chesco vs advaite amended-complaint…..

Remember that story? Of the Malvern Company and the COVID tests? An amended complaint has been filed by Chester County:

JANUARY 20, 2021 Philly Voice: Chester County sues East Whiteland company for $11 million over missing COVID-19 antibody tests
The lawsuit claims Advaite failed to deliver the 1 million tests it promised, the lawsuit states

Philadelphia Inquirer: Chester County spent $13 million on coronavirus antibody tests. Then it quietly shelved the program.
Internal emails and interviews show that the newly developed, unapproved tests, sold to the county by neophyte biotech firm Advaite, may have produced wildly inaccurate results.
by Marie McCullough and William Bender
Updated Sep 17, 2020

BUT…..this company as of March, 2021 is advertising a rapid test through Amazon Business anyway?

ADVAITE Now Offers FDA EUA RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Tests Through Amazon Business
Advaite’s “RapCov™” Testing Kit offers convenient and rapid screening solutions for millions of business customers, with expanded access for authorized facilities to purchase via Amazon Business

NEWS PROVIDED BYAdvaite Inc. 

Mar 18, 2021, 09:00 ET

MALVERN, Pa., March 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — ADVAITE’s RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Test, one of the first US manufactured FDA EUA authorized point-of-care (PoC) serology tests, is now available via Amazon Business.

The FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Advaite’s rapid response IgG antibody test strengthens America’s public health protections against biological threats by facilitating availability and use of cutting-edge medical countermeasures. ADVAITE is one of the only US manufacturers to receive FDA EUA for a point-of-care serology test to date. All RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Test Kits are manufactured and assembled locally start to finish at FDA registered facilities in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

“This is a very important moment for public health in fighting this pandemic,” said Karthik Musunuri, Chief Executive Officer of Advaite. “The ADVAITE RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Test offers unique advantages in containing the disease. Advaite’s test is simple to use, provides accurate results from a drop of fingertip blood and can detect IgG antibodies to the COVID-19 virus. Perhaps, most critically, our tests provide results in 15 minutes at the point of care. The inclusion of this test to be made available via Amazon’s online store will allow for expanded accessibility of the test to authorized providers.”

FDA GRANTS ADVAITE EMERGENCY USE AUTHORIZATION FOR RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Test
MALVERN, PENNSYLVANIA, USA, January 12, 2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to one of the first U.S.-manufactured serology tests designed by ADVAITE Inc., an innovative biotech company developing novel point-of-care assays to help with combatting COVID-19.

The federal government’s EUA for ADVAITE’s rapid response IgG antibody test will strengthen America’s public health protections against epidemiological threats by facilitating access to cutting-edge medical countermeasures, such as ADVAITE’S RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Test. ADVAITE is one of only a handful of US manufacturers to receive EUA for a point-of-care serology test.

“This is a watershed moment in the fight against this pandemic,” said Karthik Musunuri, Chief Executive Officer of Advaite. “The RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Test offers unique advantages in containing the virus. ADVAITE’s test is simple to use, provides accurate results from a drop of fingertip blood and can detect IgG antibodies to the COVID-19 virus. Perhaps most critically, our tests provide results in 15 minutes at the point-of-care.”

“Fifteen-minute testing can mean peace of mind and workforce readiness,” Musunuri said, emphasizing that, “Unlike conventional tests that require offsite blood specimen lab work, the RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Test analysis can be done on the spot at the point of care, such as at a physician’s office, making this an ideal solution for screening mass populations.”

From a public health perspective, the RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Test will help in seroprevalence surveys for determining the prevalence of infection in communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our test uses fingerstick whole blood in point-of-care settings, thereby offering a practical and scalable approach to estimate prevalence of persons who develop SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a more general population and over repeated time intervals.” said Dr. Sandeep Jain, ADVAITE’s Chief Scientific Officer.

All RapCov™ Rapid COVID-19 Test Kits are manufactured and assembled start to finish at FDA registered facilities in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and ADVAITE plans to immediately begin supplying the market with its testing kits on a national scale.

So what about whatever they promised to Chester County?

Truly life in the land of COVID will make for several good whodoneits by the time life returns to normal….

Documents disclosed obtained via a Right to Know are kosher to peek at even for us ordinary folks, correct? And a court filing also ok to peek at, correct?

Most of this is waaaay above my pay grade but I thought I would share…..

Chester County…..get out the popcorn….

east or west, less development would be best

Last night I attended the virtual East Whiteland Historic Commission Meeting. One of the people presenting were representatives of the Great Valley School District.

You see, they are now faced with supersizing the elementary school campus. But nooooo of course it’s not due to wanton development in the area. Since the meeting occurred on St. Patrick’s Day I guess it was leprechauns just not being nice to them or something. Sorry not sorry for the deep sarcasm.

Anyway, the reason they were there as they want to tear things down and build new things and so on. But the district representatives did not like when I commented on the fact that school districts everywhere seem to do this following large swaths of new development in various communities. They will basically tell you it’s not true and everyone knows it’s true.

Of course I also commented that all those school districts are autonomous from municipalities, it’s still somewhat of a codependent relationship and I never for the life of me will understand why school districts won’t be honest and say “hey that’s too much development for us to handle.”

Again, sorry not sorry pointing out the truth.

I had to go out to Exton at the beginning of the week for a medical appointment. As I went up Route 30 from Malvern, I was again struck by the sheer volume of development I saw just there along that road. Every square inch that can be developed is being developed.

People are talking about the Ship Inn being for sale. Now that makes me sad because that is a very historic place. That used to be one of my landmarks years ago when I was going to a friend’s house further west. It was always this cheerful beacon on the road and so pretty and historic. Hopefully it survives.

But right where it’s located is at the vortex of a development tsunami. It’s West Whiteland and they are definitely one of the municipalities that can’t say yes fast enough to new development. Once upon a time I found these historic photos of Exton before all the development started. Night and day.

But it’s not just one municipality it’s more like pick a municipality. Look at East Whiteland. Do we really think the school district would be considering expansion if they weren’t out of room because of all the influx of people due to development? I mean come on let’s get real.

Go a little further east and you look at Tredyffrin and Eastown. Is the school district there not experiencing the same problems and need for expansion? It’s because of all the development, right? It doesn’t matter if it’s single-family McMansions, fake carriage houses, town houses, apartments, condos whatever you want to call them they are bringing people into our districts. The interesting thing is I still don’t necessarily believe that the economy is following the people so I wonder about the long-term sustainability but that’s another conversation for another day.

Go to other areas in Chester County and look at other districts. The West Chester Area School District is a monster it’s so big now. Owen J Roberts is huge, and so is Downingtown. And when you get out to areas like Elverson the kids actually go to school in a dual county district . This school district is Twin Valley, and it services two counties and like seven municipalities.

If you go east out of Chester County down to the Main Line, look at Lower Merion School District. The nasty eminent domain battles and fights because why? Because there are so many people coming into that district they needed to build another middle school. Now that middle school is going to be right on the border of Radnor Township which also has development worries of its own and only has one high school which is pretty crowded from what I’m told these days.

Of course in the case of Lower Merion School District and the location of their new school I have to ask what volunteer fire company is going to be responsible for that big complex? Especially when fire companies are going to be faced with the ongoing super sizing of both Bryn Mawr and Ardmore? So will that necessitate an additional fire company being built? Where would that go? And maybe it’s time for all fire companies to consider more paid staff because I think the volunteers are spread a little thin don’t you?

When are municipalities going to wake the hell up and realize the songs and tales of the Pied Piper-like developers and the Emperor’s new clothes they strew about are ruining our communities?

These developers are marching through our communities leaving overcrowding in school districts and stressed municipal services and infrastructure in their wake. And the Municipalities Planning Code ( aka the MPC), the Bible on which local development and zoning is based, allows all of this. It also allows all of the crazy zoning overlay districts which allow developers to get more and more into our communities.

The MPC was created at the end of the 1960s and I think it was signed in to being in 1970. It contains the extraordinarily outdated definitions of suburbs and exurbs that are still fueling all of this development today. And it’s got to stop. There needs to be a comprehensive update. And that update needs to contain language that actually protects our communities from over development. It needs to contain language that has more meaningful historic preservation and land preservation.

No matter where we live we are drowning in crappy new construction. And people don’t like when I say that because you know they’re reading this post from their McMansion. Well talk to me in 20 years and see how your house endures time and wear. I mean look at all the people alone who have had to remediate stucco in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

These developers roll into communities, they make a lot of money, they offer municipal rabbits the tiny baby carrots of ratables and they just move onto the next project. Or they will say to a municipality that they really care about the community in which they want to over develop because they live there? What do they really care about: the community or how much money they’re making?

Oh wait? What is that I hear? Oh that would be the chorus of I hate all development coming from some of you reading this post. I don’t hate all development but I really dislike the volume and lack of quality of the development we are seeing today. Why on earth do developers think that here in bucolic Chester County we want to see things that look like fake industrial?

And then there are the developers who basically take the same design and apply it to projects in multiple municipalities. Do they really think the public is that stupid? I mean maybe the local politicians are but not necessarily the people that live in these municipalities. Do we really want to live in developer created Stepford Land?

I have seen development in other areas, even urban areas that are clever and they actually have architectural design to them. Or they’re wonderful examples of adaptive reuse. My favorite recent example is something in Philadelphia called The Gotham. It was originally The Gotham Silk Factory, as in stockings. This project is amazing. It pays homage to its past yet it’s modern and new. It’s really cool. It proves you can meld old with new and come up with a good product.

But people, we have to start taking back our communities. We need to hold elected officials accountable. And even if they tell us there is nothing that they can do we still hold them accountable. And we need to find better replacements from within our communities and move these people out.

If you change the face of who governs you you can start to enact change in communities. But if it’s just the same old people sitting there year after year we are just going to keep on getting more of what we don’t like where we call home. That’s not just with local municipalities that’s with state representatives and state senators as well. So far with regard to the newbies in office on the state level I’m not really impressed. And there are some who skated in for additional terms riding on the coattails of others and they never impress me at all.

These are our communities. We deserve more of a say. But in order to have more of a say we all have to become more proactive within our communities. that starts with attending meetings. While they are all virtual, it’s much easier, so please take advantage of it. Pick a meeting and participate.

Be the change you want for where you live.

Thanks for stopping by.

sleazy, alarming, scamming postcards for the circular file

Got this postcard in the mail yesterday. Didn’t look at it until today. Today, when I looked at it, I thought to myself “what is this about?”

And they of the anonymous, could be interpreted as alarming postcard, want to send crap through the mail in not even an envelope “would appreciate you keeping this matter private”?

Say what? How about oh hell no?

So I called the number 267-279-9003 and it was illegitimate “Dan” (no last name given) and “Dan” wants to buy my house says the message.

The message is long and folksy but sleazy at the same time. He tells you how he will cover all your costs etc. but nowhere in the message does he say what his company name is who is affiliated with or what his last name is. So I hit “0” and left a message worthy of George Carlin.

Obviously a scam and not accredited with the better business bureau or even a real office. Some kind of virtual mail drop.

So if you look at the front of the postcard the postage permit is actually out of Tampa, FL. So I am going with scammers. I can’t really find much out online but I did find someone on Twitter who got one a while back.

Oh! And also amusing? Postcard says THIRD NOTICE so I have to ask where are the other two notices? You see dear scammer, I am super annoying in the fact that I would have remembered receiving this fake alarming postcard more than once.

Feel free to call up “Dan” and leave him a message. I can think of no better punishment than whomever having to weed through tons of unnecessary messages. Just call 267-279–9003 and when “Dan’s” message starts to play hit 0# and leave him a message 🤣 but don’t sell him your house 🤣

Talk to the hand scammer, talk to the hand.

what’s up with all of the amerigas delivery issues?

NOT GOOD ENOUGH AMERIGAS

I am about to talk about an issue I am not experiencing personally, but as I have started to see the issues crop up more and more in Chester County community groups, I figured it can’t hurt to put the problem out there. And the problem is simple: AmeriGas isn’t delivering the way they should be.

It’s winter, it’s cold. And no one wants to run out of fuel to heat their homes. A lot of people in Chester County use propane to heat their homes. A lot of people are signed up with AmeriGas and in several social media community forums I have seen posts, including today, about people coming close to running out or having run out of fuel and AmeriGas keeps telling them they’re going to deliver only they haven’t.

I am paying it forward and putting this issue out there. It’s cold this winter and we’ve had a lot of bad weather, so people expect delays with delivery of home related services like fuel. But when folks are told they were getting a delivery and then there is no delivery and then people keep being told they are on a special list but no matter who they talk to can’t actually get the fuel delivered, it’s just not fair.

Further complicating matters when you are running out of fuel and waiting on AmeriGas, is the legality of who owns the tanks. Most people rent their tanks. And if you rent your tanks other companies don’t want to deliver propane because it’s somebody else’s tank.

I did a little research and this is a problem with this company from coast to coast. AmeriGas has issues. A reporter from North Carolina recently did a story on the issues people are having with AmeriGas. (CLICK HERE ) after he did his story he got emails from as far away is Pennsylvania.

And a very unscientific and just general matter, I noodled around on Facebook and I put in the search term AmeriGas delivery problems and I came up with posts from people in groups all over the country.

So AmeriGas what gives? I am not hearing these complaints about any of the other local companies that deliver propane.

antiquing….shutter and sand/old mill antiques, west chester, pa

Today was errand day. I was the mostly stay in the car wingwoman. After a couple of stops in West Chester we were coming down 352 and when we were at the intersection of Ellis Lane and I noticed that Old Mill Antiques and Interiors/ Shutters and Sand were open!

I love antiquing even if I don’t need anything. I love looking and learning. Today was window shopping and they have some amazing pieces! They require masks, and have hand sanitizer right as you walk in.

One of the things I totally love they had is an antique punched tin chandelier. They are easy to wire and rewire and if you have a covered porch, they are the perfect touch. They also are great as a kitchen chandelier or even dining room. I love them but they have to be big enough to hold a space. This one was. See this photo:

Another thing I absolutely love about this store? Country chairs, and a lot are antique country painted chairs. I have some. Some of mine came via my Pennsylvania German grandmother and others I have found right here in Chester County.

This is two floors of exploring and fine country antiques reasonably and fairly priced. Also vintage and other things mixed in. Lots of things will catch your eye. Their hours are slightly reduced due to COVID19. But I highly recommend exploring what they have to offer. Enjoy the photos!

Old Mill Antiques and Interiors (610)-906-6813

Shutters and Sand (610)-476-6519

20 Ellis Lane, West Chester, PA 19380

As always I will advise all of you I am not compensated for sharing about my discoveries. I share what I like and discover for the sheer joy and fun of it all!

Pay it forward and #ShopSmall #ShopLocal.

Thanks for stopping by.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pack the Zoom meeting February 1st.

new life for a consignment store settee

After Christmas in 2013, I purchased the below settee from Consign-It Furniture in Kennett Square, PA. This had been manufactured for Hess Brothers in Allentown. The tag on the bottom of the piece said Hess Brothers. At the time I researched it and found it to be mid-century vintage.

I am not a big pattern person but I loved the settee’s shape and the arms and back in particular. So I lived with it for a few years and grew accustomed to the pattern until this year. I decided I was sick of the fabric and the piece was starting to sway in the middle underneath and get a little bulge.

So I began the hunt for an upholsterer. I did not wish to use the same person I used on a vintage wing chair a few years ago. It wasn’t that the upholstery job itself was bad, it’s that the price I was paying went from being agreed-upon to a moving target without notice. And when I compared notes with people and other upholsterer’s after the fact I paid probably $500 to $600 more for that chair to be reupholstered than I should have. It was a learning curve.

So I start looking for upholsterer’s and took a look at Ken’s Upholstery on Facebook. When I saw some of the work he had done from the bare bones of a stripped down furniture frame to finished piece, I knew this was the person I wanted to call.

We spoke and I think at first he didn’t know what to make out of me. I can be tough. But I kind of want to know what somebody’s about before I do business with them. The owner Ken and I bonded initially over 4th Street in Philadelphia. You see, 4th Street below South is where I went for years as a child with my parents to pick out fabric and sewing notions and trim.

My mother has always sewed, and we would also go into the fabric district there on 4th street for upholstery fabric for furniture and fabric for curtains and draperies. I remember being little and playing under the big workbenches where they would roll out the giant bolts of fabric to measure and cut. It was really kind of cool. Most of those places don’t exist anymore. I have all of these memories including back-and-forth discussion with the fabric sellers about what fabrics had a hard enough finish that would survive as upholstery and drapes.

So Ken came out to visit with sample books of fabrics which had been wiped down with sanitizing wipes. He came with gloves and a mask on. Which made me comfortable because face it, this year has been anything but normal with COVID19.

We discussed what I wanted and he took initial measurements and left me with the fabric books for a few days to decide what fabric I would choose.

I chose my fabric, and my quote was firmed up and emailed to me in writing and I provided a deposit for the fabric cost.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving they came and picked up the settee. I received photos all the way through the process, including when they took it down to the studs and found out that indeed the front legs were loose. So they stopped everything and put the settee frame back together the way it should be, and rebuilt her. Ken literally kept me updated every step of the way. I didn’t have to do the follow up, he just does it as a matter of best business practice.

The finished product speaks for itself. I had no idea such a gorgeous piece of furniture was living inside my consignment store settee! Ken’s Upholstery knocked it out of the park for us!

The settee is so gorgeous to me. The attention to detail and the time they took is self-evident. Oh I have provided a close-up of one of the arms in a photo because that’s very difficult to pull off and the tucks and everything have to be just right.

I will note that I am just a regular customer and the reason I am writing up my review is I think this business owner deserves all the accolades possible for just doing an amazing job and being a super nice, decent person. He’s very positive in a time when it is hard for anyone, let alone a small business owner to be positive.

I recommend Ken’s Upolstery highly! And his pricing is beyond fair.

I have attached a screenshot of the business card to give anyone interested all their information. Lots of interior designers in the greater Philadelphia/Main Line region he has been a best kept secret. But why go through the up-charges when you can deal directly with a craftsman like this?

If any of you out there are looking to get anything recovered I hope you will consider them!

Thanks for stopping by!

further adventures in search of christmas spirit

Today we went to visit our friend Lisa who owns Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford.

Three floors of festive fabulous and Christmas magic!!! Enjoy a sneak peek in my photos and go visit! Masks required and hand sanitizer stations throughout the store.

Brandywine View Antiques is located at 1244 Baltimore Pike in Chadds Ford, PA. Wednesday through Sunday 10 AM – 4 PM.

finding christmas spirit

Soon little ceramic elves will be peeking from book shelves. Gnomes and Santas too. Maybe some nutcrackers. The tree will come to life with vintage and other ornaments. And Christmas baking season will begin.

But what will Christmas in the year of COVID19? Will we celebrate in tiny family pods? Will we celebrate. And what about that grinch holed up in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC? What about all the people who continue to be affected by COVID19 including now our former Chester County Sheriff?

So yes, finding my Christmas spirit has been a little challenging this year. There has been a little bah humbug in the air. Usually about now we are planning a Christmas party. But not this year. We won’t even see our entire family this Christmas. Too many people from too many places. That bums me out.

All of our Christmas celebrations will be quieter this year undoubtedly. But we do need to find our Christmas spirit!!!

Yes, even though I had recently discovered a couple of cool little Santas for a table, my Christmas spirit has been struggling.

Until yesterday. Yesterday my friend Kristin had her business’s open house. It was very different than previous years. We were timed, it was super small, we had to wear masks, and there was hand sanitizer. But there was still Christmas magic every which way I looked. She said sometimes we just have to believe and she’s so right!

Yesterday at the Smithfield Barn we were treated to a vintage Christmas. Totally magical so keep an eye out for more small, socially distanced pop-ups. Also check out what my other favorite elf Lisa has planned at Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford! And you can’t forget Life’s Patina starts spreading holiday cheer next week and Meg is another favorite elf who always seems to know what I am looking for!

Also things that you won’t see this Christmas would be the open house I usually have for my friends to promote another friend’s business. But as luck would have it my friend Alice has two fabulous websites to showcase her products:

A Single Strand and ABW Designs.

Also to be considered is Past*Present*Future in Ardmore. Owned by my friend Sherry, you can shop safely with a mask in the store or buy things online! An artist by training, she has an amazing I and hers is a store that you go in and marvel at everything she has collected for her customers. It’s a beautiful place! And if you’re more comfortable shopping remotely right now you can do that too.

Another place would be Magnolia Cottage Shop in Malvern/Frazer and the lovely folks at Frazer Antiques. And also Old Soul Decor in West Chester which is re-opening in a brand new space Thanksgiving!

The last three places I am mentioning today are also special to me an run by friends as well. Clover Market has pivoted to online due to COVID19 and Janet has curated an amazing collection of things and they offer free shipping! Shopping Clover 🍀 has never been easier.

Second to last would be King’s Haven in Paoli which is not just an amazing interior design destination, but has a remarkably beautiful collection of art and gifts. All due to my talented friend Lauren.

Finally, there is Framers Market Gallery in Malvern, Newtown Square, and Haverford. Yes Jayne and Dave are friends, but I am a devoted customer and not just for the framing business. They rep some amazing local artists! And to me one of the best gifts you can give anyone for Christmas or the holidays is the gift of art!

Yesterday I realized part of finding our Christmas magic means #ShopLocal and #ShopSmall as well. So I hope you find lovely presents at some of these places and they are all places I am just a regular customer of. They won’t even know I have mentioned their business until I hit publish on this post. As a customer I like to pay it forward.

So I know this is going to be a holiday season like no other. But we do have to believe in the magic of the season.

Shop local, support small businesses wherever you live!

file under bad things could happen in upper merion?

Now I had heard billboards wanted to come to Upper Merion (township in Montgomery County adjacent to places like Lower Merion and Radnor Township in spots best known for the King of Prussia sprawl of malls) as in those giant things they call “monuments” that are on 202 in Chester County, Quakertown, attempted on Route 100 with a “farmer’s market”, and disposition unknown in East Whiteland on Route 30, and other places.

What I didn’t know in the Upper Merion situation until this morning when somebody pointed it out is that these billboards put a park at risk. Bob White Park to be precise. Who knew?

Apparently no one reads the papers because there was an article in Main Line Media News a while back:

Upper Merion supervisors delay hearing on signs
By Gary Puleo gpuleo@21st-centurymedia.com @MustangMan48 on Twitter Oct 16, 2020 Updated Oct 16, 2020 Comments

📌📝UPPER MERION — Some call them signs, some call them digital billboards.

Catalyst Experiential, the company that creates mergers of “art, architecture and advertising” calls them monuments that integrate “visual communication technology with local landmarks, infrastructure, and community experience, which encompasses the display as well as the ambient light sensor and other technology.📌📝

Whether or not Upper Merion Township will welcome the monuments in parks and underutilized parcels will not be decided until Nov. 12 when Upper Merion supervisors will again consider the concept after tabling the matter at Tuesday’s meeting….📝📌

The company was proposing installations at four locations, including Bob White Park, Betzwood Bridge, 795 W. DeKalb Pike and 216 Allendale Road.📌🎂

The proposed amendment to zoning ordinances to amend the Township’s Zoning Ordinance would permit and “encourage the innovative commercial use of certain lands within the Township” while establishing a township-wide communication platform.📝📌

The monument lease agreements would allow, among other things, a “proposed 30-year lease agreement with Croton Road Upper Merion Land Holdings, LLC for the lease of a portion of the property known as Bob White Park for the exclusive right to construct and maintain an off-premises advertising display subject to the terms and conditions outlined in said lease.”📝📌

Following a detailed presentation by Thaddeus Bartkowski, CEO of Catalyst Experiential, several residents voiced their concern about not having been informed about the hearing.📌📝

“All of these changes at Bob White Park are being made without any input from the residents,” said one resident. “None of us really knew until tonight what was going on. There’s lots of places to let us know … there’s social media. You could have shared the presentations with us. The workshop meetings used to be televised but they are no longer.📌📝

Interesting name cropped up if you click on article link and read the whole thing. Upper Merion has the same solicitor as East Whiteland Township, Chester County—Joe McGrory.

So again, I think the billboards are hideous and most locations in Upper Merion being proposed are locations already kind of hideous, but this whole plan for Bob White Park? Why has it gotten this far? Have Upper Merion officials lost their tiny minds?

So if I have this straight, billboard company wants to lease a portion of this park to erect a “monument” in a heavily wooded portion of park that faces the expressway? As in the Schyulkill Expressway? So maybe houses near the park wouldn’t have full on sign blast of light, merely an unhealthy glow potentially but that is not the real problem with this location is it? Isn’t the real horror of this location the potential RE-ZONING of park land to COMMERCIAL?

So OMG let me understand this: if Upper Merion re-zoned a public park to commercial land zoning wouldn’t that mean a park might not have legal protection if Jim Bob Shiny Bright Developer showed up down the road and tried to do something? Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ that is a dumb ass plan isn’t it?.

And apparently in return Upper Merion would get “park improvements”? Talk about sell your souls to the devil right?

So look, not my county, not my people, not my township. But fascinating in its proposed vulgarity, none the less. Upper Merion residents, I feel for you. No one likes these billboards, well except for the company who likes to build them.