scam call hits for 8/11/2020 (click into post to listen to actual call recordings)

Latest Phone Call Scams: How to Stop & Report Them

Like everything else in Washington DC these days apparently the FCC is unable to do their jobs. It doesn’t matter HOW many calls you report, you might get an acknowledgement of a receipt of your complaint, but after that? It falls into the big black hole of screwed up bureaucracy.

And in the office of the Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate you don’t fare much better, as they essentially are a name and an office where people must get paid to take perpetual coffee breaks or something, right? I mean what else could possibly explain why they can’t get these scam calls which plague our everyday existence under control. I mean how many times does one have to verify they are on DO NOT CALL LISTS?

Today I got annoyed with the scammers du jour which were MORE calls from Electronic Olivia from Apple Support. The other call came from a Medicare Support Line (“Medicare Verification Department”) via Mumbai or someplace.

Fake Medicare Scam Spam Call 8/11/2020
Fake Apple Call from Electronic Olivia # 2
Fake Apple Call from Electronic Olivia

It is very petty, yes I know, but I totally enjoyed screwing with these people. Next up again should be Officer Brown from the Fake Social Security Administration calls. I have recorded those calls in the past as well but never clicked through to the call center but I might. I would love to see what they said.

I am sharing these recordings so people can hear how ridiculous they are. They prey especially on the vulnerable like senior citizens. Below are two of the numbers that called me today. Now I will note I knew these did not belong to anyone I know but I wanted to record the calls so I answered.

Normally I just block each one of these numbers of spammer/scammers that come into our landline and cell phones. And if I do not recognize the number as a general rule of thumb I do not answer any longer. That’s kind of a sad commentary on the world in which we live however.

Anyway, I am sorry not sorry I amused myself at the expense of the spammer/scammers. The calls have magically stopped for the time being. Blowing a loud whistle in the phone when they call also works wonders and is instant stress relief!

Take back our phone lines!

Thanks for stopping by!

Start Here >>> How Scammers Use Familiar Phone Numbers to Steal ...

will private school bashing solve educational issues caused by covid19?

Class of 1981. Source? My yearbook.

I don’t necessarily agree with the way Shipley is choosing to go all in person in the COVID19 world in which we live, but I do respect that they are trying. It means they plan for things, which is something a lot of schools can’t necessarily do. Why? Schools public, private, parochial, charter struggle because of the politics that always get in the way. You know, kind of like how politics is getting in everyone’s way in life in general with regard to COVID19?

Right or wrong that is how I feel.

However, in spite of my occasional issues with my alma mater, I am somewhat uncomfortable with the sharp edges of portrayal in this opinion piece.

The very sarcastic “God bless Shipley” comment and the mis-portrayal of the school as utterly and ONLY as in solely elitist. That is not fair.

Not all of us who went there way back when, nor every student today is born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Not all of us are trust fund babies. And those who came from family money aren’t bad people because their families have money.

I get tired of the us versus them mentality. There are always going to be people with more money than you. Shocking as it may sound, a lot of us (myself included) worked summer jobs and part time jobs during the school year whether it was in a store, a fast food joint, or in my case, babysitting. Not all of us drove around in BMWs sporting expensive accessories. We weren’t cast members from the O.C. or Clueless.

But the tone of this opinion piece sets my teeth on edge and it starts with the title. Does the writer think it was easy for the school to spend this reserve money or to develop a plan? It wasn’t. And as I said, I don’t necessarily agree with it, but they are trying. And also don’t assume all of the students are Richy Rich, because they aren’t. And if I had to hazard a guess that is part of the reason why they are trying to get kids back in school.

I also have yet to see a re-opening plan anywhere that I actually think will work and that is because of the behaviors out in the real world we see. The people who won’t do their part and even wear a damn mask to the grocery store. Or those who thought and still think “Covid parties” are a great idea. Or those who think a global pandemic is a political conspiracy.

Maybe just maybe if more people were just trying a little harder to do their part to slow the pace of this virus by making better decisions we wouldn’t have to have all these damn conflicting and heated conversations about schools reopening or not reopening or going partially or short term virtual?

And then of course there is the conversation that no one wants to have in public which is how many people out there depend on so many others to raise their children in the first place. Oh I am quite sure the knives will come out for that but is it completely untrue? This global pandemic has stripped us back to basics quite a bit. And it will continue to do so until they find a medical treatment to combat it. And maybe the life lessons we take away from COVID19 are something the universe needs us to learn or re-learn?

Read the article. My alma mater is far from perfect, but why private school bashing? What does it achieve? What issues does it resolve? No one knows what the hell they are doing right now.

Inquirer OPINION
At the elite Shipley school in Bryn Mawr, money is no object in deluxe coronavirus-reopening plans | Maria Panaritis
Posted: August 9, 2020 – 5:00 AM
by Maria Panaritis
Maria Panaritis | @panaritism | mpanaritis@inquirer.com

📌”For the price of $24,000 to $40,000 per child in tuition, here is how one of the most prestigious private schools in suburban Philadelphia is planning to get around the problem of a coronavirus pandemic that is forcing the shutdown of in-class instruction at many public schools this fall.

Spoiler alert: The kids get to go to class. Every single day of the week…..The Shipley School is aiming for this lofty outcome through a flabbergasting array of if-then statements and contingency plans shared with me a few days ago by head of school Michael Turner. By the end of our one-hour-long talk, it felt as though I had just interviewed the logistics chief of a major corporation rather than an education guy….In just the past couple of weeks, a number of districts as prominent as Lower Merion have told parents their children will start the school year at home. So what if you and your husband work? So what if the kids are 9 and 10 years old or in kindergarten? Details are scant and have been all summer.
Shipley, meanwhile, is sparing no expense to do the opposite…God bless Shipley. Money, as we know, fixes a lot of problems in this country, and Shipley’s got it. Its board even put together a fund to help students whose parents may have fallen on hard times with the pandemic recession.
”📌

the seemingly unending covid19 mess of it all

I don’t know about all of you , but this is so unnerving what we are dealing with. I am referring to COVID19. And 2020 in general.

As our communities struggle with how and what school districts are doing, many in our communities are making excellent points. Someone said to me if all school districts start virtually how are they possibly going to switch to in person? What is the magic combination? What is going to be different in October that they are suddenly going to feel it is safer? She said she felt that whoever goes virtual should be that way until January if not the end of the year, unless some schools actually go hybrid and it goes smoothly at those schools. She also pointed out a lot of schools which were contemplating hybrid are dropping off one by one.

Let’s start with the school districts who I think are trying but aren’t receiving consistent direction from any THEY answer to. First there is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to deal with and then there are Federal politics of the United States Secretary of Education Betsy De Vos because face it, she is allowing herself to be used because of the election. Old Betsy wasn’t appointed for anything other than political reasons so how can you trust that woman to decide what’s best for America’s children?

I think literally everything the school districts are dealing with is conflicting information. Then of course, they are also dealing with the sub-level politics within each school district.

Common sense and being more realistic would keep everyone virtual longer but we are dealing with politics over people on every level. And then there are the people who either can’t or just don’t want to homeschool their kids virtually. Economics, jobs, personal choice. It’s a hot mess.

And the problem overall? I don’t think the districts ever had disaster plans to cover any of this. Who knows if they should or shouldn’t have, NONE of expected this, and face it, ever since COVID19 has landed none of us have gotten consistent messages or direction from leadership in Washington DC.

Top down from the White House, they have tried all along to suppress information because of politics. People are dying and they are playing politics. The White House has been playing their agenda at the expense of everyone else and to the extent of trying to discredit their very highly educated experts because the experts are telling them they have to pay attention and do better that this COVID19 global pandemic is far from over.

People I know have lost family members to this virus. Other people I know are separated from family members because those family members are in states that are like big giant hotspots of COVID19.

Someone I know told me yesterday that one of their doctors lost a colleague to COVID19. A surgeon in their 30s or 40s. Not old or sick. This doctor also got COVID19 themselves early on from a patient who did not know they were carrying the virus. As this one doctor recovered they needed physical therapy because the virus caused some kind of movement imbalance.

But I guess the point to this long rant is nobody knows what’s going on and we’re all playing catch-up. And we’re dealing with misinformation and withheld information.

And this virus is affecting the economy. Except I think what is actually happening is it’s pointing out that the economy wasn’t so hot in the first place. Now everyone can hop all over me about that but I spent my life in the financial services industry. I’ve been around as the wheels have come off before.

And the day before yesterday I had to go to the bank only my bank branch is closed for renovations so I had to go to a bank branch for my bank in a supermarket. I haven’t been in a supermarket since March before COVID19 hit officially. I almost had a panic attack as I counted the people who weren’t socially distancing and weren’t wearing masks and didn’t have masks on their children. And were also crowding me. I went home and changed all my clothes, got a shower, and washed my hands multiple times.

I wish I had the magical answers to this problem, but as someone who like many of us out there lives an immunocompromised life, this stuff terrifies me.

Other countries who have been serious about containing this are doing much better now. But the overwhelming problem in this country when it comes to COVID19 from education to just going to the grocery store safely is the politics in this country. The toxic freaking politics.

I just wish we could learn more about what is going on honestly with the politics of it stripped away.

So many people are struggling. Salary cuts, job loss, losing their homes to crazy acts of mother nature. You name, it 2020 is mind boggling.

How do we come together and survive this? How do we usher the children safely back to school? What is safely back to school?

I can tell you I have almost gotten to the point where I don’t want to listen to the news or read newspapers anymore. Like many other people, I have moments where I struggle with all that is happening emotionally. You have to wonder why it is we are all being tested? Is it to make us stronger, teach us a lesson, what? You have to wonder if part of the answer is philosophical or theological.

I don’t have any answers I just have thoughts on the whole thing. And I don’t know if my thoughts are helpful to anyone. But I felt the need to write this out.

I guess we just have to try to continue to soldier along as best we can and try to make good decisions and stay healthy.

Thanks for stopping by.

oh goody…more development in….tredyffrin

A while ago a friend said “well you know Valley Forge sold off land to a developer.” Meaning Valley Forge Military Academy and College.

And it’s true – I found the Philadelphia Business Journal article from December, 2019 where they wrote:

📌”Dec 27, 2019 · Bentley Homes heads back to the Main Line, buys land from Valley Forge Military Foundation. Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation has sold five properties adjacent to its Wayne campus to Bentley Homes for $1.65 million.”📌

I realized where it was yesterday on my way home from a skin cancer procedure at Penn Medicine in Radnor. That corner where Upper Gulph Road meets Radnor Road (Radnor Street Road when down the road a piece in Radnor Township, Delaware County.)

This location is Tredyffrin Township, Chester County.

Now Valley Forge has been selling and or leasing land since 2010 according to an old article I found in the Delco Times. So it shouldn’t be a surprise. Except in 2010 this deal was with a neighboring academic institution, Eastern University.

Valley Forge is one of the academic institutions that people wonder if they will survive COVID19. There are a lot of schools across the country that may or may not. This global pandemic affects enrollment (see Forbes article from April, 2020 and Deloitte.com for example.) Schools were already rocked by student visa issues given the current isolationist tenor of this country which is affecting the ability to host foreign students. Coronavirus just puts them more into uncertain times, financially.

But a development on this corner? High up on a hill? Will everyone around them be their storm water management program? And why does another Main Line McMansion project need to occur?

The irony is in a time when people are starting to question whether or not they want to live on top of one and other as we are still experiencing a global pandemic , development is not slowing down. It seems to be at a fever pitch. And this development will also impact the Tredyffrin Easttown School District which seems to be rather crowded already?

New Bentley Development – plan courtesy of their website on “Boxwood Hill

Now someone will snap these homes up I suppose, except it all depends on the economy in general which has been rocked by COVID19 if we’re honest.

To quote Delco Today which I guess was quoting The Philadelphia Business Journal in January 2020:

📌”Valley Forge Military Academy Foundation has sold five undeveloped lots along Radnor Road at Upper Gulph Road to Bentley Homes for $1.65 million, writes Natalie Kostelni for Philadelphia Business Journal.…“I was building on the Main Line for years and the market died,” Tom Bentley said. “Now, we’re coming back to the Main Line. We return.”

During the Great Recession, Bentley built smaller homes, townhouses and multifamily properties further west in Kennett Square, Chadds Ford and Exton…..Bentley has also accumulated three lots on the east side of Radnor-Chester Road not far from Lancaster Avenue in Radnor and a dozen lots off Newtown Road in Easttown.”📌

Development keeps on rolling doesn’t it ? Are there really people to fill all these developments from single family to townhouse to apartments?

Pay attention to Tredyffrin’s neighbor Easttown. They also have development looming. Which will also feed into Tredyffrin Easttown School District. And then head west. More and more development.

When is enough development enough?

Thanks for stopping by.

what’s your preservation inspiration?

Beechwood Restoration/Friends To Save Beechwood

We all have that one building or place that makes us look at the world differently. That one inspiration that makes us realize we can’t just sit idly by as our history disappears building by building, acre by acre.

For me, it was Beechwood House in Bryn Mawr. Part of the Shipley Campus, it was designed by Addison Hutton, who was also the architect of beautiful Loch Aerie Mansion in Frazer, PA.

It was the 1990s. I had never even been to a meeting at my township building or spoken in front of everyone in a crowded room. But this place mattered to me and I joined The Friends to Save Beechwood. I guess I started going to meetings in the late 1990s about this. Below are embedded links to articles I purchased out of the newspaper archives:

Shipley wanted to tear Beechwood House down. This required professional mediation. Eventually Shipley said they would keep Beechwood if money was raised to save it by a certain deadline in 2001. To this day, I still think the school thought it would never happen. But it did. Heather Hillman was the main driving force along with Jean Wolf (Wolf Historic Preservation) a preservationist who has done amazing things. (The saving of Beechwood was kind of a big to do at the time. There were many articles about it in a few publications.)

As mentioned, I had never gone to a township meeting or spoken out in public. It got easier with time, but at first I was terrified. And in awe of these fierce women who did literally so much with a smile on their face and I don’t recall them raising their voices. I raised my voice, I was somewhat appalled by my alma mater when this started, and even when it was over – kind of like when they basked in the glory of the end result which was a successful restoration and adaptive reuse of a building we had to fight them to save because they didn’t think it was worth saving. (You can also read about Beechwood here.)

Standing on the steps of Beechwood House for our 25th Shipley reunion

As a matter of fact around 2006 when we had our 25th class reunion, we were able to get Beechwood House for our reunion. A lot of my classmates had contributed to the fundraising and along with me were listed up on the brass plaque inside the building. The headmaster at the time was making the reunion party rounds and was talking about the restoration of Beechwood. He got heckled by one of my classmates because he didn’t mention me but mentioned almost everyone else on the Friends to Save Beechwood committee. But it was a penultimate example of we might not as well have been there.

But we were, and saving that structure still brings me joy every time we go by. Shipley can have the glory, what matters is it is saved. And loving Beechwood introduced me to Addison Hutton, which inspired me to write about another of his gems, Loch Aerie.

I guess my whole point of this post is find your passion. Be a voice in your community. Life is too short for regrets.

Thanks for stopping by.

Beechwood recent vintage photo – source unknown

things to do with sourdough starter

I needed to use up some excess sourdough starter so I hunted around and found this banana cake. Delicious.

C Mom Cook: Sourdough Banana Cake
…at home and in the kitchen with my kids

1 cup unfed sourdough starter, at room temperature (if you store your starter in the fridge, just let it sit out for about an hour before starting)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 to 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (I used three large bananas)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

for the glaze (optional):

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 – 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and generously spray a Bundt pan (you can use a 9″ x 13″ pan if you would prefer).
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, mashed bananas, oil, yogurt, egg and vanilla. Mix together until everything is fully combined.
In a (separate) large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, sugar and spices.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (The recipe offers a cooking time of 35-40 minutes if you are using a 9″ x 13″ pan.)
Allow the cake to cool in the pan (on a cooling rack) for about 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto the rack itself and allow it to cool completely.
To prepare the glaze, mix the melted butter and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl, then slowly add enough milk to make a smooth, flowing glaze. Stir very well to ensure that you have removed all of the lumps. Once the cake is completely cool, use a spoon to drizzle on the glaze.

I also found this recipe on Beth’s Favorite Recipes.

perspective: it takes too long for dangerous bridges to be fixed

A friend of mine took this photo today Pennswood Rd Bridge, Bryn Mawr, PA

This is not a post about Chester County it’s about orphaned and other bridges in need of repair in our area, state, country.

Pennswood Rd Bridge 2007

The bridge in the photo opening this post and throughout this post is the orphaned railroad bridge on Pennswood Road in Bryn Mawr, PA. It’s in Lower Merion Township. This bridge has been falling apart for decades quite honestly. I started photographing it in 2007.

Pennswood Rd Bridge. 2007.

It takes far too long for unsafe and run down bridges to be repaired in this country. I photographed the deterioration of this Pennswood Road bridge between 2007 and 2012. I think I had some other photos once upon a time but I can’t find them.

Pennswood Rd Bridge 2012

This bridge had holes that you could see through to the railroad tracks and rattled like all get out. Underneath this bridge runs Amtrak and SEPTA trains. The bridge is on the orphaned list like many others that were built by railroads and then orphaned – original railroad companies go out of business successor railroads disavow responsibility. I don’t quite understand how it all works but that seems to be how it works.

Pennswood Road Bridge at some point between 2007-2012

What happens is the federal government will pay for most of this repair, the state will pay for some of the repair, and the final bit will be the responsibility of the local municipality. In this case, Lower Merion Township. After the bridge is rebuilt it becomes the responsibility of the municipality.

Pennswood Bridge 2012

I have to give credit here to the local commissioner in Lower Merion (Scott Zelov) who has been at this since he became a commissioner in 2006. It’s absolutely ridiculous that it took so long to get to this point. And the bridge was failing long before he took office. It’s been failing since I was in high school.

This is a definite problem across the country. I have seen programs on news shows that run nationally like network news on orphaned and dangerous bridges. In 2019 Pennsylvania was still on the short list of states with the worst bridges. Our state was number 2 in the country according to the CBS news affiliate in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Post Gazette also covers the topic.

In 2013, Penn Live published an article about bad PA bridges. In 2017 the York Daily Record said PA was number 3 in the country for bad bridges. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about the topic in 2018 and many other times. (Click here for some sort of state database.)

Anyway glad this Lower Merion Township bridge is finally getting replaced. I just wish it didn’t have to take so long. Do you have a failing and/or orphaned bridge where you live? What’s being done (if anything)?

Here are two articles about the Pennswood Road Bridge:

Main Line Media News: Bryn Mawr bridge on Pennswood Road to be replaced
Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com @rpilgenfritz on Twitter Dec 13, 2019

Main Line Media News: Work could begin later this year on last orphaned bridge in Lower Merion
By Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com @rpilgenfritz on Twitter May 23, 2018 Comments

Pennswood Road Bridge 2012.

human trafficking in malvern?

Mind blown. Human trafficking broken up in Malvern, East Whiteland Township.

It started with a news release from the Chester County District Attorney’s Office:

HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION DISMANTLED IN MALVERN
A 14-year-old’s message, “I don’t want to be here anymore,” assisted in an investigation that uncovered an East Whiteland Township human sex trafficking organization that entrapped child and adult victims in Malvern, PA.
East Whiteland Township police, along with the Chester County Detectives and Homeland Security Investigations, rescued the 14-year-old victim at a Wawa parking lot in Malvern on May 30, 2020, after she was held against her will for weeks at various locations in the area. Investigators subsequently learned that she and an 18-year-old were both victims in a human sex trafficking organization run by three men, as well as other unidentified and unnamed individuals. These codefendants engaged in a criminal conspiracy and criminal course of conduct by recruiting, enticing, soliciting, transporting, obtaining and maintaining individuals who they benefited from financially while they were subjected to sexual servitude, as well as other sexual assaults and criminal activity.

Then the news exploded.

NBC10 Philadelphia: ‘I Don’t Want to Be Here.’ Girl’s Message Uncovers Chester Co. Sex Trafficking Ring

Three men face charges for running a human sex trafficking organization in the Malvern, Pennsylvania, area

A Facebook message from a 14-year-old girl asking for help led to the discovery of a human trafficking ring in the Philadelphia suburbs.

East Whiteland Township police, Chester County detectives and Homeland Security investigators rescued the girl from the parking lot of a Malvern, Pennsylvania, Wawa on May 30, Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said Wednesday.

Investigators said the girl had been held for several weeks against her will in various locations in the area. Investigators then found out the 14-year-old and an 18-year-old woman were being forced into sex by three men and others….Authorities want to know if other girls or young women were victimized.

“The allegations in this case are difficult to digest because of the calculated and deviant sexual exploitation of the two victims,” Ryan said. “Our office will continue the investigation to determine if there are other victims of this human sex trafficking organization.”

So this all took place in that no man’s land of ramshackle rental properties that go from like the Wawa at Planebrook through to Sloane Toyota? All along Lancaster Avenue a/k/a Route 30? And maybe from the Wawa headed east on Route 30? I’m all turned around. I have an idea where a couple of the locations were because of the NBC10 video.

Sorry not sorry this is just horrible and very scary.

Interestingly enough I learned courtesy of the East Whiteland Township meeting this evening that they have no rental inspectors. So basically no one keeps tabs on any rental properties? Does Chester County keep track of them? This is foreign to me because municipalities along the Main Line do have rental inspector people.

I asked if they knew all of the property owners involved in these various Lancaster Avenue rental properties especially those involved in the trafficking bust and yikes? The answer came from someone who I am not sure of was residents can look things up on Chesco views (paraphrasing).

Well yes, kind sir, I realize that but the maps get confusing. What is it they don’t understand about the fact that news like this makes residents in the area feel uneasy?

Human trafficking is terrifying stuff. And it’s crazy that it was going on in Chester County. Maybe I’m naïve. But you just don’t think of hideous crimes like that here. You think about that in big cities. One of the other things that I can’t wrap my head around is did the parents of these girls report their daughters missing?

Be safe out there. Hug your kids. Love your kids. What a cruel world we live in sometimes.

Next to Wawa. Not involved with what was on news.