Sunday, March 18, 2018

EMBREEVILLE: Out on a sunny day

I've written about it many times; I've been to parties and township meetings there; I've even tried to give blood there (the presence of stinkbugs freaked out the blood drive volunteers). But until Sunday I had never hiked at the 1,282-acre ChesLen Preserve.
We took advantage of the first nice day in what seemed like weeks to explore the preserve. The sun was bright and warm, and there was a gentle breeze, unlike the gales we've had all winter.
There were lots of other hikers there, many with their dogs. One fellow with a cattle dog told us it was the best dog he'd ever had: "I ask him to do something and he does it." A nice older couple was walking with a boisterous yellow lab, their grand-dog.
We spotted one brave kayaker at Corcoran's Bridge; I noticed he was wearing a Davey Tree shirt, so we figured he had been very busy working and needed a day on the water. (A permanent access for canoes is being installed on the downstream side of the bridge.)
We decided to take the three-mile-long Peter Hausmann Trail, which wound through farmland and passed Potter's Field (established 1800), where about 200 inmates of the former county poorhouse at Embreeville were buried. The simple, identical stones have only numbers, no names or dates, on them. "Known but to God, Respected by Us," reads the sign. The cemetery is a lovely, sunny spot, enclosed by a chain-link fence and with a large evergreen at each corner. Daffodils were poking their heads up between the grave markers.

UHS: East meets West

We go to each Unionville High School musical with great expectations and we're never disappointed. "The King and I" was a hugely entertaining evening. The King's dozens of children were played by district elementary and middle-school kids and they stole the show with their enthusiasm and just downright cuteness. The sets (especially the Buddha statue) were beautifully done, and the choreography, especially during the play-within-a-play, was stunning.
I have to confess that I got a little emotional when the curtain came down, realizing that some of the kids we'd watched over the years were graduating. The wonderfully talented Ethan Pan, whom we'll never forget as the Donkey in "Shrek," did a fabulous job portraying as the King, an intelligent but pompous man who is torn between tradition and modernity. 
And watch for the up-and-coming Tyge Thomas, a sixth-grader at Patton Middle School, who didn't miss a line or a cue in his first musical ever.
The lavish costumes for the 84 actors and actresses were designed and created by Mary Boeni and her team. After the curtain call the director, Scott Litzenberg, promised her he would never again have a cast that big; she rolled her eyes and mouthed "thank you."

GLOBE: A melting pot

On St. Patrick's Day, I drove to the Holy Ghost Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Coatesville and bought home-made pierogies and nut rolls. For dinner we went to La Pena Mexican Restaurant, where the TV was showing a match between two British "football" teams, with Spanish-language commentary from "Fox Deportes En Vivo." Then we headed to Unionville High School to see "The King and I," about nineteenth-century Siam.
All in all, it was an international day even in our little corner of the world.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

PARKESBURG: All in a day's work

There are good people in the world, and some of them are at the Keystone Valley Fire Company in Parkesburg. During a recent snowstorm a car skidded off Route 10 and crashed into a utility pole. The driver was taken to the hospital, and the firefighters-turned-dogsitters kept his companion (a hound mix) until family could pick him up.

SPCA: Protecting Nibbles

Were you as disgusted as I was by that story in last week's paper about a local dog-fighting ring? Please join me in helping these poor creatures by supporting the Brandywine Valley SPCA, which is nursing them back to health.
“It is beyond comprehension that animals could be forced to suffer like this for entertainment,” said Adam Lamb, the SPCA's executive director. “We’re grateful for the diligence of the State Police in pursuing this case, and we’ll support them in every way possible to find justice for these animals and prevent future suffering.”
The SPCA sent out this heart-wrenching message:
"The Brandywine Valley SPCA took six dogs and four rabbits into its care on Wednesday February 21, following their seizure by Pennsylvania State Police at a residence in Coatesville City. The dogs were seized as evidence in the case against a man now facing charges that include cruelty to animals and possession of dog fighting paraphernalia, including treadmills and medical supplies affiliated with training and treatment, as well as drug and weapons charges.
The animals were immediately transferred to the BVSPCA West Chester Campus for evaluation and care. BVSPCA medical staff assessed the dogs to be in fair condition and the rabbits to be in poor condition related to inadequate housing and lack food and water. All ten animals will remain in the care of the BVSPCA as evidence as the case goes through the judicial process.
This case developed over several months following a traffic stop by State Police in Avondale on November 12, when a dog with severe wounds was found in the car. The driver, now the suspect in this case, identified the dog as a stray, at which point the BVSPCA took possession of the dog.
The adult mixed breed dog had extensive and recent wounds on her face, legs and chest that BVSPCA veterinarians identified as consistent with bite wounds. The dog, now named Nibbles, required two months of medical care, including reconstructive surgeries for her jaw and several surgeries to treat her wounds. A BVSPCA surgery technician has been fostering Nibbles, and she is now available for adoption into a forever family.
The BVSPCA asks for the community’s help meeting the significant cost of medical care for Nibbles and what is likely to be a long period of care and rehabilitation for the other ten animals while the case works through the judicial process."

Friday, March 16, 2018

SHOPPING: Leases are signed

The months of social media speculation are over: there will be no Trader Joe's, no Whole Foods, no cinema, no bowling alley, no LA Fitness in the former Superfresh on Baltimore Pike east of Kennett Square. Instead there will be a Ross Dress for Less, a state liquor store, an Ulta beauty-products store, and a Carter’s OshKosh B’gosh kids' clothing store. Construction will begin in April and the new stores are expected to open in the summer of 2019.

CAR WASH: Worth its salt

It is a matter of considerable excitement in some circles that the new automatic car wash near the Kennett Walmart takes pickup trucks (other car washes don't permit them).
I don't have a pickup, but I did take my filthy, salt-encrusted Honda CR-V there the other day and it came out wonderfully clean and shiny. And while you're being pulled through there are flashing colored lights to entertain you, turning the white suds a pulsating psychedelic green. You also get to use the high-powered vacuums for free when you're done.
The car wash is called "Go Clean N Green" and the entrance is not well marked; in fact, I drove right past it the first time. The entrance is on Onix Drive between the Hilton Garden Inn and the Walmart.