I have a couple of friends down at a huge Trump protest going on right now at Philadelphia International Airport over immigration policies he put into action via Executive Order. One of them sent me this sign photo.
Apparently there are thousands upon thousands of people protesting and it seems from the Facebook live videos that it is peaceful but impassioned.
As a child who was born in the mid 60s, I never thought I would see protests like some of the ones I remember seeing on television as a young child.
I have to admit all this anger and resentment and protest roiling in this country scares me. yet at the same time I understand why people feel it is their civic duty to do this.
Your taxpayer dollars and all of our taxpayer dollars are building the US equivalent of the Great Wall of China meets the Berlin Wall.
As a wise friend said today, build a wall and someone else will build a tunnel. By all means beef up the borders, but a wall is a fools’ errand. And we get to pay for it. Now and in the future.
Nationalism and patriotism are fine but are being perverted and twisted into something ugly. I do not feel that was what the founding fathers intended.
We are a nation founded of immigrants who fled tyranny and religious persecution for the hopes of a better life. We now seem to be a country in the early stages of a dictatorship, not democracy. Democracy implies a thoughtful balanced process, and we are not seeing that.
What we are seeing in this country is the politics of extremism hard at work. The politics of extremism foments hate, and fear, and ugliness. There is nothing “great” about that.
A lot of the people celebrating each new hour and things like building walls and putting a woman’s place in a wayback time machine to the 1950s and earlier are people who profess themselves to be Christians. I am having a particularly hard time getting my head wrapped around that.
Sorry I just don’t get it.
Sorry this garbage is not what it means to be an American.
Be careful if you leave a comment as I am in a not suffering fools lightly kind of mood.
And if you want to read a really interesting piece on America’s new reality, check out:
Tom at the Harriton House annual Plantation Fair (Bryn Mawr, PA) in 2008 with then reporter and photographer Ryan Richards . Tom supported local events and he would pop up at many personally, not just send a reporter.
Yesterday I went to say good-bye to my friend Al Terrell. This morning I am writing about saying good-bye to someone else I called friend. Tom Murray, Managing Editor/Lead Content Manager of The Daily Local, our Chester County daily newspaper.
Yes Tom, yes Sam, I know…I just buried the lede. But it is like I have to get my head all wrapped around this. And this one is tough.
It was not quite a year ago that I wrote my blog post about Tom Murray coming on as managing editor of The Daily Local .
We had a joke he and I from way back when he took over for Warren Patton at then Main Line Life (eventually Tom’s job grew and he helped create the whole thing known as Main Line Media News and bring multiple papers together.) When he had come on board to Main Line Life, I had as a local blogger and community activist with the then fledgling Save Ardmore Coalition (back in the days of eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore) sent him an email welcoming the “new sheriff in town.” He laughed and we became friends.
Just like that.
These photos I am sharing are my favorites that I took of him. September 2008 at the Harriton House Fair in Bryn Mawr. And one he sent me when I said I wanted to write about him assuming the editorial helm at The Daily Local. The other is a newspaper box from Saturday. And a photo shared by whom he first referred to as “his lady” when he first told me about her, Terry Hardin.
Terry sent me this photo. She loved him so much.
Tom gave a lot of us voices back in the day and today, and all my reader’s editorials were published under him. His “As I see it” columns for readers to have a voice.
But he also then became a friend.
I loved talking to Tom. He was a real daily newspaper guy. He was also a modern media guy and not afraid to try new things, new media platforms. He also was with Patch early on – when they were actually micro news sites and not just regurgitations and shameless re-publishers of the work of others that they are today.
When I was stiffed on fees for some freelance writing last year, he was someone whose wise counsel I sought. What he told me left me better prepared to take on writing assignments after that. And I loved the few choice words he had for the person who reneged on payment and said I was a lousy writer. “You know you can write, ” he told me “How many years did I edit what you wrote?”
Tom and Diane – photo taken at Harriton Fair 2008.
I watched him support his late wife Diane through cancer and we all learned the hashtag #distrong . Like everyone else who knew him our hearts all broke a little when he lost Diane. And then when he met his Terry, we smiled and our hearts were happy. He and Terry were to be married.
One of Tom’s photos from his Main Line Life Days when he also has a local access TV show.
I was at a dinner party Saturday night with my sweet man n Philadelphia when I checked my phone around 10:00 pm. At 9:47 pm my childhood friend Bob Robinson had messaged me to tell me he had heard from Tom’s son Ian that he had suffered a fatal heart attack around 7 pm. Bob and I shared Tom as a friend.
Behind me I heard the chatter of a happy dinner party as I stared at my phone re-reading Bob’s message. A surreal moment. There I am having a conversation with myself in my head “No, no, no. This can’t be true, it must be a mistake” and around me the cheerful banter of friends.
Because of Tom I got to know so many great people who I am lucky to call friends today. One of them, Cheryl Allison (who was a reporter at Main Line Media News for years) said to me
“I’ve never known anyone who was more passionate about the process of gathering and reporting the news. What many may not have known, but what I had the opportunity to witness, was how Tom delighted in finding, encouraging and mentoring talented young journalists starting their careers.”
Another friend, Caroline Mangan O’Halloran, who wrote for him when he was with Main Line Life and Main Line Media News and now pens the fabulous Savvy said to me
“I am terribly saddened by his loss. Tom was my boss at Main Line Life after Warren Patton. Tom and I bantered about (and disagreed) over many things, but he always played fair and shot straight. He respected everyone and was a kind and generous man. An old-fashioned newsman, he was a a truth teller. I too plan to pay him tribute in SAVVY.”
Truer words were never spoken. He encouraged the inner writer in both professional writers and citizen journalists. (And yes, perfectionists of the craft of writing I have done these two quotes like this on purpose. They are beautiful and I want them to stand out.)
I started blogging before it was quite fashionable, and when I started it was often perceived as a bit scandalous and definitely controversial. He was an early champion, yet would call me out if he felt I could do better.
As I had mentioned earlier, during his many year tenure at Main Line Life/Main Line Media News I wrote a lot of reader’s editorials. I wasn’t the only one – Tom was a big believer in the vox populi or the voice of the people. Tom is one the many traditional journalists I know that has helped me become a better writer. More importantly, this guy does good newspaper. He did the First Amendment and “sunshine” right.
And so I am writing about Tom for my blog. As I write I remember a really great guy and friend. And a man who was a true newspaperman, a dying breed indeed. True newspapermen are to journalism as cowboys were to founding the west. Mavericks, yet good and true. And so darn American if you want to distill it down.
I thought of Tom Saturday morning when we went over to the D.K. Diner in West Chester for a bite to eat in the afternoon. The first thing that greeted us before we went inside was a Daily News newspaper box. Way back when in the days of Main Line Life I would always tell him if a box emptied out fast. He liked to know which issues were selling big time.
Life is fleeting.
RIP Tom Murray. So many of us will miss you. I had no idea when we spoke last week it would be for the last time. The future of true journalism just dimmed a little.
I do not even really know how to begin this post. I am so sad, I am in shock. Al Terrell my friend who made the clean up of Ebenezer AME on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer possible has died quite suddenly.
I knew in November when we were getting ready for the special ceremony at Ebenezer that Al was not feeling well. We talked about it. When I saw him at the ceremony he was so happy it was happening but I saw this stillness about him . And I could tell he felt poorly and it bothered me.
Al at the ceremony this past fall right next to our soldier Joshua’s grave
After the ceremony we swapped emails, text messages and one or two phone calls. Christmas and beyond it was just text messages. He still did not feel well and wasn’t sleeping. At that point he made me promise to not give up on Ebenezer in case something was really wrong with him. I promised.
And oddly he had been on my mind because a couple of people had asked me if I heard from him.
One of the things we last spoke of was his disappointment in the AME Church not responding to him further about what he wanted to see happen at Ebenezer. I had a licensed structural engineer look at Ebenezer. The long story short on that is the long walls are showing signs of bowing and need to be shored up to save what is left of the church ruin. In order to do a more comprehensive engineering report, the walls would have to be shored up and the center of the ruin hand cleared of debris. If properly stabilized, the church could be saved as a ruin, and possibly restored if money was no option. But for that the AME Church as landowner would have to give permission for any of this. They never replied to him. SHame on them for doing that to him. He never asked them for a cent.
We were also trying to get someone with special radar equipment into the graveyard to properly map the graves once and for all. I won’t give up on that and I hope Dr. Watson at Immaculata will help me with that.
Clean up this fall
I won’t give up on Ebenezer but I am so sad that this is the second friend I have made because of this sacred place who has gone home to God. Maybe somewhere in heaven Al will meet up with Ann Christie and they will talk about Ebenezer.
Al and I became friends only in 2016. He had contacted me initially to tell me he would get Ebenezer cleaned up. AT first I was like “yeah, ok” because I was so disappointed in mankind and AME church professionals and leaders in particular who had led me on a merry chase about saving and cleaning up Ebenezer for a few years at that point.
But Al just stayed in touch and slowly things began to happen. Throughout the summer and into the fall of 2016, Al was often my first message in the morning or before I went to sleep about Ebenezer.
Al and I used to visit the same soldier before Ebenezer got too overgrown. We shared Joshua Johnson.
Al had this quiet doing about him, he just persisted until things happened. Every new grave uncovered, or progress made by the Willistown Scouts he texted me about. Al restored my faith in humankind. Sounds kind of silly or even trite to my ears, but it is true. He was just a decent, nice, and caring man. He had a deep faith about him.
Myself and the other ladies of Ebenezer as I call them will miss him terribly. They do not make people with such honor and godliness and human kindness like Al anymore.
After Luke Phayre the Eagle Scout’s mom Kathy called me this afternoon it was like someone had punched me in the stomach. Al was someone I knew such a short time. But he made an impact. He mattered.
To Al Terrell’s widow and family, my deepest condolences. Heaven truly has another angel. Selfishly, I wished heaven did not. Al and I had clean up plans for the spring already.
Al Terrell with reporter Adam Farence of the Daily Local in November.
Al Terrell you were one of a kind. I feel blessed having known you even a short while. You were a good man. Whenever I visit Joshua I will think of you. You will be missed. I will miss your text messages with photos of what was uncovered at Ebenezer and even your unabashed joy when people in the area just stopped by Ebenezer to pay their respects.
Everyone, I wish I could write more or be more eloquent. I am just so truly sad at this moment.
Here is Al’s death notice and the service is this coming Saturday, January 21 at Saints Philip and James in Exton. The viewing starts at 9:30 am:
TERRELL Al, age 71, of Malvern and Cape May Point, NJ, died on January 15, 2017. Survived by his wife, Darryl (Waller); his children; Lana, Andrew (Jessica) and Joseph Terrell and his grandchildren; Ella and Sophia. Relatives and friends are invited to his Visitation on Saturday, 9:30-10:45 AM followed by his Funeral Mass at 11 AM at Sts. Philip and James Church, 723 E. Lincoln Highway, Exton, PA 19341. Interment Private. In lieu of flowers, contributions to Willistown Boy Scout Troop 78, 2 Mill Rd., Malvern, PA 19355 or Triangle Park, P.O. Box 74, Cape May Point, NJ 08212 would be appreciated.
Here is a tribute that came in from Kimberly Boddy a friend of mine (and grand daughter of the late and beloved Chester County Artist, Lee Carter):
There are no words that can possible alleviate the shock and heartache that Mr. Terrell’s family, friends and associates are feeling at this moment in time.
We know God has spoken and we are left to say Amen, while simultaneously asking ourselves, WHY. You are right Mr. Terrell was a special soul who touched the hearts of those who were blessed to meet him. I agree that we must carry one the Restoration of Ebenezer in honor of Mr. Terrell.
We can take solace in the fact that he did indeed honor the Civil War Colored Troops buried at Ebenezer in spite of the run around he received from the A.M.E Church, District and Local Leaders.
Mr. Terrell did not have historical amnesia or seek notoriety or financial gains. His only desire was to honored those that came before him in the most respectful way and even when he received no response, support or acknowledgement from the landowners he still honored those souls interred at Ebenezer.
The crumbling, one-room house of worship and its toppled gravestones had been all but hidden behind a towering wall of weeds for years when Alvin Terrell drove up in his yellow VW Beetle this summer and vowed, “No more.”
The semiretired data analyst/kindergarten teacher had long lived right down the road from the abandoned Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in East Whiteland Township, a congregation founded in 1832 for freed slaves and indentured servants. Once, nearly 20 years ago, he and his teenage son even helped clear away brush as part of an Eagle Scout project. But without someone to continually care for the property, he said, “Mother Nature took it back.”
Now, the 71-year-old Terrell is pledging to reclaim it, to restore the Chester County church to some semblance of its former sacred self.
“I just feel like the people buried here deserved better,” said Terrell, who plans to help create a nonprofit whose first charitable act will be the rebuilding of Ebenezer, abandoned since the early 1900s. “This is history.”
EAST WHITELAND >> During a humble autumn afternoon, a small ceremony paid homage to a long since abandoned graveyard housing African-American Civil War veterans, and others whose names have been lost to time and erosion.
For Bruce Reason and Al Terrell, the sight of the cleaned up Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church cemetery on Saturday was a welcome one…
The person who came along and led the clean-up effort was Henderson High School sophomore Luke Phayre.
Phayre, a member of the Willistown Boy Scout Troop 78, had been looking for a project to complete so he could become an Eagle Scout.
And Terrell, himself a former assistant scoutmaster working on rejoining the troop, suggested to Phayre that he clean up the graveyard as his own son, Andrew did almost two decades earlier.
This photo was taken in 2010, long before I lived in Chester County. It was taken by d.coleman in June of 2010. I found it on Flickr. This is a screen shot of photo with attribution and description as found in yellow. Photographers have been photographing Bishop Tube for years and I hear that high school kids find their way onto the site as well? I will note I have only ever taken photos from OUTSIDE the chain link fence.
RECOMMENDATION: While the County Planning Commission supports single-family attached and multi-family residential development in the Suburban Landscape where infrastructure capacity can support such development, along with the implementation of adaptive reuse and infill strategies to redevelop abandoned industrial brownfield sites for moderate to high density multi- family housing designation, it does not appear that this location can support the density being proposed due to its existing physical and environmental characteristics. Additionally, the amendment petition does not appear to be consistent with the Township’s Comprehensive Plan and its vision for Community Mixed Use. The Commission recommends that East Whiteland Township deny the applicant’s zoning ordinance and zoning map amendment petition.
So that was 2014. We are now in 2017. East Whiteland has had Bishop Tube as a guest star topic at many meetings since then. So truthfully, I don’t know which iteration of Constitution Drive Partners LP anyone is looking at. Constitution Drive Partners = Brian O’Neill, remember?
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the East Whiteland Township Zoning Hearing Board conduct a continued public hearing at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, January 23, 2017, at the East Whiteland Township Municipal Building, 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, Pennsylvania, to consider Appeal No. 2016-24 Application of Constitution Drive Partners, L.P. and 9 Malin Road Development, LLC (collectively, “Applicant”) for a variance from Section 200-57.C.(6) of the East Whiteland Township Zoning Ordinance to permit single-family attached dwellings and townhouses in rows of more than six units, with associated driveways and grading to be located in both steep slope and very steep slope areas of the property formerly the site of the Bishop Tube complex (which is currently a brownfield site improved with dilapidated industrial buildings), located at 9 South Malin Road, 10 South Malin Road, and 1 South Malin Road (Tax Parcels 42-4-321, 42-4-321.1 and 42-4-321.2) (collectively, “Property”). The Property is located in an RRD (Residential Revitalization District) Zoning District. The public hearing was opened at the Zoning Hearing Board’s November 28, 2016 meeting. The Applicant has subsequently amended its Application to request a variance from Section 200-93.B of the Zoning Ordinance to permit the proposed retaining walls to exceed the permitted six (6) feet in height. On the above date, the Zoning Hearing Board will continue the public hearing and may render a decision on Appeal No. 2016-24. Anyone with a disability requiring a special accommodation to attend should notify Joseph T. Leis, Zoning Officer, at 610-648-0600 x 268. The Township will make every effort to provide a reasonable accommodation. Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco Attorney for Constitution Drive Partners, L.P. DL-Jan 10, 16-1a
Steep slope and very steep slope.Still the key here. They want to increase site density if they want relief from steep and very steep slopes, right? How many hundred units do they want? Last count was what, 264? And before that over 300?
Bishop Tube is what they call in crass terms a potential flipper baby site still, correct? Will super high amounts of residential density built on slabs with no basements solve all problems? Or is another use better for the site?
Forget about the problems with the site in the DEP and EPA categories and let us talk traffic, infrastructure, schools, basic township services. Why does East Whiteland want to be King of Prussia or Bensalem? Is that what the majority of the residents want? Or do residents actually want thought and carefully planned growth versus one construction explosion after another?
How many 1000s of living units are planned, approved, or are in various stages of approval in East Whiteland at this point? That also affects neighboring municipalities and anyone in the Great Valley School District.
And do not forget this interesting developer O’Neill article from December:
Bala Cynwyd>> A long awaited building project that was supposed to be part of the transformation of an old rock quarry along Rock Hill Road in Bala Cynwyd has officially gone back on the market. Except for a groundbreaking and some preliminary work a couple of years ago, the approved project never moved forward.
The site was to become a mixed-use development proposed by Brian O’Neill, owner of O’Neill Properties.
Monday, Kevin Flynn Sr. of The Flynn Company confirmed that his company has the property at 131 Rock Hill Road up for sale.
According to Flynn, the 8.2-acre site was approved for four buildings of four-stories each with parking decks underneath. There would also be a surface lot and numerous other amenities.
O’Neill owned the site since 2004, when it was purchased for $3.5 million, according to online Montgomery County records. In 2014, the site was sold to an LLC called Alexander Street, for $11.122 million as the preliminary work was being done. They were to be the financing arm of the project.
Another site across the street on Rock Hill Road had also been owned by O’Neill and had been sold in 2010.
It’s not clear why O’Neill is apparently divesting himself in his holdings in that area. Calls to the company this week were not returned.
In Lower Merion Township people went through YEARS of awful meetings over steep slopes and a developer driven zoning overlay known as ROHO. Has anyone asked Brian O’Leary of the Chester County Planning Commission about this as he would be very familiar with this plan given his time on Lower Merion Township’s Planning Commission?
I can’t see Bishop Tube from my window. But if I could I sure as heck would turn up at this meeting. Or if I lived at the edge of Malvern Borough where traffic here would become an issue. If I was a neighbor or affected by Bishop Tube, I would see that board room was packed.