Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween!

Please don't forget to check your children's candy before allowing them to eat it, and have a safe, happy, trick or treat night!

The open thread is your opportunity to sound off on your issues, post your thoughts, or have a rant.

It's also the weekend before Tuesday's November 03, 2009 elections.

In addition to posts on various topics, I invite each of the candidates to take their final and best shot to garner votes.

Monday, I'll give voice to my thoughts and observations.

What's on your mind?

Please remember, play nice!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Did you know? Jack Krizmanich

(Click to enlarge)

Local fans of actor Jack Krizmanich, born in Phoenixville on December 16, 1978, already know he attended St. Pius X High School in Pottstown and graduated in 1996.

While working at a restaurant in high school, Jack was discovered by an agent at IMAGE Models, a boutique modeling agency. While working for the agency, he was noticed by a talent scout and thus began his acting career.

He stars as the dashing Aaron Spencer on the MyTV Network prime time series "Wicked Wicked Games", with Tatum O'Neal.

Jack was also a series regular for three years on NBC's "Passions" and a strong supporting role in the feature film "Shadowboxer" with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren.

Jack's hobbies include basketball, football, tennis, hockey and martial arts.

As an actor, Jack has appeared in the following:

"CSI: NY" .... Martin Stafford (1 episode, 2009)
- It Happened to Me (2009) TV episode .... Martin Stafford
"True Blood" .... Ludis (2 episodes, 2009)
- Beyond Here Lies Nothin' (2009) TV episode .... Ludis
- Frenzy (2009) TV episode .... Ludis
Cope (2009) .... Heiress' Boyfriend
SideWalk Situations (Rose Meets Flora) (2008) .... Fiance
"Wicked Wicked Games" .... Aaron Spencer (19 episodes, 2006-2007)
- Parting Shots (2007) TV episode .... Aaron Spencer
- Fighting Back (2007) TV episode .... Aaron Spencer
- Hard Evidence (2007) TV episode .... Aaron Spencer
- Little Blue Pill (2007) TV episode .... Aaron Spencer
- The Beauty Pageant (2007) TV episode .... Aaron Spencer
(14 more)
Shadowboxer (2005) .... Tommy
"Passions" .... John Hastings (1 episode, 2001-2004)
... aka Harmony's Passions (USA: alternative title)
... aka The Passions Storm (USA: summer title)
- Episode #1.1389 (2004) TV episode .... John Hastings
"What I Like About You" .... Naked Bellman (1 episode, 2004)
- Ghost of a Chance (2004) TV episode .... Naked Bellman

Thursday, October 29, 2009

H1N1 swine flu vaccine

Just as with other areas in the country, many Phoenixville area residents are searching for the H1N1 swine flu vaccine.

Unless your healthcare provider already has an allotment, patience is required.

The following informative article explains the reason for the delay in the delivery of the vaccine.

Here is a compilation of important information for Chester and Montgomery County residents.

A message from Dalton G. Paxman, Acting Regional Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Philadelphia:

The 2009 H1N1 flu is a real concern.

First, it spreads easily. Almost all of the flu we're seeing this year is H1N1. According to the federal government's Web site,, there's more flu now than at the height of the season in previous years.

Second, it's hitting young people. Already, 81 children and teenagers have died. If you're 52 or older and healthy, you may have some immunity to this particular strain. But if you are under 25, or are pregnant, have heart disease, asthma, or some other underlying condition, you're at risk of complications.

Third, the H1N1 vaccine is made the same way the seasonal flu shot is made. Flu vaccines are safe. They work. And they are the best way to prevent the flu.

See the links below for flu shots and flu updates for your county.

Chester County

Update (October 28, 2009): The Chester County Health Department is once again taking appointments for seasonal flu shots. Please call 610-344-6252.

Montgomery County

Update (October 26, 2009): The Montgomery County Health Department has scheduled two walk-in H1N1 flu clinics for pregnant women and 5-to 9-year-olds who are Montgomery County residents on October 29 and October 30. In addition, seasonal flu clinics scheduled for October have been postponed but clinics scheduled for November will proceed as planned.

Visit the Montgomery County Health Department page for more information.,A,3,Q,67285.asp

Additional Locations

For list of drug stores, grocery stores, and department stores providing flu shots for $30 near you, visit Maxim Health System's Flu Clinic Locator.

Veterans, please see the following information about vaccinations from the Philadelphia VA.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Council reverses $1 sale of Second Avenue

Many Phoenixville area readers of The Phoenix, and those who regularly visit this blog may recall the vote by Phoenixville Borough Council in April to sell Second Avenue for $1 to accomodate a proposed library expansion.

Here is a portion of the April 2009 Council meeting minutes addressing the vote to sell taxpayer owned property, Second Avenue, for $1.*


Consider Approval of Vacating Second Avenue and Sale of the Underlying Borough Owned Property to the Library Foundation for $1.00 Contingent Upon Meeting All Land Development, Zoning Conditions, and Approval by the Planning Commission (Approved in Committee by a Vote of 3 to 0)

Mr. Handwerk made a motion that Borough Council approve the vacation of the portion of Second Avenue east of Main Street and west of Park Alley and sale of the underlying Borough owned property to the Phoenixville Area School District for $1.00 contingent upon meeting of all land development, zoning conditions, and approval of the plan as necessary by the Planning Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, and Borough Council and the approval by the Phoenixville Area School District for the purchase of that land; these conditionally approved actions concerning the Library Foundation expansion project and related to the school district property referenced shall be subject to all required procedural actions to complete the items initiated herein, seconded by Mr. Speck, and approved by a vote of 5 to 2.

Voting YES – Ciruelos, Gill, Handwerk, Speck, and Wagner
Voting NO- Kirkner and Senley

Councilmember Ken Buckwalter was absent.


I've posted the original motion and vote results to refresh the reader's memory as to how each Council member voted.

This evening I received a telephone call from Councilman Ken Buckwalter alerting me to a new thread on his blog which he posted following the monthly Council meeting tonight.

Not only is the news itself a source of relief to those who publically stood in opposition to the former library proposal, it is also interesting to note that one week prior to the November 3, 2009 election, Council finally broke from it's normally predictable 5-3 vote on library matters and voted unanimously to approve reversing the motion to sell Second Avenue for $1.

Simply remarkable.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Second Avenue Taken Back by Borough

After vacating a portion of Second Avenue and selling that portion to the Phoenixville Area School District for $1.00 for the library expansion project last April, Borough Council reversed that motion this evening thus taking back Second Avenue for Borough use.

The motion was made by Councilman Kendrick Buckwalter and seconded by Council Mike Handwerk and passed 7-0.

The action this evening was taken after the Library Foundation hand delivered a letter to Council President yesterday advising “the Phoenixville Public Library Foundation Board has voted today to withdraw its Expansion Proposal at this time, and to pursue strengthing (sic) the Library's endowment. This decision was made after serious consideration of current economic conditions and the budgetary concerns facing the Phoenixville Public Library.”

I wish to publically thank Mayor Leo Scoda, Councilmen Richard Kirkner, Ken Buckwalter, and Jeff Senley for their consistant support and dedication during the two-plus years of involvement with the former library expansion project.

*Please note: A link is provided on this blog to the borough's website, and Council meeting minutes are available at the site for your perusal. I encourage everyone to read through the minutes prior to Election Day to examine the history of your Council member's position on this issue and many others.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

IT'S OVER!!! Phoenixville library withdraws expansion proposal

Praise the Lord!!

It's over!

Out of courtesy and respect for the person who called with the news of the end of this long struggle yesterday, I gave my word to refrain from publishing the information until the Mercury newspaper had the opportunity to break the news in print.

There will be much to discuss later on this issue.

For now, enjoy this wonderful news!


Phoenixville library withdraws expansion proposal

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

By Dennis J. Wright,

PHOENIXVILLE — In a unanimous vote, the Phoenixville Public Library Foundation voted Monday to withdraw its current expansion proposal due to unanticipated funding challenges.

In a statement provided by the library foundation, the board states that, "the needs of the library have not changed, and there can be no doubt that the library must expand in order for its mission to be fulfilled. However, the library has just recently faced some unanticipated funding challenges and believes that in order to carry out its mission to provide educational, cultural and recreational resources for the community, it first must establish a self-sustaining financial model.

"The library remains committed to expanding and to impacting more lives in our community for years to come. To accomplish this, the library will embark on an endowment campaign to allow for future expansion and to ensure financial sustainability. Our needs are greater than ever and we will continue working to make certain that the library carries on to fulfill its mission."

The library expansion project planned for a renovation and addition that would provide some 33,000 square feet of interior space to accommodate an expanded children's library, a new young adult collections space, an enlarged computer services and instructional center, and expanded public information, meeting and activity areas. The total cost of the project is estimated at $6.5 million.

The current library's 6,500-square-foot footprint — including the 1902 Carnegie Library and the 1987 addition — would expand to include an additional 6,000 square feet across Second Avenue, which would close off that section of the street.

A new main entrance to the three-floor structure would be placed off an entry plaza on Main Street. Diagonal parking is proposed on sections of Main Street.

Traffic on Second Avenue would remain two-way from Starr to B streets, run one way west to the library at Park Alley and one-way north on Park.

Susan Mostek, director of development and volunteer services for the library, feels the move was made in the best interest of the library.

"I fully respect the board's decision because I think we have to act in the best interest of the library," Mostek said. "I felt they were moving forward the entire time. The need is necessary. How and when the expansion will happen will need to be looked at in the future. The door isn't entirely closed. The proposal is withdrawn for now."

Library board President Sue Meadows said that the library has been struggling due to financial restraints.

"Because of the current recession, Gov. (Ed) Rendell has cut funds to the libraries," Meadows said. "As president of the library board, we have taken the steps to close on Sundays and are examining other ways to provide information to the public due to the funding cuts. Libraries across the state are struggling and we are struggling as well."

The withdrawal of the proposal is being supported by Ketchum, a national fundraising consulting firm the foundation board has retained to investigate the viability of raising funds for an endowment campaign.

Library executive director John Kelley said that the move to bring in Ketchum was wise.

"Every organization who is looking to expand uses Ketchum to see what the feasibility would be, and they were hired to assist us with this process," Kelley said. "They came onboard when we realized that we were having difficulty with the state. I see this as an opportunity to help us grow. This could turn out to be a good thing.

"We discussed the decision that the board made and we believe this is the right course of action," he said. "Considering the cuts with the state and possibly the county, we have to look at the long-term viability of the library. It is a concern of mine as well as the board which lead to this decision. The idea of need is not going to go away."

Kelley continued, "This could be construed as a bad thing, but we are looking at it as a good thing. We knew the economical fireball would hurt us as well as it has hurt others. We didn't know how much it would hurt us. Now that we know, we looked back and made the decision today. We hope that the community understand that when we say we are facing cuts, we mean it."

With the uncertainty of funds coming into the library, Kelley said Monday's decision has been an option.

"The decision has been evolving because we haven't been sure of what the county would be doing as far as libraries go," he said. "The state has cut funding $22,000 from us, which is huge. We are looking at a total of $70,000 plus from our funding for the year. We don't know what the county is going to do. This has been a significant hit to the library.

"The better road to take right now is to make sure the library is secure, our programs are sustainable and we are able to provide information to the community. Ketchum will help us become more viable for the community. I have tremendous confidence that this will work. We are the third-busiest library in the county with 271,000 items through our circulation. We had the largest summer program in the county."

News of the board's withdrawal of the proposal made one neighbor along Second Avenue extremely happy.

"This is wonderful news," Karen Johns said. "We have eight grandchildren and they are in the park all of the time. The park is always active, and the primary concern has been for the kids.

"I'm encouraged by the news of the change in the library board's plan. I stand ready to help redefine any future expansion plans that would be mutually beneficial for the library and the community."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church Fall Bazaar

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church is a small parish located in Pottstown, and we are pleased to announce our annual Fall Bazaar!

Please come and enjoy our bazaar complete with wonderful ethnic foods!

We deeply appreciate and welcome support from all the area communities.

God bless you and thank you!

Annual Fall Bazaar

Holy Trinity Orthodox Church

Mervine and Juniper Street

Pottstown, PA


November 7, 2009

8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kevin Pattinson - Write-in candidate for Phoenixville School Board

To the Phoenixville Area School District voters:

I have been a Phoenixville Resident 10 years.

I have two children in the district schools.

I have a B.A. in English from Saint Joseph’s University.

I have a Master's degree in Education Temple University.

I have been an English teacher for 12 years at Interboro School District.

I believe that a board member should do 3 things:

1. Set Policy

2. Look at the budget

3. Hire quality administrators to run the schools.

If a school board adheres to those principles then the other things will take care of themselves.

With quality administrators comes quality education. Making sensible fiscal decisions allows for the district to move forward and provides for sound educational expenditures.

Keep in mind it is the board that sets the policy and only the board.

One should listen and review all options before voting on any measure that will impact the future of the school district.

Finally, school board members should be respectful of residents and their opinions, after all school board officials are elected officials and serve the public.

Issues that affect the residents of Phoenixville School District should be made transparent.

No school board member should put themselves or their agenda above the betterment of the students of Phoenixville School District.

I believe that I can help Phoenixville schools move away from the derision of the last fourteen months.

Please consider a write-in vote for me, Kevin Pattinson.

Thank you!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lou Amici - Candidate for Phoenixville Mayor

I would like to state my qualifications for Mayor of Phoenixville.

My wife, Maryann and I, have been borough residents since 1971. I have a degree in Political Science from St. Joseph's University. I served on the Civil Service Commission from 1988 to 1991. The Civil Service Commission tests, interviews, and then recommends to Council both applicants to serve as police officers and also applicants for promotion within the Police Department. I was elected to Borough Council in 1991, and served from 1992 to 2004. On two occasions, I was Council President. During my first term as Council President (1998-2000), the borough had a one million dollar surplus. I participated in the revitalization of the Foundry Building as well as downtown revitalization during my years in Council. My academic background and my government experience make me qualified to run the police department, which is the Mayor's primary responsibility. I have a good knowledge of Phoenixville and know the history of its issues.

My wife and I are charter members of the Colonial Theatre Association. I have contributed over three gallons of blood throughout the years to the Red Cross blood drives at St. Ann's parish. For eight years, I was the coordinator of the blood drive. I have served as Leader of Song in both St. Ann and Holy Trinity parishes.

I promise as Mayor to provide experience you can trust as well as the ability to listen to you and respond promptly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Local student diagnosed with H1N1 - swine flu

Received via email.

October 22, 2009

Dear Parents and Guardians:

We have been advised that one of our students has been diagnosed with pandemic influenza H1N1 or swine flu. The student will remain home until the doctor has given permission to return to school. Our school community at Holy Family School is taking this flu season very seriously and following measures outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In addition to the case of swine flu, we have seen students with the regular flu, strep, and a stomach virus, so please do not assume, if your child is sick, that they have H1N1.

At our school, students and staff are encouraged to wash their hands frequently. Also, surfaces that are regularly touched or handled are disinfected often. We also ask that any student who has a fever accompanied by a cough or sore throat be kept home from school. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now stipulates that a student with the flu will need to stay home until he or she is fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, (Tylenol, Motrin, etc.). In most cases, a child would be fever-free anywhere from three to five days.

With a confirmed case of influenza H1N1 at our school, we would like to reiterate some important information you received in a recent parent communication about this new flu strain.

We encourage you to speak to your children about taking the following everyday precautions to help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses such as influenza H1N1—wash hands often with soap and water, keep nails trimmed and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. It would be helpful to discuss, as a family, plans for caring for your child, should he or she develop the flu.

Parents may also want to consider having children vaccinated against seasonal flu and this new flu strain. Recently, persons between ages five and 24 were identified as a priority group to receive the vaccine for the H1N1 flu strain. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has begun distribution of the H1N1 vaccine. We have not been told whether we will or will not be a distribution site, so you may want to pursue other options for vaccination. If I receive any further information from the Department of Health, I will pass it along to you.

For more information on the flu, and how you can protect your family, please visit,, and

As always, the safety of our students remains my first priority. Please feel free to contact me directly with any concerns, questions or feedback.


Ann Marie Braca, Principal
Holy Family School

Mayor Leo Scoda - Candidate for Phoenixville Mayor

Greetings to all my friends in Phoenixville!

The good people of our town may know me due to my 12 year tenure as your Mayor in Phoenixville. Others may know me because of my 35 years as a Phoenixville Area School District biology teacher. Even more students, parents, and grandparents in the area know me for serving as their tennis coach at PAHS for the last 46 years!

I am both proud and humbled by the results of my service and work in the community and I would like to share with you the wonderful experiences before and since my first year at Phoenixville High School.

I grew up in the coal regions in a small town, Pittston, a town very similar to Phoenixville in size (approximately 12,000), and similar in it's ethnic diversity.

Both sides of my family had a history of working in the coal mines. My Mother and and my Father both had brothers, two Uncles I never knew, who were killed in the mines.

My Father was the first in his family to secure a college degree as an accountant and later as a business manager. Both Mom and Dad graduated in 1932 in the depths of the Great Depression and both found it difficult to find a job. My Mother worked for a short period until my brother and I were born but then became a fulltime houswife for nearly 20 years.

I graduated Pittston High School in 1959 and then enrolled at Penn State University where I attained my B.S. Degree in Zoology(animal biology). I hadn't planned on becoming a teacher but took my education credits. My senior year I opted to do my Student Teaching and it was this experience at Brentwood High School in Allegheny County that made me opt for a teaching career.

Before graduation at PSU I interviewed for and was offered a Biology teaching job at Phoenixville Area High School. I began my teaching career in September, 1963, and taught Biology in grades 9 through 12 before retiring in 1998 after 35 years of teaching. I have never regretted my decision to become a teacher. In fact, my career was challenging, interesting, and personally very rewarding.

In my first year of teaching, 1963-64, the high scool entered a tennis team in the old Ches-mont League. Although a novice at the game, I had started playing tennis at PSU. I was appointed Boys Tennis Head Coach in 1964, and 46 years later I am still coaching the boys tennis team!

The tennis team has won many league championships, District championships, and two State PIAA doubles titles.

Dozens of my players have gone on to play tennis at numerous colleges and some have won college championships. From 1987 to 2009 my teams set a phenominal record of not losing a league match for over 22 years in the Pioneer Athletic League (196 - 0).

I am a single parent, but I adopted and helped to raise 3 boys that were in the foster care system. Charles, an American boy who grew up in Kentucky, and two Vietnamese boys, Loi, and Canh, who immigrated to this country. I now have seven grandchildren, and they are the lights of my life.

Charles has four children 16, 10, 8, and 6.

Loi has two children 4, and 2, and Canh has just had his first child, a 4 month old.

Loi and Canh both graduated from Philadelphia University. Loi earned his MBA at Penn State and works for PNC in Finance. Canh works also in finance at Blackrock in Wilmington, Delaware. Canh also earned an Associate's Degree at Keystone College where he won a college tennis championship.

In my political career, I have been your Mayor for 12 years, from 1998 to the present.

Previously, I was a Councilmember for 8 years, from 1972 to 1979. I also served Phoenixville on the Zoning Hearing Board for 2 years.

As a former Councilmember and your Mayor, I am extremely proud of our Phoenixville Police Department.

We have made many advances, and during my term in office we have increased the number of officers from 19 to 28. Our Bike Patrol, a program instituted during my first term, has 6 officers, and we also have a canine officer, school resource officer, and a drug enforcement officer.

Three members of the force are certified DARE officers who work in the program at Barkley School and Holy Family School.

Progressive action by the Mayor's office has resulted in top equipment and training for our officers, a change to a 12 hour shift program, the first gun buy-back program instituted in 2007, and many officers who have now earned college degrees including two who hold Master's Degrees.

Some of the many activities I have been involved in include the following:

I worked to reestablish the Tree Commission,

I worked with Chester County to have a local Hazardous Household Waste pickup,

I have developed an excellent working relationship with Valley Forge Christian College,

I serve on the Social Concerns Committee,

I served on the Gay Street Bridge committee,

I have made dozens of visits to area elementary, middle and high schools,

I have attended over 18 Eagle Scout Honor ceremonies and other Scouting events,

I have married over 150 couples,

I have supported many area non-profits and various churches,

I created the Mayor's Community Service Awards which have honored over 125 volunteers who give so much of themselves to make Phoenixville a better place to live.

I believe there are many areas in which Phoenixville can improve, and my experienced contributions and dedicated service to the people of Phoenixville will continue with your support!

Please vote for Mayor Leo Scoda on November 3, 2009.

Thank you!

If you have any questions or comments, please call 610-933-1727 or via email at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


The Philadelphia Phillies are 2009 National League Champions and are headed back to the World Series for second year in a row!

Jan Potts - Candidate for Phoenixville Area School Board

My passion is education.

It is my hope and vision for every PASD student to have the opportunity to discover their innate gifts and abilities in a safe and secure environment, and when they leave Phoenixville, have the educational skills and tools they need to continue to grow into inspired, productive members of our community and the world.

My husband, my family, and I love the Phoenixville community. We have 3 sons who have benefited from obtaining their education in the Phoenixville Area School District.

My eldest graduated from PAHS in 2006 and is a senior at Emory University in Atlanta. He is in the process of applying to law school.

My second son is currently a proud and active senior at PAHS and is busy preparing his college applications.

My third son is a freshman at the high school and is currently pursuing his education while taking advantage of the many extracurricular activities and sports we offer our students.

I have a B.A. from Duke University in Management Sciences, and also, an M.Ed. from the University of Virginia. The degrees enable me to deal with the financial, policy, personnel, and curricular parts of being on the school board.

My involvement in the community begain in 1988 when we moved to the Borough of Phoenixville.

I have enjoyed my volunteer activities such as Home and School President, Reading is Fundamental, homeroom mother, school store at the Middle School, facilitator of Parent/ Principal Forum at the High School, trip planner for the PAHS Choir, the PASD 2006 Tax Study Commission, and PASD Library Commission, and most recently, the Planning Commission for Schuylkill Township.

I also volunteer in my church for various outreach programs and studies.

Currently, I am teaching pre-school music at Episcopal day school in Paoli.

Communication - The 1st key

As an incumbent, and now as a candidate for the Phoenixville Area School Board, I believe the entire Phoenixville area should open the lines of communication to best serve the students and residents in the district.

Furthering the success of the Phoenixville Area School District requires integrity, energy, and a willingness to hear all the diverse groups represented by our community.

At the moment, I believe communication between all community organizations, the Townships and the Borough of Phoenixville, and the school district is in need of work. Progress within the community is guaranteed success by inter-governmental discussions, by understanding our diverse community and the issues each agency faces. I will work towards that end.

Curriculum - The 2nd key

It is critical that by high school level we have helped our students achieve individual goals by becoming well-prepared for the future, and educated for the next season of their lives. PASD has, and will continue to influence our children to be competitive in both the college selection process, and in the workplace. This translates to giving every child the tools they need to succeed through curriculum.

Fiscal repsonsibilty- The 3rd key

During my tenure, I have participated in forming the Energy Committee for the school district, which examines ways to reduce energy costs at each building. Re-directing funds to other needs by reducing energy costs will have a positive impact on the school district budget.

I have insisted on keeping taxes to a 1.93% increase for the 2009-2010 budget, and I will continue my record of strong vigilance and hard work for both the students and the taxpayers of Phoenixville Area School District in the coming years.

Please consider casting your vote for Jan Potts.

Thank you!

To contact me, please e-mail me at, or call 610-935-1967.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Marc Reber - Candidate for Phoenixville Borough Council - Middle Ward

I really appreciate Karen making her blog available me and to all the candidates in the upcoming municipal election. It is vital to have an outlet where the public can learn about the views of their potential candidates.

First, of course, I would like to ask the residents of the Middle Ward for their vote on November 3. Regular readers here know Karen supports my candidacy. They may not know Al Dvorak, a former Mayor of Phoenixville, also endorses me. Both of them have been prominent in Phoenixville as Democrats, and while I am on the Republican ticket, I believe my candidacy shows that I am willing to serve the people of Phoenixville on a bipartisan basis.

For those of you who may not be familiar with me, I was raised in Malvern, went to school at Penn in Philadelphia, and have worked for a number of years in Information Technology in the area. I have lived in Phoenixville since 2002, when I bought my home, a rowhouse on Second Avenue. Phoenixville has provided me the sense of small town community that I grew up with, and is a place where I look forward to starting my family.

In the time that I have lived here, I have had the great pleasure to serve our community in a number of different ways. I am the Treasurer at my Church, was the Treasurer and a board member of the Friends of the Library, and I work with Good Works, helping them bring their mission of service and home improvement to Phoenixville. Now, hopefully, my neighbors will give me the opportunity to serve them as a member of Borough Council.

To anticipate a series of questions that seem popular on this thread, I would like to offer the following:

I have gone on record, after much consideration, as not being in favor of the current proposal of expanding the library across Second Avenue. This opinion has been widely expressed by those I have visited during my door-to-door visits during the campaign season. However, since I believe that expansion of the library will be a positive growth for both Phoenixville and the community at large, it will be important to find and cultivate a solution which does not split the community so divisively.

One of the greatest concerns I hear about from the people in the Middle Ward involves parking and traffic. People feel unsafe due to the speed of traffic through town, and are increasingly unhappy with the lack of available parking, both on-street and downtown. Therefore, it will be the duty of the next Council to take a look at these issues and take steps to improve them so that residents can feel comfortable and safe in the neighborhoods in which they live. I support the enforcement of all traffic and safety laws which will encourage this.

Regarding trash, we have the system we have. Currently it is breaking even, which is great, and the single-stream recycling is nice, too. Our current arrangement may not be ideal, and I am open-minded towards alternate arrangements, but it does not seem like something that will change in the short term.

Finally, as for the site that was formerly home to Phoenix Iron and Steel, it is a shame this undeveloped tract lies in the middle of town. We need to encourage its development, hopefully with tenants that contribute at least as much towards the Borough’s coffers as they consume in services. My colleague, Dave Gautreau, likes the French Creek Parkway plan, and I currently see no reason to be against something like it.

The solutions to all of these questions, though, of course flow from our budgetary situation. We are currently looking at a $900k gap going into the next year, and the next Council will have to find ways to rein in spending, and explore ways to increase revenue in addition to merely constantly raising taxes.

As I have stated before, as a potential representative of the Middle Ward, my duty would be first to my constituents, then to the Phoenixville Borough, then to the community as a whole. I have based my campaign on the Promise to Listen, and my first priority, therefore, will always be the people of the Middle Ward. I look forward to your support and your vote on November 3.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at or 610-996-0149.

Thank you,

Marc Reber

Monday, October 19, 2009

Betsy Ruch - Candidate for PAHS School Board Director

To introduce myself, I lived in Schuylkill Township for almost 32 years, but after my children grew to adulthood, I moved to Phoenixville borough, where I have lived for the last 8 years.

I could have moved anywhere, but I have chosen to stay in the Phoenixville area.

I have 4 children, who have all gone through the Phoenixville school system, K-12, and who all have attended good colleges, and who are all productive citizens. I have 9 grandchildren, four of whom reside in the district and are now, or in the future, going to district schools. I do have a vested interest in the quality of education that the school district provides.

I am a retired senior citizen who lives on a fixed income, so I am very concerned about the district being fiscally conservative, as I myself, am.

I have a Masters Degree in Education and have taught on the college and junior high school levels.

I am co-founder and was co-owner of Schuylkill Valley Sporting Goods. I have worked in industry as head of Customer Service for TenPro in Phoenixville, and as Vice President of Production for Times and Season, a small import/manufacturing firm.

I was involved in Phoenixville Youth Babe Ruth League for 15 years in the capacities of Coach or Manager of regular season teams as well as of All Star teams. I also served on the Board as Softball Representative and helped to revise the Softball By-laws.

I have been very active with the Boy Scouts of America, serving as a merit badge counselor and serving on the troop committee.

I have held several leadership positions as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, including being President for three years of the local branch of the Relief Society, the largest organization for women in the world. In that capacity, I oversaw the temporal and spiritual welfare of over 200 women. I have held various teaching positions in the church as well as serving as Girls' basketball coach.

My campaign is based on the three R’ s – not only on reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic, but Reason, Respect, and Responsibility.

Reason – to me means common sense. It means looking at all sides of an issue and choosing the best course. It means having an open mind and working as a team to reach the best solution, and acting accordingly. It is stressing basics to help students realize their potential and channeling them toward success.

Respect – is vital to any working relationship, whether it be fellow Board members, teachers, support staff, parents, citizens, or students. There should never be a “them against us” attitude. We need to hold everyone accountable for their job, appreciate those who have demonstrated excellence, and encourage the rest in a civil manner. It is important that we respect the expertise of those whom we have entrusted to educate our children.

Responsibility – It is vital for us all to realize the responsibility that we have to educate our future citizens and leaders. It is critical that we be willing to take responsibility for our actions and decisions. It is our responsibility to ask the hard questions and to demand truthful answers.

To these three R’s, I would like to add a fourth – Right. We must be willing to choose what is right for the district and community after hearing all sides of an issue. To that end, I will do my best to make the right decision for the school district and the community.

These are things that I passionately believe, and will do all within my power to act accordingly.

I will be accessible and encourage everyone to contact me on any issue.

My telephone number is 610 935-1354 and my email is

Please consider casting your vote for me, Betsy Ruch!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Royersford Borough files lawsuit against UniTech

"However, in 2003, the discharged waste water had findings of radioactive material, which included Cobalt 60, and was sourced to be from UniTech."

Phoenixville borough draws it's water from the Schuylkill River, as do many other municipalities downstream.

Might we all have been affected by the discharged radioactive materials?


Royersford Borough files lawsuit against UniTech

Saturday, October 17, 2009


UniTech Services Group, Inc., a California Corporation authorized to do business in Pennsylvania and specifically located on North Third Street in Royersford, has been sued in Court by the borough of Royersford due to the discovery of radioactive contamination found in the borough's sewage system.

UniTech, the world's largest provider of radiological laundry and protective wear programs, was the first commercial nuclear decontamination laundry company licensed in the United States, and currently provides protective wear services for approximately 80% of commercial power reactors and Department of Energy nuclear facilities found nationwide.

Locally, the facility had been known to historically "discharge industrial process waste water into the sewer system of Royersford," although the waste water was affirmed to be "pretreated prior to the discharge, to ensure the removal of any radioactive contamination."

However, in 2003, the discharged waste water had findings of radioactive material, which included Cobalt 60, and was sourced to be from UniTech.

Without a rebuttal, UniTech paid for decontamination of Royersford sewage plant. Since the plant uses reed beds, a disposal technology that contains sludge within the facility's treatment, the remaining sludge after the decontamination processed by UniTech still contained contaminated material.

Due to the lethal pollution to the sewage plant, the borough ruled the sludge in the reed beds to be a "hazard and danger to the environment and Pennsylvania's public natural resources," which rightfully went against their position as a trustee of the public natural resources of The Commonwealth.

The costs incurred from the borough to remove the toxic wastes within the treatment plant resulted in a hefty fee for the Royersford, which in turn, caused them to issue allegations against the local business in hopes to receive the desired reimbursement.

Issued on June 16 and approved mid-August, the suit amounts at $357,905.62, with the additional promise to hopefully receive further amounts from pre-judgment interests and the costs of the litigation, as well as the attorney's fees.

The case is represented by Flamm, Boroff and Bacine, PC of Blue Bell, with the town solicitor Alan E. Boroff respectfully administrating the claims.

Boroff has reported that the UniTech has "failed and refused to compensate Royersford." However, as announced at Tuesday's borough hall meeting, the defendant had, in response, filed an additional legal document that stated that the borough's claims were partially incorrect in their original complaint document.

Attempting to successfully comply with Unitech's representative, Ken Kirkpatrick, Royersford adjusted the allegations that were in question and most recently, filed a revised version of the document.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dr. Daniel J. Cushing - Candidate for PAHS School Board Director

Daniel J. Cushing was born in Peoria, Illinois.

He has been a resident of Schuylkill Township since 1995 where he lives with his wife Ellen and their two children ages 10 and 13.

He has been, and continues to be, an active volunteer with local organizations, some examples of which include being a Cub Scout leader, sports coach, and serving on the Board of his Church.

He holds a B.S. in Biology, a M.S. in Zoology, and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology. Dr. Cushing conducted his post-doctoral training at the Lilly Research Laboratories. He served as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Indiana University School of Medicine. He has also held a variety of research and development positions within the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr. Cushing currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of Drug Development and Regulatory Affairs at Prism Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dr. Cushing has outlined:

1) the development and implementation of a long-range financial plan,

2) reestablishing the credibility of the Board with the citizens,

3) improving academic achievement goals and performance as the top priorities facing the District.

Dr. Cushing will bring an open mind, critical thinking, and sound judgment to the PASD Board of School Directors and will be guided by the principles of transparency, truth, responsibility, and integrity

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wendy Kelly - Candidate for PAHS School Board Director

Place Phoenixville ahead of the pack in Chester County on education, community and expectations.

Quality Education - Provide a quality 21st Century education for all students, within the fiscal parameters of the district budget, and by enlisting the support of the community, service organizations, area universities, parents and school district personnel.

.A Need for Top-Notch Staff - Place Phoenixville Area School District among the top-rated districts in the state by recruiting and sustaining outstanding educational leaders who will improve instruction, develop quality programs, and propel the achievement of students. Currently, many vital positions are unfilled or occupied by interim personnel.

Honest Communication - Communication is the key to enlisting the support of the community and moving the district in the right direction. In order to make the best possible decisions for our community and it's children, all stakeholders need to know and understand the many facets of district business.

Accountability - Review and institute policies that hold district employees and school board members accountable for the achievement of students, expenditures of district funds and honest communication with the public.

Dave Gautreau, Candidate for Phoenixville Borough Council - East Ward

I, too, would like to thank Karen Johns for allowing me some blog space to let folks know who I am and what I represent. I do appreciate feedback and constructive criticism.

These are exciting and challenging times for the Borough of Phoenixville. Our borough continues to grow at a fast pace. New businesses are coming to Phoenixville, which is an important for supporting our economic well being and quality of life. As with any growth, come challenges. In order to meet these challenges we will be faced with needs for road improvements, upgraded utilities, police and fire protection, all while seeing our state and federal dollars become less and less.

The growth of our community must be managed in a way that is cost effective and logical. Government, just like individuals, has to work within an affordable budget. I am ready to step up to the plate and work to realize these goals and all the challenges. As a young boy my parents always told me to remember to help those in need. That well- taught lesson inspired me to devote countless hours to many non-profits in our community: the Phoenixville Jaycees (1994 Dogwood Parade chair, 1995 General Dogwood Chair), Phoenixville Rotary (1995 President), Mom’s House Board of Directors (2002 Vice President). I am currently serving my fifth term as President of Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS). I also serve as President of the home and school association of Holy Family School on Third Avenue. As you can see I enjoy helping those in need. The time has come to devote my energy to another “need,” the citizens of Phoenixville.

My past public involvement consists of five years on the Phoenixville School Board, from 1990 to 1995, including two years as Vice President). That experience taught me how to work as a team on a public board and “get things done.”

On a personal note, I am married to the former Cindi Baynard and we have an eight-year-old son, Christopher. I work as sales manager for AC Miller Concrete Products in Spring City; however, many of you may remember me as the guy that ran Gateway Pharmacy from 1980 to 1997 (I most likely helped you in the aisles at one time or another).

If elected, I will serve the residents of Phoenixville with honesty, integrity and dedication. Please cast your ballot for me on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, 2009. If you have a question or just want to talk please contact me at or 610-505-4988.

With Much Appreciation,

Dave Gautreau

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Phoenixville's Halloween Parade

There are only 4 days left to register goblins, ghosts, ninja turtles, and all the other funny and creepy creatures who love to march in parades!

Phoenixville's annual Halloween Parade is scheduled for October 20, 2009, at 7 p.m.

The parade line up will commence at 6 p.m., at 140 Church Street, Borough Hall.

All participants are invited to sign up at the Civic Center, 123 Main Street, or for more information call Delores Winston at 610-933-7728.

Individuals, groups, bands, and floats are all invited!

Download an entry form here:

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bob Tigro - Candidate for Phoenixville Borough Council - North Ward


First, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to post a message on your blog about my candidacy for Council from Phoenixville’s North Ward. My family and I are nineteen-year residents of the Borough. We chose Phoenixville as our home and found good schools, diverse neighborhoods, and a sense of community. My wife Linda and I just celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary. My community involvement has included being a past Vice President of the Phoenixville Jaycees, a leader with Cub Scout Pack 119 and currently with Scout Troop 58 where our son, Ryan, is an Eagle Scout. I also was a Borough Council Member from the North Ward for four years (2001-2005), during which I served as Council President and Chairman of the Police and Personnel Committee.

As a former elected official, I am proud to ask for your vote based on my track record in office. During my Borough Council tenure, I never voted for a tax increase larger than 6.8%. I voted for a 0% tax increase in 2004 and a 20% TAX DECREASE in 2005. I voted against the tax increase of 2006. My opponent, after taking office in January of 2006, voted to reopen the budget and voted YES to balance the budget by increasing the Borough’s hoped-for revenue, instead of decreasing the planned spending. That just set the stage for the increase of 18.65% in 2007 for which he cast a YES vote. He also voted YES to the 2008 Budget increase of 14.87%. In all, he has voted for 46% tax increases during his term. Now we have an $840k deficit looming and a police pension contribution in arbitration, which may require yet another large taxpayer outlay. I will let you, the voters, figure out who is the fiscal conservative.

My opponent would have you believe that he was a major architect in saving Friendship Field as open recreational space. In fact, I brought the issue of the Borough’s acquisition to the Council floor, and pressed Council to its ultimate passage of the motion.

My opponent wants to take credit for the reconstruction of Andre Thornton Park. The vote to approve the grant expenditure for that park, for which I voted yes, was during my last year on council (2005). Four years later, on my opponents ‘watch,’ the park is still under construction. Since the new Gay Street ‘high’ bridge will be opening in just days, I will note that while I served on Council, I, other Council members, and the manager personally went to their Penn DOT’s King of Prussia office and pleaded the Borough’s case to replace the rapidly deteriorating bridge.

When I was on Council, we interviewed publicly for the best possible appointments for boards and commissions. We did not hire our political friends and donors. We set aside funds to purchase the fire department’s new ladder truck. I early on negotiated the deal with Comcast that brought the Education and Governmental Channel to our cable TV service. In my very first year on Council, I was charged with the responsibility of negotiating both the police and non-uniformed labor agreements; both received unanimous passage by council members of both parties. New labor agreements will need to be negotiated next year.

Our government’s responsibility is to provide services to our community. But, when we see that revenues may fall short, we must have the courage to evaluate all areas of our budget for possible spending decreases. I believe that I have the experience, leadership and negotiating skills that are key to keeping Phoenixville moving forward in a fiscally sound manner. I have walked the walk. I ask for your vote on November 3 for the North Ward Council seat.

If anyone would like a clarification or discuss the issues, please feel free to contact me at either my home 610-933-3482 or my cell 610-633-3486. Thank you, I appreciate your consideration.


Bob Tigro is the Republican candidate for Phoenixville Borough Council in the North Ward.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jennifer L. Killeen - Phoenixville Tax Collector

Dear Phoenixville Voters:

I have had the honor of serving as your borough real estate tax collector for the past twelve years. I am hoping to serve you for another four years and respectfully request your vote on November 3rd. While Pennsylvania law only requires a candidate for tax collector be a resident of the taxing authority and eighteen years old, I believe more qualifications are needed. Currently, in Phoenixville, the tax collector is responsible for collecting approximately $2 million. It is critical to the operation of the borough that this is handled efficiently and accurately. I have lived in Phoenixville for twenty years, eighteen of which I have worked as a professional bookkeeper. I take pride in turning over perfectly balanced books.

I also believe it is the tax collector’s job to provide excellent customer service. Therefore, I keep an office in borough hall and maintain regular weekly hours Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Many tax collectors prefer to collect taxes from their homes but I believe that is inconvenient for most taxpayers. Additionally, I provide “house calls” for those who cannot get to borough hall but would like to pay their taxes in person. I have visited many taxpayers in their homes and have enjoyed the visits and the ability to serve.

My husband, Bill, and my two sons, William and Torin, and I love our lives here in Phoenixville. We all appreciate the support you have shown me, as your tax collector, over the past twelve years. I, again, respectfully ask for your vote. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at the tax office at 610-935-8852 or at my home at 610-983-9872.


Jennifer L. Killeen

Monday, October 12, 2009

Richard M. Kirkner - Candidate for Phoenixville Borough Council, North Ward

Several weeks ago, as a service to the Phoenixville community, I extended an invitation through the local Democratic and Republican Committees to host candidate statements on this blog.

Those candidates who respond, by sending information to be published, indicate their intention to reply to any questions or comments as they deem necessary.

As this is an excellent opportunity for the public to ask questions and receieve answers, I ask that you please be courteous and mindful of past practice on this board.

Rich Kirkner, Democrat incumbent from the North Ward, is the first and currently the only candidate to submit a statement.


Rich Kirkner for North Ward
Phoenixville Borough Council

I’m seeking re-election as the North Ward representative on Phoenixville Borough Council because we have much unfinished work ahead of us. Our accomplishments over the past four years include:

The new Gay Street Bridge

New life for the former Polychem factory as the Phoenixville Education Center

Friendship Field has been saved as a public park

Andre Thornton Park reconstruction

I also ask to be a voice for prudent fiscal management. As former Finance Committee chair, I supported practices that increased the borough’s fund balance $750,000 one year.

In these difficult economic times, municipal governments must learn to do more with less. We must closely examine any non-essential cost. I’ve successfully advocated for a hiring freeze through 2010, and cast the lone vote to freeze wages of non-union staff through 2010. I will continue to seek spending cuts until the economy shows signs of recovery. Sure I’m a Democrat, but I’ve made no secret about my fiscal conservatism.

In the next few years, Council will be asked to make these important decisions:

Adopt a new Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. I’d like to apply my zoning and planning knowledge to fight for a plan that preserves the integrity of our most valued asset—our residential neighborhoods—and preserves the diverse commercial character of downtown.

New labor agreements. Existing labor agreements expire in 2010. I promise to raise my voice to advocate for contracts that reflect today’s economic realities.

Complete work on our parks. Now that Friendship Field and Veteran’s Park (on Mowere Road) have been preserved for recreation, we must take the next step: Complete the construction of fields at these parks. I will provide a strong voice to do so.

I came to Phoenixville 30 years ago as a young newspaper reporter. My wife Maureen and I have lived in the North Ward since 1992. Maureen is the daughter of Eugene and Mary Rose (McGuigan) Sakal of Phoenixville, and we have three children—John, 24; Robert, 21; and Hannah, 18 — all fourth-generation Phoenixvillians. We belong to Sacred Heart Church, where I’m a lector and former CCD teacher.

I make my living as a writer, editor and communications consultant. I grew up in Frazer and graduated from Great Valley High School. I’m also a graduate of Gannon University in Erie, PA. Some of you may even know my parents, Robert and Amelia (D’Antonio) Kirkner of Frazer. My father is a charter and life member of the Chester Valley Sportsmen’s Association, whose advocacy helped preserve the Valley, French and Pickering creeks.

I don’t believe in grand promises. I’ve been around long enough to know that one voice can only do so much. My sole pledge is to stick to my principles, raise my voice and make informed decisions that serve the best interests of we who make our homes here.

I always welcome input and feedback. You may call me at 610-935-1397, or e-mail me at

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Wegmans Food Market in Collegeville - You HAVE to go!

Today was Wegmans grand opening in Collegeville and as a past customer to their store in Downingtown, I knew we were in for some real eye candy!

The store is quite different in many ways from those in which we normally shop, and until you've enjoyed the experience, a thousand written words will only begin to describe it.

I had planned to write about our little excursion today, but Michelle Karas from the Mercury has already written an excellent article on Wegmans.

Plan to spend a long time browsing!


Wegmans' Collegeville store first to include restaurant

Sunday, October 11, 2009

By Michelle Karas,

COLLEGEVILLE — What does it take to open a new, 132,000-square-foot, upscale grocery store including a full-service restaurant and pub? In a nutshell: Several months of construction, a hiring process to net 600 employees, roughly three months of training for those employees, and getting the store filled with product and ready to go.

Daunting on paper, for sure, but it was all in a year's work for the folks at Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets Inc.

The new Wegmans store in the Providence Town Center shopping mecca at routes 422 and 29 will open at 7 a.m. today.

To say the least, it's a huge store, complete with a full-service restaurant, coffee shop, take-out beer, a free and secure place to drop off the kids while you shop, conference facilities, and a whole lot of food for sale — either fully prepared or for the customer to prepare at home.

The Collegeville location is the regional supermarket chain's 14th store in Pennsylvania and its 74th overall.

For a family-owned chain that's been in operation for 93 years, that slow, steady growth pattern is no accident, according to Jo Natale, Wegmans director of marketing.

"Our growth has been very measured over the years since 1916," said Natale, during a visit to Collegeville this week to help open the store. "This year we're opening three stores (Collegeville, Fredericksburg, Va., and Leesburg, Va.), last year we opened just one."

Only in the last five years has Wegmans expanded into northern Virginia and Maryland, Natale said.

"These are large stores. We need a density of population to support these stores," she said. "One of the things we often say is we're not trying to be the biggest, just the best."

But even at No. 74, the Collegeville store is a definite first for the Wegmans chain.

"This is the first store where we have opened a full-service restaurant in the store, called The Pub," Natale said. "We wanted to take it to that next step. We're taking the restaurant experience to a new level."

The Pub, patterned after a traditional Irish pub, is situated in the Market Cafée, an area separated slightly from the grocery shopping area. The bar and restaurant area features hardwood floors, modern styling and a clear view of what the Wegmans' chefs are doing in an open kitchen.

"Wegmans dream was always 'Wouldn't it be great if we could do this in the store'," Natale said. "This is a place where families shop for their groceries. Now people can choose to bring their family to The Pub and have that experience."

All of the Wegmans stores in Pennsylvania have liquor licenses, she explained.

Per state law, customers of legal age can purchase up to two six-packs of beer to go or order alcohol by the glass at the bar or while seated at the restaurant. Craft beers and imports make up the majority of the takeout beer offerings, which number about 750, according to Blaine Forkell, store manager.

At The Pub, you can order draft beer, wine or liquor to enjoy along with your meal. If you sit at the bar, which seats 24, "You can sit and order a menu item and watch it being prepared," Natale said.

Forkell stressed the family-friendly focus of the store when he said he does not anticipate any law enforcement issues related to the alcohol service.

"We have no shots, pitchers or happy hours, and no pool tables," Forkell noted.

"The alcohol we sell is to complement the great food we sell. It's always been about the food at Wegmans."

Alcohol simply isn't the focus at The Pub, according to Chris Happel, executive chef of the Collegeville store.

"It's about the education as well. The food is the highlight and the focus of the entire bar is the food," Happel said.

More than 6,100 people applied for roughly 550 full- and part-time positions there.

"It was a large number of applications," said Forkell, who noted the norm for applications for a store opening is about 2,500 to 3,000.

"We always do get a good application flow, but clearly the economy had a good impact on the greater number here," Natale said.

New employees received 11 weeks of training at nearby stores and about a week in the Collegeville site, once it was ready.

Wegmans budgeted $1.6 million to train the Collegeville employees, Forkell said.

"We pride ourselves on being a great place to work," Natale said. "Meet the needs of your employees first, and they will meet the needs of your customers."

For 12 years in a row, Wegmans has been named one of FORTUNE magazine's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For." This year, Wegmans ranked No. 5 on that list

Wegmans employs a total of 37,000 people in its stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland. About 6,000 of those employees have at least one other family member working for the company, according to Natale.

"There are companies that actually discourage that, but we don't," she said.

Store Manager Blaine Forkell, the store manager, has been working for Wegmans since he landed a part-time job at the Rochester-area store when he was 16. He became a store manager at Wegmans' Corning, N.Y. store in 1993, and subsequently helped to open the Scranton store and manage the Wilkes-Barre store. He opened the Downingtown store in 2003 and moved to Warrington in 2006 to open a store there. More recently, his focus has been on the Collegeville store.

He's anticipating approximately 50,000 customers this week, during the store's grand opening week. Typical Wegmans stores see about 30,000 transactions a week, Forkell noted. For the Collegeville location, tt's tough to gauge what "normal" customer volume might be until after the store's initial 11 weeks in operation, which include a few major holidays.

"It will really take us to January to settle in," Forkell said.

Roughly 80 percent of the store's customers are expected to come from about a 10-mile radius of the store, he said.

Finally, there's the food and other items for sale you'll find as a grocery shopper. In the Market Cafée, you'll find prepared meals in the $6 and $10 range, a burrito bar and panini station, thin-sliced traditional and gourmet pizza, a wing bar, old-fashioned subs, sushi, Asian-inspired cuisine, a soup station with up to six varieties of hot soup, and a "Fresh Foods Bar" that includes a hot entree, chilled salads, fruits and vegetables.

"We're making it easy for the commuter to buy packaged products to take home to their family," said Happel, the store's executive chef.

There's also a bakery, patisserie, deli shop (which Forkell said is open until at least 10 p.m. daily), Mediterranean bar, seafood and meat departments, coffee and tea shops, and an Olde World Cheese Shop, where you'll find 365 varieties of specialty and artisan cheese.

In the grocery aisles, there is a large organic selection, including a special gluten-free area as well as all the food offerings you would expect in an upscale grocery store. There are 700 different kinds of fruits and vegetables, 100 of those are organic.

"Produce continues to be the crown jewel of our operation," Natale said.

There is also a pharmacy, full-service florist, and catering department (available Nov. 1). Wegmans Complements shop, located roughly in the middle of the grocery area, features cookware, knives, kitchen tools, glassware, tableware, cutlery, table linens and decorating accessories.

Notably, there are 30 checkout stations in the front end of the store. The restaurant area has its own checkout station.

"We really pride ourselves on quick and easy checkout," Natale said. "We try to open a new checkout after there are two people waiting in line. We do understand that, in the end, that may be the most important experience a shopper has."

Prices are also important to the consumer, she noted.

"The perception is sometimes that it costs more to shop here," Natale said. "It costs less to shop at Wegmans than at other stores. We mean business when we say we have consistently low prices."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Did you know? Actor John-Paul (Seponski) Lavoisier grew up in Phoenixville

(Click to enlarge)

Many Phoenixville area students attending PASD during the 1990's may remember John-Paul (Seponski) Lavoisier who was born on March 12, 1979.

He grew up in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and attended Phoenixville High School. While in high school he developed a talent for magic tricks and entertained the idea of becoming a magician.

John-Paul also attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia studying music performance as a percussion major. He was also a model during this time.

Lavoisier is a member of the advisory board of theatre production company Streetlight Productions, Inc, and has performed in various off-Broadway plays including Discordant Duets and Counterfeit Garden.

His hobbies include tennis, skiing, golf and magic tricks.

John-Paul is single and as of 2008 was dating One Life to Live co-star Farah Fath.


"One Life to Live" .... Rex Balsom / ... (404 episodes, 2002-2009)
- Episode #1.10518 (2009) TV episode .... Rex Balsom
- Vlad the Impaler (2009) TV episode .... Rex Balsom
- Episode dated 10 September 2009 (2009) TV episode .... Rex Balsom
- Episode #1.10507 (2009) TV episode .... Rex Balsom
- In the Family Way (2009) TV episode .... Rex Balsom
(399 more)
Placebo (2008) .... Jason
"Gossip Girl" .... Field Hockey Coach (1 episode, 2007)
- Poison Ivy (2007) TV episode .... Field Hockey Coach
Wolves of Wall Street (2002) (as John Paul LaVoisier) .... Barnes
One Day in May (2002) (TV) .... Matt Daniels
"Sex and the City" .... Model (1 episode, 2001)
- Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda (2001) TV episode (uncredited) .... Model
"All My Children" .... Orderly (1 episode, 2001)
... aka "All My Children: The Summer of Seduction" (USA: promotional title)
- Episode dated 21 May 2001 (2001) TV episode .... Orderly

The 35th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (2008) (TV) .... Himself - Presenter
"The View" .... Himself (2 episodes, 2003-2008)
- Episode dated 30 April 2008 (2008) TV episode .... Himself
- Episode dated 12 March 2003 (2003) TV episode .... Himself
"Rachael Ray" .... Himself - one life to live (1 episode, 2008)
- Human Lab: Soap Star Edition (2008) TV episode .... Himself - one life to live
6ABC Boscov's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2007) (TV) .... Himself
"SoapTalk" .... Himself (4 episodes, 2003-2006)
- Episode dated 12 June 2006 (2006) TV episode .... Himself
- Episode dated 17 March 2005 (2005) TV episode .... Himself
- Episode dated 9 June 2004 (2004) TV episode .... Himself
- Episode dated 22 August 2003 (2003) TV episode .... Himself
SOAPnet Reveals ABC Soap Secrets (2005) (TV) .... Himself
"Soap Center" .... Himself (1 episode, 2004)
- Episode dated 11 April 2004 (2004) TV episode .... Himself
"Saturday Night Live" .... Himself (1 episode, 2003)
... aka "NBC's Saturday Night" (USA: complete title)
... aka "SNL 25" (USA: alternative title)
... aka "SNL" (USA: informal title)
... aka "Saturday Night Live '80" (USA: sixth season title)
... aka "Saturday Night Live 15" (USA: fifteenth season title)
... aka "Saturday Night Live 20" (USA: twentieth season title)
... aka "Saturday Night Live 25" (USA: twentiefifth season title)
... aka "Saturday Night" (USA: first season title)
- Jeff Gordon/Avril Lavigne (2003) TV episode .... Himself


Friday, October 9, 2009

Phoenixville Library - Architect Tom Carnevale to library neighbors....

....the following is a paraphrase of what he did say at the October 8, 2009 public Planning Commission meeting.

The new library will make the area a neighborhood, again.

Bad choice of words.

Until recently, Tom and his family lived in a half-double on Gay Street and Second Avenue, a neighborhood which is the same type of neighborhood as all those surrounding the library at Second and Main Streets.

The arrogance in Carnevale's remark, the slur hurled for blocks in all directions, was and is an insult to me and all the neighbors surrounding the library. In my opinion, this remark is a very public example, an indication of the manner in which this entire process of an expansion has been handed to the public.

My anger and disgust was barely bridled.

When it was my turn at the microphone I told Tom Carnevale he owed an apology to the neighbors as they take much pride in their homes. He looked at me and smiled. However, afterwards I did not see him approach and apologize to any of the neigbhors in attendance, myself included.

The normal dog and pony show at tonight's Planning Commission meeting began with a list of "approvals" for the project, at least one of which had to be corrected by Phoenixville Borough Mayor Leo Scoda. A presentation by an engineer from Rettew, Inc., was followed by another presentation of a parking analysis performed over a few days in the summer.

Quite a few Planning members had tough questions and comments for the library representatives as well as their own counsel, and I believe there may have been an equal number of speakers both pro and con on the expansion including library board member Adam Deveney and his wife.

The language of the proposed zoning change will be developed and presented to the Planning Commision.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Phoenixville Library - the "new" preliminary plan only gets worse

Ahh, more subterfuge.

A packet was delivered anonymously and found at my door on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the information inside, the Planning Commission review requested by the Phoenixville library board is for a subdivision and land development plan, and a zoning ammendment.

The "new proposal" on the "preliminary" plan is for a still-monstrous sized addition to the Phoenixville Library and brings with it more problems.

Interesting details in what this "new preliminary plan" proposes, and I will do my best to describe the engineering drawing entitled "Fire Truck Turning Analysis".

The library board is requesting a change in the traffic direction of Park Alley, currently one-way north, to one-way south.

Apparently, in an attempt to address the long-standing issue of the ability of emergency vehicles to respond to the closed area of Second Avenue, the neighborhood of First Avenue and Main Street would bear the brunt of incoming traffic flow.

I'm not an experienced planner nor am I very familiar with engineering drawings, but as I see it, possibly the southeast and definitely the width of the southwest corner of Park Alley will need to be shaved to accomodate a fire truck making a right turn onto the alley from First Avenue.

All the current parking spaces, approximately 12-14 alongside the library and Reeves Park, would be eliminated due to the enormous size of the addition.

Proposed in the new plan is the placement of a "parking permitted beyond this point" sign near the steps into Reeves Park, at the site of the Sesquicentennial Pavilion.

Apparently, fire apparatus (40.25' by 8.33') completing a easterly turn from Park Alley onto Second Avenue, would succeed in the radius required only if the additional parking spaces on the south side of Second Avenue are eliminated.

Total loss of available parking to the neighborhood on Second Avenue is probably close to 20 spaces.

The proposed addition appears to have a claustrophobic, 2' rear yard setback from the curb of Park Alley. The zoning regulations on setback in the borough, if I recall correctly, may be either 21' or 25' under normal development conditions.

The resulting change to Second Avenue would create one-way traffic heading east from Park Alley towards Starr Street. The diagram I have cuts off before B Street. I am therefore unable to determine if Second Avenue at B remains two-way to Starr.

The library board is also requesting a zoning ammendment. Currently, the library and neighborhood is zoned NCR 2, Neighborhood Conservation Residential, which basically is interpreted exactly as it is stated.

The library board requests the zoning for the library to be changed to PFZ, Park Facility Zone. PFZ is allowed for areas owned by governmental agencies, such as Reeves Park which is owned by the borough, or, in reality, by the taxpayers.

The library is owned by the Phoenixville Area School District (again, by you and me). However, a change in zoning to PFZ may be very problematic as the PASD school board members are currently examining the district's status as owners of the library. Should the school district divest itself of ownership of the library, the zoning change could become a moot issue or result in requiring yet another change.

On a side note, I certainly hope the library board doesn't assume the borough would purchase and maintain the library. I further hope that no one on this current Council has represented to anyone that the taxpayers of Phoenixville would willingly finance the hefty burden of the library.

A few questions.

Shouldn't an additional condition to this controversial plan include one that requires every single penny of the projected $6,500,000 costs for the expansion be actually in a local bank prior to the library board's hardhats and shovels photo op?

Shouldn't all the legal issues, including the legality of vacating Second Avenue and selling for $1 the half of the street belonging to Reeves Park, be addressed before another single vote is taken?

Shouldn't Phoenixville Borough Council assume the responsibility the Reeves deed invested in the governmental body and act as charged in the deed as the protectors and defenders of the Reeves Park property?

The Planning Commission meeting is October 08, 2009, 7 p.m., at Phoenixville Borough Hall.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Phoenixville Borough Council Candidate Forum

Plans are underway for a Phoenixville Borough Council Candidate Forum to be held at 7 p.m. on October 20, 2009 at the Franklin Commons, 400 Franklin Avenue, Phoenixville.

Sponsored by the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation, he forum will be a unique opportunity for residents to ask questions of the candidates prior to the November 3, 2009 elections.

Please make arrangements to attend this very important event.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Valley Forge National Park to euthanize white tailed deer

While I understand the deer are deemed destructive in Valley Forge Park, and in neigbhoring communities, the deer inhabited this area long before humans.

Yes, let it be known I am a tree-hugger and an animal lover. Senseless death of animals is disturbing to me.

Rather than just taking the easy method by killing Bambi, what I don't understand is if we spend trillions of our tax dollars bailing out the two-legged destructive creatures on Wall Street why not spend a far less amount to tranquilize and relocate the deer and let them live?

Citing 'excessive browsing which has led to the inability of forests to regenerate and the loss of habitat for other animal species. Mike Caldwell, Superintendent, said “We look forward to a future that provides high quality habitat for all wildlife species at Valley Forge.”

Initially, the park will use lethal reduction via sharpshooting and capture/euthanasia to quickly reduce the deer population and achieve the initial deer density goal. Maintenance of population levels will be conducted via reproductive control when an acceptable agent becomes available.

Exerpts from:

The entire report in PDF form can be downloaded here:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Phoenixville Library Presentation - October 2009

There was a time when I would receive anonymous information, due to the fact that such information is usually voltile, my initial reaction would often be one of anger.

With each successive piece I receive regarding the library plan for expansion, I've moved on from that anger.

All I feel today is a sense of sadness.

The people who are volunteers on the library board are good people. Some of them I've known almost all my life, many for years. They do good and wonderful work, support the institution they administer, and are contributing members of our community.

What saddens me is how the issue of the current library expansion plan has changed the public perception and bought divisiveness to our community.

What perplexes me is why the good people on the libary board persist in their pursuit of a plan which many agree is not beneficial to Phoenixville.

We are a community of individuals who reside together in one area because we love our town, we love the people, we love the mosaic of our lives in the surroundings to which we were born or have chosen to live.

We give birth to our children, love our family and friends, commend to God our loved ones when their time comes, and attempt to minimize our daily struggles all within the familiar and comforting piece of earth we call home.

So I ask, why would a small group of volunteers, members of our community, willingly commit to the potential of placing our children at more risk, destroy neighborhoods, and ruin the peace and quality of life of fellow citizens?

For shame.

Does anyone realize there is no good coming from that which hurts another?

Here is the latest presentation from the Phoenixville Library board.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Did you know? Richard Nixon visited Phoenixville, twice.

Two of Richard Milhous Nixon's grandchildren were born in Phoenixville Hospital.

Alex Eisenhower, was born on October 10, 1980 at Phoenixville Hospital, and is the son of David Eisenhower and Julie Nixon. Alex is the grandson of the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Richard M. Nixon, 37th President of the USA.

The following are a few interesting tidbits of presidential fact. In 1953, after assuming the presidency, David's grandfather named the presidential mountain retreat Camp David after him, and prior to becoming President, Richard Nixon served as Vice-President to Dwight Eisenhower during his term in office.

From the Oscala Star-Banner, June 20, 1984.

"Richard Nixon has a new grandchild and the former President wasted no time hurrying over to Phoenixville, PA from his New Jersey home to visit the bouncing baby girl born to his daughter Julie Eisenhower.

"I think Julie wanted a girl", Nixon told a reporter as dozens gathered around for autographs. "I'm partial to girls because we had two girls."

The baby, Melanie Catherine was born Monday night, the third child of Julie and David Eisenhower. She was about two weeks later than expected, and Nixon joked that the late birth might have been the reason for her size, 9 pounds, 8 ounces.

Nixon said Julie called him herself to report the good news.

"At 5:30 this morning - I get up very early - the phone rings. She was on the phone. She said, 'Did I wake you up?' I said, 'I was up but what are you up for?' She said, 'I haven't slept all night!' And, that's how I knew."

Officials at Phoenixville Hospital said both the mother and daughter were in good condition.,1949746

On a personal note, a friend of mine was at the hospital when Nixon visited and found him to be very personable.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Emma Valenteen - Extraordinary woman, extraordinary celebration of life!

So many family members, friends, and co-workers filled the banquet room at Robert Ryan's Columbia Station that more tables, chairs, and place settings were needed.

Everyone gathered for one reason, Emma Valenteen.

Not because Emma is sick. She was diagnosed in June with pancreatic cancer and given the heart-wrenching terminal diagnosis.

Everyone gathered to celebrate Emma, her birthday, and the gift of her life filled with love for her family and service to her Phoenixville community.


Hundreds pay tribute to longtime Phoenixville volunteer
Friday, October 2, 2009

By Dennis J. Wright

PHOENIXVILLE — More than 210 family, friends and well-wishers came out to honor the life of community leader Emma Valenteen at a tribute/birthday dinner held at Robert Ryan's Columbia Station Wednesday night.

A resident of Phoenixville for 51 years, Valenteen was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and her family and friends hosted the dinner to pay tribute to all that she has accomplished in the borough.

Valenteen greeted everyone as they entered the room during the cocktail hour.

"I feel really good tonight," Valenteen said. "I can't believe how many people are here already."

After Donald J.L. Coppedge welcomed everyone in attendance, Lou Amici and a Mummer String Band performed as the crowd applauded prior to the invocation by Pastor Cynthia L. Krommes of St. John's Lutheran Church.

Among the numerous official presentations Valenteen received were from Congressman Jim Gerlach, state Sen. Andy Dinniman, and state Rep. Paul Drucker.

Phoenixville Mayor Leo Scoda proclaimed Wednesday as Emma Valenteen Day in the borough of Phoenixville. As Scoda presented her with the proclamation, Valenteen was so overwhelmed that she hugged him.

A slide show presentation, entitled "Emma ... This Is Your Life," showed plenty of photos of Valenteen's life, her family, and her friends. The presentation was made by PC-TV's Tom Ramsey.

Valenteen's friend Pat Hagarman read a special poem to her, and Donald J.L. Coppedge read a letter to Valenteen as well.

After Jan Swarr sang "My Hero" in honor of Valenteen, Drs. Lou Beccaria and Chick Coles spoke highly of her.

Lovingly referring to her as "Queen Emma," Beccaria told the audience some humorous antidotes about Valenteen.

"My job is to tell you some things about Queen Emma," Beccaria began. "Not only is she the Sergeant of Arms with the Social Concerns Committee, she is the enforcer. She made sure everyone signs the attendance book. Whenever there is an event and we need tickets sold, Emma would go up to people and say, 'Buy a ticket or I'll tell your mother.'

"She once told me, 'Lou, I may be weak in the hips but I got strong lips.' Emma has been kind to everyone, and she's made a significant impact in the community. We love you very much."

Bob Valenteen, Emma's son, spoke on behalf of the family about their mother.

"My mom is a remarkable lady," Bob said. "Mom had us passing out flyers for Mr. Gray when he was running for mayor. While we were out one day, I got bit in the eye by a dog. She came over to me and said, 'Let's finish this block.'

Coppedge introduced the guest of honor as "the star of the show — Queen Emma Valenteen."

"While I'm strong on the outside, on the inside I'm crying my eyes out," Valenteen said. "People came here from all walks of my life, and I'm very fortunate to have a wonderful family. If I influenced you in any way, I'm proud."

Valenteen mentioned that she asked God to give her until after the New Year because she is expecting a new grandbaby in December.

"I'm going to have a new grandbaby in December," she said. "So I asked him to give me to January or February. I'm fortunate to have my family stand by me through all of this. Thank you for coming out. I love you in each and every way."

After another standing ovation, Coppedge announced to Valenteen that the Social Concerns Committee will pledge $1,000 to Valenteen's organization Compassionate Friends in her honor.

"I can't believe so many people came out this evening to be with me," Valenteen said. "This is one night I'll never forget."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Zippity doo-dah, zippity-yay!

See you October 16th at Bridge Street and Gay!

Good news!

This afternoon I received the official notice from E. Jean Krack, Phoenixville Borough Manager, regarding the opening of the Gay Street Bridge.

According to the information from Mr. Krack, the ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m., Friday, October 16, 2009 with Les Toaso, the District Executive for District 6 as the Master of Ceremonies.

Plans include having the invited dignataries and the public assembled on both sides of the bridge and at the designated time the procession will come from both ends to meet in the middle for the ceremonies and ribbon cutting.

A display of classic cars and other entertainment will also be included in the festivities.

Pending Pennsylvania State Legislature approval the newly opened bridge will be renamed the Veteran's Memorial Gay Street Bridge.

No rain date is scheduled

Relay For Life of Phoenixville Kickoff Celebration!

PHOENIXVILLE -- Philadelphia changes the lights on Liberty 1 and Liberty 2 to honor those fighting it. NFL players wear pink cleats and gloves to support those enduring it.

Everybody has had some kind of contact with it and it can affect anyone.

It is cancer, and Phoenixville is fighting the battle to cure it.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so when you think pink… THINK PINK!

Join us on the Pink Patio at Petrucci’s Ice Cream and Water Ice, Nutt Road in Phoenixville, as we kick off Relay For Life of Phoenixville on Monday, October 12, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Enjoy music of Lew Seeders and stock up on your favorite treats before Petrucci’s closes for the season. No coupons are necessary! Petrucci’s owners John and Mary Colarusso will donate 50% of the sales during Kickoff to Relay!

Plus, register your team, register as a survivor or caregiver, or register your canine friends for Phoenixville Bark For Life, which will be held Saturday, October 24th in Reeves Park!

Relay For Life of Phoenixville will be held on Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8, 6 p.m. – 1 p.m., at Washington Field, Phoenixville Area High School, Phoenixville.

Team Captains’ meetings and information sessions will be held on the third Monday of each month at 6:45 p.m. at the Bistro at Franklin Commons, 400 Franklin Avenue in Phoenixville.

For more information, contact April Klotzbach at 610.917.2270.


April Klotzbach, Relay For Life Chair

John Colarusso, Petrucci’s