Friday, April 29, 2016

COATESVILLE: Concert by an Irish master fiddler

Frank Dalton of Embreeville asked me to mention that Irish master fiddler Kevin Burke will be performing a solo show at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 25, as part of the Coatesville Traditional Irish Music Series.
Frank, who organizes the music series with his wife, Emily Fine, says he expects this show will sell out and urges fans to buy tickets online ( Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
The concert will be at the Coatesville Cultural Society, 143 E. Lincoln Highway in Coatesville. I've been to many shows at this facility and it's a charming and intimate setting. Parking is usually readily available on the street just outside the building.

KACS: A muddy-shoe tour of a new facility

On Thursday afternoon Barbara Larsen, president of the Kennett Area Community Services board, showed me around the former house that the agency is in the process of renovating on West Cedar Street, next to their current office space and the Food Cupboard warehouse. The building is going to be called the KACS Resource Center and will house offices for the case managers; space for "partner agencies" to provide services to clients (like the Family Benefits Program for Maternal and Child Health); a training and meeting space; and bathing and laundry facilities for clients who are homeless.
The new facility will free up space in the next-door Food Cupboard, doubling its storage capacity.
In the backyard, before the property drops off to the railroad tracks, a garden with raised vegetable beds is planned (and nutrition classes are planned to help clients learn how to use the produce).
KACS executive director Melanie Weiler, whom I'd met at the Empty Bowls fundraiser back in February, said it was pure luck that KACS acquired the building. She knew the property had been vacant for a while, and when saw an inspector there one day she asked about its status. Bingo! KACS snapped it up before it went on the market.
Melanie also told me about a training class that the agency will be holding the evening of Thursday, May 26, at Unionville Presbyterian Church. Called "Bridges Out of Poverty," the program is targeted at "employers, community organizations, churches, social service agencies and individuals" who are interested in helping people learn to move from poverty to long-term self-sufficiency, helping not only the individuals but the whole community.
I looked through some of the materials that will be used in the program, and they seem very sensible, focusing on learning basic, practical life and employment skills that most of us take for granted. It seems to me that this is the kind of approach that people from the Left and the Right could get behind: it's not a matter of giving handouts, but rather helping people to become independent, employed, responsible, contributing members of the community.
Melanie said that as with all of the KACS programs, the goal is to respect clients' dignity and guide them as needed rather than to tell them what to do.

KENNETT SQUARE: A man of the people

I'm surprised Kennett Square Borough Council member Doug Doerfler manages to get anywhere on time!
I was in my car on State Street at Union Street on Friday morning and saw him crossing the street while checking his phone. I called out the window to him, and he smiled and said hi. Seconds later, after he reached the opposite sidewalk, I saw him stop to greet somebody else.
"Keep your ear to the ground," as a former newspaper editor of mine used to say: it's a necessary skill for both reporters and local politicians!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

DELIVERY: Hey, pizza man

If you ordered a pizza from a well-known local delivery joint on Wednesday evening, April 27, and it was cold upon arrival, I may have an explanation.
At about 7 p.m., while I was on my way to pick up a West Grove friend for dinner, I noticed a pizza delivery vehicle pulled over by police at the intersection of  Rosehill and State Roads, near the Avon Grove High School. I was amused and was going to snap a photograph after I picked up my pal, but when we returned a few minutes later it was gone. We headed eagerly toward La Pena Mexicana in Kennett. But then the very same vehicle (it had some distinctive body damage, in addition to the pizza sign on the roof) passed us at a high rate of speed on Baltimore Pike between Toughkenamon and Kennett, possibly rushing back to his home base.
Apparently someone didn't learn his lesson.

FLOWERS: A floral design workshop

I know from a family member who is an avid bicyclist that "pavé" is a word for a rough, cobblestone kind of road much prized by some hardy riders. But I just learned it has another (and slightly contradictory) meaning: it's a type of floral design in which the flowers are tightly clustered and form a smooth surface.
Linda Southerling of the Four Seasons Garden Club of Kennett Square asked me to announce that they will be holding a pavé floral design workshop on Saturday, June 11, at the Episcopal Church of the Advent on North Union Street. There are two sessions, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. or from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Materials and a beverage and snack will be supplied; you are asked to bring your own garden clippers or small garden scissors. Cost is $35 and reservations are due June 1. For more information or to register, e-mail Carol Taylor at


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Appearances are deceiving

I heard a funny, and probably wise, story at the West Marlborough polling place today. A woman was telling me she was once helping to run a fundraising event and was given some sage advice by a more experienced colleague:
"If somebody pulls up in a BMW, hit 'em up for $1,000. But if you see a beat-up, muddy truck with hay flying off, ask them for $5,000!"

Sunday, April 24, 2016

ELECTION: So much for a paperless society

I can't believe the volume of election mailings I received this primary season. Granted, the write-in candidates for Chris Ross' seat in Harrisburg needed to get their names out there before the voting public, but it seems like every day there were a half-dozen flyers in the mailbox (they went straight into my recycling bin or the huge wheelie-bin at the post office).
Some of the ads appeared amateurish and hastily produced, with embarrassing typos. I especially dislike the negative "attack" ads with inflammatory language and unflattering photographs, but, sad to say, I suppose they must have some impact or politicians wouldn't use them.
And even after the votes have been counted on April 26, I suppose we'll have six more months of this before the general election in November. The printers and sign-makers must be happy.