west whiteland: development and crumbling history?

Along S. Whitford Road. I have photographed this before. It continues to deteriorate.

Meanwhile, turn the corner onto Creamery Way I think it is and you see:

It’s like in West Whiteland there is a race to develop every square inch into homogeneous Tyvec wrapped insanity…while history rots.

Surely Chester County deserves better?

why are we perpetually punished by politicians over healthcare in this country?

I just completed my open enrollment for next year’s health insurance. My premiums will double each month starting in January, 2020.

Double.

I am literally back to the pre-Affordable Care Act premiums yet the Affordable Care Act is still in place. I don’t live below the poverty line yet I am punished for being solidly middle class and these premiums make you feel like you are dancing on the edge of precipice of living at or below the poverty line, and why? Why does it have to be this way?

I didn’t necessarily wish to embrace the Affordable Care Act at first if I’m completely honest. But it did make it much easier as a self paying insured to get insurance that was a bit more affordable for a couple of years.

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, I was self-pay. The reason I was self-pay in corporate America is because my employer at the time was not required by law to offer employees insurance. Before that job I was always covered under employer plans. Now as a self-employed person I continue to be self-pay. I’m fine with that. But whether you are self-pay or through an employer plan health insurance is crazy expensive. And does it have to be?

Now before I became self-pay, the employer plans had already started to slip. We were paying more and getting less. And that has nothing to do with what the employers actually allowed to be covered via the underwriting. It has to do with what the insurance companies gave us out of the generosity of their hearts. Their hands are outstretched for premiums, but what about the quid pro quo? Do we fairly and equitably get what we pay for? And what about the medical providers? Have you ever looked at what they actually receive versus what is paid into the insurance companies?

We have had a healthcare system in this country that has continually broken down by bits and pieces over the decades because there is one consistency that is never addressed: the insurance companies themselves. There have never been any comprehensive reforms of the insurance companies. Yet corporate executives keep their private jets and other perks, right?

I will pay my insurance premiums. I always do. But I will be forced to economize in other areas.  I have no other option for benefits, so I will make do. I am a rule follower not a rule breaker, but I don’t think the rules are fair and equitable with regard to health insurance in this country or in Pennsylvania.

I don’t cheat at life, I pay my fair share. But when it comes to health insurance in this country I feel like I am cheated at times, don’t you?

As a cancer survivor and still active cancer patient I have paid extraordinary amounts of healthcare related expenses for many years at this point. And that is in addition to monthly health insurance premiums. And I’ve paid it all off. It takes time, I have to do payment plans, but I’m not asking for handouts. But year after year when open enrollment rolls around I feel like Sisyphus with the healthcare rock to roll up the damn hill.

I don’t think as Americans we should be punished every open enrollment period for having health insurance. We are told by law we have to have health insurance, I also always had health insurance before it was the law to always have health insurance.

Yet, I look at elected officials on both sides of the aisle fighting about health insurance and everything else in this country. As taxpayers we pay towards their health benefits that they don’t really pay for. But they want to tell me how I’m supposed to spend my money on health insurance just like they want to have control over a woman’s reproductive rights? And I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat, that’s bullsh🤬t.

Americans, average everyday Americans, are the perpetual pawns of politics and politicians. Depending on which party is in power, you get something for a few years, then the next administration takes it away and so on and so forth. It’s a vicious cycle without end and there should be an end to it.

We didn’t ask for political parties to battle it out and for politicians to beat their breastbones telling each other how fabulous they are at our expense.

Elected officials aren’t so fabulous because they won’t sit down and figure this out. It is just a perennial game of whomever gets all the toys wins with regular every day Americans as the losers in perpetuity.

I am grateful I am able to get health insurance. But not everybody can. And the prices go up but the services don’t necessarily coincide do they? 

I will note for all you far more conservative than me, I have never ever expected someone else to pay for my health insurance. I just would like it to be priced fairly and consistently.

We need real and lasting healthcare reform. Not more extremes in politics.

Rant over.



oh just get out there and vote

Tomorrow is Election Day.

Election Day is your chance as an American to be heard.

Tomorrow is one of those off-year elections where there is not a presidential election attached. It doesn’t mean it’s not important. It’s important.

To those of us who live in Chester County it’s important local races, county-wide races, and judicial races.

Yes I do express at times who I feel is a good candidate and who I feel is a poor candidate and I’ve done that this election season. And no one has to like my opinion, it’s my opinion because it’s what I’m thinking about.

I’m just asking you all to think period.

There are issues with both major political parties. Hello? That’s why I became a registered Independent.

Tomorrow is the general election. I would be happy to vote in the primaries but that’s what I gave up for the ability to be an Independent. Other states have open primaries, Pennsylvania is not so progressive.

I believe in splitting my ticket because I think we are best served by balance not one party rule. One party rule is like the monarchy our founding fathers escaped from to found this country in the first place!

Get out and vote. Make your own decisions and be educated about it. Read the campaign finance reports.

Keep an eye on the birds of a feather of it all. And my other favorite, our wolves in sheep’s clothing, the politically expedient who become members of political parties they weren’t originally not because their belief system necessarily changed and they had an epiphany, but because it’s politically expedient to become something else to get what they want. That’s patently dishonest.

And remember the pipelines. Make them an election issue.

Peace out.

#defendwhatyoulove

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Photo courtesy of West Whiteland Residents for Public Safety

Today more friends, acquaintances, and residents will be lending their voices and speaking truth to power over the scourge known as pipelines.

You see, this is day two of public hearings in West Chester that the PUC (Public Utility Commission) is holding on Mariner East. The pipelines are ruining where we call home and putting us ALL at risk.  Corporate greed putting lives at risk. We don’t benefit as residents.  We only assume risk and for what? So they can rape the land and ship dangerous things below our feet to places like Scotland that can blow us all to kingdom come, destroy our property values, pollute our drinking water wells and more?

Enough.  Enough. Enough. It’s well past time to get them out of our communities.

The Philadelphia Inquirer had the best headline in years late yesterday when they went to press with:

So to my Mama Bears and anti-pipeline warriors in West Chester today? Defend What You Love. Defend What We Love.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, crowd, tree, shoes and outdoor

Photo courtesy of Just The Facts Please

Several Chester, Delaware county residents urge PUC judge to shut down Mariner East pipelines, citing fears of leak or explosion

  • Jon Hurdle State Imapct

Seven residents of Chester and Delaware counties took their long-running fight against the Mariner East pipelines to a West Chester court on Wednesday, saying the Public Utility Commission should shut down the lines on the grounds that they are a danger to public safety.

They are urging a PUC administrative law judge to halt the operation and remaining construction of Sunoco’s still-unfinished pipeline project, on the grounds that any leak or explosion of natural gas liquids from the pipelines in densely populated suburbs like the two counties could result in mass casualties.

The plaintiffs are also seeking a court order that would require Sunoco to clarify its instructions on how residents should protect themselves in the event of a pipeline accident….Lawyers for Sunoco repeatedly accused Eric Friedman, a witness for the plaintiffs, of offering expert evidence that he was not qualified to give, but Barnes overruled several of their objections.

Under questioning from the plaintiffs’ attorney, Michael Bomstein, Friedman said a consultant’s projection on the impact of an explosion of NGLs showed that there would be fatalities within a radius of 800 feet…..Dr. Emilie Lonardi, superintendent of the 13,000-student Downingtown School District, told the court that five of her schools are between 300 and 1,425 feet of the pipeline route, and that despite many attempts to get detailed evacuation information from Sunoco, she remains worried about whether her students would be safe in a pipeline emergency.

She said she’s unable to assure parents at one elementary school that their children are safe.

“The hard thing for me is that I cannot look them in the eye and say yes,” she said.

The plaintiffs — Meghan Flynn and Rosemary Fuller of Middletown Township; Michael Walsh of Thornbury Township; Nancy Harkins of Westtown Township; McMullen; Caroline Hughes of East Goshen Township; and Melissa Haines of Aston Township — are pressing a case that has resulted in 11 months of legal filings and more than three years of public meetings, protests and court battles that have also involved the Department of Environmental Protection, local officials, the federal pipeline regulator PHMSA, state lawmakers, school districts, townships, and several environmental nonprofits…..Sunoco admitted in February 2019 that it made mistakes during construction

 Read both of these articles. In their entirety.  And to my friends in West Chester? Prayers up. #PipelinesOverPeople

Today Thursday  is the second day of the hearing   at High St and Market St at the historic West Chester courthouse. I have no courtroom information. The hearing should just be getting underway now.

20180613 Rally for Community Safety

Photo found on Internet. Possible source is Sierra Club

why we change banks, or reaffirming why finally leaving pnc was the right move.

pizap

In 2015 I wrote  two posts about PNC Bank.  I also wrote about them in 2012 and 2013.

Human nature dictates we are creatures of habit and it took until this year to actually divorce and leave them.  Yes, I stayed in an abusive banking relationship for far too long.

I had been a customer for close to 30 years, if not more than 30.  I knew how their website worked, I knew my account numbers, and for years I even knew my tellers and branch managers.

Then I moved.  New branches and new tellers and unpleasant experiences like trying to open a business checking account at a purported “full service branch” only to be told I had to come back another day because they weren’t really full service even if ON THE WALL it said “full service”.

Then there were other things like spite finance charges after I closed and paid off a credit card.

Soon it became if I used a teller I would get charged so just use the machines they said.  Well, sometimes you just need to go to a branch and interact with someone face to face.  I came out of banking and finance, and there is absolutely NO substitution for face to face customer service. Unless you bank at PNC of course.

When you need help in person at PNC they always try to UPSELL you to products you don’t need or want.  Every time I went into a branch physically the past few years it was the hard sell for something. Every time. And when you tell them NO I don’t want any additional services it is like they are robots reading from a script, because they just launch into the upsell spiel anyway.

Then there were the nickel and diming fees that always felt like a moving target.  It’s like you are punished for being a small customer not represented in the top 2% in this country.

Finally, the straw that broke the camel’s back was this summer when I had to go into a branch in Exton because their ATM machine was half broken and it would not let you make an ATM machine deposit.

So I went inside the branch and the bobblehead playing teller proceeded to quiz me (loudly) on why I hadn’t moved everything into my married name from my maiden name.  In front of other customers who were then staring at this entire exchange. How about because it is none of your f-ing business, lady? It was like a public shaming for still using my maiden name on things.

That was it.  I took my banking elsewhere.  When I opened and seeded my new accounts at another bank, I began the process of winding down my PNC accounts.

I had an excruciating call with a customer service representative on the phone during this closing process. She wanted to know exactly WHY I was closing my accounts so I told her except it should be “We are sorry to lose you as a customer and I am happy to assist you.”

During this conversation I asked questions like could I get copies of all of my 2019 statements year to date mailed or e-mailed to me since I am paperless as well as physical statements mailed to me at year end for tax purposes. I was told TWO separate things. I was told I could just log into my old closed accounts and download statements.  I was also told alternately that all I had to do was call customer service.

This afternoon I had time and I wanted to reconcile my closed accounts and make sure I did not miss anything.  So I went to retrieve my statements.  Only because I closed my accounts, in spite of what I was told by PNC customer service representatives I can’t actually access my records. So I called PNC customer service this afternoon.

Another stellar experience.  A real service turd.  Customer Service Turd said because my account was closed I could not access my statements online.  So I asked if they could please MAIL or e-mail me statements, including year end statements. The answer was….NO.

If I want anything, I have to go into a branch.

I don’t want to go into a branch.  I have proven my identity and all I am asking for are statements mailed to the address of record they have on file for me.

NO says the Customer Service Turd again.

I mean WTF? I am debating taking this to the Pennsylvania State Banking Commission. These accounts have been closed about 30 days. Not 30 months. Not 30 years.

Of course calling corporate PNC is nigh on impossible.

Here are the contacts I found:

Michelle Neidhardt
Customer Experience Director/EVP
300 Fifth Ave. the Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2401
412-762-0454
Michelle.neidhardt@pnc.com

Karen L. Larrimer
Executive Vice President, Head of Retail Banking & Chief Customer Officer
300 Fifth Ave. the Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2401
karen.larrimer@pnc.com

Chief Executive
William S. Demchak
CEO
300 Fifth Ave. the Tower at PNC Plaza
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-2401
william.s.demchak@pnc.com

PNC Media Relations
(412) 762-4550
media.relations@pnc.com
INVESTOR RELATIONS- 412-768-4143

PNC Executive Office Phone Numbers:

877-762-5555412-803-1294

1377035_541697082573166_1631774160_nI will send the PNC executives this post.  I want my statements and I should NOT have to practically give blood to get them. But this is a good reminder as to why I left PNC.   Except really, I have to wonder does old fashioned customer service and old school neighborhood banking exist any longer or are we all lost to giant conglomerates, offshore call centers and unless we are worth millions to banks we are worthless?

Things to ponder Corporate America and dear readers, things to ponder.

My final word is my new bank doesn’t know me from Adam’s House Cat but whether online, in person, or on the phone they treat me with professionalism and respect.  Thank you Citizen’s Bank. It makes a difference.

 

 

inspirational

San Juan Islands: Food for the Soul // REI Adventures & Tastemade // ( captions & subtitles) from KGB Productions on Vimeo.

I was watching the Today Show while getting dressed this morning and caught this piece on this woman who chucked a Wall Street career to essentially dig in the dirt. Her name is Audra Lawlor.  She lives on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.

Every morning now I hear the beep-beep-beep of construction equipment as yet more developments are given birth to in Chester County. I found this woman’s story inspirational because this is about people saving the land, growing on their land, and getting their hands dirty from digging in the dirt.

We need more of that here. CLICK HERE TO SEE HARRY SMITH INTERVIEW AUDRA LAWLOR ON TODAY. This is inspirational.

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Read more about Audra and her company in Saveur (excerpt below):

Saveur TRAVEL
This Orcas Island Jam Company Transforms Local Plums into Vibrant Seasonal Preserves
Girl Meets Dirt is on a mission to save the island’s legacy fruit trees and jar their bounty

By Beth Graham
June 12, 2019

If you’re driving the winding roads of Orcas Island in late summer, you can smell the ripening fruit all around. On one such morning last year, I stopped the car at my destination and met Audra Lawlor, owner of Girl Meets Dirt, who was surveying one orchard’s recent Italian plum harvest in tall rubber boots and a denim shirt. As we walked among the rows of trees with their full canopies spilling over onto the trail, Audra picked up a fallen plum from the ground and turned it over in her hand between us. “Before I got here, most of the fruit from these trees would have rotted on the ground,” she says. Lawlor and her team of five mighty women at Girl Meets Dirt harvested more than 2,500 pounds of Italian plums alone last season.

Some people leave their corporate jobs to rescue animals. Audra left Wall Street to rescue pink pearl apples and Orcas pears. Today, many of the island’s residents see her as the steward of the legacy fruit trees on the island, a 57-square-mile piece of the San Juan Islands, an archipelago that lies in the waters between Seattle and Vancouver, just barely on the U.S. side of the border….By the end of the 19th century, many inhabitants had made their way over to work the plum orchards and operate the prune dryers (barnlike structures where the fruit was set to shrivel up), and the economy was surging. The success allowed the building of docks for steamships, as well as a boon for jobs sorting, grading, and packing fruit for transport. It also led to an island that became far more orchard than anything else. The country lane that runs through the center of Orcas Island’s main village is still named Prune Alley.

Many of the legacy fruit trees—entire orchards of them—fell into disrepair during a period of economic downturn around 1915. It was in part due to the rise of railroads, improved irrigation, and heavy planting in nearby eastern Washington, which became a fierce competitor. Islanders began to ignore the fallen fruit, and tree limbs weakened with overgrowth. Thousands of trees were left to die, and the plum industry collapsed. It wasn’t until decades later, when the island began attracting new residents—those who sought out the area for its bucolic landscape—that the trees gained new stewards. Today, Lawlor and her company are working with fellow islanders to revive and utilize those trees that remain.

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