsibility to maintain a sustainable balance and to ensure resources are available to future generations, Pottstown may soon become the third municipality in Montgomery County to adopt a “sustainability plan.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20141012/sustainability-pottstown-eyes-environmental-balance

Tourism Touted As Means To Rejuvenate Pottstown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — “Tourism” might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you say “Pottstown,” but as far as Bill Fitzgerald is concerned, that won’t be true for long.

Fitzgerald is the president of the newly reconstituted Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board and he was in town last week to talk to Pottstown Borough Council about how his organization can help promote what Pottstown has to offer.

Tourism is on the upswing in Montgomery County, Fitzgerald said, and Pottstown is well-positioned to benefit from that trend, Fitzgerald said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140908/tourism-touted-as-means-to-rejuvenate-pottstown

Pottstown School Board Vice President Dennis Wausnock Dies At 77

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — The word most spoken by those reflecting on Tuesday’s death of longtime public official Dennis Wausnock, who served in public offices in the borough for more than 20 years, was “dedicated.”

Wausnock, 77, died Tuesday at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center after a long battle with congestive heart failure.

A U.S. Air Force veteran of the Korean War, Wausnock’s public service included 16 years on the Pottstown Borough Council, where he served as both vice president and president.

He was three years into his second four-year term on the Pottstown School Board, also serving as vice president, when he passed away.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140820/pottstown-school-board-vice-president-dennis-wausnock-dies-at-77

(Updated) Potential Pottstown Airport Operator Works From Limerick

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — Two proposals for becoming the next fixed base operator of the Pottstown Municipal Airport came in last week and borough council will likely approve the one from the company that already operates out of a nearby airport in Limerick.

Both Fare Share Ltd. of Limerick and Weston Inc. of Barto submitted proposals to succeed TNT Air Inc. as the Pottstown airport’s operator, council learned Wednesday at its committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Fare Share, which runs a pilot school and a charter company at Heritage Field in Limerick, received the borough staff’s recommendation to take over duties at the Pottstown Municipal Airport.

“They put together a pretty strong proposal,” Assistant Borough Manager Erica Weekley told council. “We ranked them first.”

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140806/limerick-airport-operator-likely-to-add-duties-at-pottstown-municipal

Clock Is Ticking On Consolidating 4 Pottstown Fire Companies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — For more than three years, borough government has been urging Pottstown’s four independent fire companies to come up with some plan for consolidating.

Earlier this month, the clock started ticking for real when the borough issued a letter to all four companies notifying them that the fire service agreement between them and the borough would be terminated at the end of the year and starting in 2015, the borough will only sign one fire services agreement with a single, consolidated fire company.

Unlike the police department, fire protection in Pottstown is not under the direction of borough government, but instead is provided by four independent volunteer fire companies over which Pottstown Fire Chief Richard Lengel has operational control during a fire.

But in matters of their own affairs, such as finances, the election of officers and the like, the fire companies are independent.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140722/clock-is-ticking-on-consolidating-4-pottstown-fire-companies

A Must See Video About A Rental Unit In Pottstown – Contains Adult Language

Sly Fox Planning To Move Goat Races To Pottstown

POTTSTOWN, PA — If Jixxer hopes to repeat as Sly Fox Goat Race champion or Spartacus wins legitimately, it appears that it will have to be done in Pottstown, not East Pikeland, next year.

Sly Fox has let borough officials in Pottstown know of plans to move the annual spring Bockfest to Pottstown’s Circle of Progress from its traditional location at the brew pub along Route 113.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140709/sly-fox-planning-to-move-goat-races-to-pottstown

Our Thoughts On Last Night’s Pottstown Borough Council Meeting

Editor’s comments:  Below I have reprinted the text from Katy Jackson’s heartfelt speech with my thoughts.  Love her or hate her, Katy cannot be accused of taking the path of least resistance.  The time Katy has put into trying to make Pottstown a better place is enormous.  There are plenty of other things she could be doing with her time.  Katy gets no pay, Mr. Toroney yet she puts in countless hours working toward the betterment of Pottstown and has plenty to show for her efforts, it in terms of accomplishments. Yes, I know you work full-time.

It angered me that Katy was interrupted and told to “wrap it up” at only 4 minutes.  It showed a complete lack of respect and civility.  Mrs. Jackson is WELL AWARE of the time limit for citizen comments.  She was reading a prepared text, which she timed.  That fact that she was the ONLY person interrupted tells me her words hit too close to home.  The truth hurts. 

All this blustering and obfuscation needs to stop, along with blaming the taxpayers.  It pisses them off as you were told last night.  I hope you heard that loud and clear. 

Mr. Toroney, you know being a Councilor is time-consuming, yet you keep running for re-election.  You know it pays virtually nothing, yet you keep running for re-election.  Either the job is your joy and sacred duty or a time-sucking pain in the ass, it cannot be both.

After introducing herself as a representative of the Citizens Action Committee of Pottstown, Katy said:

Mr. Toroney, you’ve taken the path of least resistance in your lengthy term (15 ½ years) on council.  Art Markman, PhD, a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas and Director of the Program in the Human Dimensions of Organizations, writes ‘the path of least resistance’ asThe psychologist Tom Ward points out that when we think about anything, we follow the path of least resistance.  Without realizing it, we instantly and automatically categorize every situation we see based on our previous experience.  So, despite our best efforts to do something bold and new, our memory drives us back to things tried and true.  Our efforts at creativity are thwarted before they get on track.

Several years ago, you made a comment to a council person that “you don’t get paid enough”.   Yet, you have vied to retain your seat and you’ve accepted the position of Council President, more than once.  Have you failed to understand that serving as an elected official is not about the money?  Or is it…?  Mr. Toroney, if being on council is your “sacred duty” as you professed last night, then may I suggest you actually do something.  Last night would have been the perfect opportunity for a list of accomplishments that you, as Council President, achieved which propelled Pottstown forward.

Given that the process was in place and, taxpayers covered the costs to seek a qualified outside borough manager, you took the path of least resistance.  This is the $120,000 question.  If Pottstown Borough government operated in the real world, a more experienced person would be Borough Manager and making a more reasonable salary considering the size of the local government.  Also, a more experienced person would have realized if you spend more money than you bring in, you create a deficit.  There is no “extra” money in the budget to reward our friends with promotions and raises, to buy a new car, to hand out iPads, or spend money on consultants that we planned on ignoring all along.  Taxpayers are smarter than you think.

When it was time to select a new Police Chief for Pottstown, you made no pretense about choosing the path of least resistance.  Again, in the real world, people are held to metrics and performance goals.  I supervised people for over 20 years and wrote countless performance appraisals.  Employees were ranked according to their achievements.  If you failed to meet goals such as quantity and quality, your performance review reflected this.  Your raise, or lack of a raise was dependent upon your results.  Your customer service skills, ability to work and play well with others, your attendance, punctuality etc… were all measured.  When my people missed their goals, I heard about it from my boss.  Had I told my V.P. that my goal was to increase productivity by 1% I would have most likely been demoted, once he stopped laughing.

Each month when the expenditures for the borough are approved by council do you read the line items and scrutinize the spending or…do you take the path of least resistance?  I will say Pottstown’s finances improved greatly due to Jason Bobst, Janice Lee and Dan Weand.  However, if we allow the borough manager spend money we don’t have, whose fault would that be?  In the real world, his supervisor.  In Pottstown’s case, that would be borough council, headed up by El Presidente, Steve Toroney.  The borough manager needs supervision, sorry.  Inaction makes you complicit when overspending occurs.  Just say no.

Do you believe that upper management requires exorbitant salaries, top of the line new vehicles, iPads for officials, costly analysis of the codes department, bullet proof surround for upper management while taxpayers and residents of Pottstown watch in disbelief as our community deteriorates before our eyes. Diligent public employees struggle to do their best with chaos but others could care less about their jobs.  You have taken the path of least resistance, Mr. Toroney.  See above commentary…this also falls under reigning in your employees.

You appointed an ad hoc committee to vet prospective engineer firms who ultimately chose Remington, Veronica and Beach, in March 2012. It is evidenced that you were aware of impropriety in that process yet, you did not speak up.  You went on to support a hasty, questionable expenditure of unbudgeted tax payer money of around $33,000 for an analysis of the codes department by Remington, Veronica and Beach.  Again, I ask, was this the path of least resistance?   This debacle is just unbelievable.  No words.

I believe this poor, struggling community cannot afford you, Mr. Toroney. Your selective interest and support of worthy organizations in Pottstown appears to be based on your personal approval or disapproval of the individuals that comprise their groups.  Despite your disdain, these organizations forge ahead in the challenging roles they have accepted to make Pottstown a better place for all residents.   Why has it been difficult for you to offer encouragement and take an interest in your community?  In this, you have again chosen a path that may have been easy for you but you have made it difficult for many others.   Mr. Toroney’s irrational fear of a certain non-profit organization in Pottstown is just maddening.  This organization can actually list substantial accomplishments that have made Pottstown a better place.  This mentality is very junior high school.  Stop the madness and grow up.

You have failed to advocate for the taxpayers and good citizens of Pottstown and in doing so, you condone the rising crime and disintegration of our community.  Rather than using your position, as Council President, to communicate with Montgomery County and State officials, to keep the concerns of this community in the forefront of their decision-making, you have engaged in conspiracy theories about the Counties intentions toward Pottstown.  And we have been further isolated in our efforts to revitalize.  Pottstown’s potential is enormous.  As I drove down High Street last night from McDonald’s to borough hall I remembered what drew me to live in Pottstown all those years ago.  I like towns better than “burbs”.  I like the hustle and bustle, the diversity, the architecture, the history etc…  When I first moved to Pottstown in 1983 I lived in Valley View Apartments in North Coventry Township.  Less than two years later I moved into the borough and lived on the 200 block of Walnut Street, followed by the 100 block of King Street, the 1400 block of Queen Street and the 900 block of Hale Street.  I CHOSE to live in Pottstown.  Sadly, in 2012 I CHOSE to move out of Pottstown because of crime, blight and the cost of living. 

We’re asking you tonight to step down from service to this community so that an “individual” among you, that council deems qualified, can pick up the pieces, and lead. We desperately need real leaders in Pottstown.   Lead or get out-of-the-way, Mr. Toroney.

Mr. Toroney are you proud of what Pottstown has become?  John Potts is rolling over in his grave on a daily basis over what has been done to his town. 

It’s not too late to save Pottstown but the residents need to start driving the bus and stop being taken for a ride.  Power to the Pottstown People!

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