Sunday, January 29, 2017

SNAFU: Miles to go ...

There was only one word for the past few days: dysfunctional.
The weekend began with a smooth handoff of Girl Scout cookies in the Y lobby on Friday evening.
On Saturday, things went well as we rushed through dinner to get to the cinema only to discover that the movie we wanted to see, "Manchester by the Sea," was sold out. Could have something to do with the fact that it was nominated for Best Picture this past week.
However, "Rogue One" was scheduled to start in a few minutes.
"How about this one?" I suggested to the companion.
"Really?" he said with surprise. "You'd see that with me?"
"Filling up quickly," the screen at the kiosk told us. By trying to select our seats on the screen, we learned that what this actually meant was "Sold Out."
We checked another nearby cinema on the phone and found there were three, count 'em, three seats left for a showing of the same film, and two were in the front row. We wound up walking around a depressing mall and ended our evening in a cigar store (we don't smoke).
Sunday found the two of us driving to Wayne to pick up two Labrador Retrievers whose owner can't keep them anymore. We were there at the appointed time; the owner's representatives were not. We got word that the dogs were either in Rehoboth Beach or in Wilmington; it wasn't clear.
While waiting, we hung out at Wawa (the food tasted much the same as at the Avondale Wawa), visited the painstakingly detailed 9/11 Memorial constructed by the King of Prussia Volunteer Fire Company, and drove through Valley Forge National Historic Park.
Alas, the dog people still didn't show up. We'll try another day.
No dogs. No movies. Crazy drivers. Many miles. But Girl Scout Shortbread Cookies, a great companion and we're glad to be back home safe and warm.

TRAVEL: I was transported

The other day I received a letter addressed to "Unionville Resident" from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It seems that every five to seven years since 1969 they have been conducting a National Household Travel Survey, and this round I was one of the recipients selected.
The three-page survey asked how often I use various means of transport (walking, car, taxi, bicycle, and public transportation) to get from place to place, and how the cost of gasoline affects my travel decisions. (I was legitimately able to put down "walking" because I sometimes walk to township meetings.)
The form also wanted to know some demographic data. In the second part of the survey, which will be conducted in a few weeks, they will ask me to detail my travel on a single day (odds are good, no matter what day they choose, that it will include the post office and the Y).  
In return for my time, they enclosed two one-dollar bills.

KENNETT: Underground Railroad tour

On Saturday, Feb. 4, I'll be one of the guides for a free walking tour of downtown Kennett Square called "Freedmen, Fugitives and Friends," organized by the Kennett Underground Railroad Center. Participants will "to see the houses and buildings and to hear the stories of Kennett Square Quakers and African Americans who coexisted peacefully before and after the Civil War." The tour will focus on the East Linden Street area.
I led a similar tour in the summer of 2015 and we had a great turnout.
The 40-minute walking tours will run every 10 to 15 minutes from 2 to 4 p.m. The starting point is the parking lot at Willow and East State Street (you can park for free there as well).

KENNETT: Chocolate Fest

Confectioner Robin Mastrippolito of Embreeville took third place in the cupcake division of the Kennett Chocolate Lovers Festival last year, and she's motivated to improve her performance this year. I ran into her on Friday and she said she's thinking about entering a scrumptious-sounding cupcake involving white Godiva chocolate, brandy and either blueberries or blackberries.
The annual event, which benefits the United Way of Southern Chester County, is Sunday, Feb. 12 at Kennett High School. More information and tickets are available at With a connoisseur ticket ($25 each, $45 for two) you get free parking, early entry to beat the crowds (noon), ten tastings and beverages. With a general admission ticket ($10, $30 for a family of four), you get six tastings (with more for 50 cents each), parking is $5, and you have to wait until 1 p.m. to enter the event.

UNIONVILLE: Closed for lunch

On Friday I stopped in at the Unionville post office during their lunch break to collect my mail. An acquaintance walked in carrying two very large parcels and was surprised to find the counter closed. She didn't realize that the postal employees take a break each day and was mock-irritated, saying that the post office should be open all day because this isn't a rural area anymore.
"Hush your mouth!" I said with a smile.
Good-naturedly, she observed that we suffer the inconveniences of suburbia now, so we might as well enjoy the benefits as well.
"Is that your rant for the day?" I asked.
She laughed and thought for a moment.
"Yes," she replied. "At least, we'll say it is."

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

POLITICS: Across the spectrum

After a brutal, rancorous political season that pitted friend against friend, a most welcome spot of humor appeared in my mailbox today. Someone -- I have a prime suspect in mind -- sent me a subscription to a periodical that represents the utter and complete antithesis of my political beliefs. 
I laughed aloud upon seeing it, and when I sat down with it later that evening I was surprised to find the articles interesting, well written (once I got past the stereotypes and immoderate language) and well researched. I also appreciated the clean graphic design and the lack of all those distracting marginal factoids, pull quotes, and cut-out heads that plague so many magazines today.
One final political note: a former colleague of mine was participating in one of those marches in Washington DC this past week. While she was en route on the Metro, an angry man lunged at her, grabbed her thick foam-core hand-written sign and ripped it in half. She reported that a retired military man and his wife came to her rescue, and she was shaken up but unhurt; her friend's eyeglasses were knocked off. She proceeded to the march with her bisected sign.
There's just no excuse for such behavior. You may disagree with the sentiment expressed, but that doesn't justify violence.

CLARENCE: It's all gravy

Having made up his weight deficit and tipping the scales at 12 pounds, Clarence the Rescue Cat has morphed from starving waif to tyrant of my household. Yesterday he woke me at 4:05 a.m. by sitting on my head; he needed to alert me that his food dish was almost empty.
For a while he was content with anything I served him and would gobble it down immediately and gratefully. Now his palate is as sophisticated as that of any foodie, and he rejects the Mixed Seafood Pate that he loved just the other day.
I started keeping two lists on the fridge: Clarence Likes and Clarence Dislikes. Clarence's other minder, far more savvy in the fickle ways of felines, added the words "this week" to each.
One additional cat note: searching for elusive cat toys under and behind furniture gives you a really good reminder of how long it's been since you've done a thorough house cleaning.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

EAST FALLOWFIELD: Route 82 is closed

Don't forget that Route 82 is closed between Strasburg Road and Valley Road so that a tiny bridge can be repaired. The other night we were headed up that way and spotted the "Road Closed" sign.
"Oh yeah!" I said, with some embarrassment. "I wrote about that."
Another friend said he somehow missed the sign, drove right up to the blocked-off bridge and then had to backtrack through the dense fog.

GYM: And eyes in the back of her head

I mentioned in last week's column that fresh music and exercises were just released for several of my favorite gym classes. The class I took on Jan. 17 was challenging to say the least, with a positively indecent number of lunges, pushups and jumping jacks.
All of us returned to the class on Jan. 19 with some trepidation, but at least we knew what to expect, and it seemed comparatively easier.
"That wasn't so bad," a red-faced friend said to me at the end of the hour, as we were gulping water and catching our breath at the side of the room.
"THAT WASN'T SO BAD?!" repeated our instructor in mock-drill-sergeant fashion (she is all about giving us a tough workout).
"Oh, Lord," I said to my friend. "She heard you!"
"Are you kidding?" our instructor said. "I hear everything. I'm a Mom."

KATS: "All good friends"

What a great evening of silliness and fun! We were still singing the final number as we walked to our car after the Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society's annual show, "Little Beau Peep and the Smugglers."
For the man sitting behind us, it was his first KATS show, but he quickly caught on that it's all about audience participation. You "boo" and "hiss" every time the villains set foot on stage, greet the Dame with a rousing "Hello, Sarah!", sing the Silly Song (this year "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts") and join in the cries of "Oh no they don't!"
The Dame (in the British tradition played by a man, Warren Brooks in this case) appeared in a series of ever-gaudier hoop skirts and towering wigs. The children's chorus, always adorable, this year portrayed a flock of baaa-ing lambs. We especially liked Sir Jasper (Mike Ferry)'s chillingly evil laugh, and as always, it was fun to see friends and neighbors hamming it up on stage.
Toward the end of intermission, the two "revenue men," Sergeant Nickel and Corporal Dime, strode through the cafeteria, rounding audience members up and threatening us with a loitering tax if we didn't return to the auditorium immediately. Of course, Caroline Smith's script included some local references. The Pantomime Horse was carrying mushrooms in its basket, and a pivotal birthmark, the Hawkhurst Escutcheon, was described as being located in "an unmentionable place."
"Like Unionville??" was the horrified reply. (I booed.)
At breakfast the next morning at Longwood Family Restaurant, we ran into Peter Giangiulio, who had played Poseidon and is the KATS Board Chair, and got to tell him how much we enjoyed the show. He and his wife Stephanie was on their way to tear down the sets.

COATESVILLE: Keeping it "reel"

As my readers know, I attend a lot of concerts, but the one on Jan. 20 was really special. Three very personable young men -- Joey Abarta on the uilleann pipes, Nathan Gourley on the fiddle and Owen Powell on the bouzouki -- visited the Coatesville Cultural Society as part of the Coatesville Traditional Irish Music Series.
The room where the concert was held was small and simple, with no stage or sound system separating the performers from the audience. It actually had the feel of a house concert: the audience members felt comfortable asking the musicians questions about their instruments, their travels and even their personal life, and they were happy to answer.
Joey demonstrated how his uilleann pipes work: he uses one elbow to pump air into the bladder and the other to force air through the chanter. He plays the melody with his fingers, and he uses his wrist to work the drones. "Basically a one-man band," he quipped.
He had to tune the instrument repeatedly during the show, and he said he always brings along a repair kit.
One man in the audience asked if the uilleann pipes are sensitive to humidity.
"Yes," he answered immediately.
"Substitute any word for humidity, and the answer is still yes," laughed Nathan (the two share what must be a very musical house in Boston with their girlfriends).
Owen, who lives in Portland, Maine, explained that his bouzouki, a Greek stringed instrument, is somewhat awkward to play for two reasons: first, its deep, full, lute-like back slides around on his lap, and second, "the battle of the bulge," as he said, ruefully indicating his belly.
The organizers of the long-running music series, Frank Dalton and Emily Fine of Embreeville, deserve great credit for bringing such consistently talented musicians to our area.

RIP: Goodbye to Georgie

The Unionville community lost a remarkable woman when Georgianna Hannum Stapleton passed away in the early hours of Jan. 17.
Georgie was a kind, generous and hospitable friend to me and to so many others. She was smart, beautiful, lively, curious, stylish and utterly hilarious. She was so brave, stoic and matter-of-fact about her long illness that a lot of people didn't even know she was sick.
Georgie, who always took a great interest in people, was an avid reader of "Unionville in the News" from the beginning. Early in this column's existence, she invited me to brunch -- she was an amazing hostess -- and I wrote an item about it afterward, something about how you could be sure of having a great time when she was around.
My mistake was using exactly the same line in my thank-you note to her.
Of course, she put two and two together immediately, called me and cried, "YOU'RE TILDA!"
After that I would receive random -- always funny -- emails from her about the column, everything from wondering how I don't gain weight with all the restaurants I visit, to thanking me for promoting a sense of community.
Georgie and I were both on the Primitive Hall Board of Directors, and from experience I can say that she was someone you wanted in your corner when you were dealing with any kind of property transaction. The owner of Country Properties in Unionville, she was a shrewd businessperson, and often she'd wait until the end of a discussion and then state her well-reasoned opinion, and everyone would think, "But of course!"
I will miss her beautiful presence so much. My deepest sympathy to her husband, Walter, and her whole family.
And Georgie, trust me, I won't breathe a word about your deviled-egg secret.

FLORIDA: Call the repair crew

The senior Tally-hos report great excitement at their snowbird condominium complex: the elevator malfunctioned the other day, trapping a woman and her dog inside for 40 minutes! Both were fine after their adventure, and fortunately the dog was on his way back from being pottied outside.

FINANCES: Sending out those 1099s

A bookkeeper friend reports that, over the holidays, his wife was happy to show off to visitors his immaculately tidy and organized home office. All that has changed: his clients have deluged him with receipts and paperwork so he can prepare their end-of-the-year financial statements and tax documents. He says there are files covering every flat surface in his office, and his wife asks him to keep the door shut.

Monday, January 16, 2017

ICE CREAM: Punk'd Pineapple closes shop

On Jan. 15, after we enjoyed a delicious Buddy Burger at the Market at Liberty Place in downtown Kennett, we strolled through the rest of the building and discovered to our dismay that the ice cream store, Punk'd Pineapple, is no more. They had delicious ice cream and their trademark was the pair of little sugar "eyes" that they put on every dish.
I checked their Facebook page to see what had happened, and here's what they said: "Effective December 23rd, we have decided to close our shop located in The Market at Liberty Place. We ARE NOT closing our business and we are not leaving Kennett Square. We have enjoyed serving and becoming part of the Kennett Square Community, as well as getting to know all of our customers both in our shop and on our trucks. We look forward to serving all of you again in the Spring. We will post location updates on social media or please feel free to give us a shout if you are interested in booking our trucks for events next year."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

THE Y: BodyPump 100 debuts

The popular group-exercise program called BodyPump celebrated its 100th release on Jan. 14, and gyms around the world marked the date with special events. Our feverishly excited Kennett Y instructors have been counting down to the date for months.
The premiere of Release 100 was in New Zealand (the home of Les Mills, creator of the program) and featured traditional Maori clothing and ceremonies. Then videos from gyms in Asia, Africa and Europe starting showing up on social media as the class premiere worked its way around the globe.
At Kennett's launch, at 8 a.m. on Saturday, 100 athletes filled the main gymnasium to get a first crack at Release 100, with multiple instructors up front teaching. There were also refreshments, wristbands, raffles and even soft pretzels spelling out "BP 100."
An 8 a.m. gym class is a little early for me, so I showed up for the 11:30 a.m. launch of the new BodyAttack class (despite the name, it's not violent) and was amazed to find that some sturdy folks had been there all morning working out, doing the different new classes! By the end of Attack, even the toughest of them looked pretty beat up, although they were still smiling. One fellow checked his fitness gadget and realized he had taken 17,000 steps, some 11 miles.
Congratulations to the Y for putting on such a fun event! I can't imagine the hours of effort that went into organizing it.

CANCER: One happy man

On Saturday night, at a fundraising spaghetti dinner, we sat with a friend from Landenberg who was full of joy and gratitude. Five years ago he had been diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer and was given a grave prognosis. He underwent extensive surgery and went through a lengthy, difficult course of radiation treatment.
The other day he went for a follow-up appointment at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Center at Christiana Care in Newark, and his oncologists told him that if his kind of cancer hasn't returned by this point, it won't.
"They said," he told me with awe, "I was cured."
"Beaming" would be an understatement for his grin.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

DUMP: Taking out the trash

I was taking my recycling over to the SECCRA landfill on New Year's Eve day and three members of an Amish family were there as well. They had brought their trash to the dump on a large, metal-wheeled wooden cart pulled by a handsome team of two large Belgian horses. Not something that I see every day.

TEMPS: A low-tech answer

In last week's column I asked for suggestions about how I could see at a glance the temperature expressed in both Celsius and Fahrenheit units so that I could learn to associate the two.
My readers came through.
Several suggested that I buy a good old C/F window thermometer (a few of you even sent photographs of yours in operation). I was so busy looking for a hi-tech solution, that hadn't even occurred to me!
One reader sent me a conversion chart from a reference manual. Another said a simple way to obtain a ballpark C from F is "take away 30 and divide by 2." And another reader suggested using the Google search bar to translate the number. 

Thank you, readers!
After spending way too much time on this, I actually did figure out how to install two weather widgets next to each other on my phone, one expressed in C and one in F. And the weather has certainly been cooperative this past week, going from 14 to 63 F (-10 to 17 C)!

Friday, January 13, 2017

EAST FALLOWFIELD: Route 82 closure

Of course, everyone is talking about the imminent closure of the heavily traveled Route 926 bridge over the Brandywine (the project is expected to start in February), but there's another repair project you should know about as well. Starting Jan. 17 and extending until June, a two-mile stretch of Route 82 is going to be shut down between Valley and Strasburg Roads so that PennDOT can fix a bridge over a tiny tributary to Sucker Run.
Honestly, I didn't know there even was a bridge there until I noticed the sign warning about a road closure and the port-a-potty.
Through traffic on Route 82 will be detoured onto
Strasburg Road, Youngsburg Road, First Avenue, and Business Route 30.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

ROUNDABOUT: Filling the empty spaces

Back in September a reader, Janet, wrote to say that she felt the Route 82 roundabout in Unionville could stand to benefit from some of the gardening talent in the area. Well, she just contacted me again with the happy news that "the Longwood Rotary Club has committed to planting and maintaining the Unionville Roundabout beginning this spring. I'm sure everyone will be pleased to see this improvement."
Well done, volunteers! Another reason to look forward to spring!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

CAR WASH: I told you so!

Everyone is flocking to the car wash to get the corrosive salt and unsightly crud removed from their vehicles. Noticing that the driver ahead of him had neglected to slide a plastic sleeve onto his rear wiper, a friend of mine recommended that he do so. The guy said no, he didn't think it was necessary.
And of course, on the other side of the car wash tunnel, he ended up minus a rear wiper.
My friend was amused, but he confessed that he had wised up only after losing a wiper under the exact same circumstances.
The motorist in front of me at the car wash the other day was even more careful: he even removed the little magnetic signs from the back of his car.

MOVING: A brisk sale

A couple we know in the Avon Grove School District is moving to Chicago and put their house on the market over the holidays. Within a few days, much to their surprise and delight, there was a bidding war under way, and they signed an agreement for above the asking price.
The owners' heads are spinning.
"I wanted it to sell," said the wife, "but not this fast!"

Sunday, January 8, 2017

TEMPS: Going metric

I know that many of my readers are fairly sophisticated folks, so I'm hoping you'll be able to help me. I've been struck by a desire to become conversant in the Celsius temperature system. For instance, on Sunday I wanted to tell a British friend how cold it was here, but saying "17 degrees" would signify nothing to him. What I want is to become familiar enough with the other system that I can translate easily, without doing a tiresome calculation. 
Unfortunately, all the weather apps I've found give the user a choice between C and F, but they don't display both, which is what I want so that I can start associating them. And toggling back and forth is cumbersome. I think I may have to prepare an old-fashioned chart and post it around the house.
Does anyone have a better idea?

WEST CHESTER: Hello, Staples?

Over the holiday, a friend stopped by the Chester County Courthouse to get some estate paperwork done. When he asked the clerk for a copy of a document, she apologized and said that they had run out of legal-sized copy paper; did he mind standard-size paper instead? He was amused at the irony of a courthouse office not having legal-size paper.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: A mishap at London Grove

Why are there some missing traffic signs at the intersection of Route 926 and Newark Road? Because the evening of Jan. 2, around 6:45 p.m., one of those extra-long tractor-trailers was westbound on 926 and didn't take the little jog to the right around the triangle with the old blacksmith shop. Instead, the driver went all the way to Newark Road and then tried to make the 90-degree turn. His right wheels went onto the triangle (the ruts are still there) and he took out a couple of signs; one of them lodged underneath his trailer. 
When we happened upon the scene just seconds later, the driver had stopped and gotten out of the cab to inspect the damage. He gestured for us to pass him on the shoulder. He didn't look very happy at this start to 2017.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

SCAMS: Watch out for these ruses

I've said it before: if only criminals would put their creativity to positive uses (positive for society rather than themselves, that is).
Neighbor and retired district judge Tom Martin asked me if I would bring to the public's attention three recent scams that were reported on a listserv for Pennsylvania Magisterial District Judges.
1. A Reedsville district judge reported that a couple came to his courtroom, the wife in tears. A man had contacted them, saying that their 19-year-old son had been "sexting" with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl. The man, claiming to be the girl's father, threatened to report the youth to Pennsylvania authorities unless the parents sent him $10,000. A few days later a man who said he was the "North Carolina sheriff" called the Pennsylvania parents, stating that unless they paid up, he'd come and arrest the son.
"Obviously after they told me that, I knew it was a scheme, but one that had these parents an emotional wreck," wrote the judge. "Just wanted to let all of you Judges know how extreme these scheme artists will go." 
2. A State College judge said in one day two older couples came into his court and reported receiving a phone call from a person claiming to be Lt. Frank Rodgers of the Sheriff's Department. "For the couple in the afternoon the caller told them that there was a warrant issued for the wife's arrest because she failed to show up for jury duty. She was given the specific address of the court and told to report to the court to settle the matter.  They were to speak to Nancy Brown, at the court."
The judge found that no Frank Rodgers or Nancy Brown was employed by the sheriff or the county, nor was there any record of the wife's supposed oversight in the computer system.
"While this sounds like a bad prank, I don't like it and am concerned that someone could be setting up the older couple(s) and/or the court for something," the judge said.
3. A Columbia judge said his in-laws received a call from someone who claimed to be with a police department in Florida stating that their grandson (the judge's son) had been arrested for drunk driving and they needed to send $2,000 to pay his fine. The grandparents paid up. "They called me after the fact. The sad part is my father in law is a retired Federal Judge. He should have know better -- plus my son is in the Coast Guard and was deployed at the time."


RIP: An angel in blue jeans

The word "angel" was used many times on the morning of Jan. 5 at Laurie Szoke's memorial service at Kennett Friends Meeting.
After Laurie's friend Jessie Cocks set the mood for the service by chanting and drumming, friends, neighbors and colleagues began sharing stories of Laurie's kindness to people and animals, her gentle nature, her energy and single-minded determination, her fondness for coffee and long talks, and her self-agency and skill at networking and fundraising.
Whether she was leading 4-H programs for youth, taking a newly arrived immigrant under her wing, finding homes for stray dogs and cats, giving away "angel" ornaments, or just showing up and bringing light into someone's day, Laurie made a lasting difference in the lives of so many people.

Laurie Anne Sicko-Szoke died at age 59 on Dec. 24, 2016.

CRASH: Horse people are tough!

I heard that a neighbor had been involved in a bad accident recently, so when I saw her on our road yesterday I flagged her down and asked how she was and what had happened.
She explained that she and a friend were on Route 896 near Kemblesville, on her way to go fox-hunting, when another motorist, a college student, fell asleep and forced her truck and horse trailer off the road and into a utility pole. When his car hit her truck, it took off the truck's entire front wheel.
My neighbor and her companion were bruised but not badly hurt. One of the horses in the trailer was okay, but the other is at New Bolton Center for treatment. The youth walked away from the crash with only a bloody nose.
My friend said she feels very sore, but -- being a typical equestrian -- was determined not to give in. The day after the crash, she told me with a proud grin, she borrowed a friend's truck and trailer and has not missed a day's fox hunting.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

OYSTERS: Stephanie does research

On Monday morning, I met up with an old (meaning "longtime," of course!) Unionville friend for a New Year's breakfast and I was delighted that she brought along her younger daughter Stephanie, who is on break from her graduate studies in biology at Louisiana State University.
Stephanie, a graduate of Tower Hill and Dickinson, just finished successfully defending her master's project, in which she investigated whether increased sediment levels would have any immediate or chronic impact on oysters (the answer was no, although her experimental set-up didn't allow her to sustain the high sediment levels she wanted, so more research is needed). After shucking and analyzing all the oysters, she was left with a pile of shells. A creative young woman, she covered them with glitter and tied on little ribbons to make Christmas ornaments. Her gift will grace my 2017 Christmas tree for sure!

WEST MARLBOROUGH: A new Planning Commission secretary

The first week in January, per Pennsylvania's municipal code, the supervisors of all townships must meet to "reorganize." The West Marlborough supervisors did so on Jan. 3, but not much changed: Bill Wylie is still chairman; Jake Chalfin remains vice chairman; and Hugh Lofting Sr. remains roadmaster and emergency coordinator.
Longtime secretary-treasurer Shirley Walton was reappointed and received a 2 percent raise. The supervisors will continue to meet on the first Tuesday of each month in the township garage in Doe Run.
Bill said he wanted to express how lucky and thankful he is to live in West Marlborough and serve the township. He said he particularly admired the state of civil discourse among the residents, noting the "high degree of respect" they display for each other, even when they disagree.
The township planning commission also reorganized. Tom Brosius remains chairman, with Tom Roosevelt as vice chairman, but after 16 years of taking minutes, Anna Myers decided to step down as secretary. Emery Jones Taylor will be the new secretary.

Anna Myers (right) shares with Emery Jones Taylor (left) some tips for taking minutes. I took the photo during the Planning Commission meeting on Jan. 3.

Both the planning commission members and the supervisors thanked Anna for her service as secretary. Her decision sparked a nostalgic conversation among her fellow planning commission about the secretaries that preceded her (including her brother) and a few knotty controversies that the commission has faced during her tenure.
During the meeting I happened to be sitting next to Mark Myers, Anna's husband. "This is why I live here," he said, referring to the generations-deep roots that so many Unionville residents have in the community. "You just can't find that anywhere else."

KENNETT SQUARE: Artworks is for sale

Perhaps you've noticed that 124-126 South Union Street, the brick building that housed Artworks, is up for sale after the death of its owner, Olen Grimes. The 2,912-square-foot building in downtown Kennett Square has three levels plus a finished basement, and five parking spaces. "Great opportunity to invest in this high-growth area," reads the sales blurb. Asking price is $489,000 and Al George of ReMax Town & Country has the listing.

KIAWAH: Long-distance running

A 40-year-old gym friend from Oxford competed in the half-marathon on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, on Dec. 10. She said that at the point where the runners separated (the marathon runners took one route, the half-marathoners another), a man stood with two signs: "Dumb" and "Dumber," pointing respectively to 13.1-mile and the 26.2-mile courses.
My friend said the humor was exactly what she needed at that point.