ANNUAL POTTSTOWN FAMILY FEST TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN, PA — The Annual Pottstown Family Fest will be held on Wednesday, March 12, from 5-7 p.m. at Pottstown Senior High School, 750 North Washington Street, Pottstown.

This free family-focused event will feature information/resources from more than 30 area organizations, activities for the entire family, roving entertainment, mini sandwiches, drinks, Rita’s water ice, and a variety of door prizes.

Informational booths will be open from 5-7 p.m. Door prizes will be awarded at 7 p.m. (must be present to win). Children must be accompanied by an adult.

“Family Fest was developed to enhance, celebrate and explore family dynamics, development, growth, and unity,” said Jenn Brown, director, Pottstown Family Center. “This year’s theme, Stay Healthy, Play More, focuses on buying local and encourages families to find volunteer opportunities they care about so they can ultimately give back to their community.”

This annual event is sponsored by Family Services/Pottstown Family Center, Pottstown Parks & Recreation, and the Pottstown School District with funding support from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation.

For more information on Family Fest, please contact Jenn Brown, director, Pottstown Family Center, at 610-326-1610 ext. 347 or jbrown@fsmontco.org.

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Pottstown Cleanup Effort Brings Out Volunteers

Editor’s note:  Evan Brandt did a nice job of promoting a positive event that happened in Pottstown recently which demonstrated some civic pride and community spirit.  Both are in short supply.  We enjoyed reading Evan’s article until this statement caught our eye:

During Monday’s council meeting, Flanders agreed and added, “There are a lot of special interest groups in town who come to borough council asking for fees and permits to be waived.  I didn’t see any of those groups represented and I share that with you as food for thought.”

We have a problem with BM Flander’s comment.  As Borough Manager, you should be trying to unite factions, bring people together and be the biggest promoter of Pottstown.  Instead, we get the above “finger-pointing” comment.  A total “us and them” statement with a negative connotation.

So Mark, do you think making snide comments will encourage any of these groups to pitch in next time there is a community event like this?  There could be any number of reasons why people did not attend.  Every organization can’t take part in every borough activity.  Many of the organizations you are throwing out as “food for thought” are already doing something for the community.  

It’s time to put away the “tough guy” shtick and start acting like a leader who brings people together.   Maybe try to smile more.  You look angry all the time.  It’s hard to feel the love.

POTTSTOWN — A group of about 50 dedicated volunteers braved the heat recently to help spruce up the borough for the summer.

Unlike some previous efforts, efforts which once had Councilman Mark Gibson declare he would no longer help organize such efforts, this most recent clean-up was “a great success and I want to thank the community for doing an excellent job,” he told council at the June 5 meeting.

“Even during the heat, they showed up and they picked up,” Gibson said.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130611/NEWS01/130619784#full_story

Hazleton Area Rail-Trail Bridge To Get Historic Support

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

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

A 117-foot bridge that will take the Greater Hazleton rail-trail over an active Norfolk Southern railroad line will be held by supports built more than 120 years ago by the Coxe coal barons.

The bridge will be delivered to the site on May 23.

Tom Ogorzalek, a trail volunteer and local history buff, said the abutments were built by the Coxe family when they owned and operated a railroad near the turn of the last century.

“They were built in 1890 by the Delaware, Schuylkill and Susquehanna (DS&S) Railroad, which was run by the Coxe family to haul their coal,” Ogorzalek said. “Other railroads also hauled their coal.  They made a deal with Lehigh Valley Railroad to haul all of their coal.  Lehigh Valley acquired DS&S, and almost immediately abandoned that track sometime between 1900 and 1905.”

Read more:  http://standardspeaker.com/news/rail-trail-bridge-to-get-historic-support-1.1476971

MOSAIC C.L.T. Hires New Community Gardens Manager, Laura Washington

laura-washingtonPottstown, Pa. – Mosaic CLT is pleased to welcome Laura Washington as its new Community Garden Manager.  Laura has been on a lifelong journey to eat well, live well and make every concession to live a natural, wholesome lifestyle.  A big part of that journey revolves around the foods that she and her family enjoy.  Laura completed a 9-month Homestead Herbalism Course and certification at the Farm at Coventry in Pottstown.

The course was a turning point in her view of life and the reality that the earth provides everything we need to live a life that is kinder and gentler to the environment and one another.

Last year, Laura was an active member of the Mosaic Community Gardens at 423 Chestnut St. She held seminars, demonstrations and assisted with volunteer activities while tending to her own plot and those of others.

Laura has this to say about her experience of the gardens last year:

“I captured the essence of what a community garden is made of: amazing people who share and care about the environment, each other and what they grow and eat.”

A big “thank you” to all the amazing applicants for this position!

We consider it fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview so many qualified candidates.  It was a tough decision.  However, we enjoyed the process and especially speaking with each and every one of you and, (some of you twice).

Again, thank you so much and we hope you’ll be part of the gardens this year to help further create community and share your knowledge with others.

Laura’s qualifications, in the end, were the perfect match for our mission of creating neighborhood, gardening and promoting healthy choices.  As a volunteer, during our first season, Laura made a big impact on all who had the joyful opportunity to spend time with her in the gardens.

1,300 Gather For Food, Fellowship At Community Meal In Ephrata

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

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

Some Thanksgiving Days, Paul and Lorraine Martin of Ephrata would cook a turkey at home and, if they felt ambitious, go put up their Christmas lights afterward.

But on Thursday, the Martins and their son Jason took part in a new tradition, going to a Thanksgiving Day dinner in the heart of Ephrata with some long-time friends.

“And it’s a really nice thing,” said one of those friends, Jim Mertz of Manor Township, there with the Martins and his wife Sherri and their son Jesse, 27.

“I think it’s great that the churches here do this for everybody in the community. Everybody’s so friendly, you just feel blessed,” Mertz added.

“It does feel like a big, happy family.”

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/783422_1-300-gather-for-food–fellowship-at-community-meal-in-Ephrata.html#ixzz2D46DYa00

Pottstown’s New Citizen Codes Inspector Program

Quality of Life improvements in the Borough of Pottstown are high on the agenda these days.  Improving the experience of living in Pottstown is a key element in the revitalization process.  To that end, the Borough Manager found a program that tackles a long-standing problem here in Pottstown – codes!  Blighted properties and abuses by absentee landlords have plagued our town for decades.  In order to clean up the mess and make Pottstown more attractive to current residents, prospective residents and commercial/business interests, our Codes Department needs more bodies on the streets.

The Citizen Codes Inspector Program takes borough residents, in good standing, and trains them to assist the Codes Department personnel by identifying and reporting code violations.  Here is a partial list of the qualifications for a Citizen Code Inspector:

-Residency in the borough

-General good health

-Reading/writing/comprehension capabilities

-No outstanding violations/citations with the Borough of Pottstown in areas of parking, legal, codes, water, sewer, trash or taxes.

-Good communication skills

-Ability/desire to walk some distance on borough streets and alleyways

The Borough Manager and the Codes Department personnel will be responsible for selecting those individuals who have applied for these positions.

The Citizen Codes Inspector is a volunteer (unpaid) position.  The goal is to find borough residents who wish to become involved and make a difference in the community by volunteering their time to assist the Codes Department.  Programs similar to this are already in place in other municipalities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and have been very successful.  The Borough Manager researched this program thoroughly before recommending it to Pottstown Borough Council for approval.

The training program will last four weeks and require about 7 hours to complete.  The first phase is 2-4 hours of classroom training and the second phase is 2-3 hours of field experience with a Codes Department employee.  During phase two (field experience) the trainee will practice writing up reports and have them reviewed by their Codes Department trainer.

The third phase is a debriefing and group session to do a final review and answer questions.

Safety of the Citizen Codes Inspector is paramount and there are systems in place to ensure this.  Citizen Inspectors will be given identification and some sort of apparel to help identify them.  The Pottstown Police Department will be made aware when these inspections are taking place.  Citizen Inspectors will not enter private property.  Inspections will be made from the public right-of-way to minimize any confrontations between the Citizen Inspectors and property owners.

If you live in the Borough of Pottstown and would like to volunteer your time to make a difference, click on the link below.  You can read the entire article I have summarized and fill out an application to become a Citizen Codes Inspector.

http://www.pottstown.org/PDF/forms/citizen-codes-inspector-application.pdf

Many thanks to Jason Bobst, Pottstown Borough Manager, for finding a creative solution to a big problem that does not require raising taxes or adding staff!