one of my favorite places….historic yellow springs

One of my favorite places is Historic Yellow Springs, so I thought I would give them a chestercountyramblings shout out.  What an awesome little crossroads village it is. It’s home to Chester Springs Studio and other fun stuff.  Save the date for their art show, you will be glad you did.  For 2012 it is April 28th to May 13th, 2012.  They also have a Preservation Fair, which this year is Saturday April 21st.  I used to love their antique show in the fall, but it doesn’t seem they do it any longer.

I have heard that the economy has been tough on this little slice of heaven, so remember to support historic preservation endeavors like this.  Developers can build all the McNasties they want, but they will never come close to evoking the charm like you find when strolling through historic villages like this.

stop eminent domain abuse NOW! urge support and passage of H.R. 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act

I cut my activism teeth on fighting eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore, PA as part of  The Save Ardmore Coalition and with the help of the utterly fabulous Institute for Justice in Washington, DC.

My fellow Save Ardmore Coalition members and myself went to Washington and other places to fight side by side with people like Susette Kelo for legislation against eminent domain abuse.  Many of us gave testimony at the time on H.R. 4128. We introduced the author of H.R. 4128, now author of H.R. 1433 James Sensenbrenner to Ardmore to check it all out.

H.R. 4128 got buried, but has been resurrected today as H.R. 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act.

I am paying it forward and suggesting you do to.  Check out an e-mail just received from Christina Walsh at IJ:

H.R. 1433, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, will likely be considered by the House of Representatives this week.  It was reported out of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.  It is critical that you contact your representatives TODAY and tell them to vote for H.R. 1433.  You may remember that this bill passed the House of Representatives overwhelmingly in 2005 by a vote of 376 – 38, but has been stonewalled in the Senate since.

You can find your representative’s contact information here.

This reform is long overdue.  H.R. 1433 will strip any municipality that abuses eminent domain of federal economic development funds for two years.  You can read the text of the bill here.  It’s time that Congress stop being complicit in the abuse of eminent domain.

Read IJ’s op-ed in the Washington Times on federal eminent domain reform efforts here and below.

Please forward this alert onto your friends, colleagues and e-mail lists, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.


Christina Walsh Director of Activism and Coalitions Institute for Justice 901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900 Arlington, VA 22203 (703) 682-9320 (703)-682-9321 (fax)

WALSH: Congress can halt eminent domain abuse Politicians must be stopped from using law to reward developer friends

When the U.S. Supreme Court rules, more often than not, that settles the matter.
But not in the case of Kelov. City of NewLondon, where the court sparked a revolt that quickly flared across more than three dozen states. The decision, handed down in 2005, told cities across the country to feel free to take away homes and businesses from property owners and give them to wealthy developers, as long as cities promise they think new developments might generate more tax dollars or jobs, with an emphasis on “think” and “might.”
There is no appeal of Supreme Court decisions and changing the Constitution is hard, but that didn’t stop states from setting more protective standards for their own property owners. Since Kelo, 44 states have enacted laws restricting the power of eminent domain to varying degrees, and more protections are being added. Virginia’s legislature is close to passing expanded protections.
Despite the differences in the reform efforts, the message remains the same: You got it wrong, Supreme Court. Now the nationwide revolt has come to Congress, finally allowing the federal government to join the effort to stop eminent domain abuse.
The power of eminent domain is supposed to be for “public use” so government can build things like roads and schools. Local governments essentially can force homeowners and business owners to sell their land, often at cut-rate prices, so essential services can be built. But starting with the wildly unsuccessful urban renewal efforts of the 1940s and 1950s, “public use” has been stretched to mean anything that possibly could benefit the public, not limited to what the public might actually share in using – shopping malls, fancy housing developments and office towers that could pay those local governments more in property taxes.
It has been demonstrated time and again that eminent domain is routinely used to wipe out black, Hispanic and poorer communities, with less political capital and influence, in favor of developers’ grand plans.
It also has been demonstrated that restrictions on eminent domain in no way inhibit economic growth, as the beneficiaries of eminent domain abuse would like you to believe. Development will continue to happen every day, as it always has, through private negotiation – not government force.
In fact, prohibitions on eminent domain abuse instill confidence in investments, leading to even stronger economic growth.
Groups across the philosophical spectrum have recognized the need to limit this abuse of power to protect those who are defenseless against the seemingly unstoppable alliance of powerful, deep-pocketed developers and their politician friends. The diverse coalition has included the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Farm Bureau. It’s safe to say that the coalition also includes more than 80 percent of Americans, as demonstrated poll after poll taken after Kelo.
Despite the evidence that Americans are united against the misuse of eminent domain, Congress has yet to to take even a modest step. A bipartisan bill, H.R. 1433, making its way through the House would strip a city of federal economic development funding for two years if the city takes private property to give to someone else for their private use. Cities that want to keep their funding will have to be more circumspect in using eminent domain.
This bill undoubtedly will pass the House as it did in 2005, and likely will get stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, headed by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, where it has gone to die in years past.
It is tragic because this is exactly the kind of centrist reform – uniting minority advocates and small-business interests – where Republicans and Democrats should be able to work together.
Christina Walsh is director of activism and coalitions for the Institute for Justice, which argued the Kelo case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

too much sunshine in west vincent for vampires?

I am on pins and needles waiting for the update of last evening’s Board of Supervisors Meeting in West Vincent where they were discussing controlling the public voice as far as public participation. Or was he there and just really, really tiny wearing his Super Politician Cloak of Invisibility?

What I heard thus far is King of all Goats Supervisor Ken Miller was a no-show?  Now some of my farmer friends are starting to see their mama goats drop new kids on the block, so was he playing midwife?  Or merely playing possum?

And was the Township Manager James Wendelgass really out sick?  Does he need chicken soup from Chickenman? I seem to recall reading/hearing about absences like this when eminent domain was heating up to try to be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving?  So is this a small government tactic to make sure there are no quorums, etc when decisions have to be made?

My largest amusement factor of meeting tidbits thus far is Supervisor David Brown having an apparent case of selective male Alzheimer’s and having zero recall on how meetings, etc go in Lower Merion Township? Where he spent many years, as in decades before becoming a reinvented country gent? REALLY?

Ok so if he can’t remember, wow, if I were him I would worry about being effective as a West Vincent Supervisor.  Here are some choice activities from his own political resume posted on his own website (one will asume the website will stay up of course?) He posted this info, to show you the good people of West Vincent his qualifications.  So pardon me if I do not believe he doesn’t know anything about “how Lower Merion does things, and that’s where I’m from”.   See (partial posting):


  • Gladwyne Fire Company Director 1982 – 2005 Member Executive Committee 1990 – 2005 Solicitor 1980 – present
  • Gladwyne Civic Association Former Director


  • Republican Committee of Lower Merion & Narberth Committeeman 1976 – 1990
  • Counsel to Committee 1990 – 2004
  • Member Executive Committee 1990 – 2004
  • Former Solicitor to Montgomery County Controller

Mr. Brown, with all due respect to your many years of service in Lower Merion, but in my humble opinion, you know exactly how things are done now and were done then in Lower Merion.

As an outsider looking in, I do not get any of this.  Why so many issues that skirt transparency and sunshine let alone public participation in the government residents are paying for?  They want public participation, but only if they control it? Welcome to Pravda or what? How is West Vincent supposed to know and listen to its citizens if it muzzles them?

Is it true when it got around to this public participation on the agenda that Supervisor Brown said there was nothing to the issue other than to tell people that it was “still being worked on”?  Magna Carta anyone?

Maybe as a helpful outsider I can remind Mr. Brown of his own words from when he was a candidate?

Thus far West Vincent has left me alone.  I do feel, however, that they need to be reminded of freedom of speech and opinion….and that political satire is as old as dirt.

fun in malvern

This Oscar party sounded like it was a blast!!!   Kiss & Makeup in Malvern did it up complete with a red carpet for their Oscars Party with Restaurant Alba according to Main Line Media News’ Caroline O’Halloran (Caroline does Flair, is totally awesome, and I have written for her before).

Video: Malvern celebrates the Oscars

Published: Monday, February 27, 2012  By Caroline O’Halloran

The Main Line went to the Oscars Sunday night.
The borough of Malvern closed King  Street to traffic and a red-carpeted tunnel tent was  erected connecting Kiss and Makeup Boutique and the newly enlarged  Restaurant Alba.
The two businesses joined forces to host a  black-tie gala complete with “paparazzi” led by Devon Horse Show  photographer Brenda Carpenter, a silent auction, champagne and  handcrafted Oscar-themed delectables by Alba chef/owner Sean Weinberg.
Main Line Media News’ Caroline O’Halloran chatted up guests à la Joan Rivers for a red-carpet report livestreamed on this website.  And inside WFYL radio host Kim  Douglas mixed it up with the crowd.

So I will admit that I wish I had gone to this party as it sounded utterly fun.  I was invited to something else they did a while back, which in essence was like a makeover and boudoir-ish photos (Sugar and Spice I think) and, well, that stuff truthfully makes my nose wrinkle and giggle at the same time —- as a breast cancer survivor I am more than a bit lopsided some days so the mere thought  of trussing me up like a turkey in a bustier (or anything strapless) and soft lighting cracks me up. Even pre-breast cancer that would not have been for me. I would rather be behind the lens than in front of it.

But that is one thing people always forget – they do Mardi Gras parties, they do Valentine’s parties, but they forget about the Oscars. (and yes, yes I was amused with J Lo’s “J Low Slider” last evening.)

But back to Kiss & Make-up.  Now, there are other make up themed businesses in other areas with their name (New York, Pittsburgh), but I am talking about the place in Malvern – they also made it into swag bags for the Oscars, apparently which is very cool to hear since they are local and women in business.

In addition to Main Line Media News, the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote up their Oscar event a couple of days ago – see:

Malvern boutique has a red-carpet idea

February 26, 2012|By Diane Mastrull, Inquirer Staff Writer
These ladies are a success because of all the effort they pour into their business.  They didn’t just hang out a sign and call it a day – they are obviously very creative!

residents of west vincent: fight for your right to speak at public meetings

Chickenman has sent out a rather important e-mail within the last hour.  Allow me to share:

I received Monday evening’s Agenda for West Vincent Township. It looks interesting.

Especially # 11 Meeting Policy. According to David Brown, this is an issue where the Supervisors want to limit Public comment from the audience. The Supervisors say time and time again that they want more people to attend the meetings so that they participate in what goes on. Now that the room is filling up and people are commenting, asking questions and pointing out the conflicts, contradictions and mistruths of the Supervisors, it is time to muzzle the mouths of the people that dare speak up. What the Supervisors say and what they mean is two entirely different issues. I recommend going to the meeting on Monday night at 7:30.
To see my previous mailings please click on  As usual, if you want to be on or off my list, or have some comments or suggestions, or know someone who would like to be on the list, please let me know.  Feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think might be interested.   Especially though, if you don’t want to continue to receive my mails, please tell me, it will be done.  Just hit reply to this email or write to

Why Supervisor David Brown, how very Lawyer err Lower Merion Township of you.  Is that where you learned this?  It was from whence came you, is it not?  Before you adopted the mantle of country gent?

This is wrong.   Public participation is a hallmark of American  government  and politics, like it or not.  To muzzle the public to me = government with a huge problem = NOT good government.

Take where I have spent the last 30 some odd years: Lower Merion Township on the Main Line.   At the commissioners meetings (you have supervisors, they commissioners) the public is often quite constrained on not only what they can say, but how long they can say it.

Generally speaking, you get 3 minutes to speak as an individual and 5 if you are representing a group or organization.   You are not supposed to address figures like the Township Solicitor and the Township Manager, and if you do that, you are generally chided like a child in elementary school.  You are not allowed to have back and forth conversation on a topic with the commissioners.

Basically you speak and they have a timer on you.  When the buzzer sounds, you are done.  If a commissioner chooses to respond to something a member of the public says, they can say what ever they want, and you can’t respond back.  No matter what they say. I have attended a couple of public meetings where they have decided there was to be no public comment whatsoever.  In essence the public was allowed to watch, thereby making the meeting open, but there was not public comment.  And in Lower Merion, there are recurring issues with sunshine.  The commissioners, however, have no restraints on what they can say, how long they can say it.

Is that what you in West Vincent want?  I have been told by long-term residents that things in your local government were not so bad when Proctor Wetherill was alive.  I know little about him, other that it is a fine Philadelphia name. I found some history on him on :

Philadelphia Inquirer, 18 Jan 1985:


Proctor Wetherill, 73, one of the Philadelphia area’s leading Christmas tree growers, collapsed Wednesday evening at the wheel of his truck. Found in the parking lot of the Limerick Diner, he was pronounced dead, apparently of a heart attack, at Pottown Memorial Medical Center.

Note:Mr. Wetherill, who lived at Wetherhold, his tree plantation near Chester Springs in Chester County, was active in conservation and environmental- preservation efforts in the area.

Note: Socially prominent, he rode to the hounds and lent his support to historic- preservation efforts.

He was active in political and civic affairs as well, serving as a supervisor in West Vincent Township. He was active in the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Association, a group producing annual horse shows for the benefit of Paoli Memorial Hospital.

Note: He served on the boards of the Pickering Hunt Club and the Historic Yellow Springs Association, and he was a member of the board of the Green Valleys Association.

So, is this what Proctor Wetherill would want for his community if still alive? Would he have allowed an eminent domain attempt on Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds?

And for just a minute, let me share another bit of interesting:

Developer, Officials Disagree On Future Of Evergreen Farm The Project Would Keep The Trees. The Pines, Not Native To The Township, Are Ecologically Incorrect.

August 02, 1992 | By Nancy Petersen, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT

Exton developer Jack Loew thinks the thousands of pine trees in his tree farm are just fine. They’re green, they’ve been there for years and they’ll look great in his new subdivsion.

Not everybody agrees with him. The trees are basically outsiders and as such do nothing for the ecology of the township, said David Harper, a student of landscape architecture. Harper surveyed Loew’s pine tree-laden 151 acres in West Vincent Township and wrote:

“The evergreen plantation should be removed . . . to allow for the establishment of ecologically functional native plant communities.”

Loew said that was open-space planning gone amok.

“If it is the intent of the open-space plan to replace existing vegetation,” said Loew, “it may go beyond what is prudent.”

Loew and West Vincent Township officials are sparring over the arboreal future of Loew’s development, called Wetherill Estates, a 74-lot development that Loew has proposed for a former Christmas tree plantation operated for decades by Proctor Wetherill.

“The pine forest is what will make the community special,” said Loew.

He thinks the township’s newly adopted open-space plan is going a little too far, if it requires developers to remove a perfectly decent, maturing pine forest in favor of planting native saplings.

So.  Who were your supervisors back then, West Vincent?   People in communities all over would love developers that wanted to actually preserve trees, so this seems nuts to an outsider like myself.

Back to the present: David Brown, formerly of Lawyer Merion Township, who wants to limit public comment at meetings.  Can it be supposed they think you all too ill-informed to participate in your own government?  Good residents are seen and not heard?  I find it curious that in West Vincent less seems to be more with this township as far as posting things on their pretty and I am sure over-priced website.  Here’s the link I found to February 27th’s agenda which is in draft form.

Chickenman would like you all to be reminded that  tomorrow night, Monday, at 7:30 PM, there is a West Vincent Township Supervisor’s meeting at the West Vincent Township Building 729 St. Matthews Road Chester Springs, PA.

I am going to cross-post a topic from the SAC site having to do with Radnor Township.  There is an issue or two brewing between Radnor Township residents and Villanova University.  Here’s the LINK, and the reason I am doing this is to point out that there are local municipalities in SE PA that actually try to do the best by residents.  Seriously, Radnor Township residents got lucky when Dave Bashore was exited and Bob Zienkowski  was hired as Township Manager.

And while we are speaking about Radnor, let’s talk about what I know about their policy on public speaking.  In Radnor, they not only do not limit residents as to speaking at meetings, they also allow interaction.  The public can ask questions of township commissioners and public officials.  Mind you, I have seen them corral people once in a while who were kinda filibustering (and it was darn entertaining public access television viewing), and some joke their current Board of Commissioners President would have five-minute meetings with everything decided ahead of time if it were legal (he likes to run meetings like a geriatric Speed Racer) , but Radnor (generally speaking) are among the most encouraging municipalities when it comes to public participation and public comment.

I can’t help but wonder what West Vincent is so nervous about that they would wish to limit public comment? It’s where you the good people of West Vincent call home, and if I were a resident I would fight this tooth and nail just like eminent domain.  And out of curiosity, how can you legally recall any or all of your supervisors and all that good stuff?


yes, they should be “shmacked”

The word of the week is SHMACKED.  Which loosely translated is so wasted you are super dumb and useless.

Fallout from student drinking, drug video continues for Lower Merion

Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012   By Richard Ilgenfritz

Lower Merion school officials say the parents of all the students who have been identified in the now infamous video appearing to show local teens drinking and using drugs have been contacted.
Tuesday, Lower Merion officials learned about the video posted on YouTube that shows several students appearing to drink from bottles of alcohol and smoking from a bong. Late Tuesday, Lower Merion officials released a letter informing the community about the video. The letter stated that local police had also viewed the tape.
“At this point it’s in the hands of parents and law enforcement,” said Doug Young, school district spokesman

So Lower Merion School District has literally been the school for scandal for a few years now.  Evil spying laptop cameras, busing, budget, politics, costs of expansion of the high schools, pick a topic.

How does this matter in Chester County?

It matters because of this Shmacked Movement that they found themselves ensnared in could be any area.  There is this project by Arya Toufanian, 19, of Potomac, Md and  Jeffrie “Yofray” Ray, a 2011 graduate of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA .  In a nutshell it is like girls gone wild for the college party scene.

That in and of itself is bad enough, but then what brought this all home to the eyes of school and law enforcement officials was the purported video featuring high school students.  High school students.  That’s nuts.

I was sent the letter LMSD officials sent out by a friend with teens in one of the LMSD high schools:

From: “Lower Merion School District” <> Date: Feb 21, 2012 9:19 PM Subject: Important Letter to Harriton and Lower Merion Parents To: [REDACTED]

Dear Parents/Guardians:
Earlier today, we learned about a company that posts YouTube videos of high school and college students engaged in apparent underage drinking and illegal drug use. One of the videos included footage of current and former LMSD high school students. Though the video is no longer online, we had an opportunity to view it and it was shared with local law enforcement.

The activities depicted in the video are reprehensible and cause for great concern. They include binge drinking, marijuana use, substance-induced violence and several dangerous situations involving drugs and alcohol in vehicles. Though all of the activities occur off campus, and the film appears to have been recorded last summer, it is critical that there are swift and appropriate consequences. Where we have the authority and power to act and respond, we will. We are in the process of notifying parents of students that appear in the video and will do so by Thursday afternoon. We ask for continued parental support in conveying the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse.
Additionally, we remind you that there are extensive resources available in our community to address substance abuse issues and addiction. While this information is always shared directly with families whose children are involved in specific incidents, we encourage you to contact your child’s school counselor or any member of the LMSD health services team at (610) 645-1829 for confidential guidance and support if you have any concerns or questions.
The video also serves as a reminder that whether or not your child is engaging in harmful and illegal activities, there may still be significant consequences for attending events where such activities occur. In this age of social media and immediate electronic communication, video and/or photographic images often do not distinguish the “innocent” from the “guilty.” Students that participate in school sports or other competitive activities may face a team suspension even if they haven’t had a sip of beer, but are found to have been “in the room” at a party where alcohol is served.  On the line are college acceptances, scholarships and personal reputation. It’s simply not worth the risk.
We trust this troubling incident will serve as a valuable learning experience for our students and families. Our staff is available to support you should you need assistance or guidance in discussing this matter with your child. As you know, our primary concern is ensuring the safety and well-being of all students. We appreciate your ongoing support and dedication to this effort.
Steven Kline Principal, Harriton High School
Sean Hughes Principal, Lower Merion High School

So over on the SAC site a lot of the comments are concentrated on whether or not the school district should be involved or not.  Some comments even talk about Montgomery County convening a grand jury, which is a ludicrous thought in my opinion and how would that even happen?

As a matter of fact, all the back and forth all over the web misses the point:  that regardless of the fact that we were all (or a good portion of us)  young and dumb once, this takes young and dumb to a new level that does bump it up a notch into possibly more dangerous territory because all these kids are being filmed.

I am sure that these budding party documentary dudes are having people sign releases, but seriously what did they think was going to happen if they did this with high school students too?   And face it, these budding entrepreneurs are looking for a pay-day off this, which is fine, but don’t they get that no matter how they try to justify this, that this is really not the best idea?

So the high school video disappeared and the e-mails came out from the creators says the videos are all innocence and light and not real anything.  My eyes are rolling.

I am kind of surprised that kids’ parents are o.k. with this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more kids from this area aren’t caught up in this on various college campuses.  And the thing is this, when these kids get a little older, how do they think graduate schools and potential employers are going to view these actions caught on tape?  See that is the thing of it, they aren’t partying like rock stars on the down low when it lands on video.  It will last time in memorium.

And let’s talk about the behavior.  Like it or not, it is risky. What happens if a kid gets hurt?  Gets alcohol poisoning?  Causes a deadly accident because they got in a car wasted and more?

Do I sound like an old fart?  Am I becoming my mother?  Well let me tell you, thanks to the fact that my parents were involved in what we did in high school and actually parented, I am alive to write this post today.  No, I wasn’t Sister Popularity when my parents called to see if alcohol was being served at a party, but now as an adult I can say I would rather have had that in the long run than parents so worried about aging, not being cool, and being their kids friends first and parents last, or just ignoring their kids for others to worry about that they got messed up in crap like this.  Because face it, this is all cool to these kids now, but ask them again in 10 or 20 years and I bet the response might be different.

When I was in high school I remember something in the local paper about a kid at a party out around Berwyn (or somewhere around that area) that ran over another kid passed out on the road at a high school party – they thought the kid was a pile of leaves.  Flash forward to the years just post college.  A woman I knew who was bright and beautiful starting a fabulous career used to get a little too shmacked with great regularity.  One night some of us took away her keys and asked a bartender to NOT give them back.  Somehow she got them back and she wrapped herself around a tree on I believe if memory serves, on Darby Road in Haverford Township.  In an instant she became not only severely mentally challenged with little or no recall of anything or anyone after a certain point, but a quadriplegic as well.

So don’t tell me there are no consequences to being shmacked.  No matter what generation we are, we know it happens. And maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s hip to be square.  I think what these kids are doing is stupid on any number of levels, and parents that support this have rocks in their heads.  There is way too much that could go wrong here, and eventually I think it will. And these kids who created this?  They are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame.

A selection of media stories are below.  What are your thoughts? My ultimate thoughts is this is not ok.  It’s dumb, dangerous, and risky.  Would I have done this at that age? Hell, no.

Founder of controversial video showing L. Merion teens partying wants to discuss it, but school officials decline

February 24, 2012|By Bonnie L. Cook and Ashley Nguyen, Inquirer Staff Writers

The founder of I’m Shmacked, the enterprise that posted a controversial video online of Lower Merion teens partying, says he wants to “hash it out” on live TV with school district officials who objected to the post.

Arya Toufanian, 19, of Potomac, Md., defended his business Thursday, saying he “was not at all upset about Lower Merion complaining.”

School spokesman Doug Young declined to be drawn into any debate with Toufanian.

“Our focus is on the safety and well-being of our students,” Young said, “and that’s the bottom line.”

NBC10: Lower Merion Students Filmed Drinking, Doing Drugs/Lower Merion School District officials say they saw students drinking and using drugs on a YouTube video series called “I’m Shmacked.”

By  Teresa Masterson
|  Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012  |  Updated 4:59 PM EST

Current and former Lower Merion School District students have been seen allegedly drinking alcohol and using drugs in YouTube videos posted online, district officials told parents this week.

The alleged underage drinking and drug use was on a YouTube video series called “I’m Shmacked.” The Twitter and Facebook pages promoting the movie called “I’m Shmacked” describe the project as a film “documenting the experience of a weekend at 20 of the best and biggest universities around the United States intertwined with a book and a Web site being pitched to major publishers and studios.”

fun and politics….

Congressman Pat Meehan

…and no I am not talking about all the “why did the frog cross the road” jokes in West Vincent right now.  I photographed the Lincoln Day Dinner in Lower Merion this evening.  Why am I telling you in Chester County this?  Well I did get to meet a Congressman who covers bits of Chester County like East Goshen –  Pat Meehan.

The key note speaker was a kick – former Director of The CIA , R. James Woolsey, Jr.  Yes that did make it a very Covert Affairs kind of evening 

R. James Woolsey, Jr

As many happy customers know, I do freelance photography, PR, media placement,

event photography and more fun, and here’s the Main Line Media News Coverage of the event courtesy of moi (just click and go):

Lower Merion/Narberth Republicans attend annual Lincoln Day Dinner Published: Friday, February 24, 2012

Fire in West Vincent Guts House

10:30 p.m. update.  The photos you now see are courtesy of Kimberton Fire Company.  Support your local first responders and remember most of them are volunteers.  They are the people you see in the grocery store, at church, etc.  These people volunteer to put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. I have a friend who is an EMT. Today’s fire is why everyone should have an emergency plan, which includes what to do in case of a fire. We have fire escape plans and drills in our schools and where we work, but often we don’t have an emergency prepardeness plan for our homes.

Daily Local: West Vincent fire causes $675K in damage (video)

Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WEST VINCENT — A two-story mansion on Beaver Hill Road was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning, although the three residents and two family dogs escaped, officials confirmed.

Kimberton Deputy Fire Chief Dave Kronmuller said the homeowners were home at the time the fire broke out around 5 a.m. They smelled smoke and called for help.

All three of the residents, a man, woman and child, went to the hospital on their own to be checked out for possible smoke inhalation after apparently attempting to put the fire out themselves before fire crews arrived, officials said. The residence was fully involved when an ambulance and the first fire crews arrived at the scene.

Officials said four cats in the residence are still unaccounted for.

Photo courtesy of Kimberton Fire Company

UPDATE:  I am not sure of exact age of house (I think this is it on Zillow and further research indicates both a new house and an old house circa 1880 on the property) and a person in the area says they think easily over a million as far as a loss, but that is just a guess based on comparables.  I will update and/or correct as information reaches me.  I am told the fire marshal is on scene and as of yet no cause has been determined.  The cause is probably nothing nefarious, as it just doesn’t take much in winter to make a house go up – electrical issues, heater issues, chimney issues – pick something.  I feel badly for the people who lost their home. Another source tells me they spoke with the family, who are thankfully all o.k. I think there were a crazy amount of fire trucks who responded to this, and everyone should also remember the first responders, who are once you get outside of big cities, mostly volunteers.

The home has a cool local history (every old house has a story):

That old house was on the property when current owners bought it. The built a new huge house it the woods to the rear of the little one. The entire property was known as “Camp Kelton Woods”, a former girl scout owned camp in the 50’s and 60’s. The camp administrator Allen Houck lived in the little house, and also owned the Birchrunville General Store where his wife was postmaster for years. When the camp was sold, the Houcks had to leave, and current owners bought the entire property. They use the old house as a tennant or in-law property, and built the huge house for themselves. They might both have the same street address. Not sure of that.


Wow. This is awful. I do not see anything on The Daily Local about this yet. Anyone know anything? Was this an old house? New house? House under any kind of construction or reconstruction?

CBS Philly:

2-Alarm Fire Consumes Mansion In Chester County

February 22, 2012 7:20 AM By Steve Beck, Al Novack

WEST VINCENT TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS)– A two-alarm fire gutted a three-story mansion in Chester County early Wednesday morning.

The fire started at about 5 a.m. inside a home in the 2300 block of Beaver Hill Road in West Vincent Township.

Chopper 3 HD was over the scene of the fire where firefighters battled the blaze that essentially consumed the entire home.