the billboard of it all: file under why governments don’t negotiate with terrorists?

I asked this question in 2018 when the billboard issue hit Tredyffrin.

I received a note today and like Alice down the Billboard hole I went, reading what is posted towards end of post which was sent with:

📌”East Whiteland Township is proposing to rezone the Township’s 19.45 acre open space and Ecology Park Land near Mill Lane and Route 401 to professional office. Also, the Township wants to adopt a new ordinance which would allow for the construction of large electronic billboards within the rezoned land. The Chester County Planning Commission has recommended that the township consider other areas that would be more appropriate for electronic billboards, such as the Route 29 corridor. ” đź“Ś

Sigh….even the Chester County Planning Commission is saying BAD FREAKING IDEA to REZONE PARK SPACE and since East Whiteland shares the same solicitor as Upper Merion and didn’t Upper Merion just kill a similar plan there, why is it still alive in East Whiteland?

This is slated for February 1st when East Whiteland has two public hearings, both related to the community scourge of billboards/electronic signs.

Oh and this is more on 202, where in West Whiteland there is one of these suckers being proposed. Off Dunwoody Drive, a sign would go up on some boggy kind of weird space in an office park, right? Wasn’t that the gist of the continued West Whiteland hearing that appeared in the paper on January 8th? But the weird thing is there are two LLCs kind of close together in I guess West Whiteland? See what someone sent:

Now the West Whiteland hearing on January 27th was continued. Until February 10, 2021. The West Whiteland Township billboard hearing meeting was a complete technological cluster F. The video kept freezing but it was interesting in parts especially this lawyer who is representing West Whiteland as special counsel on this. He’s very bright. His name is Ryan Jennings. Amazing to watch. There was some discussion about whether or not a billboard application is actually land development. And then West Whiteland was referring to some other kind of litigation involving the signs and I didn’t really understand what was going on it was very unclear if it was actually related and how were the LLCs related to the parent company or something?

Of course because West Whiteland has issues with being sunshine friendly they said they don’t keep the zoom recordings and only their notes or something become the record and what kind of crap is that?

Back to East Whiteland. Just can’t help thinking about say West Whiteland signs get approved and East Whiteland is foolish enough to allow open space/park land to get rezoned, wow what will 202 end up looking like? I-95? Las Vegas? And you can’t say that residents won’t be affected because these townships all allow these developments to be built to the edge of these highways don’t they?

So one of the East Whiteland hearings February 1st is for a settlement agreement, the other is for the re-zoning. So if the billboard company deals in individual LLCs per site, are both public hearings under E. Whiteland Outdoor, LLC, or are other LLCs involved?

How many LLCs for billboards and electronic signs from these folks over the entirety of Chester County? How much litigation is going on over these signs in Chester County alone?

These public hearings are on East Whiteland’s website. They are slated for Monday, February 1, 2021 at 7 PM. It’s a public zoom hearing and the residents of East Whiteland need help, just like the residents of West Whiteland need help. These signs do not benefit residents. Residents will also be watching for residents and businesses who seem suddenly billboard supportive, won’t they?

Open space means parks and trails and preserving the area the way it used to be before development ran it over. Open space means trying to maintain an environment that will last for all of us and future generations. Do none of you remember the whole situation at Downingtown’s Kardon Park a few years ago that went to PA Supreme Court? It was all about open space, park land becoming something else…via zoning tweaks etc wasn’t it? It’s not the exact scenario but legal precedent would mean any municipality could face potential litigation that could be quite costly which would affect residents/taxpayers, right? That not so in the past case essentially told Downingtown Borough that they could not sell or lease park land, right? But it also possibly sets a precedent for all open space, doesn’t it? For open space that has been set aside as such and parks there are these pesky things in PA like the Donated and Dedicated Property Act, the Public Trust Doctrine, and our own Pa Constitution Article I, Section 27.

For reading about the Kardon Park case, just hit up Google and see these two links as well:

https://law.justia.com/cases/pennsylvania/supreme-court/2017/12-23-map-2016.html

https://www.philadelphiabar.org/WebObjects/PBAReadOnly.woa/Contents/WebServerResources/CMSResources/PhillyLawyerSpr10_depts.pdf

Back to what started this which was outreach by residents. This to follow in screen shots is what was sent to me by concerned residents. Their thoughts and a community call to action, as well as the letter from the Chester County Planning Commission. These are their words, no prompted by me, they asked me to share.

Pack the Zoom meeting February 1st.

four years of where’s anna maciejewska?

A woman I never met. Yet like many others in Chester County, Anna Maciejewska is someone we think of often. It has essentially been four years minus a few weeks.

Her parents are old, and have been in poor health.

Her beloved son is growing up with limited memories of his mother, probably only photographs and doesn’t that break your heart?

The case started with a different Chester County District Attorney than who is in office now, Tom Hogan. Now the Chester County District Attorney is Deb Ryan. I really wish she would light a fire under the Pennsylvania State Police.

And how about our state elected officials? State Senator Carolyn Comitta and State Rep Kristine Howard and State Rep Dianne Herrin and State Rep Melissa Shusterman you are ALL mothers and ALL someone else’s daughters so how about having some interest in justice here?

#FindingAnna needs to take place.

Anna, we haven’t forgotten you. Hopefully some day there will be #JusticeForAnna.

more tales of bacton hill

The farmhouse demolished a couple of years ago on Bacton Hill Road for development of houses yet to be built.

One of my favorite bits of Chester County, which is in my opinion completely under recorded and insufficiently remembered for what it represents is the area in Frazer, East Whiteland, Chester County known as Bacton Hill. That is where my favorite ruin, Ebenezer AME is located on Bacton Hill Road. Ebenezer was a very early AME church, and Bishop Richard Allen was still alive when the Quaker, James Malin, deeded the land to the AME Church so Ebenezer could be built. The origins of the AME Church go back to the Free African Society which Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others established in Philadelphia in 1787. Richard Allen was born a slave in 1760. He was owned and then freed by Benjamin Chew.

Ebenezer on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer (East Whiteland) is a sacred and historic place. It’s no secret I have written about this place for years.

As referenced above, the AME Church grew out of the Free African Society in the late 1700s, but the church became it’s own entity founded in Philadelphia around 1816. So you can see given the age of Ebenezer AME in East Whiteland, Chester County, PA that it is truly part of the early days of a church and religion founded in Philadelphia. Bishop Richard Allen died in 1831, just months before Ebenezer came to be after Joseph Malin deeded the land.

Hiram Woodyard was a Township resident and former slave who served in the Union Army as a teamster. He was a leader in the African American community and is buried at the Ebenezer AME Church. His home still stands on Congestoga Road. Other homes he built still stand. He was an inhabitant of Bacton Hill.

Without active preservation there will come a time that all which will be left of the area will be my blog posts including this one from 2017 which is an oral history complete with some really cool photos courtesy of Claude Bernadin, or this one from 2015, this one from 2016, this one from 2017, the ceremony November 2016, a post from October 2016, another one from October 2016, when for brief moment people stopped to visit the old souls now covered by weeds and brush once more, 2015 post which had links to earlier posts. Also what will survive will be the occasional newspaper article from every newspaper reporter who tried to raise awareness to this area and to Ebenezer.

Once upon a time people tried to get a Bacton Hill Historic District or something like that. It’s a shame it never happened. Because at least then there would have been a more organized history of the place. (See Juneteenth post for more.)

Bacton Hill was an early freed black settlement and not just important in Frazer, East Whiteland, but Chester County. It has always been of historic import, yet it never made it to a historic district.

Today I am sharing some memories of Bacton Hill from former resident, Mark Lanser. He grew up with artist Claude Bernadin, whose memories and photos I shared before.

Here is Mark in his own words:

đź“ŚJust wanted to share a bit of my memories growing up on Bacton Hill. I am not sure of what be of interest. I have memories which some may be bit fuzzy but I believe they are mostly intact.

We : my parents Richard & Norma and my 4 brothers Rick, Chris, Scott & Elliott. I was number two son between Rick & Chris. The area before Rt. 202 was built was relatively quiet. I traveled around the area with Claude Bernardin collecting bottles.

I also had a paper route for the daily local news when I was 12 (1967). One of my customers was Mary Cain. Their original home was their farm at the intersection of Bacton Hill & Spring Valley roads. I remember when Mrs. Cain turned 100. She eventually lived to be 108. I think her son was named John (?) Don’t remember her daughter in law’s name. Her son died in his 80’s before his mom. They told me that she was the last proprietor of the Bacton General Store. That was the residence of Barry & Judy Love at the time. It is located on Bacton Hill (401) almost directly across from Bacton Hill Rd. It is literally just several feet off the road. They told me of a time in the late 1920’s when 5 people froze to death in a blizzard out side the farm in a snow drift. At the time they were telling me this they were living on Spring Valley Road a few hundred yards west of Bacton Hill Rd.

I think that the town itself lasted until the Second World War and then lost the post office. My recollection was the general store was built in 1810. Our house midway up the hill was supposedly built in 1732 but the date stone had been removed from the second floor so I never confirmed that.

I was told by Miss Hopper who lived in the log cabin next to us to our west that it was built in 1704. Then was the tavern the next house up just above Spring Valley Road. My recollection was the date stone there was 1765. In regards to the tavern Mr. Cain said the “colored folk” (Mr. Cain’s description back then no offense meant) had some gatherings that went late into the night and were quite lively.

Please let me know if this is of any interest. I am obviously not a writer but I could share some more details about Elwood that Claude wrote about , Miss Hopper, & the cave among others as I can recall them.đź“Ś

The oral histories of an area are as important as the historical facts and recorded historical activities. For example, I heard at one time it was rumored adjacent to the trail where there are office suites at Swedesford Road and Bacton Hill Road there were possibly remains of Revolutionary War Soldiers at one time. But there is nothing documented that I can find so it might not be true. But given the age of the area and the documented historical sites all around, could it be possible? Sure. And that’s another thing where I wonder if people have memories of finding arrowheads, or other little relics?

Bacton Hill today is nothing like people remember even only back to the 1960s and 1970s. Because it’s not a preservation area, structures come down. Like what I knew as the old green farmhouse which will be the last photo here on this post today, as well as the first photo. A lot of the road feels industrial today, which were not the origins, it’s just how it evolved .

There are a smattering of homes on and off Bacton Hill Road up near the intersection with Conestoga Road or Route 401 which still exist. Most of the truly old homes that have stood since the 18th and 19th century are on Conestoga Road. And they are lovely. I love that they endure in spite of all that is torn down around them.

As a blogger, if there is something I can give to this area, it’s bits of the history of individuals who lived there. I am also interested in the history of the black settlement which once existed because that’s so historically important vis a vis Ebenezer AME. If you have anything to add, or tales to tell, historical photos, old area photos, either on Bacton Hill, what was once the village (general store, post office, etc), or close by on 401/Conestoga Road, I am happy to listen and view the photos.

Thanks for rambling with me today.

america the beautiful…and dysfunctional

Silly me, I thought it would all start to calm down after the inauguration. Nope. Social media remains the great abyss self righteous political indignation and vitriol….and crazy misinformation.

Cast your memories back four years to when Trump was sworn in. Were we all this crazy? No. But we were already mocking his coloring outside the lines with the “biggest, best inauguration” of it all. But as a nation, we hadn’t gotten so ugly yet.

We will start today with thoughts on the NUTBAG Congresswoman from Georgia who has the most fascinatingly red beak of a nose, Stepford Wife Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has already been suspended from Twitter once for crazy harassment of a Georgia election official according to Forbes. She is also one of the Trump girls CNN loves to fact check.

I wonder seriously if Greene is mentally stable enough to hold office? She is supposed to represent the entire 14th district of Georgia, and well is she actually doing that by announcing she filed articles of impeachment against President Biden? Even her own party thinks she’s a NUTBAG according to this Yahoo report.

A little closer to home, I sadly unfriended someone else locally I know because of the tone of her political posts on Facebook. And that’s what people don’t get – it’s the tone and attitude that gets me. I don’t necessarily mind the opposing opinion but even from those who share similar opinions to mine, it’s the tone and attitude. Remember when we used to be able to have actual reasonable conversations?

With this person there was this crazy bit of literally fake news they posted about the inauguration that made me say “enough already.” And also I couldn’t deal with the crazy comments from many including the person I unfriended and one other I know.

All this crap about the supposed symbolism of how Vice President Harris didn’t completely rest her hand on the Bible (hello COVID19 makes us not want to touch anything right?) and how Biden’s Bible (a 19th century family bible he has used for swearings in since his early US Senate days) had an upside down cross. I mean hello? Fact check much? In a couple of photos I have seen people holding this massive bible and cradling it essentially wrong end up, which doesn’t make it a satanic book. Oh and saying he did not have his hand firmly enough on the Bible and did you notice in photos their eyes were all black? Yes, seriously, this was the conversation. I mean hello are you people living in an episode of Charmed or The Magicians? I was very happy to not comment and merely leave that party.

I have always found it fascinating to watch the cult like devotion to the now ex President. People standing for hours to see a man who didn’t actually help them or anyone else in their socioeconomic class. People who emigrated here as immigrants and watched the horror show of immigration under his administration, yet think he’s God-like. No y’all he’s a world class narcissistic political grifter and he rooked all of you. Every single one of you. Like that whole thing of the man behind the curtain, the great and powerful Oz. Smoke and mirrors is not reality.

But then again, on the other hand I also find it almost comical the people who are the epitome of white privilege, yet who post about it on social media like they are reformers. I guess living on mommy and daddy’s money and trust funds makes them feel guilty or something?

And then there are the people posting photos of Melania posing in front of the First Lady’s desk. So she was a model, right? She knows how, to pose but what did she actually do while First Lady? She was never even comfortable in the role and spent four years looking like a miserable Stepford Wife Barbie doll. Oh wait, she ruined the rose garden, so she did do something.

Why can’t these people give a new administration a chance like we were asked to give the last new administration a chance? Why can’t we all literally give peace a chance? Is it possible the entire country needs therapy?

I don’t know who is going to agree and disagree with my musings this morning. It’s just what I woke up thinking about and decided to write about. People are fascinating to observe even in sheer dysfunction. It’s kind of like watching who follows my blog here and on Facebook. People who used to describe my writing as self aggrandizing who haven’t been in my life thankfully for over a decade. Yet they still follow me? Why?

Please enjoy the sun this morning. Try to find something positive in your life to celebrate. Celebrate the every day. Celebrate surviving a year of COVID19. Celebrate jettisoning ugliness out of your life to make it a more positive experience. And pray for those who can’t find peace. It must be terrible to love in their heads, yes? And why are they joining Telegraph?

Thanks for stopping by.

vintage cookbooks

I love vintage cookbooks. Some of my favorites are these local or regional ones that are put out by nonprofits, schools, churches. They are usually for fundraising.

I scored three the other day, all local to Chester County. This one from Grove Methodist is the best of the three. It could also be because that is one of my favorite little churches in Chester County.

My cookbook is from 1991. I can’t wait to try some of the recipes. This is one of those cookbooks that doesn’t have any Michelin stars attached, it’s just good home cooking.

You can find these little gems in many places – I found this one on eBay. I had seen it in somebody’s house years ago and I don’t know what made me think of it but I went looking for it.

I figure since we are still home so much because of COVID-19 some new recipes are in order! Thanks for stopping by happy Thursday!

when tomorrow became today…

I remember when Annie the Musical first came out. I was in high school, and Shipley had a special ticket offer where we went to Philadelphia to see the show. I do not think we saw Philadelphia-born Andrea McArdle in the role, I honestly think it was Shelly Bruce or maybe even Sarah Jessica Parker. Or Allison Smith. It has just been too long.

Anyway, the song “tomorrow” was a musical earworm from long ago when I woke up this morning. And the sun did come out on this beautiful and cold January day, but it didn’t feel like a bad chill, more like invigorating and crystal clear. A beautiful day.

The sun’ll come out
Tomorrow
Bet your bottom dollar
That tomorrow
There’ll be sun!
Just thinkin’ about
Tomorrow
Clears away the cobwebs
And the sorrow
‘Til there’s none!
When I’m stuck a day
That’s gray
And lonely
I just stick out my chin
And grin
And say
Oh
The sun’ll come out
Tomorrow
So you gotta hang on
‘Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow!
Tomorrow!
I love ya
Tomorrow!
You’re always
A day
Away!
The sun’ll come out
Tomorrow
So you gotta hang on
‘Til tomorrow
Come what may
Tomorrow!
Tomorrow!
I love ya
Tomorrow!
You’re always
A day
Away!
Tomorrow!
Tomorrow!
I love ya
Tomorrow!
You’re always
A day
Away!

Yeah so the earworm led to watching the first part of the inauguration. In 2016 I literally did not watch the Inauguration. I couldn’t. And it was the first one I had missed since I was a kid. I just watched Joe Biden and Kamala Harris get sworn in through tears, which surprised me. It’s like the storm is over and we can finally see a rainbow. I did not expect a visceral reaction.

I was not so sure about some of the COVID era fashion however. Some people described it as being out of the Hunger Games wardrobe closet. Mostly that was applied to Lady Gaga who sang the National Anthem so beautifully, yet was compared on social media to Effie Trinket of Hunger Games fame. I didn’t dig the pin, but I thought she looked beautiful and no meat dress in sight.

However, the fashion wasn’t what was important. The message was. History, faith, reason. Without unity there is no peace. No more uncivil union. He will be a President for all Americans. I think I actually believe that.

Thanks to the Washington Post we have the text, annotated and here is an excerpt:

“This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages. America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people, has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.

We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.

From now, on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago, violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power, as we have for more than two centuries.

As we look ahead in our uniquely American way: restless, bold, optimistic, and set our sights on the nation we can be and we must be…..And so today at this time in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again. Hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire, destroying everything in its path. Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.

My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And I believe America is so much better than this. Just look around. Here we stand in the shadow of the Capitol dome, as was mentioned earlier, completed amid the Civil War, when the Union itself was literally hanging in the balance. Yet we endured, we prevailed….”

And poet Amanda Gorman.I never knew her before today. 22 years old. Amazing. Here is an excerpt:

“The Hill We Climb”

We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

it can never be permanently defeated.

In this truth, in this faith, we trust.

For while we have our eyes on the future,

history has its eyes on us.

Of course all day long, I saw all the ugliness of social media unfurl once again because it’s not President “You’re Fired” . Still claiming the election was stolen, “best president ever.” Yeah and some of these people are out of work and have been since COVID19 started, so I just don’t get it. Trump did nothing that actually helped them. It’s like we were living with a cult leader for four years. It’s their choice, I don’t begrudge them their choice, but really? Are they really so brainwashed or unable to hit pause and reflect maybe change is good? You know what they told us when Trumpty Dumpty was sworn in?

On my blog’s Facebook page I had comments from a couple of angry men. One comment in particular was extra amusing;

“Ahhh, another site which stifles conservatives by deleting their comments.”

I thought the stick man explanation this month would make all of this self-evident even to bumbling online neanderthals like this one, but apparently not. When you are visiting a page or a group on Facebook, you are a guest. It’s not your group, it’s not your page. It’s that simple. Your rights aren’t being violated, you just don’t like it that whomever doesn’t want to listen to your crap. I am perfectly happy to have a conversation with people who know how to be civil. Rude gets deleted. Fake news gets deleted. Scary angry gets reported then deleted.

Today, I felt hope. I felt a lightness I had not felt in well…years….as in back BEFORE when I found I could no longer be a Republican, which still makes me sad.

Do I have a crystal ball? Nope. But I am not going to buy into weird conspiracy theories either. Today marked a new beginning. Let’s be Americans and give it a chance. Democracy matters.

Peace people. Please. Just breathe.