Cindy Conard For Pottstown Council In The 7th Ward

255662_235030059971035_2078731079_nRevitalization in our community will require partnerships between local, county and state governments as well as local grassroots leaders.  Council representatives not only represent their constituents, they represent the community.  By nurturing relationships with decision makers at every level we can bring focus to our goals and objectives.

 

Pottsgrove Parent: French Teacher Can’t Speak French

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP – The Pennsylvania Department of Education has rejected a complaint filed against district administrators by the parent of a Pottsgrove High School student who argued the district has been negligent in ensuring that the school’s French teacher knows the language well enough to teach it.

In the complaint and in conversations with a reporter, Tony DiPaolo said he had tried for five months to work with the district’s administrators to resolve the issue, particularly when the teacher in question went on leave and the opportunity to find a native language speaker presented itself, but he met resistance and bureaucracy every step of the way.

In the end, “I had no choice,” he said.  “This not only affects my son, but all the other students who think they are being taught proper French.”

DiPaolo is multi-lingual.  His parents are Italian and spoke Italian in the home.  That home was in Montreal and Dipaolo attended a private school there staffed by instructors from France.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130429/NEWS01/130429239/pottsgrove-parent-french-teacher-can-t-speak-french#full_story

Major Road Projects In The Region

US 422 west near Pottstown.

US 422 west near Pottstown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: To see the complete list of projects for the Delaware Valley, click on the link below!

Montgomery County

Markley Street: Work began in February in Norristown on the first of two construction contracts to improve Markley Street from Main Street to Johnson Highway in Norristown. The initial $20.8 million project will rebuild and improve 1.1 miles of Markley Street between Elm Street and Johnson Highway, and a half-mile stretch of Johnson Highway between Markley and DeKalb Streets. Work is to end in fall 2016.

U.S. 422/Route 363: Work will start in August or September to complete the interchange of U.S. 422 and Route 363 (Trooper Road) in West Norriton and Lower Providence.

Montgomery and Chester

U.S. 422. A $73.3 million project to rebuild 1.6 miles of U.S. 422 from about a mile east of the Armand Hammer Blvd. interchange to the Route 724 interchange in Lower Pottsgrove and North Coventry Townships. Construction started in fall 2012 and is to last five years, involving new bridges and pavement.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130415_Major_Road_Projects_in_the_Region.html#ixzz2QYIJbQQX 
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Stalled Owen J Roberts Contract Talks Lead To Teacher Slowdown

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

SOUTH COVENTRY — The stalled contract negotiations between the Owen J. Roberts School District and its teachers union has gone public.

The teachers have been working without a contract since June 30 and the two sides have been negotiating, quietly for the most part, for 15 months.

However the failure to reach an agreement about wages has raised the stakes and the rhetoric in the matter and the teachers union have instructed their members to work only to the specific language of the expired contract and cease all extra and voluntary activities.

School Board President Douglas K. Hughes reacted by issuing a letter to the district Tuesday, which was also   posted on the district web site, announcing that the teachers union had decided to “work to contract,” explaining they would “work only to the contractually obligated hours” and informing residents and taxpayers the union had asked their members “not to participate in any unpaid activities.”

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130328/NEWS01/130329308/stalled-ojr-contract-talks-lead-to-teacher-slowdown#full_story

Pottstown School Board Eyes Administrator Raises

POTTSTOWN — The school board is set to vote Monday on proposed 2 percent raises for mid-level administrators and support staff.

If approved by the board, it will be the first raise in two years for some.

The matter was on the agenda for discussion at Thursday night’s meeting, but none of the school board members had any comment.  The package was recommended by the school board’s personnel committee.

If approved, the raises would be effective April 1, said Business Manager Linda Adams.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130324/NEWS01/130329671/pottstown-school-board-eyes-administrator-raises#full_story

Chesco D.A.: Norco Murder Scene Was ‘Doorway Into Hell’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

WEST CHESTER — Two weeks after the grisly discovery of a body inside a burning North Coventry apartment, authorities announced an arrest in the murder of 17-year-old Kevin Allen.

Shakeem Carter, 20, of Norristown, was arraigned Wednesday morning after an investigation concluded he was responsible for the brutal stabbing death of the Norristown High School student inside his father’s home at the Hanover Garden Apartments, officials said.

Allen’s body was discovered on Feb. 12 after a neighbor dialed 911 to report a “terrible struggle,” according to Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan, who announced Carter’s arrest at a Wednesday morning new conference.

Officers from the North Coventry Police Department were the first to enter the apartment, but they had to retreat when they discovered the apartment was on fire.  Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames, but when they returned, they told police there was a body inside.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130228/NEWS01/130229413/chesco-d-a–norco-murder-scene-was-doorway-into-hell-(video)?nstrack=sid:387506|met:300|cat:0|order:2#full_story\

Hot Glass to Warm Up Your Winter At ArtFusion 19464

hearts 1Just in time for Valentine’s Day, ArtFusion is proud to announce a special trunk show celebrating the amazing glass artistry of Tari Zarka. Visitors will learn more about the artist, her process and how she creates her beautiful glass jewelry.

Tari describes what inspires her art:

What drives me to create is what motivates me to be the best person I can be: mood enhancement. When I create something – whether it is a piece of glass, a painting, or a smile on someone’s face – my life’s burdens are lifted. I am also driven by the knowledge that my creations enhance the moods of those who receive them.

hearts 2I find inspiration everywhere – in the glorious landscape, through the face of adversity, within the cashier at a convenience store, etc. Everything and everyone offers a chance for us to learn and grow.

Ever since I started creating art in the far away corners of my family’s hosiery mill in BucksCounty, I have searched to find ways to love what I do each and every day. If something from me inspires another to move toward a life of happiness then I feel that I have done my job. This is the current in my artistic evolution.

ArtFusion will have special all new inventory just for this trunk show. Visitors can shop an amazing selection of handcrafted lampworked glass jewelry in a wide variety of colors, shapes and styles. All of Tari’s work will be on sale 10% off during the show. Trunk show hours are Friday, February 8 from 10am to 5pm and Saturday, February 9 from 10am to 3pm.

hearts 3ArtFusion 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 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-3pm. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.

OJR School Enrollments Predicted Down Over Next 10 Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

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

SOUTH COVENTRY — Enrollments in the Owen J. Roberts School District are expected to remain flat or even decrease over the next ten years, according to new enrollment projections presented to the board at a recent committee of the whole meeting.

Projections show the overall student population rising slightly through 2016, from the current 5,121 students to 5,240. If the projections prove true, the numbers will begin dropping in 2017, when 5,233 students are expected to be registered, rising and falling in some years, but hitting 5,218 students in 2022.

Those predictions, presented by Director of Pupil Services Holly W. Acosta, are based on a new study by Decision Insite, an enrollment impact firm which looks at kindergarten enrollments, planned residential developments, and student cohorts through each grade level.

The numbers are a far cry from the steady growth the district had been experiencing in the past, with district wide enrollments climbing by over 1,000 students in 10 years, from 4,050 in 2002 to 5,121 in 2012.  That’s a reflection of the economy and the dip in the housing market which has put a number of large scale development projects on hold, according to Superintendent Michael Christian.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130118/NEWS01/130119426/ojr-school-enrollments-predicted-down-over-next-10-years-#full_story

Robbers Allegedly Hammer Way To Rolexes At Philly Premium Outlets

Location of Limerick Township in Montgomery County

Location of Limerick Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LIMERICK TOWNSHIP, PA — Three men allegedly used hammers to smash their way to Rolex watches at the Philadelphia Premium Outlets Saturday night while the store was open for business.

Amin Shabazz, Brian M. Sheed and Willie Hawkins Smith, all 21 and from Philadelphia, were taken into custody after reportedly leading police on a chase that crossed into Chester County and allegedly dumping the items they stole.

Roughly $64,000 in Rolex watches and jewelry was taken from Ultra Diamonds Saturday night when the Limerick Police said three men armed with a hammer and wearing bandannas entered around 7:45 p.m.

The robbers allegedly smashed a glass display case with the hammer, took watches and jewelry, placed them in a bag and fled to a red Buick.  The car was then seen heading to Route 422.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121104/NEWS01/121109804/robbers-allegedly-hammer-way-to-rolexes-at-philly-premium-outlets&pager=full_story

 

Pottstown’s Crime Rate Is A CRIME!

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  I have been harping away on this subject for a very long time.  This article is further evidence of the SERIOUS problem that is keeping Pottstown from moving forward!  The current Chief of Police and Council President should hang their heads in shame.  To think the Chief of Police makes $100,000 (taxpayer funded) and gets these flabbergasting results should make every resident of Pottstown furious!

Pottstown, PA Crime Rate Among Highest in State

“Within Pennsylvania, more than 98% of the communities have a lower crime rate than Pottstown.”

A recent Patch poll asked Pottstown residents what keeps Pottstown from success. With crime ranking among the top concerns, it is worth taking a closer look at just how bad crime is in Pottstown. The results are quite disturbing.

It is important to note that crime is split into two categories – property crime and violent crime. The measure of each is a number of crimes for every 1,000 residents. Property crime consists of burglary, theft, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Violent crime consists of murder, rape, non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon.

According to NeighborhoodScout, a highly ranked real estate search website – “Pottstown has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes.”

Please read the rest of the eye-opening article: http://www.threatcore.com/pottstown-crime/

 

Rep. Tom Quigley To Speak At TriCounty Network May Meeting – Focusing On Local Job Creation

WHAT:      TriCounty Community Network (TCN) will be hosting Rep. Tom Quigley (146th District, Montgomery County) at its May 15 meeting.  Rep. Quigley will be focusing on his jobs platform, discussing job creation initiatives, such as Employ PA, which is aimed at improving legal, regulatory, and tax areas for large and small companies to help them prosper and move forward, and ultimately create jobs and boost the economy.

This event comes one day before the 2nd Annual TriCounty Community Career Fair, sponsored by the TCN Exelon Nuclear Workforce Development Program, where more than 70 employers will be exhibiting and more than 500 job seekers are expected.   

WHO:        TCN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, membership-based organization that partners with nonprofits, businesses and community members to improve health, social and environmental conditions.  Serving Western Montgomery, Northern Chester and Eastern Berks counties in Pennsylvania, TCN offers seven key programs: Build Up Youth, CARE (Caring in Alternative Residential Environments), Environmental Awareness, Family Literacy, Homeless Services, SAFE (Supporting Abuse Free Environments), and Workforce Development.  For more information on TCN, visit www.tcnetwork.org

WHEN:      Tuesday, May 15, 2012

                        8:00am – 10:00am

WHERE:     Montgomery County Community College – West Campus

                          101 College Drive

                           Pottstown, PA

COST:            Free

RSVP:            Members of the media should RSVP to Karen Higgins, A&E Communications, at khiggins@aandecomm.com or 610-831-5723.  To register for the May 15th meeting or for questions on the May 16th Career Fair, contact TCN at 610-705-3301 ext. 2.

Costco To Anchor The Gateway At Sanatoga Shopping Center

This is a logo for Costco.

Image via Wikipedia

Costco is coming to Limerick Township!  The new store will be an anchor in the Gateway at Sanatoga Shopping Center, which is now under construction, next to the Philadelphia Premium Outlets.

According to the website, the center will be 412,000 square feet and feature a Costco, 170,000 square feet of in-line retail space, 6 restaurants, 1 cinema, 2 banks and a hotel.  When combined with the Philadelphia Premium Outlets there will 1,000,000 square feet of retail space, upon completion, at this location.

http://www.oneillproperties.com/pdf/51149-Sanatoga-Fly-Sheet-050709_proof.pdf

Collegeville Couple Purchase Pottstown Farmers Market – Expect Big Things!

A Collegeville couple has purchased the Pottstown Farmer’s Market and will begin by doing some major cleaning and refurbishing.  After that task is complete, they hope to attract new local vendors selling fresh grown food.  Some old favorites will remain like Wegman’s, King’s Produce and Dairy and Mosteller’s Seafood.

The couple is also looking at possibly expanding the market’s hours.  They want to be part of Pottstown’s revitalization.  We wish Ben Moscia and his wife Elise LeBoutiller much success.  Having a flourishing farmer’s market in our downtown will be help draw shoppers to High Street.

Fulton Bank Asserts Dominance In Lancaster Financial Services Market

Fulton Bank has asserted its dominance in the Lancaster County financial services market and expanded its lead over number two rival Susquehanna Bank.

Fulton Bank has 23.09% of all Lancaster County deposits, up from 21.3% last year.  Fulton increased its lead over rival Susquehanna Bank from 3.37% to 5.14% over last year.  Both banks are based in Lancaster County.  Susquehanna Bank is based in Lititz and Fulton Bank has its headquarters in Lancaster City on historic Penn Square.

Fulton Bank has a branch in Pottstown located at 799 State Street in the Pottstown Plaza shopping center.  Susquehanna Bank maintains a very visible presence downtown Pottstown occupying a 5-story building at the corner of High and Hanover Streets.

Fulton Bank has been named one of the best places to work in Pennsylvania for 2010 in the large company category.  http://www.fultonbank.com/viewpage.asp?n=3

Fulton Bank has just announced plans to expand their corporate headquarters in Lancaster City and add 225 more employees.  The building project will be between $15-$20 million dollars.  To see the details click here: http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/300590

John Potts Park

A few years ago, I remember a Mercury article with artist renderings and a map of John Potts Park which was to be created here in Pottstown.  The park was going to connect Memorial Park with the Schuylkill River and the Schuylkill River Trail.  I believe it also would include the Carousel and MCCC West campus as well.

The recent availability of funds for the Promenade is one more step in this direction.  The more projects like this we can get completed the more attractive Pottstown will become.  The new intermodal transportation center, the Mrs. Smith’s Foil project, the Reconnections project with North Coventry, Riverfront Park, MCCC West’s new parking lot and rehabilitation of the old PECO building into an environmental center, the Carousel and eventually John Potts Park are going to be a crown jewel for Pottstown.

I have a visual in my head of all this and look forward to the day when it becomes a reality.  The pieces are falling into place.  If we are patient long enough, good things happen.