back in the saddle

pretty

Snapped this photo while on vacation in Amagansett, NY recently.  If I were a horse I would want to live at Stony Hill Stables.  That place is immaculate and the animals so happy.  And yes, they have a few retired race horses living there with all the right paperwork too I am told.

This photo was just such a beautiful and peaceful, yet unpretentious scene so thank you for the indulgence.  I have a LOT of photos to share from the trip, I am still editing (I took over 1000 photos).

Back in the saddle getting back to everyday life means more gardening and barn picking and all that good stuff! Back in the saddle also means getting back to some of the blogging of it all.

I am not some blogging newbie.  I have been at this long before it was either fashionable or trendy.

Some might not care for my opinion or some other blogger’s opinion, but opinion is one of those great things allowed in the USA courtesy of our founding fathers.

Just because I blog it does not make me a free publicist or phtographer.  I get paid for that if that is what you want.

I also always do my research and trust me there are a lot of people who should deeply appreciate the fact I do not let loose with all the info I dig up on the public record. My sources, generally speaking are honest and above-board, and as a source I am also trusted by the media….because I do my homework. So have a care. And if you want to split hairs and play semantic monopoly, that is fine. But don’t play me or play passive-aggressive patty-cake.  Fibs always come out. And telling people different stories catches up with people, it’s a tough game to maintain, yes?

This blog is different from the purely activism/civic activist- based blogging I used to do, but occasionally you will find that here because there are just things I believe in.

Take Justice for Argus & Fiona – the two Bernese Mountain Dog puppies shot months ago.  Their family and dog lovers everywhere are still waiting for justice to be served.  Mr. Pilotti now apparently wants a jury trial of his peers, so apparently from what the Bocks tell us via the Chester County District Attorney’s office that has yet to be scheduled and there is to be no plea deal – another rumor we heard.

Mr. Pilotti we have not forgotten.  Chester County DA? We have not forgotten.  What he did was wrong. It was intolerable cruelty. And it is really frustrating to be doing things the right way from our end, yet there is no justice and the dog laws have not moved one bit.

And for those hopping all over my back because I think West Vincent and the District Attorney should have confiscated the gun used to shoot the dogs pending the outcome of a trial? Get over yourselves. That is not something unusual.  What is unusual is the fact that one simple thing never happened did it?

Here is the docket link.  The first page has a docket entry of bitter end of summer for a new trial date but have no way of knowing if it is for real.  My somewhat jaded opinion is it would be easier for the District Attorney and Mr. Pilotti if everyone forgot about the dead puppies but why should we? So it can happen again?

But what do we expect with anything having to do with West Vincent? Normalcy?

Hankin_Settlement

Speaking of West Vincent, Chickenman just celebrated his 4th anniversary.  Everyone should read his anniversary message because if you live in West Vincent with this local government no one can afford to be an ostrich with their head in the sand can they?

Chickenman 4th Anniversary Missive

http://chickenman.medianewsonline.com/

And in the whole West Vincent of it all, another thing I believe in is the preservation of Birchrunville Village.  So check out the flyer titled BirchrunvilleFlyer – you had beter get involved if you love the village because it is about to be super-sized if government officials get their way. a development plan proposes to insert 3 additional buildings plus parking for almost 50 cars, effectively creating a commercial strip mall in front of the historic schoolhouse building!

Birchrunville People sent out a message:

Please join concerned residents for a discussion at the Birchrunville Café on Saturday August 17 at 10AM.  Learn what you can do to help make sure township ordinances are properly enforced in order to retain the character of this historic village. Also…Please attend the next scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday August 26. For more information, please check out the web site http://birchrunvillepeople.com

I hope everyone is having a delightful summer!  As always, thanks for stopping by!

these aren’t the salem witch trials west vincent are they?

DSC_0069The problem with small towns is among other things, gossip.  Can that be said to be a huge issue in West Vincent Township?

As an auslander observing how these small Chester County Hamlets like West Vincent work, it can often be described as with fear and loathing can’t it? He said, she said with an unhealthy dose of incestuous politics, right?

So many I know would never live in West Vincent because of the convenient and batting of the eye inexplicable crap that happens to ordinary people who aren’t even doing anything half the time, right?

Want to know what I have noticed going through West Vincent of late?  The number of properties for sale on every road and dirt lane imaginable.  It is a small place and it seems that in it and abutting it, homes are going up for sale.  Some of them incredibly beautiful, slice of heaven worthy properties. Can that all be because of the economy?  Or is it deeper, darker, more sinister?  Could part of what is wrong also have to do with fears of unecessary development? (see letter here called 2February2013Bville ) Or taxes? Or how tax monies are spent? Township services?

But part and parcel of what is wrong with West Vincent is fear and loathing and whisper down the lane, correct? Political retribution?  Persecution of innocents?

persecution

Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and socio-economic levels.  Real Christian people abhor bullying.

So West Vincent officials of course you know nothing about this, right? But can it be said you might never lift a finger if you knew who was doing this?

So West Vincent, here is the 411: Do you want to be on my radar again?  Do you want to be under the microscope of media? 

We realize you are still obsessed and live in fear of Chickens and mobs of Birchrunville People but let’s grow up, shall we?  Not every one of your residents is going to agree with you.  You are not gods.  You were put there by the people and can be removed by the people, yes?  You are not immune to ethics inquiries and state investigations, either, are you?  Is that what you are trying to avoid?

The times they are a changing and it is time for twisted Mayberry to get with the program. Persecution and gossip are so Salem Witch Trials and February 1692 right?

And here is an idea to lay on the general public: accountability.  If you know who leaves persecution missives around town in this country hamlet, feel freee to speak up.  God don’t like ugly after all.

A final thought to file under God don’t like ugly and accountability are some flyers I have held onto, and in some cases for months.  People have been sending them to me for months.  They show up in places like the US Post Office in a couple of locations.  I believe Birchrunville and maybe Chester Springs.

It is of course damn stupid to harass private citizens via the US Postal Service – and FYI it doesn’t matter if you are posting on post office property or sending through the mail it can and all should be given to US Postal Inspectors, shouldn’t it?  They throw stuff like that through crime labs for prints and whatnot – sometimes state labs, but often Federal labs and would you want YOUR finger prints or DNA on them? And this isn’t CSI, they actually do this stuff. And if my name was on one of those flyers being left in post offices I certainly would contact the postal inspectors.

I have redacted the names but it is all obviously political in West Vincent because the citizen targets include one person who ran for supervisor and someone else was an honest Republican Committeeman.  And the type face  and phrasing is similar enough to give anyone with a brain pause that it is the same author or authoress as the notice above. But again, anyone with a brain wouldn’t do something this stupid because eventually it all comes out. And these people are doing this because they are obsessed with Chickenman.  As in who the writer Chickenman is.

And what are they going to “prosecute” Chickenman for anyway?  Telling the truth? (In that case Viva La Chicken, right?)Having First Amendment Rights? Exercising a very American tradition of having a pen name? (I will also note they tried this a few years ago in Delaware County with a blogger called Delco Tom Paine or something close to that.  He was never exposed, never prosecuted, and much of what he wrote about came to pass.)

Bottom line: government corruption is like mold until it sees the light of day.  And shame on whomever for persecuting private citizens for having two brain cells to rub together. And if these flyers end up being discovered as being created by West Vincent elected officials, appointed officials or with the knowledge of either well that might be a problem for a lot of people, huh?

West Vincent, it is 2013.  Knock it off.  The more you try to slide stuff by the more people seem to come forward and ask questions.  Trying to silence, bully, harass, initimidate, and harrangue residents is not working in your favor so why not try a little honesty instead of croneyism?

chickfilet 1

chickfilet2

final dumbass flyer

And now for the ultimate in Paranoia.  (And oh the irony they are ankle biting Jim Gerlach, eh? I bet the Congressman loves being up on post office walls next to the FBI most wanted, huh?) And at the end of the day is Chickenman silent? I still get mailings, don’t all of you?

Paranoia

If I was an elected or appointed or connected person in West Vincent I sure wouldn’t want to be caught along with whomever is putting harassing flyers up in US Post offices around West Vincent, would you? LOL this is some kind of truth for West Vincent isn’t it? And my final thing on this post is to post the list of “contributors” to two blogs no one reads (they are possibly vegan and at the very least chicken-free LOL):

Truth for West Vincent

I am a West Vincent resident and I set up this blog in 2009 to invite my neighbors to share information and enter a discussion about our township, what’s working and what’s not. Please continue to share your thoughts.

contributors

WVT Open Forum

This is a place to post signed messages, no hidden authors, no unsubstantiated allegations.  Please speak your piece and share your opinion. We ask posters and commenters to identify themselves; we would like this to be a discussion forum for West Vincent Township residents only.  Thank you.

contributors2

Twisted Mayberry….there is no substitute.  You people would eat your young if it meant having your own way, don’t you all think so?

sandy storm photos – send them in for posting!

Hi there gentle readers.  I hope everyone has battened down the hatches for however Hurricane Sandy turns out?

I have a proposition for all of my readers: send me storm photos for posting.  I learned a long time ago that if you want to enact change, photos help. The photos you are CURRENTLY looking at are photos I took where I used to live in Lower Merion Township and one from Conshohocken. The snapped tree was courtesy of Irene last year.

So if you have flooding photos and you want them out there, send them to me via sandysnaps <at> spamex <dot> com

That is sandysnaps @ spamex . com – Sorry due to spammers, I will not have this as just a hyperlink to click and go.

Alternately you can tweet me at @gossipgirl19380

I am happy to attribute photos, tell me who gets credit, and *MOST* importantly give me precise locations. Or I will post photos anonymously if you live in a municipality that has shall we say, issues?

I am particulalrly interested in photos where development may be occuring or is currently occuring or has just been completed. I am also interested in areas that chronically flood and often wait until the bitter end for help to arrive.

One spot  of particular curiousity which should not be overlooked by anyone is where the Borough of Phoenixville is building their over-priced new municipal hall.  I passed it last night while in Phoenixville and thought I should defininately put that location out there as a site for good storm photos because it always floods, doesn’t it? And correct me if I am wrong, but the plans for that needlessly overpriced new borough hall doesn’t really have proper flood remediation built in, does it?  Wasn’t that the plan where the plan is put the garage underneath so everyone’s cars drown and there is lots of potential litigation from that?  Anyway, I figure a way to preserve the taxpayer investment and future costs here is to have irrefutable proof that they need a real plan or they should stop and move sites.

Phoenixville has a fun downtown at night.  They need better parking and I notice they have the parking authority people out chalking tires on a Saturday night, and truthfully, most municipalities don’t do that.  They leave it as the police can tow people from certain zones and are done with it.  But then again, people tend to question how Phoenixville spends money – they spend way too much on a manager, they spend way too much on a school superintendant – seriously for a borough barely squeaking by in any economy they pay Main Line prices.

But enough picking on Phoenixville which always floods so badly, from Tredyffrin through to West Vincent and Oxford and wherever, if you have storm photos, or storm info, send it in.   Also feel free to leave comments about where the power is out and if roads are blocked.

Hopefully Sandy will be a non-event for Chester County.

My final note is DO NOT PUT YOURSELVES IN HARM’S WAY TO SEND ME PHOTOS. 

But do document flooding and damage.  It is helpful for getting things corrected so situations do not repeat themselves. I will also take Main Line storm photos if it will help any of you out there near where I used to live.

Thanks and stay dry!

 

 

chester county and development…not so perfect together?

Today when the news came that Brian O’Neill was continuing with Uptown Worthington’s next phase, I was not one of the ones cheering.  First I thought of my former township (Lower Merion) and the O’Neill projects in moth balls and sites looking shabby. Then I started to think about the development I have seen since I moved to Chester County, and I am concerned.

No one wants to turn their back on progress, but at what price comes progress?  For example, let us not forget Malvern Borough’s $60,000 mistake on East King Street. You know? Eli Kahn’s New Urbanism Fairy Tale?  In July, Kahn and his partners David Della Porta and Gary Toll did the old soft shoe and a rah-rah ground breaking.

With regard to Malvern, I will say again, You know what I think Eli Kahn and Jack Loew’s project is going to be like when it is done?  A super-sized Charleston Greene.  And over the years, how has Toll’s Charleston Greene worked for you ,Malvern?

A friend said to me a little while ago “You can’t spend other people’s money and
generate prosperity. ” 

There is food for thought.  Also to think about quite seriously is what Tredyffrin did last night other than not apologize for cyber-bullying the delightful and devoted and hard working community champion Pattye Benson.   They approved the C-1 Zoning Change. Now, basically, a LARGE death farm, excuse me, senior assisted living facility will grow on a rather SMALL site on Lancaster Avenue.  You know, where Jimmy Duffy’s Catering Company used to reside?

Interestingly enough, this new development is from a Tredyffrin resident who put the residents of Bala Cynwyd through the ringer for another awkward site senior assisted living facility around 2009. Main Line Media News said at the time:

Further township discussion of a controversial Bala Cynwyd development plan has been postponed until next month.

Developer Ed Morris of Traditional Properties LP had hoped to take his new plan for an assisted-living facility at 27-33 Old Lancaster Road to Lower Merion commissioners this week….Morris got zoning-hearing board approval in late July of a special exception to build a “home for the aged” on the parcels, which today are occupied by two single-family homes. The stone colonial houses would be demolished.

The plan was a switch from development plans approved by the township in 2006 for a four-story, 21-unit condominium building. Morris has said that marketing efforts to sell units in the proposed building were not successful as the housing market stalled….A number of residents in surrounding neighborhoods in Bala Cynwyd and Merion objected to the change in direction, saying that the assisted-living facility is a more commercial use, out of character with the area.

Oh my goodness!  Is this not an eerie sense of déjà vu?  Don’t I remember original plans for the Jimmy Duffy site being different, albeit equally unwelcome to neighboring Daylesford residents? (And Ed Morris like Brian O’Neill was featured in an article a few years ago in Main Line Today called Condo Mania)

How many developments do we need?  Does Chester County want to end up a congested mess with limited open space like much of the Main Line?

I noticed on Malvern Patch that a lot of people are excited by the idea of MORE mall at Uptown Worthington based upon the comments.  I, on the other hand, am concerned.

It wasn’t too long ago that this developer was embroiled in nasty, nasty litigation over this site.  And how will this phase of construction affect people? Remember the first phase? And look at the 100 year PennDOT 202 project right there right now. It really isn’t a 100 year project, but given how PennDOT does business it might as well be.

Then there is the thought of how many malls and mall like places do we need?   Exton is but minutes away with the Exton Square Mall, Main Street at Exton and the countless other smaller strip malls in and around it.  King of Prussia is also fairly close with the giant King of Prussia Mall and all the other various and assorted strip malls and sub-developments in the vicinity. (And don’t forget that charming casino because you know nothing says U.S. history like a slots parlor next to where George Washington literally slept.)

In addition to these larger malls and newer strip malls are all the other strip malls and often funky shopping centers on Route 30, Paoli Pike, Route 3, pick a road.

Really Chester County, how much development do you want? How much development do we need as residents?  Are we actually getting new stores or are businesses just hop-scotching between retail developments, moving every few years to whatever the next sweetest deal is? And do you want a steady stream of fill-in-the-name-big-box-retailers and chains?  What of the independent local business where they know their customer base and might be your neighbors?

I saw the development of Chester County in a most unusual way on my 9/11 hot-air balloon ride.  I saw the development from the air.  From high up in the sky it looked like miles and miles of Legos – developments all cookie cutter.

Chester County on a county level needs to get a real grip on the future.  The economy is not recovering, and still these developments proceed.  Developers will say they bring jobs, but once you get beyond retail shift work and minimum wage, what is there?  And you need more than that to fill up the condos, town homes perched on formerly rural highways, and the communities of McMansions. (Don’t forget about the fact they are trying to supersize Birchrunville in West Vincent. And then there is other potential residential development in the future, right?)

Once the open space is gone, it is not coming back. Once the charming cross-roads towns are gone and the farms are gone, they are also not coming back.  That’s all. Just think about it.

My wish for Chester County is a revolution of common sense.