Sunday, July 31, 2016

NOTTINGHAM: Wawa is shut for remodeling

The Nottingham Wawa -- the one across from Herr's -- will be closed from Aug. 1 through 26 for remodeling. The gas pumps will stay open, though. It looks as if they are going to be upgrading the store significantly. When we stopped in on Saturday evening, they had already started installing ornamental stonework around the columns of the gas pump kiosks. According to a sign, all the workers will be transferred to other Wawas during the shutdown and will return to Nottingham store when it's finished.
Note to those of you who think Tilda leads a glamorous life, flitting from one society event to the next: we were at the Wawa at 9 p.m. on Saturday night, in the pouring rain, to get something to drink and to buy Powerball tickets, after shopping at the Oxford Wal-Mart. There. I said it.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

STORMS: Rain and wind to break the heat wave

The thunderstorm that hit our area the afternoon of July 26, and ended the heat wave, was certainly a localized "weather event." At my house we had some strong wind and rain, but near Embreeville the storm was ferocious: it knocked down big branches, crushed fences, and closed roads. Some PECO customers lost power for two days.
On Friday afternoon I ran into a Kennett friend while I was getting a berry yogurt smoothie at the Produce Place, and she said that half of their power had been restored -- which she thought was a very odd thing indeed. At least, she corrected herself, only half of the power was back earlier that morning, when she very sensibly cleared out and escaped to the Kennett Y.

AUDIENCE: Common courtesy is not so common

At a performance on Friday evening, we were presented with two contrasting models of parenting.
In front of us was a mother with her little girl, maybe 5 or 6 years old.
Behind us were two parents, a toddler son and an elementary-school-age daughter, and a mother-in-law.
The little girl in front of us squirmed a little and stood up in the aisle a few times -- to be expected at a 3-hour-long nighttime show not really geared for young kids. She quietly asked intelligent questions about the action in the show, which her mom answered in a low voice. When the girl stood up in her chair, her mother immediately and firmly told her to sit.
Behind us was another story. The girl, probably bored, slouched down and actually started kicking the back of my chair. Her parents either didn't notice or didn't care -- or were just plain worn out. The boy, tired and up way past his bedtime, jabbered loudly and wandered down the aisle.
I think it's great when parents expose their kids to the arts, but they really shouldn't allow them to disturb other members of the audience.

POKEMON: Like sitting on flagpoles

The Pokémon GO craze continues even as we approach the school-supply-buying season.
On Friday afternoon I spotted the Young Relative with two pals at Broad and State Streets, all peering at their phones as they hunted the elusive creatures (thank goodness the young men looked up as they crossed State Street).
And a gym friend told me she went out with her family to celebrate her 26th birthday -- and after dinner her brother insisted that they all drive around Wilmington so he could play.
The business pages have been full of speculation on how the hugely popular game will affect the earnings and future plans of the Japanese gaming giant Nintendo, which has a 32 percent share in the Pokémon Company.

UNIONVILLE: It only it could talk...

I had a nostalgic moment on Friday when I followed a classic 1970s Chevy van into Unionville. It was white, with gold, tan and red stripes (a popular color palette back then), and a metal ladder going up the back to the roof (technically for luggage, but also a great vantage point at music fests or Bicentennial fireworks!). Add a smiley face sticker and it would have been perfectly at home in the parking lot of my high school.
I'm told the vehicle belongs to a downtown Unionville resident.
A vintage Chevy van in Unionville.

KENNETT: The park concerts continue

Singer-songwriter Angelee Gerovasiliou was the performer at the July 27 concert at Anson B. Nixon Park. A Kennett resident, he said his commute to the venue was a short one: 1.2 miles, to be exact. His day job is a veterinarian in Prospect Park, so he said he was especially glad to see all the canines in the audience.
There are only two more concerts in this summer's series: Aug. 3 (West Philadelphia Orchestra) and Aug. 10 (Shytown). The music starts at 7 p.m.

Friday, July 29, 2016

NEW GARDEN: Not quite right

A friend tells me that she was watching a TV news segment about the huge early-morning hay bale fire at Modern Mushroom Farms in New Garden back on July 20 and was amused to hear the Philadelphia reporter say the blaze was in "Two-Kenna-Ma." (The reporter also pronounced "Newark" like the city in New Jersey.)

KENNETT: A new boutique in town

A new boutique, Mamie, is moving in where the Tribe beauty salon used to be at 116 South Union Street in Kennett. The shop is owned by Megan Healy and Amy Trelenberg, who also own ShopMamie on Gilpin Avenue in Wilmington. It will sell women's clothing, shoes and gifts; the website is (Tribe moved to 882 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

WEST GROVE: The retired lifestyle

I overheard two retired guys chatting the other day at the Jenners Pond retirement community and had to chuckle.
"Where've you been?" one man asked his friend. "I haven't seen you for months!"
"Well, I've been working," replied the other man.
The first guy furrowed his brows. "Work-ing?" he said, pronouncing it like it was a foreign term completely unfamiliar to him. And quite possibly an offensive one.
The reason I was at Jenners Pond was for a 4 p.m. lecture, and I noted that they were already serving wine and cheese. Nice!

DELAWARE: No tuition bills yet

The Young Relative spent a week at a camp in Delaware, and we were curious what he would make of the tony prep-school environment. As we might have expected from someone who has grown up in the Unionville school district, he wasn't blown away in the least. The facilities were nice, sure, but nothing more than what he was used to. The cafeteria food was OK and all-you-could-eat, though the campers weren't given as many choices as he would have liked.
("Humph!" snorted his school-of-hard-knocks grandfather upon hearing this. "Don't join the military.")
The Y.R. took the sports camp opportunity to apply the scientific method and test out his hypothesis that everyone from Delaware seems to know everyone else. He said he found plenty of confirmation.

TEETH: Four out of five dentists...

A "Unionville in the News" reader with a great memory sent me a link to a July 26 "New York Times" story saying that even the American Dental Association has come out and said that most people don't need annual dental x-rays. I wrote some months ago about how outraged I felt when my long-time West Chester dentist insisted that either I agree to annual x-rays or find another dentist. I chose the latter course and easily found a practice that doesn't make such an expensive and over-the-top demand.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

KENNETT: The Mushroom Festival

Just a heads-up that the 31st Mushroom Festival is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11, with a parade in Kennett Square starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9. Highlights include the amateur mushroom cook-off (this year's theme is "breakfast"), the fried mushroom eating contest (the world record is 11.5 pounds of fried breaded mushrooms in eight minutes), and the mushroom run and "fun gus walk." The full schedule is on the website.

HAIL: An unexpected storm

What a surprise the hail storm was on Saturday afternoon!
I had checked the weather forecast earlier in the day because we had planned to attend an outdoor concert in the evening, and nothing whatsoever showed up on the radar.
But shortly after 4 p.m. I was awakened from a nap by rumbles of thunder, and then a sudden gust of wind, and then an onslaught of rain and hail pounding on the roof. The hailstones melted immediately in the heat, but it was fun to watch them bouncing off the windowsill.
The thermometer dropped 20 degrees in the space of a half-hour as the thunderstorm blew through in two waves -- what a welcome change from the heat. It left many downed trees and branches in its wake, and out in Lancaster County we saw a blown-over utility pole, with a lot of wires, on Route 41 near Christiana.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

BRAIN: Preventing memory lapses

Exercise, get enough sleep, decrease stress, eat a Mediterranean diet, avoid head trauma, challenge your brain with puzzles or learning new skills, get enough Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, and get involved in the community.
That was the prescription for reversing brain atrophy that my doctor, Dr. Mary-Anne Ost, outlined in a fascinating lecture at the Jenners Pond retirement community in West Grove on July 22.
Dr. Ost started her talk by saying that the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a vital role in maintaining a person's memory, atrophies by 0.5% per year starting at age 40. A disturbed murmur immediately spread through the room as people calculated whether they had any hippocampal tissue left.
But she then went on to outline how research has shown that you can slow and even reverse the decline by taking the steps I mentioned in the first sentence. I was delighted to see that I have most of them covered; in fact, after the talk I went straight to the gym and later that evening did a particularly challenging crossword puzzle.
The audience had numerous questions after the talk, mostly about how various medications might help or hinder brain health.
I enjoyed the lecture very much. Dr. Ost said that given the prevalence of concussions in equestrians -- and the negative impact head trauma has on the brain -- she'd like to give the talk to horse people locally.
A few days after the talk I saw a friend of mine who is also a patient of Dr. Ost's and told her how interesting the talk was. "Oh, I forgot about that!" she exclaimed.

Friday, July 22, 2016

HOSTS: Dinner party nerves

Maybe you receive continuing education catalogs in the mail like I do. I browsed through one this afternoon and was amused at a blurb for a cooking class in which students would learn how to "impress even the most critical dinner guests."
My first thought: Who on earth would invite even potentially critical dinner guests to their home?

KENNETT: In the middle of the street

I witnessed a near-miss while driving on East Cypress Street near Willow Street Tuesday evening (yes, on my way to the Kennett Y). The driver in the left lane was not going fast enough for the impatient motorist behind him or her (who was driving a car with a Maryland tag), so Mr. or Ms. Maryland pulled abruptly into the right lane to pass on the right. Unfortunately, he or she didn't see that two young men were crossing Cypress Street. The pedestrians scurried, the driver honked his horn, the pedestrians gestured.
It could have been really ugly. Perhaps the Maryland driver didn't realize that a significant percentage of the drivers in the left lane are NOT going to speed through town because they're going to turn onto Race Street and go to the Y. You're asking for trouble if you pass on a busy street in the middle of town.

LONDONDERRY: Stars and planets

My friend Kevin Witman of Cochranville will be "starring" in an astronomy evening outside the Londonderry Township building, 103 Daleville Road, starting at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21. Kevin will bring along his amazingly powerful telescopes. I went to one of these stargazing evenings a few years ago, and there's something astonishing about actually being able to see planets and stars that are so far away. It helps that Kevin is such a patient and enthusiastic guide.

BIKES: Cyclists and people who love them

I wanted to share the following message from my pal Michael Guttman:
"Hi! I am working with Kennett Township and Kennett Square Borough to plan and develop a comprehensive system of bikeways and trails to make bike and pedestrian travel around the area easier and safer. Right now I am looking for people who would like to create and grow a volunteer bicycle advocacy group for the Kennett Area. If you are interested, please contact me by email at"

Thursday, July 21, 2016

SWEDEN: We'll miss you, Anne!

It's hardly fair: these big international companies like AstraZeneca bring wonderful people over here to the States for a few years and then have the nerve to take them back! I know that many, many people will miss Anne Grogaard and her family, who have endeared themselves to us during their three-year stint. They packed up their house in Chadds Ford and returned to Stockholm, Sweden, just last week.

READING: Thad Pennock at work

I am so enjoying "Necessary Vengeance," a thriller written by Unionville native Clipper LaMotte. I usually have a tough time keeping fictional characters straight, but in this book both the good guys and bad guys are described so vividly that I have no problem remembering who is who.
I just finished reading an exciting chapter in which an FBI agent gets to a Philadelphia storage locker and snags a briefcase literally seconds ahead of a very shady personal assistant who is on the take.
The local references -- part of the book takes place in Chester County "horse country"-- are fun and accurate. My go-to pleasure reading usually involves quaint English villages from many years ago, so it's refreshing to read a novel in which cell phones and Google are vital parts of life.

Monday, July 18, 2016

EGGS: Two answers to a bedeviling problem

Two readers responded to my item about the challenges of making perfect deviled eggs.
Said one: "I seldom make deviled eggs, but years ago I was instructed that the best solution to the 'overly adherent shells' phenomenon is to use eggs that are a couple of weeks old."
Another noted that Giant sells precooked, pre-peeled eggs from Sauder's Eggs: "10 to a bag for under $3.00." I looked up this company's website and it was like they were speaking directly to me: "Forget the frustrations of undercooking, overcooking, or peeling eggs - it's already done for you!"

Sunday, July 17, 2016

LONGWOOD: A fresh look

We are so accustomed to having Longwood Garden close by that we're as familiar with the Italian Water Gardens, the Acacia Walkway, and the Eye of Water as we are with our own backyards. So it was good to get a fresh perspective from an earnest first-time visitor. Over dinner on Saturday, she told us she was amazed at the huge variety of plants there and marveled at how meticulously the gardens are maintained. She was also fascinated by the technology involved in keeping everything at the right temperature and humidity level. She even watched the Longwood Gardens movie! When was the last time you watched the movie? I'm not sure I ever have!

NIXON PARK: Blues band takes the stage

The July 13 free concert at Anson B. Nixon Park in Kennett had a smaller-than-usual attendance because of the iffy weather, but the rain held off for the show by Jane Lee Hooker, a five-woman blues band from New York City. We were amazed at the way they maintained their sky-high, hard-rocking energy level throughout their 90-minute set (no intermission). They must have been absolutely sweltering up there on the stage. The lead singer, Dana Athens, said they'd be selling CDs after the show as well as shirts with the band's logo -- and the shirts would be dry, "unlike ours."

Saturday, July 16, 2016

AVONDALE: Shooting range opens Aug. 1

The "soft" opening is scheduled for August 1 for Target Shooting Solutions, the indoor gun range and firearms store in Avondale, with a grand opening set for this fall. TSS is located in what was formerly Boomers (too bad they couldn't keep the name) on Route 41 between Perkins restaurant and the Pennsylvania State Police barracks. Memberships are on sale, and the owners are looking to hire cashiers and firearms salespeople.

TOM MUSSER: A life well lived

Tom Musser, who died July 9, will be missed by not only his friends and family but by the whole community. A 1952 UHS graduate (and a Wall of Fame honoree), he was chairman and founder of The Tri-M Group.
Rather than just enjoying his success, he put his business savvy, community connections, and personal energy and charm to work for the benefit of a whole host of local organizations. To name one project dear to my own heart, he chaired the Kennett-Unionville YMCA's capital fund drive in 1996-97 and raised $5.2 million to build the Y on Race Street. Then he again chaired the capital campaign in 2011-12 that raised $3 million to expand the Y. As anyone who has every participated in a capital campaign knows, these were huge undertakings and turned out to be wonderful success stories.
Among the many tributes in the wake of his death was a heartfelt one from my friend Berta, a longtime Doe Run resident who now lives in Florida: "Losing larger-than-life people like Tom Musser creates a major void in the community as well as in his family. It seems so very strange that he is gone."
My condolences to his wife of 52 years, Bonnie, and his family.

DREAM: Live and let live

The other night I dreamed that I was covering a township meeting (NOT West Marlborough!), and three residents were in the audience griping about a driver whom they saw taking a nap in his work truck while parked at a convenience store.
They took great pride in informing the township supervisors that they had called his employer to report him, and they outlined in detail the layers of employees they went through to lodge their complaint. They even had a photograph of the poor tired guy's work truck and emailed it to me (how thoughtful). 
I woke feeling disgusted. And unfortunately, some people really would behave like that.

HOSPITALS: Meeting the deductible

On Friday evening I was delighted to run into two friends of mine from Landenberg. They were smiling and looked great even though they had just been through a rocky few days. Between the husband's heart attack, stenting procedure and then a bad reaction to blood-pressure medication, they had visited three hospitals -- Jennersville, Brandywine and Christiana -- in the space of a week.
"And the week's not over!" joked the husband.
His wife, who of course has been terribly stressed out, shot him SUCH A LOOK.
I shouldn't have been surprised by his fatalism; this is a guy who has the Grim Reaper tattooed in green on his forearm.

NORTHBROOK: Pasta buffet plus bluegrass

Thursday nights from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. there's a BYOB Italian pasta buffet at Northbrook Marketplace on Route 842 east of Unionville. And reader Bette from Unionville was nice enough to write and let me know that in addition to the "family night" food, a band "has become a fixture at Thurs. dinner time.  They are a bluegrass group of about 7 in name for the band since they just show up and have a jam session. Their performances are very professional and entertaining."


FADS: The latest craze

I'm not a Pokémon GO enthusiast, but it seems that plenty of locals are playing the game, where participants try to "catch" virtual creatures using their smartphones. In technical terms the international craze is a "free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game."
Apparently your phone vibrates when you are near a Pokémon, and you have to throw virtual balls at the creature to catch it. The phone records the number and types of Pokémon (that's both the singular and plural form) you have captured, like Pikachu and Poliwag.
The Young Relative, who is not usually one to exaggerate, says he has been playing Pokémon GO "every single hour of every single day" since it was released July 6. He notes that the game decimates his phone's battery life but doesn't use up much data (though I did overhear a conversation between him and his father about a recent data overage charge).
A friend tells me that Longwood Gardens is "chock full of PokéStops and gyms!" I mentioned that to the Young Relative and quickly realized I had touched on a very sore spot as he covered his eyes with his hand. He was well aware of the wide variety of Pokémon to be found at Longwood, but alas the server that controls the whole game was down the entire time he was there on Saturday morning (hackers apparently were to blame).
Lynn Sinclair, owner of the Sunrise Café in downtown Kennett, reports that her café has been dubbed the "Big Chicken Gym" and she says players "have been buzzing around with their hand-held games."
On Friday evening, in the parking lot of the Jennersville Shopping Center, we heard some youths hollering, "We got it!" I was alarmed for a moment and then realized that, yes, they had found and captured a Pokémon.

RULES: "Don't text Jen"

On Friday evening I was amused to see a sign posted on a little swinging gate at a local ice-cream place I frequent. "Please keep this closed!" it said. "It is for our own safety as well as our customers' safety. If you have any questions, don't text Jen. Just do it, because."
The reason I could read it is because the little swinging gate was, in fact, open.

GRAD SCHOOL: From Unionville to Shanghai

Peter Geleta, son of Peter and Clare Geleta of Unionville, is headed to China in September: the UHS and Pitt graduate received a full scholarship to pursue a Master's of Finance degree at Shanghai University of Economics and Finance.
His father says that all of his son's classes will be conducted in Mandarin. "He is much more brave than I ever was at his age," says Pete. Congratulations to Peter and his parents!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

BRANDYWINE: A day on the river

There were some "city folk" ahead of us as we tubed down the Brandywine this weekend, and there was definitely some culture shock going on.
I don't think they'd ever been in a body of water that wasn't chlorinated and surrounded by concrete. As soon as she stepped into the water one woman shrieked: "Oh my God! This is disgusting! It's all muddy!"
I suggested that she might not want to take her phone with her on the river -- she had it tucked in her bikini top, along with her cigarettes -- and she gave me a blank stare and said, "Why not? I want to take pictures!"
All righty...
She and her friends had trouble figuring out how to get onto their rafts and tubes -- much swearing ensued -- and they didn't seem to much care for the plants and fish they encountered in the creek.
At the end of the day, back on dry land, I happened to see them again, and asked how they'd enjoyed tubing.
"Loved it," said one of them with enthusiasm.

UNIONVILLE: A very patient clerk

At the Unionville post office Saturday morning, the line was steadily lengthening as the customer at the counter took her time selecting stamps. First she peered at the different stamp designs in the display case and finally asked for some that showed trees, even though she complained that the number of stamps on the sheet wasn't to her liking.
After the clerk handed them to her, she rejected them, saying they looked prettier in the display case. Weren't there any stamps that were more exciting? she asked.
I looked at the man behind me. He rolled his eyes and muttered, "Exciting."
I was so busy trying not to laugh that I didn't even notice which stamps the customer eventually chose -- if she did.

STARGAZER ROAD: Another housing development

A faithful Tilda reader from Newlin Township wrote to me in dismay, asking what is going on along Strasburg Road at Stargazer Road. He writes, "There is a huge construction project at the top of Stargazer Road. It looks like a square mile of countryside has been laid waste!"
Sixty-three acres, to be exact. A housing development called "Stargazer Village" is being built on West Bradford Township site. It will include 95 single-family houses and 39 townhouses. A traffic circle will be built at the main entrance off Strasburg Road.
In the words of the development's land planner, Thomas Comitta Associates of West Chester:
"Stargazers is an extension of the Village of Romansville complete with a diversity of dwelling types, an integrated street and alley network, a neighborhood commercial hub, and open space in the form of greens and natural areas."
By the way, although it's just down the road, this is NOT part of the controversial development proposed for the former Embreeville State Hospital property.

The plan for Stargazers Village.

Friday, July 8, 2016

KENNETT: A new police officer

Congratulations to Jake Andress, the newest Kennett Square police officer. I was so thrilled to read that the borough hired him, and I look forward to seeing him on duty.
A few years ago Jake and I were members of a particularly challenging exercise class at the Jennersville YMCA with an amazing, inspiring instructor who sadly fell victim to chronic fatigue syndrome. I can speak to Jake's considerable physical strength, his dedication (some days he would come to the gym after a full day working construction), and his ability to get along with lots of different types of people, as we were a peculiar mix.

PICNICS: Just add paprika!

Anyone who has ever made devilled eggs knows that you have to boil up far more eggs than you will need, because you will almost surely lose several to overly adherent shells that cause divots in the white parts. More cracks result when you spoon in the yolk part.
First-world problems, I know.
So at a Chadds Ford pool party last weekend I was sitting in the kitchen chatting with the hostess and her daughter as they were preparing more food. The daughter started filling a batch of devilled eggs using a pastry bag (well, actually a baggie with a tiny corner snipped off). Great idea!
And then her mother dropped a bombshell: she told me you can actually buy pre-cooked, pre-peeled, pre-bisected eggs at Costco.
OK, yes: it's a crazy waste of resources, they're probably not the wholesome local eggs we're used to, and I don't even want to think of the price.
But, honestly, what an ingenious idea!
(Alternatively, of course, you could just order pre-made devilled eggs from Hood's like one dear friend of mine does.)

AVONDALE: What a Good Samaritan!

I was at the Avondale Wawa yesterday morning to inflate two brand-new inner tubes for river fun this coming weekend. Next to the air pump was parked a white work truck with a completely flat (I mean, down to the rim) tire. There was nobody in the truck, so I pulled up on the other side of the pump and got to work.
Then a Mexican man came out of the Wawa, and it was his truck. I offered him the air hose -- he had been there first, after all -- and he smiled and shook his head. I got the sense that his flat tire was beyond repair (the opposite hubcap looked kind of shredded, too), and he was just waiting for somebody to pick him up.
He noticed I was having some trouble filling the second inner tube and came over. He looked at the stem, noticed a stray piece of metal impeding the flow, fetched a set of needle-nose pliers from his truck and fixed it. He then finished inflating the tube, gesturing for me to increase or lower the filling pressure on the pump as needed. Between his limited English and my even more limited Spanish, we got the job done.
I was so grateful that I took a $20 out of my wallet and offered it to him as a tip. No, no, he said, absolutely refusing. He wouldn't even take some money toward a sub (Hoagiefest!), a soda or a soft pretzel on the sweltering day.
This is a guy who could have stayed in the air-conditioned store or in his truck, and instead he helped me out. All I could do was shake his hand. Good people are the best.

NEAR THE BORDER: Who is putting up these signs?

In response to last week's item about the "Stop committing fraud!" signs that have popped up in our area, a Landenberg reader wrote and told me she saw another one a few weeks ago at North Bank and Auburn Roads as well.
As I noted last week, the person who posted the professional-looking yellow signs objects to people who live in Pennsylvania but register their vehicles using a Delaware post-office box to avoid Pennsylvania's more onerous sales tax and inspection obligations. I'm hoping the person behind the signs will contact me and explain what motivated him or her to spend time and money doing this.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Another no-parking zone in Springdell

The "no parking" zones around The Whip tavern have been extended to include the south side of Route 841 from Springdell Road to Thouron Road. Neighboring landowner Dick Hayne has put up a low fence along that stretch of North Chatham Road, but apparently die-hard Whip patrons are still parking there, even if half their cars are protruding into the roadway.
More no-parking signs will be installed.
The chronic lack of sufficient on-site parking at The Whip has been a concern for years on the part of the tavern's neighbors.
The West Marlborough township supervisors held a brief hearing before unanimously approving the new ordinance. As required by law, court stenographer Bill Handy was there to record the proceedings. A local man, he is called upon to record most of the township's hearings and then likes to go to the Whip afterward for dinner.
"So where am I going to park?" he mock-grumbled as he was packing up his recording device.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Funding to stabilize a roadbank

West Marlborough Township has received a $228,120 grant from the state to stabilize the steep drop-off down to Buck Run along Rokeby Road at Richard Wilson Drive, a problem that residents have been concerned about for years.
At the July 5 township meeting, Supervisor Hugh Lofting said the stabilization project will get under way by the end of the summer. The grant is part of a state program targeting dirt, gravel and low-volume roads.
Residents have repeatedly alerted the supervisors that the northern edge of Rokeby Road is eroding away and crumbling into the creek. The sheer drop-off down to the creek is now marked by traffic cones and barriers.

There is a sheer drop-off between the northern edge of Rokeby Road and Buck Run.

ATGLEN: Hot stuff at a picnic

At a picnic in Atglen last weekend there was a large platter of nice plump chicken wings, and I helped myself. A cautious friend asked me if they were spicy, as peppery foods disagree with her.
"No, they're very mild," I told her (probably with my mouth full, I'm afraid).
With that recommendation, she got some -- and then exclaimed when she bit into one and found it incinerating her mouth. My suitability as a judge of spiciness was brought into question in no uncertain terms.
I assured her that indeed, no one has a more vanilla palate that I do. After some debate and research, we learned that there were actually two types of identical-looking wings on the platter, bland and spicy.

UNIONVILLE: Navigating the circle

I've received quite a bit of feedback on last week's item in which a reader griped about what he considered the ugly and unnecessary one-way signs on the Unionville roundabout.
I was amazed to learn that motorists actually DO go the wrong way on the traffic circle, whether out of ignorance, the desire to save a fraction of a second of time, or too much time spent driving in England. In other words, as they enter the circle, they incorrectly turn left instead of right. Unbelievable. I wonder, not for the first time, how people manage to pass their driver's tests.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

UNIONVILLE: New signs in the traffic circle

A Tilda reader objects to the one-way signs that were installed in the Unionville roundabout this past week. He writes the following:
"We drive always on and to the right in this country. Today someone placed three ugly one-way signs on high poles ON THE CIRCLE for who knows what reason and totally obliterated the beauty of the circle. What a bureaucratically stupid act that could if necessary (which it isn’t) have placed 3 one-way signs low to the ground (a fourth isn’t necessary). Drivers’ tests do cover rotaries. What’s next? Garage sale signs on the rotary along with Beat Beethoven, cheaptree and political signage. Sign, sign, everywhere a sign! We have a significant signage problem in Southern Chester County that has crept silently upon us destroying beautiful views in our area. Where’s our Lady Bird Johnson? Am I losing it?"


Saturday, July 2, 2016

UNIONVILLE: Phase II of the park

Several people have asked me what's going on next to the Po-Mar-Lin firehouse in downtown Unionville. The next phase of the Unionville Community Park is being built.
A brick sidewalk, crosswalks and street trees will be added right along Route 82, just west of the firehouse. And small entry plaza, a rain garden, eight parking spaces, landscaping and 750 feet of new walking trail will be installed in what is now the sunken-appearing field next to the firehouse.
There are complete details about the park on East Marlborough Township's website.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Science fiction double feature

Driving home through West Marlborough on Friday evening at about 9:30 was magical and weird. On Earth level, the fireflies lit up the fields. Up in the sky, there were still some thunderstorms around, and the lightning would periodically light up the clouds. Occasionally I'd see an actual bolt of lightning rather than the general glow. It reminded me of some Saturday-afternoon mad-scientist movie where the experimental brain pulses with light.

HAIR: Customer service, good and bad

Over breakfast yesterday a Unionville friend told me a very funny anecdote that could serve as a business-school case study for why those no-appointment chain haircut places have become a booming franchise.
She said she was 10 minutes late for her appointment at the upscale, expensive salon she has patronized for years (the delay involved cattle), and from the moment she walked in she got nothing but dirty looks and attitude. (Her imitations were priceless.)
Desperate for a haircut, she headed to a strip-mall place, had her hair cut, and was out of there, shorn, in 5 minutes. The bill: $13. And her hair doesn't look bad at all.
Somebody just lost a customer, and somebody else just gained one.

CHATHAM: Median strip plans are online

The photographs that I took of the median strips being proposed for Chatham didn't make it into last week's newspaper (space was short), so if you're interested you can see them online at the website
In an email, engineer Rob Nuss said that "These designs are still conceptual in nature while the PennDOT project team optimizes the designs to achieve the desired traffic calming effect while accommodating all vehicles and minimizing impacts. ​We are open to additional public feedback for the gateways along PA Route 41."

MUSIC: Three outdoor concerts in one week

Earlier this week I found myself enthusiastically singing Mumford & Sons' big hit "I Will Wait for You" and was baffled as to how that song had gotten stuck in my brain. Then I remembered: on June 25 we saw a band, the Vulcans, whose harmonies sounded a lot like the Mumfords.
The Vulcans, who are three young men from Mechanicsburg, played as part of the series of Saturday-night summer concerts in the apple orchard at the 1719 Hans Herr House in Willow Street, Lancaster County. We have gotten accustomed to the macabre situations that represent a time-honored staple of folk music lyrics, but even we were a little taken aback when the band announced their next song by saying, "Does everybody know what patricide means?"
I feel confident in declaring that this past week's concert at Anson B. Nixon Park by Kid Davis and the Bullets will be one of the summer's highlights. We went to the show with two great friends, and if you grew up in the 1970s like all of us did, Pink Floyd's classic album "Dark Side of the Moon" was a significant part of your adolescent soundtrack (I have owned the album in eight-track, vinyl, cassette, and CD format). So when the Bullets broke into an out-of-left-field rockabilly version of "Brain Damage," our jaws dropped in amazement and we were helpless with laughter. Absolutely loved it!
Our third outdoor concert of the week was by a bluegrass/gospel group named Cousin Jake at the Myrick Center on Unionville Wawaset Road (at the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, the former BVA) on June 30. The Lancaster County band just couldn't catch a break. The mandolin player was seriously delayed and didn't show up until after intermission. The electricity went off about 45 minutes into the show, so we all moved our chairs close to the stage and the band played an acoustic set without microphones or speakers. The power came back about 10 seconds before the end of the show.

BRAZIL: Locals on Team USA!

Don't be surprised if you see some familiar town names on the screen while watching the Summer Olympics: several people from our little corner of the world will be heading to Rio de Janeiro to represent the United States.
Phillip Dutton, riding Fernhill Cubalawn, and Boyd Martin, riding Blackfoot Mystery, are members of the Olympic eventing team. It's the sixth Olympic Games for Phillip (his third riding for the United States) and the second for Boyd. Both are native Australians but now live in the Unionville area.

Cierra Runge of Cochranville is on the swimming team; her event is the 400-meter freestyle relay. Cierra's name and the record-setting times she set during her early days of Y competition are on the wall of honor at the Jennersville YMCA.
Midfielder Katelyn Falgowski of Landenberg will play on the field hockey team. A graduate of St. Mark's High School in Wilmington and the University of North Carolina, this is her third Olympic Games.
Para-equestrian dressage rider Margaret "Gigi" Macintosh, who rides out of Blue Hill Farm in Newlin Township, will be participating at the Paralympic Games with her mare, Rio Rio. Her teammate para-rider Becca Hart (a former barista at the Kennett Starbucks) also trained out of Blue Hill Farm until she recently moved to Florida.
Wheelchair athlete Amanda McGrory of Kennett Square is heading to Rio as part of the 2016 U.S. Paralympics track and field team.
Long-time Tilda reader Laura suggests that I also mention several foreign riders who train locally and are short-listed for their country's teams: Ryan Wood (Australia) and Waylon Roberts (Canada) train at True Prospect Farm; Ronald Zabala has qualified for the Ecuadorean team; and Nilson Moreira da Silva has a chance to represent Brazil on Muggle, a horse owned by Melissa Stubenburg.