Saturday, February 28, 2015

POCOPSON: Circle etiquette on Route 52

A friend who uses the new Pocopson roundabout on Route 52 every day said she has noticed that some drivers don't seem to know how to negotiate the circle safely and efficiently. She suggests that motorists (1) slow down as they approach the circle and (2) remember that the car that is actually in the circle has the right-of-way.

THE BOOK SALE: Books to read, DVDs to watch

I had a great time at the Unionville PTO Used Book Sale on Saturday. This year they had a separate "collector's room" for rare books, books of local interest, and autographed books, some of the more delicate ones protected in plastic bags. In the main part of the sale, there were tables full of romances, mysteries, DVDs, nonfiction and kid's books. I liked the fact that some of the more prolific authors, like Tom Clancy and Nora Roberts, had their own separate sections. For some reason, there seemed to be dozens of copies of Stieg Larsson's books and Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent" for sale this year.
I scored big this year, finding several novels as well as DVDs ("A Chorus Line" and the first season of both "The Sopranos" and "Mad Men"). No, I have NOT finished reading the books I received as Christmas presents yet; your point being?
Two reporters from the UHS newspaper, the Indian Post, were selling coffee and donuts at the sale. As a former high-school journalist myself, I couldn't resist buying some, having a chat with the kids and looking through the paper. I loved reading the well-argued editorials about some controversial new rules in the library and whether the scheduling of mid-terms should be changed.

CAR WASH: Salt-free, for a little while at least

The Mr. Wizard Car Wash at Mill and Cypress Streets in Kennett was so busy on Saturday morning that the borough police stopped by to offer advice to the workers about their traffic management. Even though the two lines of cars stretched out onto the street, the men were so efficient that after only a few minutes my car emerged from the tunnel, grime-free.
Throughout the rest of my errands I spotted many gleaming cars with plastic bags covering the rear windshield wipers, a dead giveaway that they too had visited the car wash.

A VISIT: The aftermath of a burst pipe

On Friday I paid a visit to a stranger with the hopes of getting her involved in an upcoming event I'm involved with. I arrived at her Oxford farm at an inopportune time, to put it mildly: a third-floor pipe had burst while she was out of town, and water had poured down through the house. Soggy furniture was stacked in the mudroom. Dehumidifiers were running full blast. Artwork was set out in a sunny hallway to dry.
Things were particularly dicey in the laundry room, where ice had formed around the base of the washer and dryer, and there was even a stalagmite of ice growing between the two appliances. The homeowner and I both had sturdy boots on, so we tried to smash the ice into smaller pieces.
It occurred to me that this was an interesting way of "breaking the ice" with a new acquaintance.

POCOPSON: A former resident returns for a folk-music show

Real old-timers might remember the name Gerry Milnes, who lived along the Brandywine in Pocopson back in the 1970s. He moved to West Virginia but was back in the area on Friday night, playing a terrific concert in Newark with his son, Jesse, and Jesse's wife, Emily Miller, as part of the Brandywine Friends of Old Time Music series.

Friday, February 27, 2015

IN TOWN: Happenings on State Street

On Thursday a friend called while driving through downtown Kennett, distressed that a couple of street trees were being cut down near the American Legion hall and the library. She asked me what was going on. I asked Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick, who explained that the removals had been carefully reviewed and approved by the borough's Shade Tree Commission, possibly because the roots were damaging nearby buildings, and the trees would be replaced.
Another friend asked what was going on at Frolic!, the clothing shop at the northwest corner of State and Union Streets: all the merchandise had been removed and there were people inside cleaning. I found out that the store closed and Houppette, the high-end cosmetics boutique in Greenville, Del., is opening a branch there.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SOCIAL MEDIA: Just a new way of sharing news

On Wednesday night there was an accident on Route 926 between Mill and Byrd Roads (a pickup truck went up the bank), and I shared information about it on social media to alert people to avoid the area. Then I went back to my bedtime reading: a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery, "The Nine Tailors," which is set in a small, isolated town in rural East Anglia in the 1930s. The local minister in the story hears the church bells ringing from a distance, and he can tell from the pattern that they are announcing the death of a man (the aforementioned nine tailors) followed by 46 strokes, the dead man's age.
Facebook, it seems, is just the latest in a series of ways that creative humans have devised to broadcast news quickly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

PROCESS: A lecture by John Paul Caponigro

Last night I went to a two-hour talk by John Paul Caponigro, an internationally known photographer and visual artist, who came to Cokesbury Village to speak to the Delaware Photographic Society. He travels the world for his work and is pushing the envelope of traditional photography, using the power of digital imaging and Photoshop to express his vision. A great deal of the talk was way over my head, but after a day spent doing tax paperwork and filing invoices, it was a pleasant change to get a little cerebral and ponder the nature of creativity in the arts (including writing, a subject that of course spoke to me). And his images were spectacular. You can see them on his website,

ON THE MARKET: A really big house in Kennett Township

One of those glossy "luxury homes" real-estate sales catalogues reached my inbox the other day. On the cover is a shot of a sunroom with a grand piano, a coffered ceiling, a tile floor, gingko leaf-patterned gold wallpaper, and lots of orchids. Browsing through the catalogue, which covers the mid-Atlantic region, I found that the cover shot is from a home right here in Chester County: on Ironstone Lane in Kennett Township, to be exact (a cul-de-sac off Bayard Road). The 8.7-acre property includes 20,000 feet of living space, a guest wing, a six-car garage, a pool, and a tennis court: the asking price is $5,295,000. Kennett Township will see a nice little increase in its real-estate transfer tax income if the house sells for anything close to that.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

BOOK SALE: Lots of good reading here

The annual UHS Book Sale is this coming weekend: Friday, Feb. 27, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 28, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with the "$8 bag sale" to follow from 3 to 5 p.m. Snow dates are March 6 and 7. Proceeds benefit the PTO. The sale is in the high school gym, and according to the website there will be 80,000 books for sale. I always find a wonderfully eclectic assortment of purchases at excellent prices.


GROUNDED: A brief respite from the cold

The temperature got up to 42 degrees today, and it felt positively balmy after the lengthy stretch of single-digit temperatures we've been enduring. Indoors I was able to shut off the heat and actually walked around barefoot, a novel sensation. Just the day before, I'd gone out for a walk during the snowstorm (serious cabin fever) and managed to stay outside for only about 10 minutes; the wind was just bitter. Yet not 24 hours later, there I was shoveling without a hat, scarf and gloves; even my fleece vest felt excessive. Clearing snow that has been rained on is a good aerobic workout!

FLAGS: The County of Chester

I've lived in Chester County for many years, but I never knew we had a flag until Sunday, when I saw the national, state and -- yes -- county flag flying over the shopping center in Jennersville. Who knew?

The flag depicts a sailing ship, a plow, and sheaves of wheat, with a bald eagle at the top.

Friday, February 20, 2015

TIMELESS WORDS: Of the people, by the people, for the people

This week's editing project was a book that was so interesting and well written, I'm actually going to recommend it to you (no, I don't get a commission). "The Gettysburg Address: Perspectives on Lincoln's Greatest Speech," edited by Sean Conant, is a collection of 15 essays about the influences on the 272-word, three-minute speech and the impacts that it has had--and is still having--around the world. I liked the way one of the contributors put it: Before the speech, "the United States" was used as a plural; afterward, it was used as a singular noun.
The Harrisburg newspaper at the time, the Patriot and Union, was unimpressed with the speech at the time, calling it "silly remarks." But 150 years later, the paper offered a retraction: "In the editorial about President Abraham Lincoln's speech delivered Nov. 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, the Patriot & Union failed to recognize its momentous importance, timeless eloquence, and lasting significance. The Patriot-News regrets the error."
And it seems there's no truth to the popular myth that Lincoln composed the speech on the back of an envelope on the train en route to Gettysburg.
The book will be published by the Oxford University Press later this year.
A work of fiction that might also be of interest to the local audience is Lisa Scottoline's new crime novel, "Betrayed," one part of which is set in the Chester County world of mushroom farms and immigrant workers.

VETERANS: Honoring the Greatest Generation

Thank you to a Facebook friend for letting me share this sweet anecdote that she posted:
"Today while driving I ended up next to a man in a car that had an "I was in WWII" sticker on it. He was so very old, so I knew he was a true veteran. I stared at him at a stop light waiting for him to look my way. When he finally did, I couldn't help it: I saluted him. He gave me a salute and a huge smile. Brought tears to my eyes."
I'm sure I would have had the same reaction.

WHAT A WINTER: Arctic, Polar, Siberian, whatever

I don't remember it being this cold since the early 1990s, when the wooden shingles on the roof started creaking, a truly eerie sound in the early morning. The roof has been replaced since then, and it hasn't made any noises yet, but the wooden steps on the back deck almost shriek when you step on them. I'm sure you're hearing the same stories of woe that I am, about frozen pipes and water troughs and dead batteries.
I'm spending the minimum time possible outdoors, for obvious reasons. I even timed a stop at the gas station to coincide with the warmest part of the day, knowing I'd be standing in the Landhope parking lot while pumping my 14 gallons.
On the other hand, my favorite errand-running companion refuses to change his habit of parking as far away as possible in parking lots, no matter how cold and windy it is.
Whenever I suggest that perhaps we could park just a little closer, he wastes no time in pointing out the inconsistency in my thinking: "You go to the gym ten times a week!" Why, yes, that was us, jogging hand-in-gloved-hand across the parking lot at Lowe's against the biting wind. 
But take heart! I saw a snowdrop in bloom in a sheltered part of the garden. Absolutely no signs of the hellebores yet, though. And inside, the amaryllis is finally blooming, and beautifully.

KENNETT Y: There's always something going on at the Y

While getting changed in the Y locker room the other evening, I was listening to some girls chattering about their school day: how a math teacher came up with a clever nickname for her, how there is just no pleasing a certain social studies teacher. The girls were entertainingly frank and spoke vividly and well.
A woman walked by me and from the way she was smiling, I just knew she was thinking exactly the same thing. We caught each other's eyes and simultaneously mouthed, "I love them!"
In other Y news, my friend Vincent won a FitBit device after logging the most minutes in the Y's workout competition: some 6,000 minutes of exercise in 30 days, if you can believe it. He is a regular at the Y, to put it mildly, but he faced some stiff competition from other frequent exercisers. Winning is nothing new to Vincent: he regularly earns multiple blue ribbons for his spectacular vegetables at the Unionville Community Fair.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

WISCONSIN: What do animals do in this bitterly cold weather?

Some generous people bring their old magazines to the gym so that others can read them while on working out on the treadmill or elliptical machine. In addition to the usual New Yorkers, Times, Peoples and Economists, the other day I found in the rack a copy of Wisconsin Natural Resources ( Inside was a timely article about how animals "outfox" winter.
Mammals drink from springs or open water; if they can't find any, they will eat snow. Foxes hunt at night and shelter during the day in burrows they dug before the ground froze. Deer "seek out dense conifers or other shelter" (known as deer yards). Earthworms hole up below the frost line. Insects live "under bark, in the soil or constructed shelters. Ants "construct extensive underground cities which offer protection from the elements" and don't emerge until they sense it's warmer above ground.
The metabolism of some creatures slows to the point that they don't need to eat or breathe very often. For instance, turtles burrow into the substrate and snakes retreat into "crayfish burrows, small mammal burrows, old root channels or rock crevices."
The magazine also had some articles about things human animals do outside in the winter, like exploring ice caves and frozen waterfalls at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, which is "about as far north as you can get in the Midwest without bumping into Canada." 

AVONDALE: Winter winds take out the Perkins sign

The towering sign at the Perkins restaurant on Route 41 in Avondale was a casualty of the ferocious winds this past weekend. Broken-off chunks of plastic from the sign were scattered across the field next to the parking lot.

CONFUSION: An unexpected bit of humor while shopping

Leaving the Kennett Walmart yesterday, we had some momentary shuffling to do with the grocery cart and our purchases, and my companion accidentally stepped in front of another shopper. He apologized and said jokingly to her that he often has trouble walking and thinking simultaneously.
Instead of just smiling and walking on, the young woman replied earnestly, "Yes, it's really too much to ask. Especially on a Saturday!"

BELOW FREEZING: The impact was somehow lost in translation

This morning I texted my friend George, who lives on the south coast of England, telling him it was a bitter 4 degrees here with ferocious winds. He was unimpressed, reporting that it was 12 there. Then I reminded him that we Yanks use the Fahrenheit system: 4 degrees F is the equivalent of minus-14 C. That got his attention! He expressed his wonder that anyone can live in our climate.
A pal of mine described the multiple layers of Carhartts she was wearing to do her barn chores in this frigid weather. She was warm, she said, but had considerable trouble moving around.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

RIVER MUSEUM: Retrospective by Jamie Wyeth

We spent Valentine's Day afternoon with Andy Warhol, Rudolf Nureyev, Rockwell Kent, Judge John Sirica, President Bush's Scotties and seven sinning seagulls (as in "seven deadly") at the Brandywine River Museum's Jamie Wyeth retrospective.
I'm certainly no art critic, but I thought it was an enjoyable and wonderfully put together exhibit, stretching from Jamie's childhood pencil drawings (he showed promise even then) through his recent work, in which he depicts a vivid recurring dream where he is standing with his father on the rocky coast of Maine's Monhegan Island.
I was especially struck by the actual physical texture of the paintings -- in "Bale" he actually used bits of hay in the paint, and the artist used thick layers of paint to depict the fleece of the sheep "Lady" and the ice in "Ice Floe" and "Berg."
In addition to his well-known portraits (like "Draft Age," Nureyev as Don Quixote, and the posthumous painting of President Kennedy), there are many paintings of animals, including dogs, chickens, ravens, owls, sheep, goats and horses. Two "tableaux vivant" were charming: they were imaginative, dollhouse-style dioramas depicting Andy Warhol's fashionable milieu in 1970s Manhattan. There are lots of paintings of Andy Warhol -- and one by Andy of Jamie.
One painting I had never seen before was of pediatric cardiologist Helen Taussig of Johns Hopkins. According to the label, it got a mixed reception when it was unveiled because it emphasized her fierce intelligence rather than her gentler side.
The show is at the River Museum through April 5. If you go, don't miss the photograph of Jamie Wyeth as you start the exhibit on the second floor -- it was taken by local photographer Jim Graham.
A special shout-out to the Unionville friends who gave us passes to the show -- very much appreciated!

Friday, February 13, 2015

BAYARD TAYLOR LIBRARY: Repeating the past, unfortunately

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," said George Santayana.
The Bayard Taylor Memorial Library board should have heeded this wisdom before deciding to change the library's name to the Kennett Public Library.
In 2000 I was on the library board, and we decided that the library would be better able to serve the public if we built a new library "outside of town." We bought the property and announced the move, confident that everyone would agree with us that this was a great idea and we'd have no trouble raising the money. A bigger library! Easy parking!
We were wrong. Boy howdy, were we wrong.
We were naïve and completely underestimated the public's attachment to the idea of an old-fashioned, in-town library that people could walk to. A firestorm of criticism came our way, completely derailing plans for the new library.
Alas, the 2015 library board has done exactly the same thing. They hung a banner across State Street and trumpeted the new name and logo (a blue blob with a K in it), claiming with great enthusiasm that it reflects a modern and accessible library that is moving forward. A nifty 3D printer! Cool teen programs!
I could have predicted the result. People are calling the library board misguided, arrogant, secretive and short-sighted, the same phrases we heard over and over again back in 2000. They're accusing the library of jettisoning its heritage, wasting money and not listening to the public. An online petition to keep the name is being circulated.
To be sure, some people like the name change, others don't care, and still others say "that's what I call the library anyway!" And I'm also sure that the members of the library board are genuinely good, community-minded people, operating from the very best of intentions.
But a controversy of this sort is a very bad way to make friends and launch a multimillion-dollar capital campaign.
I speak from hard-earned experience.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

SAY WHAT? When I run the world, things will be different

Well, aren't you lucky, Tilda is in the mood to gripe about some annoyances of the first-world variety.
1. Press releases that don't explain what the group is until the very last sentence. I read an article in a local paper that was a press release from a group whose name I didn't recognize. It started out talking about a competition the group was sponsoring, and some changes in the rules. I kept reading, almost hypnotized, thinking I must have missed what the contest was all about. Not a word of explanation until the final sentence, when the press-release writer finally decided to say the group was all about promoting gardens in public places.
2. Groups that use acronyms without explaining them. A friend forwarded a press release from an equestrian organization that used just its four-letter acronym. What does it stand for? I looked up the group's Facebook page -- and, almost unbelievably, again just the acronym! It wasn't until you drilled down to the group's website that you found out what the letters stood for. And how many people are going to take the time to do that?
3. Promulgating confusing online surveys with repetitive questions. I took a survey today from one of my favorite retailers (the carrot was that they offered a chance to win a $500 gift card). After the first routine, straightforward questions, it asked you to rate the most important and least important of four qualities for online shopping. The question was then repeated 29 more times (literally), with varied combinations of the same qualities over and over again. Honestly, what's the difference between "friendly" and "helpful" salespeople? How do you compare the importance of whether your size is in stock with whether the shipping is fast or the check-out is easy? Fortunately on the final screen there was a comment box asking about the "survey experience." You can bet that I vented.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

CHOCOLATE FEST: Cake, brownies, cookies, fudge ... and lots more

One of the better decisions I've made recently was buying early-admission tickets to this year's Chocolate Lovers' Festival, the hugely successful fundraiser for the United Way of Southern Chester County. After last year's claustrophobically crowded event, the organizers were smart to offer the "connoisseur" tickets; in fact, all 200 advance tickets were snapped up ahead of time.
We got into the Kennett High School gym at 1 p.m. sharp and started looking around. The first sample I took was a chocolate "shooter" from Talula's Table -- scrumptious. Then we saw Robin Mastrippolito of Embreeville, who urged us to try her third-prize-winning chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and butterscotch mousse filling, and of course we did so.
Some of the other goodies we tried were chocolate-covered potato chips from Neuchatel; a wonderful raspberry and chocolate cake; and Jackie Maas's "groovy fudge," which was white chocolate with a psychedelic multicolored pattern. We had some problems at first figuring out how to eat the chocolate and peanut butter crepes with only a plastic fork. But we managed; oh, the sacrifices we make for this column!
My companion said his favorite of the many cookie entries was one of Carol Yetter's chocolate-drizzled oatmeal cookies. He also marveled at one chocolate cake whose icing was so smooth and glistening that it looked like glass.
We were amused by the friendly youths who were serving up the goodies: they seemed to be competing with each other to showcase their wares. One used the sales pitch that even a half of his double-chocolate cookie was the equivalent of a whole single-chocolate cookie-- which is what the fellow next to him was offering.
After eating maybe five samples, we were surprised to find ourselves sated. We went to the beverage table, snagged a bottle of water (milk was available as well) and sat on the bleachers for five minutes to recover before returning to the fray.
People-watching was fun. In addition to Robin, we saw Donna Murray, Mary Sproat, Claire Murray, Dave Salomaki, Rich Schwartzman, Corinne Sweeney, and lots of families. (In fact, we were so full at the end that we didn't redeem all our tickets and ended up giving them to the father of a little girl.)
As a special bonus, on the way out we ran into The Cranky Friend, who was on his way in.
"You paid $50 to eat chocolate?!" he asked with a measure of outrage, trying unsuccessfully to hide his envy. We waddled past the long line of eager attendees waiting outside, returned to our vehicle in the now-crowded parking lot, and headed off to the White Clay Creek Preserve to try to walk off some calories.
This year's event, the third, was a great improvement over last year's: we got to actually see all the offerings and there were no lines at all.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

DOE RUN ROAD: The simplest explanation is usually the correct one

So this afternoon we're westbound on Doe Run Road, heading home after the seventh and final errand of the day, and we spy two men hurrying out the front door of a house carrying a large rolled-up carpet. I stared in astonishment. Just two nights before I'd watched an eerily similar scene in the brilliant film version of Frederick Forsyth's "Day of the Jackal." Some French government henchmen whack an OAS bodyguard on the back of the head, bundle him into a carpet with the efficiency of a pit crew, throw him into the back of a work van and transport him to a waiting airplane so he can be "interviewed" about the plot to assassinate French president Charles de Gaulle.
I'm sure these good Unionville citizens were just getting rid of a worn-out old carpet, however.

BIRDS: Thousands of snow geese visit East Marlborough

What a stunning sight! Early Friday afternoon thousands of snow geese were hanging out in the open bare field on the south side of Route 926 west of Wollaston Road. There were so many of the white birds that it looked as if the field was covered with snow. There were a few Canada geese along the edges, but they were vastly outnumbered. Snow geese adults are easy to identify in flight: they are white with black wingtips.

BOOKS: A free service that people may not know about

I know I've written about this before, but what a great service the county library system provides. In recent weeks I've been working on two editing projects that piqued my interest: one was about the devastating Spanish flu epidemic in 1918 and the other was about a conservative movement called Christian Reconstructionism.
In both cases I looked on the Chester County Library's website, found a few books that seemed interesting and placed them on hold, just with a few clicks. A few days later I received an email telling me they had arrived at the Bayard Taylor/Kennett Library for pickup. What a good deal!

WEST SIDE STORY: When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way

The other day I was solving the Wall Street Journal's always-excellent Friday crossword puzzle, and there was a clue asking for a song title from "Bells Are Ringing," a musical we did in high school: "--- Girl." I knew the answer immediately: "I Met a Girl." Once you are in a musical, the songs stamp themselves into your brain forever.
Which I daresay is exactly what's happening to the Unionville High School kids who are putting on "West Side Story" in March. "For a small fee in America" or "Krup you" will be the response when one cast member asks another for a ride. The kids who play gang members will find their feet almost involuntarily doing the steps to the Jets and Sharks ballet.
The show will be at 7:30 p.m. March 12, 13, and 14 at the UHS auditorium. Tickets go on sale Feb. 16 at The organizers were kind enough to send two free tix my way.

KENNETT Y: News from the fitness center

Last night at the Kennett Y I was walking past the gymnasium and peeked in, looking for The Young Relative, who often plays basketball there with his friends on Friday evenings. There he was, looking cool and handsome. I walked in, grinned and waved vigorously at him. He gave a beautifully judged wave, the tiniest possible one consistent with acknowledgment. Really, the lad should be used to Tilda embarrassing him in public by now!
(I should add that it's great to see so many young people involved in sports.)
Careful readers of The Kennett Paper's police blotter will have noticed that the Y has been experiencing several thefts from vehicles in its parking lot. The Y has put up notices urging members to lock their cars. I've also heard that thieves have even been stealing people's car magnets. Which, of course, no amount of locking up would prevent.

Friday, February 6, 2015

HIBERNATION: The Cranky Friend emerges, online at least

The Cranky Friend shows some signs of emerging from his usual self-imposed winter isolation, but in his own inimitable way. The other day he sent me an email saying he had finished a big project and wanted to treat me to coffee (as well he should; I helped him land the project).
"Great!" I replied, suggesting a date at Philter that very afternoon.
"No can do," he replied, failing to suggest an alternative.
I went anyway, had a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea and ran into three friends.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

UNIONVILLE: Only six weeks until the Cheshire Races

Sunday, March 29, is the date for the 2015 Cheshire Point-to-Point Races. (The sound effect you hear is Tilda doing Homer Simpson's cry of delight and triumph: <> I always enjoy the Cheshire Races.) This is the 70th running of the races, which benefit the Cheshire Hunt Conservancy.
Last year's event was a memorable one: The sleet and freezing rain led to the cancellation of the pony races and turned the Plantation Field parking area into a quagmire that only the Hickses' tractors could navigate.

KENNETT SQUARE: A new meaning to "dropping off" a prescription

So I'm walking up South Union Street on Wednesday afternoon and spot a small yellow piece of paper on the sidewalk. Being a curious sort (yes, believe it or not), I picked it up and found it was a prescription, written by a West Chester oral surgeon, for ibuprofen 600 mg. The patient was a Kennett Square woman.
I know how completely nuts I become when I can't find a grocery-store coupon at the checkout. So I could just imagine this poor woman, in pain and possibly gory after her oral surgery that required the high-dose pain meds, wracking her brain, retracing her steps and searching frantically through her purse, the car, the house for the prescription.
I looked online and couldn't find a phone number for her, so I ended up phoning the dentist's office and letting them know that I'd found the prescription. And then I shredded the script.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

WEST MARLBOROUGH: The routine business of a rural township

Business was fairly routine at the West Marlborough Township supervisors' monthly meeting on Feb. 3.
Lieut. Bob Clarke, West Marlborough's part-time law enforcement officer, reported that in January he issued eight citations and eight speeding tickets and gave four warnings.
Township secretary-treasurer Shirley Walton said she had received from the township tax collector the list of residents who were delinquent in paying their property taxes. She said it was "mostly the same" people as had failed to pay in prior years.
Township engineer Al Giannantonio and building inspector Eddie Caudill reported that a zoning permit and a building permit were issued for a Lamborntown Road resident to install a generator.
Supervisor Hugh Lofting said the road crew salted 14 times in January: "We're going through quite a bit of salt, but nothing like last year," he said. Supervisor Bill Wylie thanked the crew for keeping the roads and the residents safe.
At the request of the township planning commission, the supervisors authorized Harry Roth, the township's planning consultant, to add new regulations for alternative energy systems to the township's updated zoning ordinance. (The planning commission and Mr. Roth met to finalize those recommendations at their February meeting, held just before the supervisors' meeting.) After Mr. Roth completes the draft, the public review process will begin.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Yearly report from the Avondale Fire Company

Two representatives from the Avondale Fire Company, Deputy Chief Shawn Carroll and Captain Rick Franks, came to the West Marlborough Township supervisors' monthly meeting on Feb. 3 to brief the board on the fire and ambulance activities that Station 23 and Medic 94 provided in the township in 2014. Carroll gave a detailed breakdown of the company's budget, including grants and programs to reward participation by volunteers, and showed a photo of the newly purchased fire engine. He said rising costs and dwindling numbers of volunteers are putting the economic pinch on all volunteer organizations.
 He said Avondale responded to six fire calls in West Marlborough and 36 ambulance calls in 2014 (Avondale's territory includes only part of West Marlborough). He asked residents who have received checks from their insurance company to cover the cost of ambulance transportation to please forward the check to the ambulance company, and asked residents who have received fundraising letters to please contribute.
Carroll asked the supervisors for permission to bill township residents for their firefighting services. He also asked the board to increase their funding to more closely match that of other municipalities.
"If you guys can swing it, we'd appreciate it," he said.
The supervisors said they would review the numbers he provided and would make a decision on the requests.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

BACKYARD FARMING: Ain't nobody here but us chickens (and bees)

I thought some of my "country lifestyle" readers might enjoy hearing about these two programs:
1. Just in time for baby chick season, Brandywine Ace Hardware on Route 926 is offering "Chick Chats" at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25, March 18, and April 15. "Come see why raising backyard chickens has become so popular!" reads the flier. The hardware store's phone number is 610-793-3080.
2.  The Chester County Beekeepers Association is offering a program on Beekeeping Basics as part of its annual conference at the Merion Science Center at West Chester University from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 14. The teacher is Dr. Dewey Caron, emeritus professor of entomology and wildlife at the University of Delaware and affiliate professor in the department of horticulture at Oregon State University. There will also be advanced lectures given by two other bee experts. Preregistration is required because of limited space. The website is