Sunday, May 24, 2015

TYCOONS: A high-tech success story at a young age


We are enormously proud of the business tycoon in our family. During his freshman year in college, he started a business for a class project. Seeing the potential in it (it's an app offering businesses instant feedback from customers), he applied to the YCombinator program in California and was selected to participate in the intensive, high-profile venture capital incubator. He promoted his company, sold it, and then went to work for the new owner. And he's still graduating from Harvard University, on time, this week. He'll take the summer off to travel before starting a lucrative job in Manhattan (where, he says thankfully, rents are much lower than in Silicon Valley).
Most importantly, he's a good, nice young man.
We were discussing this lad's success story at dinner last night, and the Young Relative, only in middle school but already with his father's and grandfather's taste for expensive vehicles, wonders how he might learn from his cousin's example. What math classes did his cousin take in middle and high school, and are they offered at Unionville? How many college credits did he accumulate before graduating from high school? Watch out, guidance counselors.
By the way, the Young Relative reports that the school year, extended thanks to snow days, is winding down, much to the relief of students and teachers alike. He is looking forward to a class trip to Dorney Park, where he and his classmates will do some hands-on investigations into the physics of roller coasters.

Friday, May 22, 2015

LONDON GROVE: Residents don't want to join a regional police force


At a public meeting on May 28, about 100 London Grove Township residents made it clear to their township supervisors that they're perfectly happy with current coverage from the Pennsylvania State Police barracks at Avondale and don't feel that joining a proposed regional police force would be worth the tax money.
The supervisors called the hour-long meeting, held at Engle Middle School, to get input from township residents. Under the proposal, London Grove, which doesn't have its own police force and relies solely on the state police, would join with Kennett Square Borough, Kennett Township, New Garden Township, West Grove, and Avondale (all of which do have their own forces or hire police from another municipality) to create one large unified department to cover the area.
Based on their estimates, the board said the cost for London Grove residents to join the proposed regional force would mean doubling the earned income tax or tripling the township millage rate (figures that drew gasps from the audience).
The supervisors said that they were considering joining the proposed regional force because the population and development are increasing in London Grove, and state police cannot handle "quality-of-life" issues like parking enforcement (one resident mentioned,  for instance, an ongoing problem in which Avon Grove Charter School students park on his cul-de-sac despite the prominent no-parking signs). But the residents at the meeting said they believed there were more cost-effective methods of handling these problems.
The supervisors explained that a decision on joining the regional force is needed within weeks. When asked why the issue wasn't put on the ballot in the primary election so that residents could give it a thumbs up or down, the supervisors said they are not the ones who can place a referendum question on the ballot; citizens need to collect a certain number of signatures on a petition before such a question can be added.
I have to say that Richard Scott-Harper, the London Grove Township board of supervisors chairman, did a great job running the meeting. He was respectful to all but moved the meeting along in very efficient fashion.

NEW BOLTON: The final "First Tuesday" lecture of the academic year

New Bolton Center's final "First Tuesday" lecture of the academic year will be on Tuesday, June 2, at 6:30 p.m. Dr. Laura Johnstone,  a Resident in Internal Medicine, will discuss cancer treatment in horses.
"Equine veterinary medicine, following in the footsteps of human and small animal oncology, has an increasing number of options when it comes to cancer therapy for horses," said a press release. "Those options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy."
The lecture, which as always is free and open to the public, will be in New Bolton’s Alumni Hall. Register with Barbara Belt at beltb@vet.upenn.edu.
I always find these lectures fascinating, and the speakers are simply top-notch.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

NOTTINGHAM: A great meal at the Nottingham Inn

We will be adding a new restaurant to our regular rotation. Last night we had a delicious dinner at the Nottingham Inn on Route 272, just off the Route 1 bypass, near the Maryland border. I had the evening's "special": a grilled ham steak with shrimp in an orange-cranberry sauce, with spinach and roasted potatoes. My date had the salmon cakes with sweet-potato fries.
It's a wholesome, friendly spot full of "regulars." As soon as we said it was our first visit, we got a warm welcome from everyone. Our cheerful waitress offered to tell us the history of the place. When one elderly woman came in with her son, two waitresses went over to her immediately and said how glad they were to see her and asked where she had been. Our fellow guests were two men who looked like they were talking business, several couples, and a family with two teenage girls who, judging from their clothes, had just come from sports practice.
In addition to the restaurant (which also serves breakfast and lunch) there's a "creamery" -- an outside window where you can get ice cream. (A family of ice-cream lovers I know who live nearby make a point of visiting the very day that the place opens every spring -- and many times during the summer as well!)
It took me about 25 minutes from my house to get to the Inn, and that was going "the back way." Had I used the Route 1 bypass, it would have been less.

SIDEWALKS: E. Marlborough homeowners would pay for sidewalks under new rules

On Monday, June 1, at 6:45 p.m. the East Marlborough Township supervisors will hold a public hearing on their proposed new sidewalk ordinance. Under the proposed ordinance, homeowners would have to foot the bill for sidewalk installation (the township would dictate where the sidewalk would be placed). The total cost would be capped at 15% of the property's assessed value, with the township picking up anything over that amount. The homeowners would be responsible for sidewalk maintenance and removing snow and ice.
The formal title of the ordinance is "An Ordinance providing for and regulating the construction of sidewalks abutting public roads or highways within East Marlborough Township and providing for the maintenance of such sidewalks, including the removal of snow and ice therefrom” (aka “The East Marlborough Township Sidewalk Construction and Maintenance Ordinance”).
The proposed ordinance is online at http://www.eastmarlborough.org/index.php/government/township-ordinances/11-government/256-2015-sidewalk-ordinance. Or you can read a copy at the East Marlborough Township Building (721 Unionville Road) during the township’s business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PLUMAGE: Just one of the colorful residents of West Marlborough

A peacock is hanging out along Route 842 between Ryan and Thouron Roads here in West Marlborough, so please drive slowly along that stretch of road (near where the high-tension lines cross). On several recent evenings I've seen him calmly strutting across the road without looking both ways first. (He is not a stray; he lives at a nearby farm.)



PRIMARY: A predictably depressing turnout at the polls

Voter turnout was predictably -- but depressingly -- low for the May 19 primary election. Of the 322,060 registered voters in Chester County, only 39,324 voted (12.21 percent). Turnout was 12.49 percent for Democrats and 16.87 percent for Republicans.
Here are the Unionville-area results by precinct:
1. In East Marlborough East (Patton Middle School), 308 of 1,753 registered voters voted. Turnout was 17.57 percent overall (15.82 percent for Democrats, 24.27 percent for Republicans). Christine Kimmel beat Richard Hicks for a seat on the township Board of Supervisors, 184 to 34 (they were registered as Republicans, so they weren't on the D ballot).
2. In East Marlborough South, (Kennett Square Missionary Baptist Church), 125 of 1,468 registered voters voted. Turnout was 8.51 percent overall (5.95 percent for Democrats, 14.18 percent for Republicans). Kimmel beat Hicks, 66-28.
3. In East Marlborough West (Willowdale Chapel), 296 of the 2,180 registered voters voted. Turnout was 13.58 percent overall (12.05 percent for Democrats, 19.98 percent for Republicans. Kimmel beat Hicks, 127-67.
4. In Newlin, 143 of the 972 registered voters voted. Turnout was 14.71 percent overall (17.36 percent for Democrats, 17.99 percent for Republicans). Supervisor Bill Kelsall, running on the Republican ticket, received 78 votes, with two write-in votes.
5. In Pocopson, 374 of the 2,574 registered voters voted. Turnout was 14.53 percent overall (12.87 for Democrats, 21.24 for Republicans).
For comparison I always check the turnout numbers from the highly motivated senior citizens who lives in the Kendal/Crosslands community (Pennsbury North-1). Of the 661 registered voters (54 percent of them Democrats), 311 voted, for an overall turnout of 47.05 percent (57.66 percent for Democrats, 47.27 for Republicans).
6. Here in West Marlborough, 109 of 589 registered voters voted. Turnout was 18.51 percent overall (15.49 percent for Democrats and 27.74 percent for Republicans). In the hotly contested race for the District Judge nomination in District 15-4-04 between incumbent Matt Seavey and challenger Nicole Morley, both Democrats and Republicans chose Seavey over Morley, both in West Marlborough and in the entire district  (West Marlborough is only part of the district, which also comprises West Grove and Avondale Boroughs, London Grove, Franklin, London Britain, and New Garden Townships.)
In West Marlborough we had two write-in candidates, Hugh Lofting Sr. and Jake Chalfin, who were seeking to keep their seats on the Board of Supervisors. Both will be on the November ballot.
Don Silknitter, the majority inspector at West Marlborough's polling place (the township garage), told me that the first voter of the day arrived in a limo on her way to the airport. She had her driver make a detour to the polling place. Later in the day, a voter with limited mobility arrived, and, at the urging of Don and the other election officials, he pulled right into the garage so that he could cast his ballot with as little difficulty as possible.
For more election statistics, visit the Chester County Voter Services website. It is very user-friendly.