the joseph price house in exton is in really bad shape.

Yes again, I am writing about the Joseph Price house in West Whiteland Township. It’s really starting to deteriorate badly in my opinion. (And I say that from observing it across the street today- I have not been invited to be on the property so I would not presume.)

This house is on S.Whitford and Clover Mill Roads in Exton. The Joseph Price House in West Whiteland Township.

(Here is a wonderful little slide show presentation on prezi. )

This house is historically listed. It was built in 1878 and altered in 1894 by the house namesake inhabitant at the time. It was altered from a Gothic style to a Queen Anne style.

I was also told in the 1990s it was separate apartments inside and there were also cottages around it which were rented out as well.

In the 1950s and 60s there was a large barn there that was a sale barn for cattle run by Bayard Taylor —a blog reader told me that. He knew because his mother did bookkeeping for that business while she was in college.

This house is not completely deserted I am told there is still a caretaker who still lives there. However, this house has an uncertain future at best and nobody seems to know what will happen to it. Which is a shame because it’s very cool.

There are so many amazing houses like this throughout Chester County from all eras of time.

I am told the house is owned by two people in Ambler. Chesco Views confirmed that today.

This afternoon I had some time so I pulled into the business parking lot across the road on Clover Mill Road. I took some photos from across the road and I just looked at the house. It has been historically listed since the 1980s. And yes I know I’m being repetitive, but it just blows my mind that these gorgeous houses that are historically listed not just locally but nationally rot like this.

Things are just crumbling and the property also seems to be quite the haven for dead car bodies.

Truly (and sadly), the house is becoming so decrepit, more decrepit. I really wish these owners would sell to somebody who could restore it.

It is just so crazy to me, as this could be the most fabulous property. It’s big enough and there is enough land left that it could be a great restaurant or even a boutique bed-and-breakfast which is not a stretch considering there is one up the road from it on South Whitford – the Duling-Kurtz House and Country Inn.

Anyway, I continue to be obsessed by this property which is not for sale. It’s just that this is a historically listed property (since 9/6/1984) and is this demolition by neglect? I really hope someone will save this place.

#thisplacematters

a beautiful children’s book 26 years in the making

Giants “A Children’s Grief Story

When somebody tells you that their newly published book was 26 years in the making it really makes you want to stop and think

Giants A Children’s Grief Story by A.E. McIntyre and ElisaBeth Steins is that book. I will let the author A.E. McIntyre speak for himself:

I am proud to announce that Giants “A Children’s Grief Story,” is now available for purchase. This story is 26 years in the making.
Thank you to my incredibly talented childhood friend and artist Beth Steines whose illustrations brought this story to life. In 1994, I wrote the original draft of the story, one night in my college dorm room. Then I just filed it away.
Then in 1998, while attending a poetry class at WCU, Giants was mocked. The other students lampooned it, and thought I was trying to sound like a child. At the time, I didn’t have the courage to say, that indeed, the little boy inside of me had in fact written the story. So then I filed it away.
Then, three years ago, my brother died and it all came back to me once more. So on a bike ride I thought, “I need to write a children’s story about grief,” almost forgetting that I already had. It was then, when a friend Kelly encouraged me to write a second half to the original story.
No one but Beth and I, my editor and Beehive Book Design have read the complete story until now…while the original version of “Giants,” is in the beginning of my book, “Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, A Life from Moment to Moment.” And then, I filed Giants away again.
Then, two years ago, my daughters school friend lost her father, and once more, I committed myself to trying to turn Giants into a reality. Soon after, Beth signed on as my illustrator. Giants was originally intended for children, but really, it’s a book for adults too. And I am trying to honor all of those adults out there, who also lost their parents too soon.
Very recently, a dear friend of mine passed suddenly, and much like the boy in the story, I found myself facing the same questions about God and Heaven, and whether my friend was now at peace with God? And then I realized, the questions this little boy must face, are the very same questions, that each of us must face, when we lose loved ones, even as adults.
Now… Knowing how hard this is in adulthood, now……imagine for a moment just how hard it is to lose a parent when you are just a child. Thank you!

I wish this book has been around when my niece and nephew were very small children and their father died in 3 1/2 weeks from a vicious pleural mesothelioma a few days before Christmas in 2010.

If you are interested in ordering this book please follow the link to Amazon.

I think this book is a beautiful thing.

is a small child with down’s syndrome a criminal?

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I was told about this yesterday evening.  I don’t know this lady or her child but I don’t know where to go in my head with this, and all I keep coming back to is how wrong this is.

Yes, here is the letter: Maggie Statement 2020 0121. I found it here:

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If this is YOUR school district or if you have a special needs child here is the meeting information:

Tredyffrin/Easttown School District
TEAO – School Board Policy Committee Meeting
Feb. 4, 2020
Starts at 7:00 PM

Policy Committee Agenda
February 4, 2020 – 7:00 p.m.
Room 200, T/E Administration Offices
1. Approval of Minutes of the January 21, 2020 Policy Committee Meeting
2. Public Comment
3. Review of Policies for 2nd Reading
 Policy and Regulation 1120: Communications with the School Board
 Policy 4350: Health and Safety in the Workplace
 Policy 5223: Promotion
 Policy and Regulation 5405: Student Substance Abuse
 Policy and Regulation 8040: Emergency Preparedness
4. Information
 None
5. Follow Up from Previous Policy Committee Meeting
 Policy and Regulation 5401: Student Discipline
 Policy and Regulation 6151: Staffing the Educational Program (Class Size)
6. Policies and Regulations for Review and Discussion
 Regulation 3233: Federal Fiscal Compliance – Procurement
 Regulation 3323: Procurement
 Regulation 3380: Travel Reimbursement
 Policy and Regulation 5001: Enrollment and Registration Requirements and
Verification of Student Residency
7. Policy Committee Goals
8. Future Meetings
Policy meetings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year will be on March 3, April 1,and May 5. Unless advertised otherwise, all meetings are held at the Tredyffrin/Easttown Administration Offices, 940 West Valley Road, Suite 1700, in Room 200 at 7:00 p.m.

My friend and fellow bloggeress, Patty Benson has written about this today as well.

Community Matters: TE School District Policy 5401 “Student Discipline” Results in Police Record for Kindergartner With Down Syndrome — School Board, How is This Possible?
February 3, 2020

I learned of a troubling situation from the January 21 meeting of TESD Policy Committee. Although I was not in attendance at the meeting, I reviewed the video of the meeting and would encourage all reading this post to do likewise (click here for video).

According to Maggie and Mark Gaines, their 6-year-old kindergarten daughter (who has Down Syndrome) now has a record with the Tredyffrin Township Police Department.  

Oh yeah… the video

Start paying attention RIGHT at the beginning.  Mrs. Gaines comes on around 1 minute 32 seconds (or there abouts)

Here is a long excerpt from the statement I uploaded earlier in the post:

My name is Maggie Gaines. I’m here with my husband Mark and our six-year old daughter Margot. We live in Wayne. I am speaking tonight to make the School board aware of how its “threat assessment” policy is being implemented in the elementary schools of T/E to the detriment of students.

Our daughter Margot is a kindergartener at Valley Forge Elementary School. And she now has a record with the Tredyffrin police department, because the district alleged she had made a threat to her teacher.

On November 19, Margot, who has Down syndrome and often struggles transitioning between activities, was asked by her teacher to do something she did not want to do. At one point in her refusal she pointed her finger at her teacher and said, “I shoot you.”

I imagine the utterance was not unlike the instances when I’ve told her it’s time for bed and she says, “I hate bed. I hate mommy.” As most parents can attest, I have learned not to take offense. For I know that a short time later she is usually cuddled up to me, while we read bedtime stories and exchange kisses and cuddles before saying good-night.

At any rate, the teacher claimed this response was a “threat” and brought Margot to the principal, who talked to my daughter and quickly determined that she neither understood what she was saying nor meant any harm to her teacher or any of her classmates.

The principal then followed district policy and convened a “threat assessment” team.

The threat assessment team met and determined Margot had made a “transient” threat, which is simply an expression of anger or frustration with no intent to harm anyone. The threat assessment team recommended no disciplinary action. Also, there was no recommendation from the principal, Margot’s teachers nor any other members of Margot’s IEP team to address the “problem” behavior in her IEP since it appeared to be an “isolated” event.

I think most people would agree that this is where the issue should have ended. And yet it did not.

Hours after the threat assessment team met, the principal informed me by phone that the school was still required under the district’s policy to call the police regarding the incident.

I disagreed and argued it was absurd to involve the police for an episode involving a kindergartner who pointed her finger, not in malice, but in protest to a request to change classrooms. The principal agreed to discuss the issue further with me the next day.

After reviewing Policy 5401, my husband and I did not see anywhere in the text that required the school to call the police for a transient threat. That evening I sent an email recapping my concerns regarding the policy to Becky Wills, the principal, Ellen Turk, the district safety officer, Chris Groppe director of individualized student services, and Mark Cataldi, director of Assessment and Accountability.

More than 24-hours after the incident occurred, I received another phone call from Becky Wills and Ellen Turk, who told me they had conferred with the district’s administration and concluded the policy required them to “consult with law enforcement.”

Ellen Turk admitted during our discussion that the purpose of the so-called “consultation” with police was not applicable in Margot’s case. But she said that because this was the district’s policy, she had to follow it without exception for every student, in every situation. There was no room for anyone in the district to use common sense to interpret the policy any differently.

My husband, Mark, and I insisted on being on the phone when the call was made to the Tredyffrin Police Dept. The information that was relayed was the same as what would be given to law enforcement when filing a police report.

They recorded my daughter’s name, birthdate, and address. They asked for the names and birthdates of myself and my husband. And they took details of what had happened.

When I asked Officer Garns, who took the call, if he viewed this as a consultation. He answered “no.” He said he was merely recording what had happened.

I also asked how long the information would be held by the Tredyffrin police department. He said it was entered into the department’s database and would not be deleted or expunged after any reasonable time period. I asked who could access this information, and he said it was publicly available.

I am well aware that we live in a time when parents are concerned for their children’s safety in school. When I think of incidents at Parkland High School or Sandy Hook Elementary School, I too am haunted and disgusted.

But I also think our society and our schools across the country have overreacted with respect to perceived threats, resulting in even finger guns wielded by kindergartners being viewed as cause to alert authorities. 

I am chilled to the bone. One reason is I have heard other tales of misuse of this policy in this district.  I have heard of parents (don’t know any but have heard they exist) afraid to come forward because they fear being targeted and what exactly is this school district building here?

What would the ACLU or a savvy Americans With Disabilities Act lawyer say to this? This is a child. A small child in kindergarten with Down’s syndrome. Why are Becky Wills, Chris Groppe, Ellen Turk, and Mark Cataldi (whomever they all are ) are working for this district? To instill fear and loathing? I think they have achieved those objectives and should be on their way now, don’t you? Yes.. FIRE their asses.

And while I am loathe to criticize a local police department, don’t they have any leeway here? Why do they want parents and little special needs kids treated this way?  And if this school district cries wolf enough, would they even be able to recognize (God forbid) a REAL and credible threat and evaluate it? Where is the actual focus here? It’s too broad a brush of a policy isn’t it? (Read TESD Policy 5401 here)

Why does the Tredyffrin Easttown School District have so many messed up problems? Do they need a new Superintendent of Schools and a school board too? Remember this:

Philadelphia Inquirer: Anti-Semitic text messages and an alleged threat of school violence. Did a Chester County school district handle the situation correctly?
by Katie Park, Posted: June 15, 2018 – 3:40 PM

Nora Nissenbaum thought the boy in her sixth-grade class was cute, so they casually texted for about a month. But she didn’t like it when the boy insulted her friends at a school dance — and told him so.

The relationship soured. The boy sent anti-Semitic memes and text messages. A caption for one meme reads, “Orange Jews: 100% Concentrated,” under an orange-tinted photo of concentration camp prisoners standing behind barbed wire….All the while, parents say, school officials kept the trouble quiet and didn’t alert families in the district to a threat that many consider a public safety issue that should have been dealt with swiftly and transparently. And in the absence of a statement from the district, parents found out about what happened through the rumor mill.

So if this mom had not come forward would it be the good old rumor mill again? As I sit and continue to listen to this last meeting on You Tube, I am shocked, uncomfortable, outraged and fearful.  A whole lot of CYA going on with that school district and few answers.

There is a problem here and what is the solution??

One thing I would like to know is how many OTHER parents are out there dealing with this other than Maggie and Mark Gaines? Maybe Tredyffrin Easttown School District and the Tredyffrin Police Department should let the public know?

I know policies need to be in place as we live in a crazy world, but when the people who are supposed to be educating and protecting our kids and families seem to have lost touch with reality and file police reports on kindergartners with Down’s Syndrome, maybe there needs to be a closer look, policy adjustment, and an investigation into the people at this elementary school? I don’t get how the police department even went through with this report do you?

I mean do they seriously think parents will continue to volunteer at the school or have their kids involved in this school and others in the Tredyffrin Easttown School District? If I had a child in this district I would be pulling them out of this district.  When public school districts piss and moan as to why kids get pulled out of their school districts and put in private and other schools like charters, look no further than something like this.

People, this is OUTRAGEOUS.  Who is going to keep the kids safe from their own school district? Is Tredyffrin Easttown School District inspiring the future or fear?

fear (1)

 

no billboards in bryn mawr…haverford township…lower merion township…tredyffrin township….east whiteland township…and MORE

In 2009, lots of people (myself included) started going to billboard hearings in Haverford Township. And in Lower Merion Township. Sometimes we numbered in the 150+ per meeting.

We all also used to protest regularly. The two townships and their solicitors and commissioners were solidly with the community too. They didn’t want these billboards anymore than the residents in these locations.

My friends in small Haverford Township neighborhoods were the most imminently threatened, like my pals on Penn Street, Dayton Road, Lee Avenue, San Marino and more (there are multiple locations in Haverford Township, these were just the streets near me.)

However, my own neighborhood which stretched out behind Our Mother of Good Counsel Church in Lower Merion was potentially affected. And even worse? Where I lived was in a HISTORIC DISTRICT! (Which is why The Lower Merion Conservancy is alerting people to the court hearings beginning today in Media! It’s STILL a historic district!)

Then after a few years of attending meetings which seemed monthly if not more, my life changed. First breast cancer, followed by a move to Chester County, and I thought well at least I don’t have to worry about those ugly billboards anymore, right?

Wrong.

Phoenixville, Charlestown Township, West Whiteland, Tredyffrin now headed for county court, and a lot of them planned for East Whiteland Township.

Relentless.

I get that the billboard company owner wants to sit in traffic and look at his signs, but they are his signs. They don’t belong to the community at all. Which is why you see elected officials in Lower Merion and Haverford Townships still fighting for the residents and starting today, if y’all want you can join them in Media:

Also this week? The billboard company is doing a presentation at the Desmond in Malvern on what they want to do in East Whiteland. See this flyer (which I personally did not create but I am sharing):

‼️Is this Chester County or Las Vegas? Good question. ‼️

It’s no secret how I feel about these billboards. I think they’re simply awful. I don’t think they have a place in our communities. I don’t think they do anything positive for our communities. It’s all about somebody else’s sense of capitalism. And while on a certain level I begrudgingly respect their desire to make a buck, they shouldn’t do it at the expense of people in communities everywhere should they?

The media has not really picked up on billboards in East Whiteland. They should as it is just another in a long long line or list of communities facing the same company.

And why is it that these billboards have to be everywhere? Or anywhere? Let us not forget there are FOUR states in this country that do not have billboards and they seem to live just beautifully. Vermont, Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine—have prohibited billboards.

The protest photos you are seeing were taken by friends in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania yesterday. This morning I wish my friends who are headed or in court already in Media best of luck.

As communities near and far we are #StrongerTogether. #NoBillboards

welcome to the neighborhood stove & tap!

I was psyched to be included in the first soft opening for Stove & Tap this evening. Tonight was the media opening and it was great to see Main Line Today, County Lines, 6ABC, and the always lovely HughE Dillon among others!

I will be back in a day or so with photos but just wanted to post something quickly this evening because I had SO much fun!

The owners and staff are the most gracious and welcoming of hosts, and were all so awesome. The decor is subtle and cool and I loved it. (They also have a nice ladies room!)

The food was delicious. The seafood towers were fresh and tasty, and other things I liked were the little sliders, wings, deviled eggs, and the hors d’oeuvres that were butlered throughout the evening. I also enjoyed the Nocino I tasted from Boardroom Spirits.

I look forward to going back and having a meal soon!

Everyone enjoyed themselves and it was so fun to see so many familiar faces.

Cheers to y’all at Stove & Tap! Welcome to the neighborhood!

merry christmas anna maciejewska

Photo of Anna and her mother at Christmas, 2016.

Dear Anna,

Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia, Anna Maciejewska. Merry Christmas wherever you are. Maybe I will just talk to you directly today?

The photo I posted was lent to me by the people at Finding Anna Maciejewska on Facebook.

We never met, but I still think of you often. The mainstream media seems to have forgotten you, but me, your friendly neighborhood blogger and many others have not. So I thought I would write you a letter.

I have three women as friends who were Polish by birth like you. Two I worked with once upon a time, and one is a very dear friend and married to one of my oldest friends in the world. Like you they emigrated here and became citizens to live their American dreams. They are among the most genuine and lovely people I know.

They all love Christmas. I am guessing you did too. One of these friends of mine for years has been sharing the beloved Polish Christmas tradition of the Oplatek, or the Christmas wafer. I don’t have to tell you about what the wafer is, as you know. But for everyone else reading this, please enjoy what the Polish Women’s Alliance of America has to say:

Christmas Wafer – Oplatek

Sharing of the oplatek (pronounced opwatek) is the most ancient and beloved of all Polish Christmas traditions. Oplatek is a thin wafer made of flour and water, similar in taste to the hosts that are used for communion during Mass. The Christmas wafer is shared before Wigilia, the Christmas Eve supper. The head of the household usually starts by breaking the wafer with his wife and then continues to share it with everyone at the Wigilia table. Wishes for peace and prosperity are exchanged and even the pets and farm animals are given a piece of oplatek on Christmas Eve. Legend has it that if animals eat oplatek on Christmas Eve, they will be able to speak in human voices at midnight, but only those who are pure of spirit will be able to hear them.

This tradition dates back many centuries when a thin, flat bread called podplomyk was baked over an open flame and then shared with the family gathered around the fire on Christmas Eve. Patterns would be cut onto the bread to make breaking easier. This is why oplatki today still have patterns on them, usually of Nativity scenes. You can order Oplatki from PWA. Learn how here.

Everyone who knows me Anna, knows how much I love Christmas. Some of my favorite mercury glass ornaments are Polish made. The ornaments made in Poland and Germany and once upon a time in the Ukraine are just truly magical.

This morning I stumbled across two things. One was a post written by a man who took part in searches for you in 2018. I never knew it existed. Here, let me share a little bit:

April 30, 2018 Finding Anna (and Ourselves) :The Frustrating Search for a Missing Mother, Wife, Daughter and Friend By Larry Goanos

I spent part of my wife’s birthday recently looking for a dead body in the woods of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Yes, really.

I joined a group of about 20 people who had gathered in Malvern, Pa. to search for the missing-and-presumed dead body of Anna Maciejewska, a wife and mother who went missing in April 2017…Anna’s elderly parents in Poland, both cancer survivors, are grief stricken, frustrated and angry. And to make things worse, Anna’s husband has reportedly prohibited them from seeing their now four-year-old grandson.

Anna was not a young, attractive model or a wealthy socialite, and she didn’t fit into most of the other categories of missing persons anointed by the media as being worthy of intense and prolonged coverage. She was just an average American, like you and me, and she has vanished from the face of the Earth, leaving her family and friends distraught and seeking answers.

Most likely, you’ve seen clips on the news of packs of volunteers searching fields, woods and riverbanks for the remains of crime victims. It’s a horrid task and, in a way, nobody wants to find the object of the search – a body – as they cling to a sliver of hope that the person is somehow alive. That is, unfortunately, almost never the case.

But I can tell you that the search for a missing person is also a heartwarming act; it’s people banding together to help one another in a time of unimaginable stress and grief, especially for the victim’s family. An act of despicable inhumanity, the killing of an innocent person, paradoxically gives birth to an outpouring of love and unity among many, including people who did not know the victim….As one of mankind’s greatest minds, Albert Einstein, said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”

Anyone with information about Anna’s disappearance is asked to call the Pennsylvania State Police at (610) 486-6280. 

And also this literally happened recently – a podcast I find intriguing The Ever Evolving Truth has picked up the mantle of talking about this. There is also a page on Facebook called Fresh Eyes on Anna Maciejewska. It gives me hope, even if I don’t agree with some of their take on your disappearance so far. BUT they are paying attention to what happened to you, and I pray their interest sparks other renewed interest from media, law enforcement, etc.  I also agree that even if you don’t agree with something, maybe see it through so every angle is covered, right? As an actuary you would look to all of the details to make sure you were correct, right?

Maybe the miracle of Christmas will help find you and bring you home? We all pray for that, Anna.

A Christmas wish and a wish for the New Year is for you to be found, Anna. You deserve to rest, your little boy deserves to know where his mama is, and your beloved parents deserve closure and answers along with your friends.

2 1/2 years missing is too long.

Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia, Anna Maciejewska.

Very Truly Yours,

Me