for christmas, maybe it IS time to rethink the aqua of it all?

Well I was talking to a very dear friend today. She lives in the New Garden area. She is one of the most diligent and practical people I know. Literally have known her since I was like maybe 12 or 13. Our parents were friends. And she quietly says to me today something about have I seen what is going on in New Garden Township about their AQUA issues. I said yes, a bit and I thought gosh I didn’t even send her my post on the extra special interim manager, but anyway….

Then my jaw hit the floor. My friend said her water bill under AQUA ownership went from $250 each billing cycle to $900!

That news made me go watch the recent New Garden meeting recordings that my friend and friend to all communities Ginny Kerslake had posted on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/Ginny4PA/videos/1221133465137182/

https://www.facebook.com/Ginny4PA/videos/837250724147851/

https://www.facebook.com/Ginny4PA/videos/524162036279162/

So now I am wondering (aloud) if municipalities selling to AQUA is a mistake?

I don’t think we can un-ring the bell on inked deals, and things are still in court that would potentially stop the sales in East Whiteland and Willistown, although I find that unlikely, but who knows?

These municipalities can’t afford their sewer systems any longer, and I do believe that is true, BUT now I am wondering what part utility companies have in that?

And something else I am now wondering about might sound crazy BUT is there ANY way that AQUA could force those of us on septic and wells to hook up to them?

Oh and I think AQUA, or I should say I know AQUA watches this blog. But as a consumer and a resident where one of these sales is pending, I am actually allowed to have questions. Even now. And WHY do I have questions? Watching that whole crazy recent meeting that was held in New Garden. That and having a friend today tell me how much their bill increased (with kids in college and not there all of the time, no less.)

I also keep coming back to those lovely laws in Harrisburg that allow AQUA to increase their rates. So now I wonder aloud what so many others wonder: is AQUA just getting what they paid back via these increases so is that a good thing for consumers in the end?

https://www.pahouse.com/InTheNews/Opinion/?id=126232

Above is a link to a press release by State Rep Christina Sappey from this September. This is what jumped out:

Recently, rate increases for water and wastewater services provided by Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. (Aqua) went into effect for over 400,000 customers in 32 counties across the commonwealth. Many residents, including seniors on fixed incomes, have been surprised and frustrated to receive bills that have nearly doubled.

The current rules regarding rate regulations and water utility sales are not in the consumer’s best interest. It is imperative that reform is considered in Harrisburg to prevent future prioritization of corporate profits over residents’ access to a basic necessity, such as water.

I share the frustration of Aqua customers going through this current increase. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is the regulatory authority in Pennsylvania for utility rates. Utilities wishing to increase rates must submit a request to the commission for approval. The PUC is currently comprised of three commissioners, each appointed by the governor on a five-year term and confirmed by the State Senate.

When Aqua submitted this request in 2021, I urged the PUC to hold in-person hearings for residents to voice concerns. When that request was denied, State Rep. John Lawrence and I hosted a telephonic public hearing and I joined many of you in testifying against the then-proposed additional charges. Despite these efforts, the PUC commissioners voted unanimously to approve the rate increase in May of 2022.

Recently, I wrote to the PUC providing examples of the negative impact the approved rates have had and requesting a review of current charges to ensure they align with the commission-approved rates. I encourage anyone who feels their bill does not properly reflect their usage or the approved rate to file a complaint with the PUC.

Today’s state laws allow for inflated valuations of financially solvent public water and wastewater utilities by private companies, enticing local municipalities and authorities to sell for a large return in the short term, only for those costs to be recouped through the ratepayer’s wallet. These processes are done with little transparency or direct input from those that it impacts most, ratepayers.

~ STATE REP CHRISTINA SAPPEY 9/30/22

I want to be abundantly clear here: I still do NOT approve the way Willistown residents have been treating Bob Lange and Bill Shoemaker. There is a THIRD supervisor, and there was the THIRD supervisor who was all for the sale and then resigned before she had been a supervisor very long, correct? What was her name? Oh yes, Barbara Handelin, right?

My other issue with this in Willistown is the inability for some residents to realize this is NOT a Democrat vs. Republican issue, it is a COMMUNITY issue that affects EVERYONE, i.e. it is non-partisan. I have NOT been a fan of the shenanigans to date and every meeting it is essentially the SAME people repeating themselves. Surely there are OTHER residents affected, yes? Well people, be polite and either zoom a meeting and comment or go in person. But the same people speaking pretty much every time? Umm, people tune that out after a while, even if they believe in the issue. And where were all of you while Willistown was deciding to sell or not? Why is it in Willistown it feels like people wake up only AFTER the horse has left the proverbial barn?

So yes, I am indeed wondering aloud in the final month of 2022 about this. It doesn’t mean I have been “won over”, it means for the first time I am articulating concerns I have always had. It’s like now that the 3 ring circus in Willistown has quieted some I have had time to think.

And when one of your more long term friends tells you HOW MUCH their bill jumped, well, it HAS to make you think. And of course how it all went down in New Garden also has to make you think. All those supervisors singing the chorus of hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil etc etc, right? Quid est veritas? What is truth?

I do know that Willistown and East Whiteland BOTH notified residents, held meetings, etc. COVID or not, meetings were zoomed if not in person and well, a lot of people did nothing. I even kept putting it out there. But New Garden? That place is rather odd, isn’t it?

And I also really want to know if those of us on wells and septic will be allowed to stay as we are? I have never heard that questioned answered. I also wonder aloud if AQUA could try to be more community minded? What if they supported measures in Harrisburg that might put the brakes on their rate jumping seemingly willy nilly?

It’s a recession. In my humble opinion we have been playing kick the can down the road with recession since circa 2008. Maybe it’s time to just stop and think on this a little longer?

Sign me, thinking out loud. Happy December, y’all.

Ratepayers hold Aqua, New Garden accountable for skyrocketing wastewater bills

11/22/2022 04:28PM ● By Richard Gaw

For more than four hours at the New Garden Elementary School auditorium on Nov. 21, three factions sorted through the smoldering mass of information that lay at the creation of an agreement of sale that has been on the front burner of controversy in the township for the past several years.

In one corner of the room, the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors sat a table facing another table occupied by three executives from Aqua Pennsylvania (Aqua), including its president Marc Lucca. The most dominant presence at the meeting, however, were the more than 200 township residents who sat and stood in protest of the reason that drew them there: the massive increase they are seeing in their wastewater bills from Aqua – as much as a 140 percent increase over the past year – that are arriving in their mailboxes as part of the residue from the township’s sale of its wastewater system to the Big Water giant for $29.5 million in 2020….

Nearly from the start, the patience of those in the audience to sit through the complicated alphabet soup of agencies and legal and legislative delays was paper thin, particularly during an hour-long presentation by former township official and director of planning and projects Spence Andress, who painstakingly sifted through a two-inch high stack of documents that described the minutia of what led to the eventual sale of the township’s system.

He said that a major factor leading to the decision by the Board of Supervisors and the township’s Sewer Authority to sell off the system was influenced by the cost of mitigating the infrastructure problems of the township’s vastly outdated wastewater system, which would cost the township an estimated $1.5 million a year, as well as an additional $1.5 million for debt service.

‘Allow us to speak!’

Halfway through Andress’ presentation, Peter Mrosinski and Margo Woodacre, two of the most prominent voices of opposition, shared their argument that the nature of the meeting was designed to shut down the residents. Their argument reflected the contents of a flyer that was circulated by KWA before the meeting that said that a former agreement with board chairman Steve Allaband would allow the group to lead the discussion, but that the idea was rejected earlier that afternoon by the supervisors. “Unfortunately, our supervisors once again appear to be covering their tracks and doing the bidding of Aqua to silence any meaningful discussion,” the flyer read.

Pa. approves increase in Aqua water and sewer rates. How much, it won’t say.
The Pa. Public Utility Commission granted Aqua’s rate hike request, apparently overriding a judge’s recommendation for a lower increase. But the PUC will take several days to announce the details.

Inquirer/ by Andrew Maykuth
Published May 12, 2022

Aqua Pennsylvania’s rate hike: The price per flush will go up 50% as early as Thursday
Aqua’s water rates will increase about 10%, and wastewater rates will go up 51% this week. In towns whose sewer systems were recently acquired by Aqua, the impact will be more severe.

Inquirer/by Andrew Maykuth
Published May 17, 2022

It’s time to repeal the Pa. law that allows the sale of municipal water systems | Editorial
Officials in Bucks County were absolutely right not to sell their system to a private company. Now, lawmakers must reverse the measure known as Act 12.

Inquirer/ by The Editorial Board
Published Sep 18, 2022

As Pa. municipalities sell water systems to for-profit companies, consumers are left paying the price | Editorial
It is irresponsible for local governments to peddle these valuable public assets and leave customers at the mercy of businesses who are all but guaranteed to jack up their bills.

Inquiere/ by The Editorial Board
Updated Aug 18, 2022

hey lower merion residents, is this your billboard future?

Hey Lower Merion Township/Penn Valley/Gladwyne is this your future?

The secret is out. Once again the billboard baron is on the march. A reminder of what they did in East Whiteland Township, Chester County:

Oh and these are the trees they weren’t allowed to take in East Whiteland because residents went to PennDOT:

What has recently been heard regarding East Whiteland is that Catalyst withdrew their application from Penndot not so long ago and something like the billboard site is being sold to yet another billboard company?

And here are more views of current uses of the West Conshohocken sign not really so far away from where they want them in Lower Merion:

Yeah so read what came out from one Lower Merion Township Commissioner, Josh Grimes. And people say the commissioner in Bryn Mawr, Scott Zelov is all for moving the billboards so it now becomes the problem of another area of the township? Pretty obnoxious if true, right? Especially given all of the support other commissioners have gladly provided to him all these years over billboards in Bryn Mawr? Really hope this isn’t true don’t you? I also wonder who he’s using for a lawyer this time? Because unless I am mistaken I believe the lawyer he used and East Whiteland is actually Radnor Commissioner Jack Larkin and I wonder how he would feel if the shoe was on the other foot and they wanted to put billboards in Radnor?

And what’s with the carrot and rabbit psychology by billboard company? Kind of like what they did in East Whiteland, right? Perhaps it’s being done this way in Lower Merion because the objective all along was to get the giant TV billboards on the Schuylkill Expressway? Maybe the billboards should go up at “Maple Hill”? That’s in Gladwyne, right?

Please visit Daily Mail to read article

So my opinion which I’m entitled to have as I hope lower Merion fights these billboards because just because the man can buy a house in Lower Merion it doesn’t mean Lower Merion should have to be the location for his billboards unless they’re going on his own front lawn, Anyway, here is what Lower Merion residents are now facing:

radnor bought ardrossan land that is farmed by a tenant farmer but perhaps it’s time to be more hands on with regard to chemicals used to plan for a better future?

I still don’t know what to think about the Radnor farmer. First there is the whole low rent thing in a time when Radnor Township’s finances are ummm shall we say not fabulous? And that is no dig at farmers, I support farmers. But this is a farmer farming on public land and well, that changes the landscape, right?

I did a Right to Know on the whole farmer in the dell recently, and I have to say, I still am left wondering about so much.

Now in 2013, Radnor inked a deal to buy 71 acres of Ardrossan for $11+ million. Wheeler Field, Quarry Field, Rye Field. “Everyone loves the cows” was a catchy phrase back then attributed to a commissioner then who is on Delaware County Council now, and some say has higher aspirations still. The farmer is also on two other fields nearby supposedly, correct? Not owned by Radnor Township but old Ardrossan Land?

So there is a farmer farming on the Radnor Township land. That started I guess around 2015 as per an old Patch article? In same family that worked for Hope Scott when it was Ardrossan proper, correct? Main Line Media News reported back then that residents were concerned about chemicals being used on the land. At that time, Main Line Media News quoted Commissioner Elaine Paul Schaefer (now of Delaware County Council):

“I believe a license agreement with the current farmer will be on the agenda for one of our next meetings, so we will have the opportunity to hear resident comment and discuss all the issues involved,” said Schaefer. “The current farmer has been farming the Ardrossan land for over 25 years, and his father farmed it for the generation before him. I believe that most residents would like to see this farmer continue to farm the land, as his very unique operation provides the beloved cows that beautify the landscape. As I understand it, the proposed license will require that the farmer utilize best management practices and adhere to the NCRS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) approved soil conservation plan.”ELAINE PAUL SCHAEFER TO MAIN LINE MEDIA NEWS 3/3/2015

So, I think it’s TRULY wonderful part of Ardrossan is still farmed, don’t misunderstand me, but well, what chemicals are being used on the fields should be an open and evolving discussion, right? Way back when Radnor inked this deal with the farmer, people urged the farmer to be as organic as possible, correct?

People started asking questions again this year. And Radnor Township is nothing sort of SUPER TOUCHY when it comes to ANYTHING Ardrossan.

So my Right to Know. I filed it, included a note saying hi to the solicitor. Solicitor got my email, Radnor open records officer apparently did NOT. I did not know any of this, and discovered it when I realized I hadn’t received an acknowledgment of any kind, rejection, response. So I filed an appeal to Open Records in Harrisburg and let Radnor know. The open records officer at Radnor was super apologetic and got what I requested together. She was very nice, no issues with her. I subsequently withdrew my appeal at the state level because that was the right thing to do.

I have been going through what I requested. Some of the records are rather hazy. I believe that is because that is how documents were given to Radnor and quite frankly, the farmer should provide clear copies for that sweetheart deal he gets to continue to farm. He might not like that opinion, but he farms on public land, and he is answerable to said public.

Now interestingly enough someone Radnor-centric said to me when I was starting this why didn’t I just go to the fields and take water/soil samples since it is public land. Ummm. Yeah. No can do. It is public land with a tenant who has a leasehold, so that would be wrong, be trespassing. I do however, think the state and county, if not the township should do routine testing.

So if you take the Quarry field, from what I was able to see on some documents which were fuzzy at best, the following products look like they were used used on Quarry Field in 2022 (Soybeans):


TORCH: manufactured by Farmalinx Pty LTD; a preemergent herbicide for annual weeds


FRONT RUNNER: manufactured by Atticus; preemergent for weeds, where crop is specifically for soybeans. Possibly acute hazard for aquatic environment?


CREDIT41 – manufactured by Keystone Pest Solutions. “Credit 41 Extra is a post-emergent, systemic herbicide with no soil residual activity. It is generally non-selective and gives broad-spectrum control of many annual weeds, perennial weeds, woody brush and trees.”


Other post-emergent chemicals used: Fome kill, Status, Turbo, Durango – all weed killers, but with minimal toxicity.

Now remember, I wrote about the chemical issues before and a resident went to the township and provided thoughtful commentary about chemicals used by the farmer in March of 2022:

Although not directly noted (as I do not know how to add the direction arrow to the Quarry Field), between the bottom of the Quarry Field and the boundaries of the Skunk Hollow Community Garden, lies the Little Darby Creek. This creek is a part of the Darby Creek system, is stocked, on an annual basis, with trout for fishing by both adults and especially children, is played in and most importantly, the endangered American Eel has been directly observed moving up through this creek and into the Willows Pond. 

Thus, there are several herbicides delineated to be toxic to fish, to water invertebrates and generally to be avoided.  DEVOUR, by Federal law, is NOT to be used in parks, golf courses and playgrounds – thus, as this field is Township owned, PLU, this herbicide should not be used!

Thank you…. for passing on to me the official records for herbicides applied to the Township-owned property called ‘the Quarry field’, in which the farmer….applies to the field in order to grow a good crop of Corn, that will be fed to his cattle. The records that I have received are from 2016, 2017, 2018, with the note that nothing was grown in the Quarry Field in 2020. What seems to be absent are any records for 2019 and 2021. 

For purposes of review, the principal herbicides applied have been consistent across the time span, including Acuron, Princep, Warrior II, Max Supreme, Abundit Extra, Devour, LamCap II, Gramoxone.

ACURON is a Syngenta product, an herbicide for long-season re-emergent weed control and specifically for Corn. It is a restricted  pesticide/herbicide, and hazardous to the applicator through skin irritation and allergic reaction. This product may damage fertility.  It is a mix of chemicals, including Atrazine. “Research has liked Atrazine to birth defects and cancer in people, and even miniscule doses can chemically castrate frogs. It has been banned or is being phased out in more than 35 countries but is the second-most commonly used herbicide in the United States. “It is known as an Endocrine-disrupting pesticide. “

PRINCEP, aka Simazine, is manufactured by Syngenta, focusing on corn, to address 40 broad-leafed weeds and annual grasses. The chemical is not persistent in soil. It is a restricted -applied chemical, with applicator issues of eye irritation, and a suspected but not proven carcinogen. The MSDS sheets indicated that it is toxic to fish and other water invertebrates. 

WARRIOR II – manufactured by Syngenta US. The primary use is to ‘defeat’ beetles, weevils and borers. This chemical is HIGHLY toxic to bees if directly exposed or if ‘’visiting’ flowers in bloom. P.S. Now being used to address Spotted Lanternfly. 

MAXSUPREME – is a liquid activator adjuvant specifically formulated to maximize herbicide performance for the designated crop. 

ABUNDIT EXTRA/EDGE – a Syngenta product, this is a pre-emergent herbicide, containing Glysophate which is formulated for ‘tolerant corn’. It has acute toxicity as an inhalant. It is noted on the USMS sheets to avoid spillage near water, as it is toxic to water organisms. 

DEVOUR, manufactured by Innvictus Cone, LLC. A highly-toxic, PARAQUAT-based, not selective, broad spectrum herbicide. There are lawsuits moving through the courts to remove this chemical from use, as mis-use of this herbicide  has been proven to cause at 250% increase in the disease Parkinson. 

There is established FEDERAL law that the use of DEVOUR is prohibited in parks, on golf courses and playgrounds!

LAMCAP II – manufactured by Syngenta, a restricted insecticide. This chemical is extremely toxic to fish, aquatic organisms, and toxic to wildlife. Note the MSDS sheets advise to be careful to avoid wet ground, to avoid runoff into water. 

GRAMOXONE SL2.0 – manufactured by Syngenta- A ‘knockdown herbicide. The active ingredient is PARAQUAT [see comments in Devour that relate to Paraquat (and Parkinsonism). Gramoxone is toxic to fish and other water invertebrates. 

To accomplish this research I examined the website for each of these chemicals, focusing on the purpose, usage and any possible toxicity. Since the purchase of sections of Ardrossan by Radnor Township, resulting in an increase of acres of parkland [Public Land Use], means that the resident/owners of this land needs to be protected, as well as the wildlife that inhabits the land and waters. ~RADNOR RESIDENT 3/23/22

So this resident had come to a blogger because she felt she was not really being heard. She is a senior citizen. However when watching an EAC meeting recording in August, I noticed something somewhat terrifying to me: the citizen’s EAC was told not to discuss this topic and it made me stop and go HUH and isn’t it just bizarre? I mean it’s NO big secret that Radnor Township Commissioner Lisa Borowski (former BOC Prez and Vice Prez) has aspirations and is running for State Rep in the PA 168th, right?

So here we are. And I know some of the documents are BEYOND fuzzy, but as it was explained to me, Radnor complied with my request. A municipality produces what it has in its possession and does its best to be responsive to a request. It doesn’t enhance or detract from the quality of the record. And that is if a municipality is responsive to a request. Not all are, like West Whiteland Township, for example. But that is another conversation.

I still have concerns, but it is up to Radnor Township residents to wake up on this and many other issues. Radnor is sliding back to days people don’t want, and most sadly don’t remember, including their current commissioners who don’t know their rear ends from holes in the wall a lot of the time, let alone township history. That is my opinion, of course.

One thing that did bug me a smidge in what I got from the Right to Know was what I consider a major face palm moment via a PA DEP pesticide guy named Donald Gilbert:

Sooo I am wondering what this PA DEP chemical specialist doesn’t understand about some Radnor residents being concerned about what farmer leasing Quarry/Rye field/Wheeler Tract sprays do you? Public land that leads to Little Darby Creek,a water source, right?

And for argument’s sake, is the PA DEP on top of the golf courses he refers to as far as chemicals they use and proximity to natural water sources too? Aronomink and Overbrook? That would mean they would have to watch Thomas Run and Miles Run, right? They flow to Darby Creek according to maps? And then if you want to include another club, Radnor Valley Country Club they have the Ithan Creek running through somewhere, right? And doesn’t that new Ardrossan Wigwam community have creeks or similar too?

What is going onto the fields is important. If engineered seed is indeed used, also important. It’s important to the cows one would think, as well, right?

Now I asked other state people some questions to try to better understand things. Not a complaint, but essentially seeking clarity on how things work from a state perspective. I asked how they check up on chemicals farmers or using near streams:

All agricultural operations that land apply manure or agricultural process waste water are required to have a manure management plan or nutrient management plan. Any starter or supplemental fertilizer must be accounted for in the Manure Management Plan or Nutrient Management Plan.

If the operation is a CAO (over 2000 lb of livestock or poultry per acre available for manure application) or a large CAFO (determined by EPA’s headcount numbers in 40 CFR 122.23(b)(4)) the operation is inspected annually by the county conservation district or State Conservation Commission. If the operation is a CAFO it is inspected at least once every five years in addition to the annual inspection by the county conservation district or state conservation commission.

If the operation is in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and not a CAO or CAFO, routine inspections are conducted by the County Conservation District or DEP to determine compliance with manure management regulations.

Other inspections are carried out by DEP or county conservation districts in response to manure-related complaints.

However, I must restate that the above is the compliance strategy associated with the land application of manure, not pesticide use. Paraquat and RoundUp are pesticides. I will reiterate what is stated below:

Concerns of pesticide applications including those on public (township) lands would be addressed-by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) or by the Township. The certification of pesticide applicators and the pesticide application program is under PDA, not the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). 

I also support touching base with the township which may have additional considerations for township land.

~ PA DEP Bureau of Watershed Restoration and Nonpoint Source Management
Agriculture Compliance Section 10/20/22

Now also interesting is I asked about Little Darby Creek. Little Darby Creek and its tributaries have a designated use of Cold-Water Fishery, Migratory Fishes. There are no Special stream protection designations such as High Quality or Exceptional Value in this area. I had previously though there was a high quality or exceptional value designation. I did read it somewhere, so I will have to consult my notes. I was grateful for the clarity.

In this recent journey for information, I coincidentally did discover there is a site the DEP used to monitor (some heating oil thing) with Facility ID 778907 Ardrossan Farm Parcel A7 – close to this same area where the fields are. It was some sort of remediation from years ago having to do with I think a heating oil spill. I found it once on this thing called emap (https://www.depgis.state.pa.us/emappa/). It’s a public tool which should be easy to use, but I find it somewhat temperamental to use.

So Radnor residents, what I learned from the state is concerns regarding pesticide applications including those on public (township) lands would be addressed-by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) or by said township. Now Radnor does have “policy” here as it is in the lease agreement the farmer operates under. The farmer is NOT required to be organic, and I will note getting an organic status is a lot of work and money. But Radnor has this verbiage in their agreement about the farmer utilizing best management practices, but it is not up to me to decide if best practices are up to snuff, etc.

I do not think Radnor Township is paying close enough attention. In my opinion in part this is because it’s Ardrossan.

Ardrossan stopped being the thing we remember after Bobby Scott died. That was 2005. Also see NY Post: The curse that plagued the family who inspired ‘The Philadelphia Story’. And Main Line Media News Ardrossan estate’s final chapter.

But Ardrossan is like Radnor’s proverbial sacred cow. But it’s 2022 and the estate is dotted with McMansions and McMansion attitudes. Who knows what will happen to the great house some day. But those fields and that land which Radnor bought in 2013 was purchased with public funds, yes? Then Radnor Township still has a duty to the public here, yes? I think they do.

You can’t undo what has already been done with regard to herbicides and pesticides, but I think Radnor and Radnor’s farmer could go forward with perhaps a better plan? It’s publicly owned land, after all. I support farms and farmers, but I believe in farming responsibly. I see it out here in Chester County, so it’s possible. This isn’t the only farm in Delaware County, so even from that perspective Radnor Township officials could check out best practices for farmers and maybe the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau could help them? I am sure they could also consult with Natural Lands?

Whatever, am sharing what I learned for the greater good. What Radnor residents do (and Radnor Township itself) is up to them.

mice

Now see, that title. Mice. Bet you think I am talking about real mice? Nope. Felted mice and a nice memory.

I have a bunch of wool felted mice. Mostly for Christmas. But I have a few other cute ones that I tuck here and there because they just make me smile.

The mice at the top my friend Kristin found for me. They are obviously for Christmas, they are Santa and Mrs. Claus mouse.

Yesterday at the preview for Life’s Patina fall event I bought two more felted mice. Halloween mice. One with a giant piece of candy corn, another in a cute little witch’s hat.

When I was taking the picture of the fault of mice this morning to send to a friend to show them, I have a little flash of a memory. And it would’ve been the mid 1970s to the late 1970s. I was inside a little store in Bryn Mawr.

The store was called Katydid and key was next to Parvin’s Pharmacy. Katydid was a cute gift store. And up around the counter area towards the front of the store and behind them on little shelves were these little collectible mice that so many of us had back then.

These were literally little fur mice they were made in West Germany I think the company was called The Mouse Factory. These little mice had all sorts of different outfits and costumes, and they would even come in your school uniform.

My friends and I all had these little mice. My sister and I had a bunch of them and we put them in our dollhouse. We had this really cool doll house that my father found in an attic of a house being demolished in Society Hill when we were really little and he restored it.

Anyway, I love those mice. And the flashback to the memory this morning made me realize this is why I like the felted mice.

Thanks for stopping by.

why not visit dishfunctional in their new malvern location this weekend?

Dishfunctional isn’t in West Chester anymore. I open with that, because they were there for so many wonderful years. BUT Dishfunctional does have a terrific new location in the Lincoln Court Shopping Center in East Whiteland.

The store is long and wide inside and well lit. And full of so much fun stuff! Not just the china and crystal they are known for but so much else! They have some wonderful art right now too! My personal favorite? This amaze balls piece of Mick Jagger by Denny Dent. It’s huge, but very cool.

I found four extra dishes of the Johnson Brothers’ “Friendly Village” vintage ydishes I like to use in the fall and winter sometimes. They are hard to find, and were only $5 each which is an amazing deal!

I spent a lot of time looking through the store. It’s all very clean. Other things they have right in the front of the store I love is some fabulous antique cast iron lawn furniture. Also very reasonable in price and good shape.

Dishfunctional is located in the Lincoln Court Shopping Center. 225 Lancaster Avenue, Frazer, PA.

Tuesday through Saturday
10:00 am until 6:00 pm
Sunday
11:00 am until 3:00 pm

Check it out!

my darling ups, you SO screwed up AGAIN, let me count the ways….

UPS is one of those companies who make it literally impossible to get through to a live person who really speaks American Standard English or any form of English in the U.S. They have offshore call centers at their worst.

I do not use UPS if I can help it. They have lost too many packages over the years. Some companies only deliver with UPS however.

And one point of clarification: our local UPS drivers are wonderful. My beef is with corporate and their cheap ass ways and offshore lack of customer service.

Allow me to start with an email to corporate UPS this afternoon, it pretty much tells the story:

To whom it may concern (and hopefully you are actually located within the United States) ,

I am entirely too fed up with UPS.

In August, after my friend’s property had a horrible fire where they live.  My friend’s teenage daughter lost her favorite boots in said fire.  So as a surprise, I ordered a pair to replace them. 

Why am I telling you this? Simple, because from this moment forward, my friend’s UPS deliveries have been attached to MY email address. I first realized this when I received notification of a mysterious package delivered to Phoenixville PA September 2nd, 2022.

I called UPS because I do not actually live in Phoenixville PA.  I spent and excruciating 45 minutes on the phone with your offshore inept “customer service” whose best advice was “Don’t worry.” Don’t worry? In the day and age of identity theft etc.?

Today I received yet another tracking number notification for UPS for a package to Phoenixville. So I got on your equally inadequate online customer service “chat.” They asked if I knew a particular person, and I said yes, but we don’t live together or share a UPS account.

So next I contacted my friend they mentioned and we worked out the common denominator was I ordered her daughter a present and the company used UPS to ship. 

A few minutes ago I tried futilely to actually get a live customer service agent to help me.  I even tried calling your corporate offices.  Did you know that you actually cannot get to a live person in the U.S. to speak with unless you have some secret inside number? Sorry rhetorical question, of course you know this as it is deliberate.

And don’t tell me to lookey lou inside my own UPS account, because what shows up is MY email address and MY home address.  You all accomplished this bit of stupidity elsewhere.

Well I am seriously peeved as a consumer.  It should NOT be so difficult to speak with an intelligent person and  not someone in an offshore call center. I doubt this is what your founders wanted. 

What I want is simple: 

1.  Remove MY email address from being associated with an address in Phoenixville, PA

2.  My email address should ONLY be affiliated with MY actual address.

3.  You need to return to ACTUAL REAL CUSTOMER SERVICE that ordinary folks can access easily.  Your offshore “chats” sucks and it is impossible to reach your customer service and if you can they can’t understand you and you can’t understand them.  Don’t know where offshore centers are located, and it doesn’t matter, it sucks.

Mine are simple requests, and for all of the money you make this should be no big deal.

Next are the email addresses I sent this to:

DAbney@ups.com,
cbtome@ups.com,
customer.service@ups.com,
pr@ups.com,
ncesarone@ups.com,
bsubramanian@ups.com,
custsvccaen@ups.com,
customerrelations@ups.com,
tmclcure@ups.com,
investor@ups.com

Form this list I have had no bounces yet, but I did get a literal out of office for customer service:

So yes, they admit to a lack of customer service in their own customer service emails. And I also got a reply from the former Chairman, retired two years but still retains corporate email address. So yes, I will remove him from the list, but I guess he doesn’t realize I didn’t dream up his email address, it was on the Internet? So how retired is that? And if he was a GOOD retired CEO he could just forward my e-mail to someone to help, right? We will have to see if he is a good retired CEO.

Seriously, this would make a great Saturday Night Live skit. And allow me to share part of the “chat” today with Lucky G, who was lucky they weren’t in front of me:

Above is UPS’s idea of “customer service” and I think that is more like customer aggravation. Remember the good old days, when you called customer service and they answered and helped you???

As I said somewhere else on here, our local UPS drivers are so good, and always nice, but they aren’t customer service. No, they are just the guys who get to listen when we tell them how bad customer service is.

So UPS, this post is for you. For what your earnings are, you should be able to manage a little actual U.S. based customer service. I have waning respect for U.S. companies who take jobs that should be U.S. based, offshore.

hey tredyfrrin dodo hamilton neighbors, are you ready for rue dégueulasse in radnor township?

Today Radnor Township is being visited because THEIR planning commission meeting Tuesday September 6th has a big old bomb of a plan which will affect Tredyffrin Township residents in Chester County. The pretentious A.F. name is “St. Honoré” for the development and there is an as equally pretentious A.F. street name proposed of “Rue St. Honoré” .

Zut alors! Mais oui, très prétentieux for a developer whose late father was born in Chester, n’est-ce pas? Which is why I found a better name to propose: Dégueulasse (disgusting, revolting, sh*tty, swinish, putrid) and Rue Dégueulasse or perhaps even Rue Dégoûtant? (And yes, dear developer, I can have these opinions.)

The location of this plan is DoDo Land in Wayne on Strafford Avenue, first mentioned on this blog in 2020. I had written about it then because of Tredyffrin Township residents and Radnor residents, because it just seemed like a shall we say, greedy development prospect?

What is even more concerning is if you look at the planning packet in it’s entirety, it looks like two more properties are folded in? 211 Strafford Avenue and 227 Strafford Avenue?

Here is the packet below. I don’t trust things to not disappear on agendas, so have fun wading through. It also has things on yesterday post concerning Garrett Hill:

Look, this is a lot to digest with VERY little time to do it. I know that Tredyffrin residents were VERY, VERY concerned the last time plans for DoDo Hamilton’s property came up in Radnor. Then I remember the strip the house sale.

And I wouldn’t say DoDo wouldn’t do this, because it was a fact she sold other properties for development when she was alive, correct? Including further out in Chester County? What I also seem to recall were neighbors being super concerned even while DoDo Hamilton was alive about stormwater management issues as a result of this property. And people were super concerned about stormwater management last time this property came up in Radnor, so, what now that it seems two additional properties are part of this?

In 2021, Main Line Today Magazine talked about this project and make sure you look at leadership team page of Haverford Properties:

Without strong preservation ordinances, things like “vinyl windows with short lifespans replace historic wood windows that could be made energy-efficient,” Prichard says. “In the end, all of thesesmall changes lead to a drastic overall change in the appearance of historic neighborhoods, even when no buildings are lost in the process.”

“Unfortunately, I think it’s gone.”

Radnor Township commissioner Jack Larkin is referring to the mansion at the corner of Strafford and Eagle roads once occupied by the late Campbell Soup heiress Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton. The township is powerless to stop the razing of the Victorian-era home for a residential development. As written, its preservation ordinance “is very vague,” says Larkin. “We don’t have the authority to preserve private property, [and its location] would make it very difficult to build around it.”

The developer, Haverford Properties Inc., didn’t respond to several requests for comment, and it seems residents are mainly concerned about the density of the development. “There hasn’t been an attempt to save [the mansion], nor any significant community outcry over its impending demise,” says Prichard, a Radnor resident and member of the township‘s historical commission.

~main line today magazine Paul Jablow January 6, 2021

Now I don’t know if Haverford Properties is involved in the development at this point, do you? What I see from the documents in the planning packet, it’s C.F. Holloway. Yessss people, Cas Holloway, and is it fair that some refer to him as a neighborhood killer? Look what he did in Ardmore. The houses he took down were gorgeous old stone Main Line houses, and he pushed people out that I knew who were renters in one address, so IF 211 Strafford Avenue is being folded into this plan, what happens to the Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn?

The Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn is a historic home. I remember when the original B & B owners were looking for approval a bunch of years ago, and you would have thought they wanted to add rapists and murderers to Radnor Township. Ha, those residents should be careful what they wish for, right? In 2016 The Radnor Historical Society honored the Wayne Bed & Breakfast.

Also note this from a Radnor Historical Society 2012 event listing:

Local Garden Tour
Friday, June 7, 2013, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Nominal fee of $10 and reservation required. Tour four unique gardens surrounding wonderful homes in Radnor and Tredyffrin Townships. The tour begins at the garden and greenhouses of Mrs. Dorrance Hamilton (only open from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m.). on Strafford Avenue. Then visit the Victorian garden across the street at Traudi and Bob Thomason’s Wayne Bed & Breakfast Inn. The Thomason’s property features a 110 foot copper beech, thought to be the second largest in the state, wonderful outdoor spaces for sitting and relaxing, including a large pool and spa surrounded by gardens, and an inviting porch that wraps around the circa 1890 inn. Myrna and Paul Paluba will host at their creatively executed, multilevel garden with raised beds, water features, and a peace garden for contemplation. Maud Walker will host at her garden which is highlighted by an unusual collection of trees and shrubs, including a magnificent weeping beech, whimsical garden decorations, and a replica of an Irish garden shed. Directions to all of the gardens will be provided at the Hamilton property. Further information, including how to make reservations, will be sent to you in March. This event is cosponsored by RHS and the Radnor Conservancy.

~ radnor historical society 2012

Ha! With this development when it comes to plantings and trees, wonder what will be left? Don’t answer that, it’s a we shudder to think conversation, mais oui?

Another old thing I found on Developing DoDo land was

LIFE IN THE BURBS |MAR 03, 2021HAVERFORD PROPERTIES DEVELOPING THE CURRENT HAMILTON PROPERTIES ON STRAFFORD AVE AND EAGLE ROADS IN RADNOR WITH 41-3 STORY TOWNHOMES, AND 9 SINGLE FAMILY HOMES

And then there was an Inquirer article:

Developer to share plans for part of Radnor estate of late Campbell Soup heiress

by Katie Park
Updated Jan 28, 2020

A development company is considering building houses or townhouses on part of the Main Line estate of the late Dorrance H. Hamilton, heir to the multibillion-dollar Campbell Soup fortune.

Representatives of Haverford Properties are scheduled to meet with Radnor Township residents for the first time Thursday.

The company has not formally submitted plans to the township, but some residents, already disgruntled over development in the sought-after area, say they feel a sense of inevitability. Under what’s known as “by-right” development, Haverford Properties can legally build housing on the parcel.

“They have, without question, the right to develop that property. We have no discretion,” said Jack Larkin, a township commissioner who represents the section of Radnor where the development would be built. “We can never say we don’t want a particular industry in our town because we don’t like what it is.”

Then this:

Delco Today: Developer Eyes Houses at Former Wayne Estate of Campbell Soup Heiress Dorrance Hamilton

By David Bjorkgren
Published: 5:14 am EST January 17, 2020
Updated: 7:50 am EST January 17, 2020

A developer has plans for an estate property in Wayne where prominent philanthropist and Campbell Soup Co. heiress Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton lived, writes Linda Stein for Main Line Media News.

Hamilton died in 2017 at the age of 88.  She moved to Wayne with her husband, Samuel M.V. Hamilton, in 1950. He died in 1997.

Radnor Township Board of Commissioners President Jack Larkin reviewed two plans for the property  at Eagle and Strafford roads.

“The first is purportedly a by-right plan, and includes approximately 40 homes,” Larkin wrote in his newsletter.

Larkin felt that plan was unattractive because it meant cramming 40 single family homes on to the two lots.

He was more enthusiastic about a second plan putting 41 town homes on the western lot and nine single-family homes on the eastern lot.

Forty nearby neighbors also weighed in, stating they wanted to “mitigate any negative changes to the neighborhood and keep its current character.”

They asked for no more than 30 town homes on the west lot and no more than seven single-family homes on the east lot.

A meeting between residents and the proposed developer is planned Jan. 30.

Read more about plans for the Hamilton estate here.

~delco today 2020


Main Line Media News did something to their website, so I found one their articles on Delco Times website:

New housing in works for Wayne estate of Campbell Soup heiress Dodo Hamilton

By LINDA STEIN |
PUBLISHED: January 13, 2020 at 11:30 p.m. | UPDATED: August 23, 2021 at 10:47 a.m.

RADNOR – Although no plans have been filed with the township, word is getting around that a developer has set his sights on the Wayne property of the late Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton, who was one of the Main Line’s iconic grande dames.

“The developer has shown me two concept sketches for the lots; the first is purportedly a by-right plan, and includes approximately 40 homes,” Larkin wrote in his newsletter. “This is, to me, an unattractive plan: Because the units are, by right, single family dwellings, cramming 40 homes onto the two lots means filling them with houses without space for buffers, open space, or stormwater recharge areas.”

Larkin continued, “The second plan would require a conditional use approval by the township, and would put approximately 50 homes into the two lots -41 town homes on the western lot, and nine single-family dwellings onto the eastern lot. Because the homes on the western lot are town homes, they leave a lot of space for the things that are absent in the by-right plan: Stormwater management, sidewalks, buffers, and open space. The density is problematic for me, but with that in mind, it is a good plan.”

“When we first discussed the property, they took my stormwater concerns seriously and the concept sketch they presented had already incorporated stormwater management facilities above and beyond what was required by the ordinance,” Larkin wrote. “Second, when they met with the township engineer for feedback, they promptly incorporated his feedback into their design. Third, they’ve already asked for a meeting with residents to discuss their plans and get your feedback.”

Meanwhile, about 40 nearby neighbors sent this statement to Larkin: “We understand and appreciate the developer’s rights to develop the property, and our goal as a neighborhood is not to squash any development, but to mitigate any negative changes to the neighborhood and keep its current character. For those of us who have lived here many years, we have seen the negative effects of cutting down trees on the Hamilton’s property and the building of just four homes on the corner of Strafford and Eagle Road. Despite the assurances of the engineers, developers, and other experts, our neighborhood has been substantially damaged and our lives negatively affected by ‘tiny’ changes to the Hamilton’s property. There are approximately 40 neighbors on Strafford, Hedgerow, Grant, Forrest, Fairfield, and Old Eagle School who will attest to being harmed financially by the improper regulation of storm water runoff in the past.

“The character of the neighborhood will be drastically changed by the proposed development. Haverford Properties is seeking to double the number of homes within our small community. Our current neighborhood contains 35 acres and 64 homes, approximately two homes per acre. The developers plan to build 50 homes will result in 114 homes, for over three homes per acre. We already have a traffic problem, exacerbated by the fact that our community straddles two townships and counties. The Strafford train station is a delightful anchor to our neighborhood, but it too increases motor and foot traffic. Residents are already fearful to walk on Strafford Avenue. It is a death trap (with) no sidewalks, insufficient lighting, and a dangerous curve in the road. As a community we deserve better from both Radnor and Tredyffrin townships.”

~ delco times 2020

I looked on Commisisoner Jack Larkin’s website and couldn’t find anything about DoDo Land. Perhaps he doesn’t want the general public to see his commissioner musings or has he just checked out as a commissioner?

So here is some other stuff on screenshots to make it easy:

Look, Radnor Township doesn’t care if this gets developed, that has always been my opinion. But it is also my opinion that they make have tarted up the proverbial pig here with a new developer, but this is a plan that is still too dense. And now given the meeting agenda states this meeting is slated for NEXT WEEK AS IN THE DAY AFTER LABOR DAY, residents in Radnor and Tredyffrin do not have much time to rally.

THIS IS AN IN PERSON MEETING – Tuesday, September 6, 2022 – 6:30 PM – Radnorshire Room – 301 Iven Avenue Wayne PA 19087-5297

I think this is being put out in the hopes no residents show up after the last holiday weekend of the summer. I think this is deliberate. So residents in Radnor and Tredyffrin, it’s up to you. Below is the link to where you can find the email addresses for Radnor’s Board of Commissioners. Remember in particular that Lisa Borowski is running for State Rep in the 168th. HOLD HER FEET TO THE FIRE.

https://www.radnor.com/government/boards-and-commissions/board-of-commissioners

That is all I have got on this. Residents, you rose up before, just like the residents in Garrett Hill over unwelcome development and more there. Get yourselves to the meeting, but when you storm this Bastille don’t act all cuckoo like Willistown Residents over the sewer sale. Show decorum, make your points, be heard.

Good luck. You will need it here, especially Tredyffrin residents because you are neighbors and affected, but Chester County as well as another municipality. Tredyffrin needs to get their township to take a stand and attend the meeting too. And if zoning variances are sought, Tredyffrin Township needs to be a party to this so their residents can preserve their rights, correct?

guess what has a target on it’s back again? yup, garrett hill in radnor township.

Garrett Hill 1958 Sullivan photo/Radnorhistory.org

I will start this post with an editorial I wrote in 2007 (and Main Line Media News’ hedge fund owners shaved off my actual byline. If former Editor Tom Murray were still alive, he would tell them. Main Line Media News didn’t write it, I did):

It was the year of the neighborhood group December 18, 2007 at 10:00 p.m.

As 2007 winds down, I find myself contemplating what a long strange trip it has been from Bala to Malvern, and everywhere in between and beyond. In my mind, 2007 will be remembered as the “Year of the Neighborhood Group.” You see, to me, it isn’t just about the individual stories reported (and not reported), it is about the people behind the stories. The ordinary people who had the courage to step forward and be counted; not just one individual or group, either. I credit everyone who has had the courage to speak out and participate in the betterment of their communities.

I will start with a group I am proud to be part of that is dear to my heart: The Save Ardmore Coalition.

The Save Ardmore Coalition continued on its journey in 2007 by being recognized with two prestigious awards: The 2007 Stewardship Award for Historic Preservation from the Historic Architectural Review Board and Historical Commission of Lower Merion Township, as well as the nationally recognized David Award from The Institute for Justice in Washington, DC.

The Save Ardmore Coalition has also earned a place on the Ad Hoc Committee for Ardmore’s revitalization process, our members have participated in the comprehensive plan workshop process, we are a part of First Friday Main Line, we were proud to play a part in the fundraiser to aid Moira Shaughnessy, and have just launched a new initiative called “Be Vocal/Shop Local: Discover MORE in Ardmore.” Our hope with this year-end initiative is to further promote and support Ardmore’s local and independently-owned businesses. We also continue to lend our voices to other issues in Lower Merion Township and beyond.

I also want to recognize other citizen groups like Protect Berwyn, Save Ithan Coalition, WHOA from Gladwyne, the residents of Rugby Road in Bryn Mawr, the residents of Righters Mill and River Roads in Gladwyne, the residents of Cricket Avenue in Ardmore, Friends of The Barnes, the Garrett Hill Coalition, and the Daylesford Neighborhood Association. I salute these groups along with the many other citizens and groups along the Main Line and beyond who had the gumption to stand up and be counted.

And in addition to the organized groups, I would like to draw your attention to some new citizens seeking positive change as 2007 draws to a close: two brave ladies from Ardmore named Deanna Miller and Donna Dundon. Main Line Life Staff Reporter Cheryl Allison introduced us all to them in her recent article concerning a missing community room at the apartment building for limited-income seniors at Ardmore Crossing, now known as “Greenfield Commons.”

These ladies are senior citizens on fixed budgets who are members of our community. As the story is told, these nice people moved into this building so they could afford to grow old in Lower Merion Township, which increasingly, is no easy feat. When they looked at the building, they were told they would have a community room with a kitchen where they could play games, gather, have parties, special events, and community events. This is something fairly common for developments of any level, churches, as well as senior and assisted living facilities.

Well, the holidays are here, and apparently these seniors still don’t have their community room. According to Cheryl Allison’s article, there is much contention over this topic and I wonder how this can be?

I think it is most unpleasant to read stories like this especially during the holidays and mere days before Christmas, a holiday which is supposed to embody goodwill towards all mankind. But instead we are wondering if this new Ardmore story will become a tale of Dickensian proportions? Where are the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future when you need them?

A community room with a basic kitchen can’t be such a big deal or other places wouldn’t have them. And with all the great thrift stores, generous people along the Main Line, and furniture outlets in this area, how hard would it be to furnish such a room nicely? There are also sales all over right now on stereos and televisions. Surely this all can’t be that difficult and wouldn’t it just be the right thing to do? Wouldn’t it be nice for these seniors to get this room as promised from the new owners and for it to be decorated for the holidays? If I could have another holiday wish, it would be for these senior citizens in Ardmore, and I would hope others would share my sentiments.

In conclusion, many thanks again to everyone in 2007 who had the courage to stand up and be counted. I know it can be difficult to have a voice that may differ from the general consensus, or might be contrary to what government is comfortable hearing. I want all of you to also remember that positive change can happen, and ordinary individuals can make a difference in their communities.

So Tom Murray, when you are counting your readers’ votes for the “story of the year” this year, if I could ask you to think differently, it’s not really about just one story in particular, it’s about all of the terrific citizens who made a difference. So maybe voting 2007 “The Year of The Neighborhood Group” is the way to go. To me, this year, it is just too hard to pick ONE story.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody!

I stumbled across that while looking into Garrett Hill in Radnor and remembering the good things accomplished years ago by a group called the Garrett Hill Coalition. The Garrett Hill Coalition fought so hard to save where they called home, much like the Save Ardmore Coalition back then fought to save Ardmore, PA in Lower Merion Township. Today in 2022, I wonder what we worked so hard for because like Ardmore is constantly at risk, so is Garrett Hill.

As of today, I think Garrett Hill is at risk again. There is this whole thing going on about well, paving paradise and putting up a parking lot. Utterly cliché, but so apropos. This all came up at a Radnor meeting August 15th, and then there was an outside, not recorded meeting in Garrett Hill.

Garrett Hill is like a ping pong ball on Radnor Township’s ping pong table. Some years this community is left alone. Some years snide commissioners refer to it as essentially a poor section not worthy of much attention. Some years Radnor Township wants to do something stupid there, and 2022 is like revisiting the early 2000s.

Wentworth is a road I thought was not all township dedicated in Radnor or possibly private? And did ALL neighbors potentially affected by a shoe-horned in parking lot get notice of this? I heard quite to the contrary? So this land is not a taking in the eminent domain sense, but it is being taken/purchased at market rate for a….parking lot. Here look at these screen shots to get an idea of the “where”:

Yup that is a tiny street. It leads to more tiny streets. Sounds like a cluster fart of epic proportions waiting to happen. Here are some resident comments after the outdoor meeting where Radnor BOC President Moira Mulroney was overheard saying certain things, right? Like she thinks this is O.K.? Well of course she would, not her ward so does she really care?

Comments:

This lot will not benefit anyone in the neighborhood. It will only increase traffic going up and down Wentworth and Williams!! We need to stick together neighbors!

~ garrett Hill resident

I always avoided, at all cost, trying to turn onto Conestoga Road from Summitt Terrace/Wentworth Land due to poor sight lines. If they put a lot where Mike and Lorrie’s house use to be, I can see any unfamiliar drivers parking there having a challenge getting out to the main drag.

~ garrett hill resident

Adding both a parking lot entrance and exit to a very narrow residential street does not increase safety for those who live on the street.

~ garett hill resident

Since the property is owned by the same developer who already owns 910 and 912 Conestoga, I feel like we’re just footing the bill as taxpayers for his parking lot. Let the developer spend his own money.

~ garrett hill resident

While I agree GH needs parking, is almost $50k a spot the usual cost in Radnor for a parking spot? How long will it take Radnor to recoup that amount for each spot thru the parking meters?

~ garrett hill resident

What the hell … we were told 2 homes were going up we didn’t want the parking lot was there any discussions with the neighbors on Summit Terrs.?

~ garrett hill resident

 It looks like it was only introduced, so you & other Summit neighbors have a chance to speak up at the Sept 12th meeting.

~ garrett hill resident

That is a horrible idea to put a parking lot there!! There is no easy way to enter/exit the property!! And the late night noise that will follow Think about the residents still there that are retired and the new ones with little ones raising kids in school. You want a parking lot put it on your street next to your house!

~ garrett hill resident

Over $800,000 for 17 parking spots 

~ garrett hill resident

I don’t know how many times I have called the Radnor Police for people breaking into cars or stealing catalytic converters from Cars over on Meredith Ave. ….But anyway, I have lived here for many years and Lights are out all the time we need them updated to LED light won’t use a lot of power and, how about our roads so many things beak on peoples cars all the time anything they can do there, or is that a state road. But I also think that draining systems are very bad. The tunnel floods every bad rain, the road from my Apartment…. floods all the past the park and peoples cars around the area get messed up in our neighborhoods. And the ….delivery guy in is blue Subaru flying down Conestoga in the middle of the night all night and they haven’t done anything to him. And Villanova kids from the campus yelling when they leave Flips. But things like this need to get taken care as well.  I agree with you people I’m sure people around here won’t like me saying that ether, cause statements that I spoke about that my kids told me about the parade. But little do they know I had some great ideas that I shared for next year. But why can’t they park at the Business campus? That parking lot is gonna be backed up….

~ garrett hill resident

Now, how about some photos of Garrett Hill sourced from everywhere on the Internet like Facebook and Google so people can see Garrett Hill for what it really is: a small, still tight knit multi-generational area that doesn’t need supersizing or “:”improvements” that don’t actually help the residents:

A problem in today’s Radnor Township is the current manager sees his narrow abacus-rued world view and nothing else. I don’t think he actually cares so much about the residents, and I am allowed that opinion much like I am of the opinion he is always seemingly unwilling to listen to residents. He was fine as the finance guy, not manager. But this is not the only problem. One of the LARGEST problems is the current commissioners know very little of the past and past history and past problems with the way Radnor Township has attempted to treat Garrett Hill.

(Oh and as a related side bar to the two Radnor Commissioners who said non-residents shouldn’t speak at commissioner meetings? What planet or alternate reality do you all hail from? I for one have addressed this governmental body as a non-resident including in 2009 when I went before the board to get a historical market that benefitted Radnor and her history approved. Oh and I raised the money for that project although I was never sure everything we raised money for actually happened, but I can’t control that. )

Radnor Township is regressing and that is not a good thing. I wish the Garrett Hill Coalition still existed. ( See October 26, 2009 meeting video and start at 17:26 time mark for public comment about Garrett Hill – oh and Radnor Township will not allow their videos to be embedded, you have to watch on YouTube or their website and didn’t always used to be that way. It’s about control. Control to the point of questioning actual freedoms, I wonder?)

Radnor only wants their videos so public. So I found some others, like:

I will admit I am not quite sure what the League of Women Voters is doing down there for elections, but here is another Garrett Hill video:

Now. Time for more history. Maybe, just maybe the current Radnor Township Board of Commissioners might learn something. Some of the articles are written by friends, so I will excerpt one in particular liberally:

Neighbors rally to guide Garrett Hill’s development
Imagine a place in suburbia where neighbors check on each other, shovel snowy driveways together, and deliver soup to the sick.

by By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
Published Oct 13, 2009

Joe Marchesani, owner of Garrett Hill pizza, sweeps clean the entrance to his restaurant before opening. ( Sharon Gekoski-Kimmel / StaffPhotographer )
Joe Marchesani, owner of Garrett Hill pizza, sweeps clean the entrance to his restaurant before opening. ( Sharon Gekoski-Kimmel / StaffPhotographer )

Imagine a place in suburbia where neighbors check on each other, shovel snowy driveways together, and deliver soup to the sick.

It’s a spot where children walk to the two local parks, a group of retired guys meets for cheap coffee and conversation before starting the day, and the neighborhood mechanic will drop what he’s doing to listen to a funny-sounding engine.

People with Ph.D.s and others with blue-collar jobs live side by side, families reside on the same streets that their grandparents did – in some cases, in the same houses – and everything shuts down for the Fourth of July parade and picnic.

Sound a bit too Leave It to Beaver to be true?

The residents of Garrett Hill in Radnor Township will tell you it’s not.

They have it that way, and they want to keep it that way.

Residents have worked tirelessly over two years to ensure they have had a say in zoning changes proposed in the township’s master plan for the neighborhood. Countless hours of televised meetings and volumes of paperwork attest to their commitment.

On Monday, Radnor commissioners will hold a hearing and vote on the master plan. Residents feared that, without their input, the plan would change the culture of their neighborhood.

“There are not too many places like Garrett Hill left in this country,” said Bill Kingsland, 57, owner of the local Bywood Seafood for 25 years.

While McMansions have sprung up across suburbia, Garrett Hill has apartments, twins, and single homes set close to the street on small lots with deep backyards built for vegetable gardens.

The small business district has changed over the years. What once was a general store is now a college bar. The post office is gone. A cleaners, a few small restaurants, auto repair shops, and a trophy store are at the epicenter of the neighborhood.

What defines Garrett Hill’s boundaries is probably more a matter of opinion than a firm border.

Garrett Hill owes its beginning to an Indian trail running between the Schuylkill and the Susquehanna River. The path later became Conestoga Road, the heart of Garrett Hill, which about 14,000 cars now use daily.

Carved from a land grant by William Penn, the area was once known as Methodist Hill. In the 1800s, the land was subdivided and became known as Garrettville after Dr. Lewis T. Garrett, a property owner. In 1907, a rail line – now the R-100 – cut directly through Garrett Hill.

The small properties of Garrett Hill were purchased by laborers or railway workers, many of Irish or Scots-Irish descent. A number of Italian families eventually settled in Garrett Hill, and there was an African American enclave.

The first African American elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Emlen Tunnell, grew up in Garrett Hill.

The neighborhood is the epitome of diversity on the Main Line, said John Fischer, vice president of the Radnor Board of Commissioners.

“There are people from all walks of life living together – all nationalities, religions,” he said.

“Everybody played together and ate together,” recalled Joe Marchesani, 58, a life-long resident and owner of Garrett Hill Pizza, where the sauce has changed, but the crust has been the same for 19 years. “There were no problems. We all kind of stood up for each other.”….Bob Adams, 48, a third-generation Garrett Hillian, describes it as Mayberry – a safe place surrounded by plenty of family. When he was young, Adams explained, if you did something bad, a neighbor threw a shoe at you.

Adams and his wife, a fourth-generation Garrett Hillian, bought his grandmother’s house; a cousin, who now lives behind him, bought his grandfather’s house.

“This community is so close-knit,” Adams said, “you know everybody.”..

In 2003, Radnor Township’s Comprehensive Plan suggested making zoning improvements to the neighborhood’s small business district. A $48,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and $12,000 in township funds were earmarked in 2007 to create a Garrett Hill Master Plan and Overlay District.

The neighbors felt threatened. They signed petitions, and more than 100 residents went to the township meeting to ask for better representation and to have a voice on any zoning changes. “Save Garrett Hill” posters sprouted up on lawns.

The Garrett Hill Coalition was formed, and it appointed nine residents to a steering committee to represent the neighborhood’s interests.

“We were worried that this [zoning] would be used as a tool for developers,” said Rick Barker, the chairman.

~ mari schaefer, philadelphia inquirer 2009
2007
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2012

PATCH: Garrett Hill Group Gets Grant For Stormwater Project

Workshops will help tackle stormwater pollution and beautify properties.

By Sam Strike Posted Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm

ROSEMONT — Garrett Hill Coalition (GHC), a local civic organization, has been awarded a $4,100 grant by the Water Resources Education Network, a project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund for its project titled: “Managing Stormwater in Our Back Yards: Valley Run, Radnor Township.” 

Funding will support educational workshops and demonstration projects for residents of Radnor and Lower Merion Townships to learn about ways to reduce polluted runoff and remedy flooding problems using landscaping amenities like rain gardens and rain barrels. 

~Sam strike patch 2012

Now stormwater is a big fear in Garrett Hill much like other parts of Radnor Township. Radnor seems to have a selective memory when it comes to stormwater management. Not lip service, actual stormwater management. As in where you actually have to do it, not add to the problems.

Radnor Township has stuff on Garrett Hill zoning on it’s website, CLICK HERE. Sometimes the links don’t work though. I swear their website was redesigned to NOT work.

One more old article:

And before I close two more bits of history. First is a piece from 2009 about Garrett Hill by the Radnor Historical Society:

The next excerpt is screen shots from a book on the history of Garrett Hill that appeared to be maybe circa 1977 that I found on Ancestry.com – I couldn’t download in PDF so I took some screenshots. The book is significantly more pages I believe. Some old timers may remember it – A history of Garrett Hill on its 100th anniversary by Phyllis C. Maier.

Well that’s all I have got. I think Garrett Hill is about to be told to bend over, and pardon me for being crude, but it kind of is. Radnor Township is a funny place, and it is full of pretensions. They don’t like that Garrett Hill exists anymore than other parts of Radnor like “Little Chicago” in North Wayne. It doesn’t fit the Main Line image they have which includes kind of sort of forgetting they are part of Delaware County.

Garrett Hill is like it’s own small town. It doesn’t need to be super-sized, overly urbanized, paved into oblivion. “Leave them be” a friend of mine said earlier today who doesn’t live in Garrett Hill but appreciates it’s character. What the current commissioner can’t see is it doesn’t need to have some puffed up unsustainable artificially enhanced business district. They should figure out a way to make nice with Steve Bajus for parking on the Rosemont Business Campus, otherwise known as “where a cute school once stood.”

Or maybe Radnor buys the private lots owned by the petty towing czars? Or maybe they just table the whole thing for now instead of spending money that some say this township really doesn’t have to spend?

I don’t know. All I know is Garrett Hill, you have like 14 days to rally. It may be time to storm the Bastille err Radnor Township Building. But don’t be freakish about it like Willistown residents. You have a big board room, pack it. The media is out there, start lobbying for coverage.

And other Radnor Residents, do you was what will amount to easily $800,000 taxpayer dollars to be spent on a parking lot in Garrett Hill in this uncertain economy? A parking lot which will be monopolized undoubtedly by the over abundance of Villanova off-campus students that Radnor Township also conveniently forgets about a lot of the time?

Garrett Hill, it’s time. I know you all are tired of this. But once again you have elected officials and township officials who don’t want to listen to you and really don’t care what you think.

Save Garrett Hill one more time. For your own sakes. Keep your character. You don’t have to be Wayneunk East.

things you don’t like to see just after ship inn is sold…

Whatever it was, is now cleared. There are work trucks and stuff there as well as a fire truck. My friend couldn’t see any smoke, but it looked like there were people coming from a basement area.

Maybe the ghosts of the Ship Inn aren’t happy about it becoming a microbrewery? I mean the place has been reported haunted for years.

Anyway glad that the Ship Inn is o.k. With all the years of somewhat benign neglect it’s no wonder. Wait until they get to the floors above the dining area right?

And of course if this is going to be a microbrewery there is no way I think that those floors inside the ship in can’t handle those big tanks. So my guess is they will have to go in their own structure outside somewhere?

what has happened to thiers in malvern?

Since they opened (or since I became aware of them which was pre-COVID, maybe 2018) I have been trying to go in and see what local Chester County business Thiers Custom Framing and Fine Art Gallery located next to where Sheffields is all about. Their address is 223 E. King Street in Malvern Borough.

I love galleries and I have friends who are framers, but I also just love to look at art and I love to look at frames because it always gives you an idea of how to reframe something or perhaps an inspiration. And I also like to support small businesses. So although I would probably never use this business for framing, I would have been totally interested in seeing what art they had. Art is a wonderful addition to any community, and for example I love Gallery 222 also in Malvern Borough. Gallery 222 is fabulous as a matter of fact.

Anyway back to Thiers. I can’t tell you how many times since I became aware of them that I have tried to stop by and go into this gallery/framer. They never ever seem to be open! I understood not being open during COVID, but other than that I’ve never understood it because I know it is not an inexpensive proposition to have a retail store front.

I actually used to think it was just me hitting Thiers at off times. I was just never around when they were open during Malvern Business Association activities like the Malvern Stroll, etc. and when they were open for one Malvern Christmas I was aware of, I just forgot because the street was so busy with all these other things going on that I just never got there. I figured I’d have another opportunity. Well I never did.

So I saw with interest a post that appeared on a local page today (and it was the second one posted – the other post was in June ) :

I subsequently went and looked on the Thiers business page on Facebook. This is all I found:

This business hasn’t posted anything since April. Now that in and of itself is not necessarily unusual because a lot of businesses are not up on social media. And I can certainly sympathize with a small business having family emergencies. However that seems to be the only thing since April, so I have to ask is it still a viable business? Are they still open? Does their landlord or the Malvern Business Association have any input for people? Who is their landlord, because I am told they don’t own their bricks.

I did go to the person who posted and they were kind enough to message me and let me know that they have been emailing and calling for months. So what they would like to know is if there are any other people out there waiting to get what they purchased or pick up items they left for framing?

No one, myself included, wants to do a local small business dirty. But there comes a point in time where you have to communicate with people. People understand life presents challenges, I think we can all agree that since COVID entered our world, we have all experienced challenges.

But it is time for this business in Malvern Borough to do the right thing. They should give this person back their family artwork because that has special sentimental value. They should also connect with anyone else they have anything outstanding with.

Since I first started digging around to see if I could find anything posted whatsoever about this business and what is going on (this morning), something interesting happened. What is that you ask? I was blocked by this business on Facebook. This afternoon. Why on earth would a business with nothing weird going on do that? And is it possible they may have also blocked actual customers trying to connect with them on Facebook and in other ways? I asked a person I know from out of state if they could pull up Thiers and they did:

Thiers needs to understand that NO ONE means them any ill will, people just want to know what happened to them. And customers waiting on framing, want their property back if the business is unable to complete what they had contracted with customers to do. I am not getting into the who is owed money of it all, that is not an appropriate conversation for me to have and above my pay grade.

Now why did I take an interest in this? Well first of all I took an interest because it was a place I always wanted to visit and they’ve never been open every time I have gone by since 2018 (I think that is when I first noticed them) and I’m in that area a lot. Secondly I took an interest because once upon a time, long before I lived out here I took my grandmother’s little writing desk to a furniture maker/repair person whom my parents always had used. Sadly that little desk had been left in pieces when this particular furniture maker and crafts person who had a warehouse in Ardmore died (2006 I think.) Now at that time I was lucky I got my piece back because my mother had several antiques that just flat out disappeared and essentially were presumed stolen. We never knew or found out who took the pieces. It totally bummed me out because these were things my parents bought when they were married, and my father had died in 2005, the year before the furnituremaker died. So this was truly upsetting to my mother back then, and was like another loss.

But I never actually saw my little desk that was my grandmother’s completely put back together. I took it then to yet another furniture maker/repair person after the prior one had passed away. This person subsequently moved a couple of times within the area and I just never heard from them again. So I don’t know what ever happened to the desk or if it was ever repaired. And I remember how that made me feel, which was a little sad.

So that is why I am putting this out there in the hopes that this business in Malvern gets in touch with their customers. Life happens, and if they communicate, it makes life easier on them and customers, right? I am also putting this out there in the event that there are other people waiting to hear from Thiers in Malvern.

Thanks for stopping by.