when a gotcha is a big fat nothing…in willistown

Note the red shirt guy smacking his folder down

The other day, as a reaction in part to the insanity of the Willistown meeting this week I wrote willistown needs a sedative and prior to that a post called is there quite literally something in the water in willistown .

It is my opinion that certain individuals seem to be trying to incite a riot in Willistown? What do the want, a mini January 6, 2021 in Willistown? WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THIS TO WHERE YOU CALL HOME?

So I am going to once again ask is this is about the sewer issue or personal animus on the part of whomever seems to be driving the bus on this issue now and WHY????

I almost titled the something in the water post “Hey Willistown don’t let reality get in the way of your delusion”, but then I decided that was just a little too rude. But it’s about these signs. We all keep seeing them and not all of them are actually in Willistown.

It makes you wonder why these signs have to be so nasty and where they originated from.

I didn’t look far. From being against chickens to sidewalks in extraordinary places, someone has been a busy, busy beaver, haven’t they?

Above is a screenshot from a second Willistown sewer website called WillistownSewer.org which apparently will be replacing SaveOurSewer.org. In addition to lawn signs there are also BUMPER STICKERS:

Ok, do Willistown residents realize their issue is being hijacked for personal animus?

And why are these signs targeting two individuals (Supervisors Bill Shoemaker and Bob Lange) in Willistown all over as in also outside of Willistown? If y’all don’t want us non-Willistownians commenting, maybe don’t post the signs outside of the township for starters?

Ok, I am waiting. I know it is time to cue the refrain of “She doesn’t live in Willistown, she shouldn’t say anything!

No I don’t live in Willistown. I wouldn’t want to at this rate because people are mean as snakes. There is this nasty edge meets a misplaced sense of entitlement no matter what the issue. And to me, this whole sewer issue has turned personal, which defeats the purpose of trying to win an argument in the first place. Next example? Here, this screenshot:

So. The thing about political campaign donations is companies and individuals associated with big companies give out political donations like jelly beans. Both sides of the aisle, always similar amounts to candidates on both sides to hedge their bets a lot of the time. I mean is this guy implying in his opinion that an honorable man sold out his municipality, an entire municipality, for $250? For real? My opinion is political candidates should not take donations from big old corporations. All of these corporations want something, even if it is just a certain perception. And then these donations will always do more harm than good, also because of perception at times.

At the meeting the other night, Supervisor Bill Shoemaker said he DID NOT accept a donation from a PAC attached to AQUA. But it shows up on one of those websites that track campaign finance:

Oh and did Sherlock Willistown also note others who got donations? Here see for yourselves:

I have not shown all donations, you can look yourselves. Democrats and Republicans and organizations.

BUT…..what is the question no one asked when seeking a GOTCHA? Did Bill Shoemaker accept the check and did it get cashed? The answer is NO. The check was recorded because it was CUT and OFFERED, NOT ASKED FOR. That is a VERY big difference.

The name of the PAC used for the intended Shoemaker contribution was “The H2O State Political Action Committee”. We wrote a check for $250 to Mr. Shoemaker in September of 2021 which he did not accept. Because the check was issued, we had to report it with the state by law, however, it was not accepted.

Please let me know if you need anything else.

~AQUA e-mail

Yep, it pays to actually do your homework. Check was offer and recorded. not cashed and accepted. And yes, I redacted emails including the AQUA email person. No great love for AQUA but not being the one that gives out their e-mail address. If you all really bother, you too can find publicly available information and whom to contact.

Another thing? Part of the AHA GOTCHA was Bill Shoemaker supposedly went to the home of the AQUA person who lives in Willistown, right? So is the accuser stalking either the Willistown supervisors or the AQUA person? Hiding in the bushes when people entertain privately in their homes? Driving up and down in front of driveways like certain people have done (and I have seen with my own eyes) on Castlebar Lane in front of Wildflower Farm? REALLY????? That my friends, is creepy A.F., yes? And seriously, what business is it of anyone where the supervisors or I socialize for that matter? Lots of people entertain. Lots of people get invited places. SO WHAT? I also have to ask is this is what some rather random woman was over at Sugartown Strawberries recently taking photos of some poster having to do with the Hayride to Hell movie?

Note the red shirt guy at the window….

Is this now Willistown? Playing I Spy on whomever whenever? Are wiretaps next? Is this like Watergate?

And the person mailing out flyers, creating websites, lawn signs, and collecting email addresses doesn’t work for the township. He wants all of you residents of Willistown to dance to his tune, but instead of just telling all of you to essentially just show up, why didn’t he put on his big boy pants and suggest that he or a group of you contact the township BEFORE the meeting, BEFORE the meeting was to be advertised and ASK like adults if the meeting could be moved to a larger venue? And why does a person who is reported to be on septic CARE about the sewer?

AGAIN, I go back now to these new street signs and bumper stickers because they only target two supervisors. There have always been three supervisors, yet only two are ever targeted. I think that is done as a political motivation and personal animus, and just like the First Amendment may allow individuals to pay for street signs like this, I am also allowed to have that opinion. These are after all the same people who like to point out that Bill and Bob are related by marriage and the families are large landholders. Are they the largest landholders? I don’t know and I don’t care. What that says to anyone rational is they have a vested interest in the Willistown community. Family roots. Generational connections to the land. Why is that bad and they didn’t become supervisors to have a gateway to other things, did they? They have deep roots in the community, which doesn’t make them villains in some bad play or made for Lifetime TV movie. AND if they were NOT involved in the community the same folks would criticize them for that too.

Listen Willistown, civic engagement is good. Misinformation, inciting riots, and mob mentality is not. Careful whose star you’re hitching your wagons to. So far they are doing you and your issue a disservice. Watch which Pied Piper you follow across that field.

Thanks for stopping by.

is fine dining a lost cause in chester county?

With the planned sale of The Ship Inn it begs the questions of why isn’t there more fine or non-pub, non-chain, non-franchise dining in Chester County? But first, another Ship Inn update:

Ship Inn sale pending; building may become a micro-brewery

By BILL RETTEW | wrettew@dailylocal.com | Daily Local News

PUBLISHED: August 15, 2022 at 5:04 p.m. | UPDATED: August 16, 2022 at 5:47 a

EXTON—Sale is pending for the historic, fine dining Ship Inn, with plans to make it into a micro-brewery.

Michael and Gertie Person have owned the landmark 14,900 square foot restaurant, at 695 E. Lincoln Highway in Exton, for 20 years.

Michael Person said on Monday afternoon that the restaurant, with a listing price of $2.25 million, is not officially sold yet, although could change hands later this month…..There is a possibility that the deal could fall through, in which case the Persons would go back to serving the public from within the well-lit dining rooms with tall ceilings.

VK Brewing, of Glen Mills, has agreed to purchase the property and posted that their business intends to sell great beer and great food.

“Our vision is to combine our passion for beer and food and create an inviting and fun brewery and restaurant,” reads the VK Brewing website.

The company seeks additional investors through a fundraising campaign….“Why not sell?” asked Person. “It’s a successful restaurant.

“We are selling like any corporation does. People feel I’m in trouble. All the bills and employees are paid. It’s not a troubled restaurant. I don’t’ have to sell.”

One hundred and eighty seats are split among four dining rooms, along with a deck and additional room in the bar for 30 or 40 patrons….Ghostbusters have visited the establishment three times and Person said that the ghosts at the business are “good spirits.”

Robert Irvine of the TV show Restaurant Impossible visited last April to help revamp the historic restaurant.

“At the beginning I was a little resentful,” Person said. “But then I was really in favor of it and he did a great job.”

So what will Person miss the most?

“Interaction with people is the goal,” he said. “I love feedback.

“Where else can you interact with doctors, lawyers, artists, the CEO of QVC and movie stars? At which other job can you do that?

“This is a gift.”

~ DAILY LOCAL ARTICLE 8/15/22

So when I posted the other day about the Ship Inn I had no idea if any local or regional media would pick up the the story, but the Daily Local did. And the PhillyVoice too . I am glad they did, because it gives a whole other perspective on what’s happening here, namely from the current owner who is selling.

This is why I have included two snippets from the Restaurant Impossible TV show in 2021. I think that the TV show gave a fairly realistic look inside a restaurant that basically was failing, right? But then when you read this article yesterday it’s like that was all a great misunderstanding, wasn’t it?

I re-watched The Restaurant Impossible episode today. I added the two video snippets because I thought it was important to watch. And it’s very different from the articles today. His wife is the proprietor of the Duling-Kurtz house in Exton.

Duling-Kurtz is expensive and a bit dated. But it is truly a lovely place. The food is never bad, but I never found it exciting. They have a decent wine list, and I have not been there since before COVID. One of the things I liked back then is sometimes musicians I knew would play in the bar. I always thought that was a nice touch, and when you would see the owner (Ship Inn owner’s wife) on the floor it was seamless and sort of passing through checking on things, smiling, not stopping to yell at waitstaff in the dining room.

The Ship Inn is someplace I gave a lot of chances to over the years, including after the television makeover. I kept going back not so much because the food was out of this world, but because I wanted to support a local fine dining establishment, and I am a lover of history. This place oozes history. So to say I am not concerned at the thought of it becoming some kind of a brewery/pub would be dishonest period.

My concerns are not just limited to wondering about a historic asset being preserved appropriately, but because with this place possibly stopping as a fine dining institution it once again limits the options of fine dining in Chester County.

Take for example the Dilworthtown Inn. It closed in April, 2019 with the death of Jim Barnes. The Dilworthtown was one of my favorite places honestly. The food was good the atmosphere was impeccable. They were also the location for fun things like the Dilworthtown Wine Festival. The property was sold in 2020, January, just before COVID.

The Dilworthtown was a complex of three restaurant gems:  Dilworthtown Inn, Inn Keeper’s Kitchen, Blue Pear Bistro. When the property sold a website went up, and then crickets. (https://www.historicdilworthtown.com/).

NO ONE has looked into the fate of The Dilworthtown in essentially TWO years! It’s a magical and fabulous property that sold and then nothing —- so what’s going on? I feel so badly for the new owners because I can’t imagine buying a property that’s somewhat substantial and historic and then a pandemic hits. But are there any updates?

We still have The General Warren Inn in Malvern. Another place I love but it is never consistent. I know COVID was hard on them affecting hours and days open – lunch was 86’d. The food is good, but sometimes it’s really good, and other times it’s just good. And I’m not saying that to be mean, but that has been my personal experience. I still go there, but not as often.

And the last time I was there was a group of couples for dinner, it was before Covid and we were a large group, all of us having patronized the restaurant in the past, but not what you would call a regular. We were kind of left in service wasteland while the waitstaff paid attention to the people that they recognized. It was embarrassing for me personally because it was my idea for all of us to go there. And no one wanted to be rude and get up and walk away from the table because of the lack of service, so by the time we all finish getting served our dinners which was staggered and no one ate at the same time because it was like they kept forgetting about us, and the restaurant was practically closing.

There was no accommodation made to our bill, which is something which should’ve happened automatically because it wasn’t like it was a big secret we were in dining wasteland there that night. And it is not an inexpensive place. Now we have been back since, and I am happy to patronize them because it’s a gorgeous place and it’s local, but as an intermittent diner I would like to be made to feel more welcome. Just because you don’t go to a place weekly or super often, it doesn’t mean as a patron you shouldn’t be valued, right?

And when you talk to people about fine dining, they all say “but we have kids, so pubs are easier.” Fine dining can be welcoming to children too. It’s fun to dress up for dinner, and we live in a more casual world so you don’t do that very often. But what is even less evident out here in Chester County is actual fine dining.

There is a need for fine dining. There are lots of other dining options, but everyone wants that special place for special occasions. You have some places in the Borough of West Chester, but as restaurants they are ok, but parking is so not fun. And that also goes for Phoenixville. Last time we went to Phoenixville for dinner it was before we saw Al Stewart. We had dinner at the Black Lab Bistro. Dinner was wonderful there, and the service was really good. However it took my husband 40 minutes to park. So I sat in the restaurant by myself for 40 minutes before he came in.

So that’s the thing of it: we need fine dining, and you need more options for fine dining where there’s actually easy parking.

The Ship Inn going pub removes one more option. If the pub doesn’t come in that deal falls through I don’t know that the owner will actually reopen. And if he reopens will he have any staff left? And if he reopens would it be any different? People all over are talking about this “transaction” and the owner attempting to divest himself of the Ship Inn.

But this trend towards pub food isn’t just here. I was speaking to a friend of mine today who mentioned that friends of his lamented there really wasn’t any place special to eat dinner where they lived.

Years ago when I worked in New York, and it’s also been my experience since then because my th sister lives there, there is always an option in New York City. There are so many restaurants. And there are so many cool little restaurants that you actually can find places that are fairly affordable. Philadelphia? I’m not so sure at this point. There used to be so many places, but between Covid and the sheit show that the city of Philadelphia is in, there aren’t as many fabulous restaurants I think anymore.

I would love just some more pretty fine dining establishments (fancy or semi-casual) where you can go and feel special in Chester County. We have some other great restaurants, but they’re more like great casual dining, not a great experience with classic French, American, or high-end Northern Italian food, etc.

We have lots of pubs/micro breweries with food, lots of Asian, Indian, Thai, sushi, steak houses. We have lots of chain restaurants, franchises, coffee places. We have barbecue, but only one place is to die for and thank goodness we will soon have sit down when Farm Boy Barbecue opens their own restaurant home in Malvern where the Friendly’s once was.

But classic fine dining is becoming a lost art in a sea of mediocrity out here in Chester County.

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. I will close the post at the end with a new Philly Voice article about the Ship Inn sale…if it goes to closing. I say if because in May of this year, Breweries in PA website reported VK Brewing who is now buying the Ship Inn as going to Delaware County:

VK Brewing Aims To Bring High Quality Hand Crafted Beer And Dining To Delaware County

By Breweries In PA
March 2, 2022

You can add VK Brewing to the list of breweries that will soon be calling Pennsylvania home. The brewery, which is the brainchild of Jason Van Keuren and Najib Abiaad will soon open its doors in a 4,000+ square foot facility in Glen Mills, PA.

We recently spoke with both Jason and Najib to get a better perspective on the business and their plans for the brewery once they open for guests later this year….

As we learned, the duo had originally met during a casual neighborhood gathering. Jason had been pouring samples of his beer for his neighbors. The two were enjoying Jason’s beer and thus began a relationship that would bring their partnership together to build out a brewery/ restaurant for locals to enjoy.

The brewery intends to open in a 4,000+ square foot facility which was formerly a yoga studio. As of this writing, construction is underway to transform and breathe new life into the space. Once completed they plan to operate a 10 barrel brewery offering a wide variety of beer. But, as Jason confirmed, “I like more of the classic styles of beer” so guests can expect a rotating taplist of both traditional and modern craft beer….The plan is for the brewery to open in late 2022 as construction is still ongoing. However, you can keep up with the brewery in planning by following them on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

~ BREWERIES IN PA 3/2/22

I guess I’m a little confused. These people are new to being in the brewery/brew pub business, correct? so are they opening in Glen Mills and Exton? Or just Exton? They have a Mainvest going. Opening restaurants are an expensive proposition. Especially for newcomers. So do they have other backers as well? Their plans are on the Mainvest, and truly I wish them well but this property is so historic and special. Hopefully, we will all be looking forward to their grand opening soon.

Here is the Philly Voice article…but remember this blog had the story first 😊

Philly Voice: Exton’s historic Ship Inn, once a stop for George Washington, Andrew Jackson, to be sold
A new microbrewery, VK Brewing Co. & Eatery, is expected to take over the restaurant on Lincoln Highway
.

BY MICHAEL TANENBAUM
PhillyVoice Staff
UPDATED AUG 16, 2022 AT 03:24 PM

The owner of the Ship Inn, an historic property in Exton that dates back to the late 18th century, has found a pair of buyers who envision turning the two-story Georgian building into a microbrewery. 

Built in 1796, the stone property was designed to be a place for travelers to eat and rest along the recently completed Lancaster Turnpike — designated today as part of U.S. Route 30. It served as a western milepost for Philadelphia, about 25 miles away, welcoming dignitaries like former presidents George Washington and Andrew Jackson and, in the 20th century, former first lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. It has been praised as one of the best-preserved inns from the era and an enduring example of Georgian and Federal architecture. 

Operating under various owners, the building has served as a restaurant for much of its existence, with the exception of a long stretch in the 19th century when it was a private residence. Innkeeper and architect John Bowen designed the property at a time when residential and commercial buildings had less distinction between them, particularly in Chester County’s rural West Whiteland Township, which includes Exton. The building marked the arrival of an urban style as commerce spread west of Philadelphia. 

The pending sale of the Ship Inn was first reportedMonday by The Daily Local. The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed…..

The duo plan to open the restaurant this fall and the brewery before the end of 2022. A Mainvest pageinviting investors to support the upcoming taproom includes a detailed business plan for VK Brewing. 

The buyers declined to comment on the pending transaction when contacted Tuesday. 

Last year, the Ship Inn drew attention for its appearance on Chef Robert Irvine’s Food Network show “Restaurant: Impossible,” which aims to turn around failing businesses…..”We are selling like any corporation does,” Person said. “People feel I’m in trouble. All the bills and employees are paid. It’s not a troubled restaurant. I don’t have to sell.”

~ PHILLYVOICE 8/16/22

willistown needs a sedative

Willistown Supervisors Meeting 8/15/2022

The other day I wrote a post about Willistown. Tonight was mostly full psycho on display. A small group of people were polite and respectful even in their disagreement with Willistown Township Supervisors. Those individuals, I applaud because THAT is the way you do it.

The rest? Not so much.

My personal opinion is still *someone* is revving up a lot of these people with an ocean of misinformation. Like people thought they were acting on this tonight? What agenda item said that? Here was the official agenda for August 15, 2022:

Ahhh yes, don’t let reality get in the way of your delusion, right? And then there was the whole will they or won’t they sell if litigation is pending. So glad there is a recording.

Then there was all of the shouting something about sewer sewer sewer. Is that like Marcia Marcia Marcia? So yes screaming and cursing and yelling and chanting something about sewer was going to make them throw up their arms and say what exactly? That most of you were extra rude and some needed their mouths washed out with soap? O.K. we’ll go with that.

I have been to a LOT of contentious meetings. But this was something extra special this evening. It was like a super long Saturday Night Live skit of what their writers see when people go to local meetings.

One thing I loved is yelling at the Willistown Supervisors about why there wasn’t a bigger meeting room arranged for? Well, umm did your fearless creator of nasty lawn signs REQUEST a bigger venue? And as for those chastising elected officials for not governing via social media do you hear yourselves? On what planet does that occur?

I am not someone who routinely agrees with local government. I am not exactly a cheerleader of a lot of local governments, but I have to ask how is it so many people with more money than sense in Willistown have a distinct lack of knowledge of basic process?

It’s not so hard to see how government is run, right or wrong. But for starters, they don’t govern via social media. And the lack of civility and decorum was astounding.

I can NOT take credit for this comment but it was so true:

An engaged citizenship is a wonderful thing, but some showed a terrible lack of civility and decorum. Lets put away the pitchforks and work reasonably and rationally to get out of this mess.

~ willistown Resident 8/15/22

Pitchforks. Yup. Lots of verbal pitchforks and being rude as f***, including a failed politician who, well, resembles an alley cat with a bad attitude and a bargain basement dress she should have thought better of for on camera (but I digress, Glamour Don’ts aren’t part of this.)

And the person mailing out flyers, creating websites, lawn signs, and collecting email addresses doesn’t work for the township. He wants all of you residents of Willistown to dance to his tune, but instead of just telling all of you to essentially just show up, why didn’t he put on his big boy pants and suggest that he or a group of you contact the township BEFORE the meeting, BEFORE the meeting was to be advertised and ASK like adults if the meeting could be moved to a larger venue?

You want respect people? Give respect. There used to be this whole thing about the worthy opposition. Attack ratting and ankle biting doesn’t count.

Rude signs accomplish nothing. “Clean Up Sewer Mess” with the website address would have worked fine, but someone’s personal animus and perhaps ego got in the way, yes?

And then you had the people who wanted the meeting to become a parking lot brawl and the hell with the people signed up on zoom? What were you planning? To tar and feather the people YOU elected? I mean come on already: YOU the residents of Willistown elected them to do a job, but you want to scream at them for doing a job? Crikey no wonder the last township manger beat tracks.

Again, you all don’t know process and this is a rare municipal case of the politicians elected as supervisors actually know more about Roberts Rules of Order than the Willistown Mob. Usually it’s residents educating elected officials.

And oh yes, and engaged citizenry is where it’s at, but this isn’t it. It’s disorder, rude behavior, cursing and lots of shouting. A mob is just a mob. So don’t go patting yourselves on the back since you mostly looked stupid. And oh yes I can indeed express that opinion. Please, you think you invented pack the meetings? It’s all about HOW you do it, and the only thing you almost accomplished tonight was getting the whole shibang shut down for the night because um meeting rooms can only LEGALLY hold so many people. Which is AGAIN, WHY someone should have gone to Willistown Township to request a large room ahead of time.

Willistown residents need to decide who of the residents is leading them on this issue because right now quite frankly you all are being led astray by individuals with warped agendas. Do yourselves a favor and form a reasonable consortium of individuals who don’t think every meeting is either storm the Bastille with special information on hidden agendas , or failed politicians who have to preface statements every single time that they ran against Bill Shoemaker (and lost.)

The thing I found so sad was yes, a fair representation of Willistown citizenry turned out. And instead of harnessing your power even before the meeting, you all blew it. Most of you are lucky the police didn’t toss your asses out, and well they could have.

I have seen bad municipal governments. That’s not Willistown. You people need to get your crap together. Get your facts straight, get yourselves straight, learn about process, learn about state laws that need to be changed to protect residents from rate jumps by companies like Aqua. In other words, learn how to fight.

Everyone else? Enjoy the show. Definitely popcorn worthy. And where is Joan Rivers when you need her? Oy.

investigative reporter’s article in philadelphia inquirer leaves more questions than answers with regard arbor learning academy in malvern, including with dhs

Social Media Photo Circa 2016

On August 10th I launched a post on Arbor Learning Academy in Malvern. It is called “down the rabbit hole: what happened to arbor learning academy in malvern, pa?” I let it simmer because I knew as I was writing investigative reporters from the Philadelphia Inquirer were digging into this story which is a bit of a mystery locally. I did not want to be perceived as scooping investigative reporters who are really and truly good at what they do.

Today The Philadelphia Inquirer landed a whopper of an article which I will get to shortly.

The only response I got from my initial post was:

One of the big things to me when I wrote my August 10th post was who was the mysterious owner “Jean” identified today as “Jean Sun”? Where does she live? Is she the only other owner? Are there others involved who stayed in the shadows?

And how does she fit into the corporate name lookups on PA database?

Most people thought that the owner was the face of Arbor since inception was someone named Lauren Lilley and she is whom we saw all over social media. I will note sometimes posts said “owner” or implied as such and sometimes “co-owner” and even “business partner”, then finally “creative owner” whatever in the Sam Hell that means. Is this woman just a pawn in all of this? How do all of the pieces of this puzzle fit in reality?

But if this was the owner or an owner and the boots on the ground in charge person there, why was she putting up ads on social media this past May for cleaning? Daycare centers/Pre-schools etc are full time gigs or should be, right?

And then of course there were her tik tok videos now deleted but some were screen grabbed. I was sent one. Not posting it. Ick. But suffice it to say videos seemed to have disappeared and now account is private?

And then there were all the DHS things I looked up. Not sure what is in what order, but here they are again:

So thank goodness for the parents who thought all was not right, and former employees as per the article, but I have to ask WHY DHS has let them go so long with so many issues for a place that hasn’t existed for that many years?

The article says a DHS lady involved in their investigation is Shante’ Brown, director for the Bureau of Certification with DHS’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning. Based on what I found on a state website her office is located in Philadelphia:

Southeast Region
OCDEL
801 Market Street
Suite 5132
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3126
Telephone: (215) 560-2541
Toll Free: (800) 346-2929
Fax: (215) 560-5139

Now this lady use to work for the City of Philadelphia too. In theory, she las loads of experience, but after reading the Inquirer article I have to ask why she let this go on so long with so many issues and didn’t hut it down, if it was her decision? After all we are talking about the safety and welfare of kids, right?

It makes you question the checks and balances of a system when you realize this is just yet another place out here with issues. Allow me to provide links to other past daycare/pre-school problems out here in Chester County:

CBS Philadelphia: Third Chesterbrook Academy Day Care Teacher Charged With Abusing Toddlers JANUARY 31, 2020 / 12:34 PM / CBS PHILADELPHIA (location: Malvern, PA)

CBS Philadelphia: East Whiteland Police: 2 Chesterbrook Academy Day Care Teachers Caught On Camera Abusing Multiple Toddlers OCTOBER 31, 2019 / 6:00 PM / CBS PHILADELPHIA (same location as above: Malvern PA)

CBS Philadelphia: Chester County Child Care Worker Charged With Abusing 3 Toddlers OCTOBER 26, 2021 / 5:19 PM / CBS PHILADELPHIA (Location: Westtown/West Chester PA)

CBS Philadelphia: Former Chester County Day Care, Preschool Director Arrested For Failing To Report Child Abuse, Prosecutors Say DECEMBER 7, 2021 / 7:00 PM / CBS PHILADELPHIA (same location as immediately above: Westtown/ West Chester PA)

Philadelphia Inquirer: Two staffers at Malvern preschool accused of abusing children by Vinny Vella Updated Nov 1, 2019 (Location: Malvern PA – refer to links above)

So, it makes a person wonder doesn’t it? I realize government bureaucracy is government bureaucracy, BUT one thing that is super concerning are parents really expected to pay for day care and be the watch dogs when there are paid DHS watch dogs? Systems aren’t perfect, but after you read the Inquirer article, ask yourselves like I did why DHS leave them open so long?

If anyone has concerns about child safety, call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. Concerns or complaints about licensed child care providers can be submitted online

~ philadelphia inquirer 8/15/22

I have to wonder aloud if Arbor Learning Academy were allowed to re-open would we want it in our community any longer? And perhaps a dumb question but if owners are multiple or some financial only, do they ALL have to have state clearances to operate a facility like this? Do they? Did they?

So like Alice down the rabbit hole, we all seem to be waiting for the next shoe to drop. Here is the Philadelphia Inquirer article:

Pennsylvania News Philadelphia Inquirer
Troubled Malvern day-care center closes, revealing problems that plague the system
The Chester County day care is closed as the state Department of Human Services investigates complaints by parents, who have also filed reports to the local police over alleged drug use by staff.

by Marina Affo and Ryan W. Briggs (maffo@inquirer.com , rbriggs@inquirer.com)
Updated 5 hours ago

Tuesday afternoon, Maurice Rouse walked around his daughter’s day-care classroom at Arbor Learning Academy and took down drawings and art projects that decorated the walls…..He and his wife, Erica, were among a small gathering of parents getting refund checks. The day before, the school had contacted parents a few hours after morning drop-off, telling them to pick up their kids early.

The Chester County day care center now remains closed indefinitely as the state Department of Human Services investigates complaints by parents, who also filed reports to local police alleging drug use by staff…An official with DHS would not address any specific allegations about the five-year-old facility…“We can’t talk about the current investigation,” said Shante’ Brown, director for the Bureau of Certification with DHS’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning….When needed, she said, the department will close an early learning facility immediately.

Meanwhile, the East Whiteland Township Police Department is investigating allegations of drug use, Detective Sgt. Patricia Doyle confirmed. She said the inquiry was ongoing, and “at this point there’s no substantiated claims.”

Abrupt and unexplained closures have plagued the center in the last year, more than half a dozen parents say, frustrating those who need child care in order to work.

One former staffer, Nicole Siuta, said she has been reporting the facility for alleged drug activity, child abuse, and endangerment since January 2021, when she resigned after 15 months.

She said she called ChildLine, the state reporting hotline for child safety, over a year ago to discuss similar allegations.

“I named specific names. I did everything and nothing came through,” she said. ….Over the last two years, according to DHS inspection records, Arbor was cited for 45 separate violations…

During a December 2020 inspection, DHS cited Arbor over one staffer who failed to obtain a National Sex Offender Registry clearance, and another who failed to obtain a required FBI clearance. Both staffers had worked at Arbor for about three months by the time the state inspector noticed the missing paperwork.

Last fall, state regulators switched Arbor to a provisional license. During a follow-up inspection about a month later, Arbor was hit with 18 more violations — once again, for having employees working with missing clearances….While Arbor’s temporary license appears to have expired in March of this year, according to DHS records, Arbor was allowed to continue operating.…An archived version of Arbor’s website from December 2021 has a welcome page that states “Arbor Learning Academy is a privately owned and operated child care center. The owner and Director, Lauren Lilley, has a degree in Early Childhood Education.”

Lilley did not respond to requests for comment.

Parents were told last week that the facility is actually owned by a woman named Jean Sun.

the ship inn has sunk: a microbrewery coming next

Chef Robert Irvine tried to save The Ship Inn. But The Ship Inn has finally sunk:

Le sigh…. I wish the successors much luck but there are SO many brewery places in the area. Actual fine dining is lacking.

Screen shot from Internet – from Restaurant Impossible episode.

According to the Loop Net listing it is indeed under contract.

The new company going into the grand old colonial gal is called VK Brewing. Veteran owned.

Soooo…time will tell. I hope they honor the past of The Ship Inn. Of course I like others wonder what will happen with all of the memorabilia and historical bits?

Chef Robert Irvine tried to bring a horse to water but hey you can’t make him drink. I won’t miss the now former owner yelling at his employees on the dining room floor at the Ship Inn. Here’s hoping they keep him off of the dining room floor at Duling-Kurtz the other place he and his wife own.

Welcome to the area VK Brewing.

is there quite literally something in the water in willistown?

Is this about the sewer issue or personal animus?

I almost titled this post “Hey Willistown don’t let reality get in the way of your delusion”, but then I decided that was just a little too rude. But it’s about these signs. We all keep seeing them and not all of them are actually in Willistown.

It makes you wonder why these signs have to be so nasty and where they originated from.

I didn’t look far. From being against chickens to sidewalks in extraordinary places, someone has been a busy, busy beaver, haven’t they?

Above is a screenshot from a second Willistown sewer website called WillistownSewer.org which apparently will be replacing SaveOurSewer.org

First of all, these are NOT non-profit organizations as there is a common misconception that you have to be a nonprofit to get a “.ORG” domain.

But let’s back up. I am sure this post will cause another Willistown Tempest in a Teapot. Sorry not sorry, it can’t be helped, and I am entitled to my opinion. And this is yet another issue in this particular township which is exhausting because it is again so nasty.

When I was growing up on the Main Line, Willistown to those of us on the eastern Main Line was this magical place of rolling hills, horses, Radnor hunt, farms. I can safely say I have been coming out to Willistown for decades longer than some residents have lived there or known how to spell Willistown.

No, I do not live in Willistown, but I have friends there. Quite a few friends. But Katie bar the door, they will be revoking my passport into Willistown. Again. You know because I have had a thing or two to say about things like the NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane and WildFlower Farm? (No Farms In My Back Yard = NOFIMBY)

But sweet darling baby Jesus, and yes I am taking the Lord’s name in vain. This has seemed to stop really being about the sewer issue and more about destroying the good names of two men who have given a lot to their community named Bob Lange and Bill Shoemaker. Are they perfect? Are any of us? And these are people anyone can come to. They don’t see residents as political persuasions. Oh and speaking of that, are these signs somehow politically motivated? I ask because there is a third supervisor in Willistown. Her name is Molly Perrin. Why is Molly never mentioned? Molly why do you not ever say anything in defense of the other supervisors? Molly do you actually ever say anything at all?

(Oh is that too mean? She’s a politician so might as well ask her where she stands on this behavior in her township, right? Molly, do you have a voice? What does it sound like? )

And why are these signs targeting two individuals in Willistown all over as in also outside of Willistown? If y’all don’t want us non-Willistownians commenting, maybe don’t post the signs outside of the township for starters?

Ok, I am waiting. I know it is time to cue the refrain of “She doesn’t live in Willistown, she shouldn’t say anything!

No I don’t live in Willistown. I wouldn’t want to at this rate because people are mean as snakes. There is this nasty edge meets a misplaced sense of entitlement no matter what the issue. And to me, this whole sewer issue has turned personal, which defeats the purpose of trying to win an argument in the first place. Next example? Here, this screenshot:

Campaign contributions being mentioned are rather interesting because first thing that caught my eye was Tom Hogan stepped down as D.A. in 2019. Before COVID. So what is the date on the small contribution to Bill Shoemaker? The reality is ALL of these corporations hedge their bets. They give to all candidates regardless of political party. I mean is this guy implying in his opinion that an honorable man sold out his municipality, an entire municipality, for $250? For real? My opinion is political candidates should not take donations from big old corporations. All of these corporations want something, even if it is just a certain perception. And then these donations will always do more harm than good, also because of perception at times.

And I go back now to these new street signs because they only target two supervisors. There have always been three supervisors, yet only two are ever targeted. I think that is done as a political motivation and personal animus, and just like the First Amendment may allow individuals to pay for street signs like this, I am also allowed to have that opinion. These are after all the same people who like to point out that Bill and Bob are related by marriage and the families are large landholders. Are they the largest landholders? I don’t know and I don’t care. What that says to anyone rational is they have a vested interest in the Willistown community. Family roots. Generational connections to the land. Why is that bad and they didn’t become supervisors to have a gateway to other things, did they? They have deep roots in the community, which doesn’t make them villains in some bad play or made for Lifetime TV movie. AND if they were NOT involved in the community the same folks would criticize them for that too.

But this is how all issues are approached in Willistown: lay siege and destroy the reputation of your neighbors. Don’t fight fair, act like gutter snipes. We’ve seen it over Wildflower Farm and other issues. Remember when M. Night Shyamalan wanted fences? That made regional papers and national entertainment news. Now it’s like “Oh he’s our wonderful neighbor”.

Let’s talk other issues for a moment like development. I am not a fan. No secret there. But I am a realist. The reason gets approved is simple: the Municipalities Planning Code of The Commonwealth of PA is woefully outdated by freaking DECADES. So it really doesn’t matter how local government officials might feel about development the reason above all others they can’t stop developments is zoning. Local zoning is guided by the Municipalities Planning Code so until it is changed to PROTECT our communities this is wash, rinse, repeat. It requires I think an act of the state constitution to update/overhaul the municipalities planning code comprehensively. There have been little things here and there, but not a comprehensive overhaul.

The county planning authority, AKA the Chester County Planning Commission keeps track of all developments in the county. I personally think they suck and are too pro development, but check out what they have to offer and be prepared to be horrified by the sheer volume of development marching across Chester County.

In Willistown, they talk about where developers already are, but not where they aren’t and what should also be saved. In Willistown they talk about land without conservation easements, but more so often than not when the horse is out of the barn and developers are already submitting plans. Willistown is not alone here. Most municipalities are like this. But where Willistown is different and should be better at conservation is the fact that Willistown is home to the Willistown Conservation Trust. So why isn’t more land in conservation?

Look at what is also brewing also in Westtown. Everyone wanted to preserve Crebilly. That time is here, and it’s possible. But will it happen? If the the Westtown Township Open Space Tax Referendum for Acquisition of Crebilly Farm doesn’t happen will Crebilly be saved? I mean do people think land conservation is actually FREE?

In Willistown there are lots of opinions on preserving open space. But someone politely pointed out the other day after a meeting that getting land into preservation requires money. And yes, you need to negotiate with a fat wallet if residents want more land conserved, especially when the developers have entered the ring. We as residents are NOT protected anywhere in PA because of the outdated, outmoded, skewed to developers and development Municipalities Planning Code. So basically communities have to BUY what they want to SAVE in order to actually save it. We might like how something looks, but if our communities don’t own it or us as individuals, does it matter in the end?

I am not saying that any of this is right, but it is reality. A very sad reality.

Another comment is those who are slamming two families over certain land parcels in Willistown isn’t going to get people where they want to be, either. With one family in particular, I find it egregious since they have literally given so much to Willistown. That is all I am saying on that topic.

People do not have to put their land into conservation. Some people don’t want to. I wish they did, but for some that was never the plan. And I still say that as someone who hates and despises all of this development. And I feel for Willistown residents over one huge parcel in particular. But I don’t see it stopping, sadly. But that doesn’t mean you all as residents can’t go look at all of the other parcels which you consider important that are not in play and work towards more conservation as a community, right?

But back to the verbal sewage over the sewer. A lot of municipalities can’t afford them long term now, so they are selling them to companies who are protected by state law when it comes to rate hikes. I have a problem with those rate hikes, but once again, it’s state law protecting what isn’t positive for Pennsylvania communities everywhere. So why aren’t people expressing outrage to State Reps and State Senators? Those are the people who can change this crap. Just like those state level elected officials are the people who can help communities worried about public water versus those on wells when it comes to all this new development….a lot of which doesn’t necessarily want to pay for public water and public sewer hook-ups and why shouldn’t they do that? Developers are adding all of these new people to communities and taking the profits and leaving? So why shouldn’t they have to do public sewer and public water hook-ups? Developers seem to be shielded from paying their fair share of anything, don’t they?

OK now a couple of articles about these sewer sales:

Inquirer: In Philly suburbs, sewer systems are for sale, and citizens push back, fearing rate hikes

by Andrew Maykuth
Published May 2, 2021

The frenzy of acquisitions in Pennsylvania is driven by a 2016 state law that encourages the consolidation of smaller water and wastewater systems under private ownership. The law, called Act 12, allows investor-owned utilities to pay an appraised fair-market value for an acquired system, rather than its lower depreciated cost or “book value,” and then to recoup the costs through higher rates.

Fair-value laws, enacted in about a dozen states, have triggered a land rush by private buyers to pay top dollar for systems. Some acquisitive public authorities have also increased their offering prices to compete with private companies — Conshohocken’s preferred bidder was the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority, which has acquired systems in Montgomery and Chester Counties. Under either public or private ownership, the higher price is passed on to customers through higher rates….. Officials from five states told the U.S. General Accountability Office that one potential disadvantage of fair-market value laws is their potential to increase a utility’s rates, according to a GAO report released Monday.

Five studies examined by the GAO found that average water rates charged by private for-profit utilities are about $15 to $21 higher per month than the rates charged by public water utilities. Private utilities have an incentive to generate a return for investors, the GAO said, while public utilities may need to respond to political pressures to keep rates low for all residents.

Every municipality has a different reason for approving or rejecting a privatization, and different circumstances — they may require significant infrastructure investments that would be better managed by a larger private entity, or already have high rates. Some towns just want to get out of the sewer business and focus on core public services

~ Philaddelphia Inquirer may 2021

And there is this article from NBC News for which you won’t hit a pay wall:

NBC News: Residents push back at high sewage and water bills from private companies

When Margo Woodacre opened her sewage bill in April, she did a double take. Her latest charges jumped 42 percent, to $37 per 1,000 gallons from $26 per 1,000 gallons. That was a major hit on the budget of the 71-year-old retired social worker who lives in Landenberg, Pennsylvania.

But she told NBC News she’s worried the rate hikes have just started. In 2017, her cash-strapped township of New Garden accepted a bid to sell off its sewer system for $29 million to a private investor-owned company called Aqua. But as part of the sale, Aqua could continue to increase rates by as much as 51 percent, with the utility commission’s approval, according to the agreement between Aqua and New Garden Township…. New Garden Township Solicitor Vince Pompo said in an email that the township had sold the sewer system because it “was aging infrastructure which was predicted to require fairly significant further rate increases of its own.” The township plans to use the sale profits to clean and develop public parks and improve streets in one of its villages….

~ NBC NEWS JUNE 2021

I understand why municipalities shed these sewer responsibilities, BUT Aqua is growing to be a bit of a monopoly and the state laws (fair market bill, etc) protecting their ability to jump the rates is disturbing. Privatizing water systems has become a contentious issue around here in Chester County, as well as across the state. I understand that improvements have to happen, and that is what causes a majority of these sales in the first place, but I have been doing research and where rates have been jumped it has been astronomical.

I feel as more and more of these sales are inevitable that the PA PUC should amend the laws and have staggered tiers of rates (as in they can only increase rates every so many years) and that rates should be capped and people on fixed or low incomes and seniors, they should pay less. State elected officials need to amend the laws so people aren’t so scalped with rate increases. It’s not the fault of the residents of PA when their municipalities decide to sell. If Harrisburg did something about the rates to protect residents, people wouldn’t object as much.

And if you paid attention to what I have said for years about OVER-development out here, you would realize that ALL along part of the problems with all of this development are the stresses placed on infrastructure. D’oh infrastructure in part are sewer systems.

Which is again why I have maintained all along you can’t just storm the local proverbial Bastille, y’all need to Git R’ Done in HARRISBURG and get the elected officials there to amend the laws that have sway on a local level.

In East Whiteland, the sewer sale has been approved it looks like based on a press release I found yesterday as a matter of fact.

Essential Utilities’ Aqua Pennsylvania Subsidiary Acquires the Municipal Wastewater Assets of East Whiteland Township
August 12, 2022 02:47 PM Eastern Daylight Time

BRYN MAWR, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Essential Utilities Inc. (NYSE: WTRG) announced today that its Pennsylvania wastewater subsidiary has acquired the municipal wastewater assets of East Whiteland Township, Chester County for approximately $55 million.

East Whiteland Township’s wastewater system serves approximately 8,200 customer-equivalents including residential and commercial connections. The system is comprised of 57 miles of collection mains and 12 pump stations. The collection system accepts waste from the neighboring municipalities of Malvern Borough and Charlestown Township. Its waste passes through Aqua’s Valley Creek Trunk Sewer system to the Valley Forge Sewer Authority for treatment. Essential’s unregulated subsidiary, Aqua Resources, purchased the 9-mile Valley Creek trunk system in December 2018, which consists of gravity sewers, force mains and two pump stations, from the Tredyffrin Municipal Township Authority.

“It’s particularly pleasing to be entrusted with the wastewater assets of East Whiteland Township, a municipality for which we’ve provided water service for years,” said Essential Chairman and CEO Chris Franklin. “Our excellent water service in the East Whiteland community brought important credibility to our offer to handle wastewater service in the township. We look forward to serving both water and wastewater customers throughout the township in the future.”

Aqua Pennsylvania President Marc Lucca said, “We look forward to providing excellent service to the East Whiteland community and have already identified the need for $17 million in infrastructure improvements over the next decade including two major sewer extensions. That work will likely begin with the Planebrook and Bacton Hill roads’ sewer extensions,” said Lucca.

East Whiteland is the second acquisition completed by Essential’s Aqua companies in 2022. The company currently has six additional signed purchase agreements to acquire water and wastewater systems in three of our existing states, which have a total purchase price of more than $363 million and represent approximately 216,000 equivalent retail customers or equivalent dwelling units.

Essential is one of the largest publicly traded water, wastewater and natural gas providers in the U.S., serving approximately 5.5 million people across 10 states under the Aqua and Peoples brands. Essential is committed to excellence in proactive infrastructure investment, regulatory expertise, operational efficiency and environmental stewardship. The company recognizes the importance water and natural gas play in everyday life and is proud to deliver safe, reliable services that contribute to the quality of life in the communities it serves. For more information, visit http://www.essential.co.

Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater is a subsidiary of Aqua Pennsylvania and serves approximately 43,000 connections in 16 counties throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.

Donna Alston
Communications & Marketing
M: 484.368.4720
Media@Essential.co
Brian Dingerdissen
Investor Relations
610.645.1191
BJDingerdissen@Essential.co

I have to be honest, I don’t even know if this registered with East Whiteland residents. And again, I am not saying communities should NOT object to these sewer sales. I have not actually ever said that. It’s the misinformation and attacks lobbed at two good men in Willisotwn which bothers me. So yo’ Willistown, you wonder why your last township manager decided to leave? You wonder why we looking at you from different parts of the county ask if there is literally something in the water?

Another sewer issue related article from August 9th to note:

Inquirer:

Consumer Advocate sues to overturn Aqua Pa. takeover of Chesco town’s sewer system
An administrative law judge recommended rejecting Aqua’s $17.5 million acquisition of the Willistown Township sewer system. The PUC went ahead and approved it.

by Andrew Maykuth
Published Aug 9, 2022

The Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate has sued to block Aqua Pennsylvania’s takeover of a Chester County town’s sewer system, saying the $17.5 million sale will fail to deliver “affirmative public benefits” and would instead harm all Aqua customers with higher rates.

The Office of Consumer Advocate, headed by Patrick M. Cicero, asked the Commonwealth Court on Friday to overturn a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) decision last month that allowed Aqua to buy the wastewater system in Willistown Township, the latest acquisition of a public water and sewer system with the help of a 2016 state law that encourages the consolidation of utility ownership.

The Consumer Advocate’s Office, which reports to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, says the PUC erred by disregarding an administrative law judge’s recommendation to reject the sale, which the hearing examiner said would cause greater harms than benefits. The PUC voted 3-0 on June 8 to approve the sale to the Aqua, a subsidiary of Essential Utilities Inc., based in Bryn Mawr….But the consumer advocate said the case could have implications far beyond Willistown, a relatively small system serving nearly 2,300 customers in the affluent town near Malvern. The practical effect of the PUC’s ruling is that any acquisition by a “fit” buyer in the future will be approved if it can be shown it will promote regionalization of utility systems.

“This ruling, if allowed to stand, would eliminate the statutory requirement to conduct a fact-based weighing of harms and benefits to determine if a specific transaction will affirmatively promote the interest of the public in some substantial way,” wrote Erin L. Gannon, a senior assistant consumer advocate….

Robert A. Swift, a Willistown resident and private attorney, filed a separate Commonwealth Court lawsuit on Friday, seeking to block the sale.

The consumer advocate’s legal challenge could also be expanded to include Aqua’s $54.9 million purchase of the East Whiteland sewer system, which is adjacent to Willistown. A different administrative law judge had recommended that the PUC reject the East Whiteland transaction, saying that Aqua had not demonstrated any cost reductions or efficiencies from deal. Despite the recommendation, the PUC voted 3-0 on July 29 to approve the sale.

~ philadelphia inquirer auguest 9th, 2022

Another thing to read is a WHYY article on this Act 12 from 2017.

WHYY: Act 12, explained: Customers more likely to see rates rise with Pa.’s new water privatization process
ByEmily Previti August 18, 2017

Pennsylvania is already known among water companies and their shareholders as being a good state for doing business.

And now, it’s even better.

That was the conclusion of a report out this week from Moody’s Investor’s Service.

The change is Act 12, a law that offers a different way to privatize water systems in Pennsylvania.

~WHYY 2017

Now of course we go back to the PUC Public Utilities Commission which is SUPPOSED to act to ensure the safety and well-being of Pennsylvania residents, but all you have to do is look at the pipelines issue to see how much they “care.”

Pennsylvania is kind of a cesspool. It doesn’t mean our local communities have to be. But lots of local communities cannot see the forest for the trees.

Nasty signs now aimed at two good men accomplish nothing. They are just nasty signs. We all know I am an equal opportunity offender when it comes to politics and politicians. But Bob Lange and Bill Shoemaker are good guys. They care about their communities. You don’t have to like them or agree with them, but remember these are two people who will actually have a conversation with residents.

But these signs? They literally accomplish nothing and are abhorrent. You want to fight to save your sewer system although your municipality is saying they can’t afford to keep it? That’s fine, fight for what you believe in…but do it without these nasty signs.

THAT is what I am saying.

Quite simply: Rude A.F.

down the rabbit hole: what happened to arbor learning academy in malvern, pa?

Might as well go full on down the rabbit hole like Alice in Wonderland. Arbor Learning Academy in Malvern on Ravine Road. What in the Sam Hell has happened there??? There is something brewing and bubbling and a police investigation and it’s CLOSED?

Recently as in within the past few days I was getting messages asking me if I knew what happened to Arbor Learning Academy. I had no clue. I pulled up their website yesterday I think it was and it was…well…scrubbed. When I went to pull up https://www.arborlearningacademy.com/our-team , what I got was:

O.K. that definitely made me interested and guess what? I picked it all off on a web cache.

Then this showed up and is being passed around Facebook and like everything else in this post is publicly sourced:

But what did this grammatically challenged letter even mean? To most families the woman who was “fired” was always the one folks thought was the owner. (The word “fired” is in quotes because you will see a little further down she claims otherwise, so it’s in dispute it seems?) See this post from some point in Stepford Wives For Totalitarianism where she self-describes as “owner”:

I pulled the corporate stuff that anyone can view on the PA site to look up corporate names. This is all I got:

So who the hell actually owns this joint? A great mystery of life. Then this thing appeared on Facebook, of which didn’t get the whole explanation which is why I put “fired” in quotes because this differs from whomever is now saying they are the “owner” :

So I am guessing, that missive above prompted this next screen shot. A reporter reaching out. But haven’t seen an article yet:

So what else? Oh I pulled some of the inspections things off of the PA Compass website of which I pulled a selection and you can all go look up it all yourselves:

Alrighty then, sign me glad I do not have need of one of these daycare places. Except there are some really good ones. I will be honest from the time I saw this being proposed on some agenda in East Whiteland I thought this was hinky, mostly because I found the location totally odd.

I still, like the rest of you, do not have answers. But something is obviously going on. So what gives? It would be a neat trick to learn who actually REALLY owns this Arbor Learning Academy wouldn’t it? And should this place even re-open? Would people trust it?

what are the responsibilities of community options inc and their group home at 118 spring road, malvern, pa?

Once upon a time at 118 Spring Road in Malvern, PA in East Whiteland Township, Chester County was lovely family home in General Warren Village. They celebrated Christmas, Halloween, births, deaths, graduations, weddings and other celebrations. They were part of a tight knit community. And General Warren Village is multi-generational which is also why I find it so special.

But eventually, everyone was gone and the family who were left and all had their own homes and whatnot, sold the property. I think they probably thought they were selling to a good company, but I remain jaded about these companies….who run group houses for disadvantaged adults.

No one, myself included, has any negative feelings towards the heirs of 118 Spring Road. They only did what their sad duty and responsibility to surviving family and deceased family had them do. We all wish some of the homes our families have known could stay captured in time and in our families. But we live in a rather expensive world and just often, well can’t.

118 Spring Road was purchased by a non-profit out of New Jersey. Called Community Options, Inc. Like a HUGE Devereaux or KenCrest. Only because they are nationwide, I have to wonder what is altruistic in their business model and what is profit-centric?

These non-profits who house people and own properties are entities, and right or wrong, I am skeptical of them. Not for what they SAY they do, but for what they sometimes DON’T do and they are privately owned, so if there wasn’t profit somewhere would their calling to help still exist? And because of the nature of who they house, they enjoy some Federal protections, don’t they? And their non-profit status means they escape the taxes the rest of us pay, correct? So these group homes should be close to perfect, correct? Perfect for the families entrusting them with their loved ones, the residents, and their neighbors, except they often are NOT terrific, correct?

My neighborhood lives with a KenCrest house. The relationship has been bumpy over the years. Their have been issues from time to time, but not EVER issues like I am hearing about concerning 118 Spring Road Malvern. My neighborhood and KenCrest have worked to build a better relationship, and if we see a problem, we have people in their organization we can call, and things get taken care of. But this Community Options is giving me a whiff of all of the problems with Devereux housing in the area, ok? Sadly, the Devereaux houses and Devereaux make the news way too often in Chester County, don’t they? Horrible stories.

But back to Community Options Inc. which now own 118 Spring Road, Malvern. Community Options has no Chester County office per se, so who knows who regionally is responsible? Delaware County, Allentown, or King of Prussia? See screenshots below in case anyone, media included wish to contact them.

So this morning as in today, I get a message from a friend whose elderly mother is a neighbor:

Great ….they just had 3 police cars at the group house next to my mother’s home. A patient beat up a female worker and ripped off her blouse. Then there was fighting– the police now in the neighbors yard on the other side of their house. Cops were took him to the ground several times until the third car got there and they got him under control.

~concerned person over incident at 118 spring road 8/6/22

I asked my friend a few more questions about this house which is fairly new in my opinion/estimation to have so many issues. I am told police have responded to this address several times so is that the job of our local police to babysit a non-profit’s property where they don’t pay taxes that support things like first responders and infrastructure? Why do neighbors and police have the added burden of dealing with this? I also heard that East Whiteland had to contact them about maintaining the property with things as basic as cutting the lawn and weeds?

My friend further said to me:

Don’t they have to run an orderly business and have control of their patients when they are permitted to be placed into neighborhoods ? As it sure looks like they have a pattern of showing they are unable to control safely the patients they are housing there. No less the safety of senior citizens and young children living around them. What recourse do we have to protect our elderly relatives that live by them ?

~~concerned person over incident at 118 spring road 8/6/22

And that is thing of it: there are elderly residents who have lived there and raised families there, as well as young families who are currently raising families who are starting to feel unsafe. So maybe this house gets special Federal Government love, but what about the rights of EVERYONE ELSE?

Now I found a disturbing New York report or article on homes like this and they specifically referenced an “early action letter” being sent to Community Options NY.

And I have been checking out reviews and such on the Internet about Community Options Inc. Take Indeed which is a job website do NOT have glowing reviews from employees. (“A terrible place to work.” ; “Horrible”; “Poor work environment”, etc) The Google reviews are not much better.

So has anyone seen their licenses with the Commonwealth of PA? Did they have to go in front of any boards or commissions in East Whiteland Township to move into a residential neighborhood and does a group home like this require licensing or a change in zoning?

I pulled the deed transfer and the mortgage on 118 Spring Road. I am embedding them here. I also noted something kind of weird on a signature page where the notary public also signed on someone else’s signature line. A very long time ago, for a few years, I was a notary public. I never signed on someone else’s signature line, but maybe some rule somewhere has changed?

I also pulled the mortgage Community Options Inc in case any of the neighbors are interested. It looks like there are stipulations? I also pulled the IRS form 990 for 2020. Remember about what I said about making money? Well…ummm…and oh yeah nice salaries.

I am NOT against special needs houses in neighborhoods. I have even seen them in fancy Gladwyne, PA neighborhoods. But there are good group houses and not so fabulous group houses.

And as per some perusing on the Internet:

“All personal care homes are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Personal care homes also meet state and local health, fire and safety laws and regulations. The personal care home regulations are available at the following link: 55 Pa. “

So Community Options Inc, ball is in your court. Talk to neighbors, apologize to neighbors (and township), check on the safety of your employees. Robert T Stack is the CEO or something. He signed the mortgage. You can find him on Twitter at @RobertStackCOI . You can find THEM on Twitter @COINATIONAL. According to ProPublica Stack makes something like $948,380.00 so maybe he can reassure us in Chester County and inspect the house personally?

To conclude: YES those group houses for adults with various disabilities have a legal right to exist in our communities. HOWEVER, neighborhood residents of group house locations have the right to not be upset by houses with problems like 118 Spring Road Malvern is thus far. In that vein, people entrust their relatives to these companies with these group houses and expect the residents to be safe and well cared for. And the employees of these group homes should also be safe. Was what happened today something that would make anyone feel safe?

What are the licenses and permits involved (state, local, etc) for this Community Options Inc. location at 118 Spring Road Malvern PA 19355?

What are the rights of the neighbors who live near this home who have been there in some cases decades?

These group homes are everywhere. As I said I have one owned by someone else in my neighborhood. In my neighborhood, the group home’s owners have worked really hard to create an environment that everyone can live with. It’s not always perfect, but as residents we know exactly whom to contact in the event of a problem.

Zoning for Spring Road:

Zoning for a pre-existing special needs home in East Whiteland:

It would be nice if this new place at 118 Spring Road owned by Community Options Inc. made an effort with neighbors and the company which owns this location took ownership of the issues like the police activity today and addressed and dealt with it. The community is watching and the community has rights, too, correct? I mean how does a house like this just move into a regular residential neighborhood anyway? Isn’t it an institutional usage?

Thanks for stopping by.

for the love of dogs: loss

Boo Boo Schnitzel 2012-2022

A few short days ago, I introduced you to my dog (see this post.)

Today we said good-bye to him at VRC in Malvern. The grief has been hiding at the edges since we took him in last week. Now it’s here. The tears are running so fast, I can’t see some moments. But writing has always been my catharsis, so I have to write it out. I need to tell a little of his story. A beautiful rescue dog who will forever, remain in my heart.

He is one of the happiest dogs we have ever had. Always wanted to play, always wanted to bring you a toy. Or greet you with a leaf he picked up off of the ground. A fearless chaser of squirrels, chipmunks, deer.

He came to us at six months old when he was dumped with his sibling on the streets of Philadelphia. I can’t find his first photo when I first met him. I have it somewhere.

Boo Boo came to us unexpectedly. We weren’t looking for him. I had (back then) recently said good-bye to his predecessors, Iggy and Mr. Peanut. Iggy we had lost at 8 to canine lymphoma. As I was finishing my radiation for breast cancer, Iggy was starting chemotherapy.

Anyway, one day a few months after losing first one then the other, I got a phone call at the office from Bill Smith, then at Main Line Animal Rescue. There was a puppy. He and his sister had been dumped on the streets of Philadelphia. A PSPCA volunteer was taking his sister. “Did I want him?” my friend Betsy asked (she was also on the call.) She knew it was soon, and we had just said good bye to Iggy and Mr. Peanut a couple of months before. Then they texted me a photo. It was all over. He came home. He was, as they say, a foster fail. He never left.

Keeping watch for squirrels and foxes and deer and chipmunks.

Ten years have gone by in a flash. I wish I could find the amazing words like John Grogan or James Herriot, but right now I feel, well, gutted. I can see him on the very first day we bought him home and so many moments in between.

He was almost Clarence, but then he was just a Boo Boo.

The kaleidoscope of memories includes him marching back and forth on top of the old logs in the woods, daring a chipmunk to pop up, chasing a deer out of my garden beds, investigating Christmas presents under the tree, rolling in deer poop (yes really, he was Captain Deer Poop), racing through the snow to chase who knows what, barking barking barking (boy loved to bark), curled up on someone’s lap, the grand poobah of the bed, begging food, under my feet like a trip hazard in the kitchen while I cooked, giving us kisses, and chasing the hose.

Oh that dog chasing the hose and water. I could garden up until watering time, and then I had to put him in the house. Then he would sit inside and whine. He just loved chasing the water.

Boo Boo also had a group of ladies. My friends. They would come over and he would sit in their laps making eyes at them.

Puppy dreams as a puppy.

This was a dog who was just happy, so very happy. He loved and was so loved in return.

Then last Tuesday, his world fell apart. It was like he couldn’t control his limbs. We called our regular vet Dr. Hahn at Main Line Vet in Malvern. “Take him to VRC.” Was he sure? Yes he was sure. We went to VRC.

At first they thought it was Myasthenia gravis. Then that test was negative, and so was the extra large tick borne disease panel. Yesterday they did an MRI. The only thing left was something brain related. We almost lost him going under anesthesia to go through the MRI machine. His heart rate dropped dramatically. They stabilized him, he went into the MRI on a ventilator, and he did really well with the test.

Dr. Tracy our neurologist called as he was coming out of anesthesia. We finally had what it was: something kind of rare. Immune mediated meningitis – not environmental. With a lot of dogs the recovery rate can be up to 85%. They treat it with steroids and something cytosar, which is a chemotherapy drug. His brain stem was inflamed, brain swollen.

Deep breath. Here we were again with a dog with a chemotherapy drug. Boo Boo was already on steroids, but they started the infusion yesterday afternoon, and we were ALL hopeful. This time yesterday, I was making plans to bring him home.

At a little before 9:00 AM the phone rang. It was Dr. Tracy. Boo Boo was worse, could we come in. Basically, we were out of options, and we needed to come back for his final time on earth.

We got to VRC and the parking lot was jammed. So many people, so many dogs. They took us back to ICU. We could see his time had come. VRC tried so hard. It was just simply too late when we finally figured it out. In the ICU with Boo Boo was that Bernese Mountain dog that got stuck in the mud on the banks of the Schuylkill River for 13 days until some kayakers saw her. She seems to be holding her own.

We weren’t so lucky. Boo Boo wasn’t so lucky. I am glad for that dog’s humans, but I selfishly wish my boy was in his bed under my desk as I write. Just like he has been for the past decade.

We went to the good bye room and waited for them to disconnect him from his IVs. My friend’s daughter is a nurse at VRC and she bought him to us, which was another blessing in the midst of this raw sadness and grief I am feeling. She is also a magnificent human being like Dr. Tracy, and has that soul of true kindness just like her mama.

We all held him, and in true Boo Boo fashion, he tried to rally because his humans were with him. He wagged his tail some, and gave us all a lot of kisses. That almost broke me then and there, because he had not been able to do that really for a week.

Boo Boo loved the snow.

I told him I loved him and always would. They came back with the drugs. I held him as he passed. He quietly slipped away and I felt his last beat of his little and huge dog heart. Dr. Tracy was with us the entire time. I am forever grateful for his care and for genuinely caring about our dog.

We are not bringing his ashes home. He is in every corner of our home and forever in our hearts. He is being donated to Penn Vet for science. Maybe then someday, other families will have answers more quickly and not go through what we are going through. Veterinary medicine, like human medicine is constantly evolving. I daresay, even a decade ago, we would not have even had this last week with him.

Now all we will have left after the sadness and grief recedes, are memories. Memories of a dog whom I loved fiercely (even when he decided to pee on the edge of a cabinet, or door, or something he wasn’t supposed to), and who loved all of us just as fiercely in return. It will be a long time before I stop thinking I see him running through the back yard into the woods, or running OVER a squirrel to chase the one beyond that particular squirrel. At night I will continue to hear the bark bark bark of his nightly routine and woods patrol for a long time.

Dogs give us that unconditional love. In return, we have to do what’s right when it’s time. And that is the hardest part, setting them free of what is ailing them. We want to keep them close, but then we have to say good bye, because it’s the terribly hard and right thing to do.

Well that is the abbreviated story of 10 years of a glorious dog life. How lucky we were to have him.

Chase those heavenly squirrels now my darling Boo. Run free forever. The bad stuff is over.

Me? I wish I could be brave and have the proverbial stiff upper lip. But I just can’t. My heart aches. These magnificent creatures are in our lives for such short periods of time. There is never enough time. Then they live forever in our hearts and memories.

Run free my darling dog. The bad things are over.

pay it forward: contribute to the love thy neighbor fund

When a friend texts you a photo like this holding THEIR wedding photo, you feel like the room is spinning. And in my world, we have been so caught up in a very sick dog in ICU at VRC, I had no idea my friend’s barn caught fire Saturday morning.

Thankfully, none of the animals or humans living on the farm were killed or injured. And no, the house didn’t catch fire. But they had just moved to the farm and were painting the farmhouse and fixing her floors….so all of their possessions: furniture, clothes, pictures, kid’s toys, books, shoes, etc, etc WERE IN THE BARN. Along with farm equipment.

The barn and contents are a total loss. Thanks to the marvelous firefighters in Chester County, the house was saved and so were all humans and animals. Kimberton Fire Company took the lead here, and they were so amazing.

It is a daunting loss. But we love our friend Ashley May Brenner and we are paying it forward for her, like she does for everyone else, every single day. It’s who she is. A hard working, pretty, intelligent woman who is also a young widow. She has the biggest heart. And she needs not only a barn raising right now, she needs a life raising.

So some of us who are her friends, along with some of our friends have banded together to give Ashley and her family a hand up. We have started a Go Fund Me and truly hope to surpass our posted goal because fundraising platforms charge a percentage. We are hoping you can help us out? Any amount you can spare?

Please?

Here is what we said in the Go Fund Me:

Love They Neighbor❤️

This past weekend an amazing local family lost just about everything in an early morning barn fire. Having just moved in two weeks ago all of their furniture, clothes, toys, and household items were being stored in the barn while they did some painting and renovating. While the true blessing is that no one was hurt and the animals were all rescued safely by our amazing local fire companies the reality is that a home needs furniture, and lamps and stuff, closets need filled, kids need toys, and so on. I have had the absolute pleasure of knowing this family for several years now and while I agree with her that all that was lost were just things and things can be replaced I also believe when a friend, a neighbor, when anyone needs help you simply help in any small way you can. This woman is truly an amazing, strong, and beautiful soul.. having lost her husband unexpectedly one month ago, to moving her family and animals to their new farm two weeks ago, to now this she has been nothing short of courageous and strong through it all. Always finding the silver lining in anything and everything she can… she is amazing, her kids are amazing, her animals bring smiles to so many, and it’s time to show them some good old local love in the form of a “house raising”. While the barn raising will happen in the future it’s the house we are focused on filling now… so…the barn is joining together with several other amazing local community members to reach out far and wide for help…

Help comes in all ways and forms… it comes in donating gift cards to the family for supplies, food, and more…. in contributing to a go fund me that will be going live later today, and most importantly through kind words, love, and support from the community around you. It takes a village and this village is going to show up for this family.. so if you can help rebuild dreams, help fill the house, help create new memories and smiles thank you. Thank you for showing this amazing family what a village can do when led by neighborly love…❤️

And… always, always, always remember your local fire departments.. always there when you need them and always going above and beyond.

❤️Love what…. and who…are local ❤️

If you want to help with this “house raising” gift cards can be dropped off at the barn (425 Little Conestoga Rd Downingtown). If you have furniture or other items to donate off the wish list please send me a private message to coordinate. 

If you’d like to send a card or note or something else to show your neighborly love that too can be dropped off here at the barn. If you’d like to help delivering furniture and other things let me know! First load is headed over today!! And if you’d like to help in any other way please just reach out….

Let’s join together to show this amazing family what a community can do when we all lend a helping hand❤️

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you❤️❤️❤️

~LOVE THY NEIGHBOR ❤️ASHLEY MAY BRENNER FUND❤️

Hunting for anything that might have survived among the ashes.

But for the Grace of God go any of us here. This could be any of us. So we are asking for the community to rally for one of our own.

Here is the story told by Kimberton Fire Company (CLICK HERE.)

I really hope that people in Chester County can put aside their differences that seem to grow by the day to help this family.

At the end of this post will be a slideshow of photos. This next photo is what the barn looked like before the fire. It was a magnificent 18th century barn and they also want to rebuild.

Shortly after they moved into Cloverleaf farm just outside the village of Kimberton.

Please help if you can. Even sharing to someone who can help if you can’t is a help. Yes this is personal for me, because Ashley is my friend. And she did not ask us to do this, because she is so self-reliant and independent. But she is our friend and we want to help. So please consider helping us help her.

Here is the link to LOVE THY NEIGHBOR ❤️ASHLEY MAY BRENNER FUND❤️ or https://gofund.me/55805ac1

Thank you for stopping by and thanks for reading.

But for the Grace of God go any of us. Also, please support your local fire department wherever you live.