when things like human trafficking pop up, is it time for rental properties to be properly inspected in east whiteland and elsewhere?

What if this rundown house was your only choice for a home?

I am not deliberately trying to pick on East Whiteland Township no matter what some may think. But unlike many other municipalities (and I have been checking), East Whiteland does not have a person or people to regularly and routinely inspect rental properties in this township. They do not even have enough fire personnel to do all the life safety checks on rentals do they? (Asking the question because I heard there were people paid to do that I thought once upon a time out of the fire department or something?)

West Goshen (for example) has a rental property ordinance online. They have someone dedicated to rental inspections. That is in addition to the guys in the zoning department who inspect when the township gets complaints on rental properties.

The Borough of West Chester also has an ordinance and I am told as well as two dedicated rental property inspectors although residents say there are so many rentals they need more.

East Whiteland has a Rental Occupancy Report from 1992. I also found a form to fill out if you have a rental property. It mentions life safety, which is great and necessary. But I do not see anything about specific ordinances pertaining to rental properties and inspections of rental properties. And it is long past time to have that. East Whiteland is growing as a township and has grown exponentially in recent years. Does this township even know out of ALL of the new construction that is complete how many are rental units? And with ALL of the development still in the works and in various stages of construction, let’s get real, they are not all going to be owner occupied, aren’t some of these places going to be rentals? And what about the hotels? Are some of those like long term rentals at times? Sometimes when people can’t find housing they live in hotels/motels don’t they? Motor home parks? Trailer parks? No matter where the rental, shouldn’t people be safe?

Why am I thinking about this again? Human trafficking. If there were regular rental inspections and code enforcements along Route 30/Lancaster Avenue/Lincoln Highway where the human trafficking locations were, would we have even had human trafficking? Maybe, maybe not. I am told that human trafficking happens everywhere. And there is plenty that has happened in Pennsylvania. According to Fox23 in Central PA, Pennsylvania is ranked 11th in the nation for human trafficking. The Philadelphia Sun wrote about human trafficking this past March. The Philadelphia Sun said:

Deception, coercion, recruitment, and abduction are just some of the tools of trade for traffickers.

Trafficking in America is a billion-dollar business in all 50 states, where women, children, and men are being exploited; their lives of no value other than the profits they earn.

Where sex trafficking can occur:

Moving around in your daily life, in the city, suburbs, rural areas

Transportation systems: Septa, Uber, and Lyft

Brothels (houses), motels, and major hotel chains

Escort services

Bars, strip clubs, high-end baller parties

Online via social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

Philadelphia Sun March 13, 2020

In November 2019 a woman named Tammy McDonnell who survived being trafficked spoke at Cabrini in Radnor. Read about it here: Survivor tells how to spot ‘red flags’ of human trafficking.

The stretch of Lancaster Ave/Route 30/Lincoln Highway where these rentals exist is a no man’s land. No one sees the people who live there, not because they aren’t visible but because people don’t want to see them. Mostly immigrant, with little choice in housing. And by culture, used to living in close quarters. So one would think rental inspections along that strip and elsewhere would make sense, right? So everyone was safe?

According to Patch, “The apartments used were at street addresses 483, 577 and 609 Lancaster Ave. in East Whiteland Township…”

Someone sent me screenshots off ChescoViews and Google Earth I guess it was (I am not very good at using Chesco Views):

This stretch of Lancaster is the one that looks so desolate and run down when you drive by except for the too many cars on the D’Ambrosio property (one of the sites of human trafficking right?):

People always ask how East Whiteland can be focused on this grand future of over-development without “seeing” these properties or their residents. During COVID19 especially when we were all at home, you couldn’t help but see as soon as the weather warmed up how many people live in these rental properties alone. I have also had people tell me in confidence that there are some awfully crammed rental properties in some of the townhouse developments.

So….maybe it is time for East Whiteland to look at this differently? They need an updated local ordinance on rental properties right? And I think they need a full time inspector of rental properties and possibly more staff, like maybe a part time one.

East Whiteland needs this NOW, yesterday and into the future. They have to find the money to have proper inspectors because I doubt there enough in the Fire Marshall category, and how much work are they supposed to do anyway? Aren’t they already stretched thin?

I will remind people of Christmas night 2016. That is when one of the rental properties in this stretch of road next to the Wawa at Planebrook went up in flames. A family lost everything that lived in one of these ramshackle rental units. And I think they never came back to East Whiteland. After all, it’s not like there really is any affordable housing right?

So you know how the fire by the Wawa was December 2016? How about that building which is uninhabitable has just sat there and rotted since then? Seriously here are some photos taken over the past few years (a real slum lord special, right?):

I was a renter for years. Face it, a lot of us were, and some still are. Would you want to live in any of these properties? What if you had no other choice? And were these landlords in the human trafficking locations 100% oblivious as to what was going on?

Potential For More Trafficking Victims Out There: Chesco DA
The Chester County DA’s Office calls for watchful eyes on kids in communities.
By Marlene Lang, Patch Staff
Verified Patch Staff Badge
Jul 9, 2020 4:20 pm ET
Updated Jul 9, 2020 4:46 pm ET

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

Inquirer: Sex-trafficking ring uncovered after 14-year-old victim tells mom: ‘I don’t want to be here anymore’
by Ellie Silverman, Posted: July 8, 2020

CRIME My Chesco
Human Sex Trafficking Ring Dismantled in Chester County
July 8, 2020 – by MyChesCo – Leave a Comment

Pennsylvania Real-Time News Penn Live (AP)
Sex trafficking arrests made after 14-year-old’s plea to mom: ‘I don’t want to be here anymore’
Updated Jul 09, 2020; Posted Jul 09, 2020

Daily Local Authorities bust human sex trafficking ring in Chester County; girl, 14, rescued
By Jen Samuel jsamuel@dailylocal.com @jenpoetess on Twitter Jul 10, 2020

KIRO 7: TRENDING
‘I don’t want to be here anymore’: Teen’s frantic Facebook message to mom busts sex-trafficking ring

WFMZ: Chester County officials bust sex trafficking ring
6
9 News Jul 8, 2020 Updated Jul 8, 2020

6ABC: Teen’s Facebook message to mom led to sex trafficking rescue in Chester County, district attorney says

CBS Baltimore: Prosecutor: Missing Maryland 14-Year-Old’s Plea Leads To Sex Trafficking Arrests

CBS Philly: Authorities: Teen’s Facebook Message To Mom Thwarts Malvern Human Trafficking Ring, 8 Men Arrested

I also want everyone to know as per my sources, the East Whiteland Police Department truly went above and beyond the call of duty with this. It wasn’t just this girl messaging family that went into this. For a smaller department by comparison to large cities and boroughs, they put lots of man and woman power into this.


East Whiteland Police Department did exhaustive investigation and follow-up and coordinating with all different kinds of other agencies and states and it really does show their dedication to our community. These men and women should be publicly recognized for their efforts. In a time when police departments are being criticized, these men and women deserve to be commended. Ok yes, this is the job they sign up for, but this is huge. Or in my humble opinion it is. And kudos to our Chester County District Attorney as well.

I have many questions regarding human trafficking an how it happened. I will be curious to learn if the families of these girls who were rescued had ever reported them missing? If they did not, why not? Immigration fears or something darker? I ask because if my kid was missing I would leave no stone un-turned.


However I think we need to work as an extended community to prevent these things from happening and I think that means they need to have a system in place in East Whiteland Township and elsewhere in which rental properties are routinely and regularly inspected. Everybody’s been talking about this strip of rental properties in particular for years it’s nothing new. And East Whiteland like many other municipalities in Chester County are experiencing crazy amounts of development and growth. Why not have developers who want to be in our communities chip into programs like this? Isn’t it kind of part of infrastructure and municipal services? I mean it’s all great that mythical theory of build it and they will come but who keeps track once the developers have gotten their money out of sites and moved on?


I am calling on people in East Whiteland and Chester County to contact East Whiteland Township and ANY OTHER TOWNSHIP that does not have proper rental property ordinances and inspectors to catch up with the times. A lot of municipalities like East Whiteland are experiencing growth that is off the charts. Renters deserve safe places to live. Low income residents deserve truly affordable housing and safe housing.

Be safe out there. Thanks for stopping by.


life’s little observations

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Something occurred to me the other day.  And I am not a psychologist or expert in the field of how negativity affects people, especially where they live, so these are merely my opinions and observations.

Stress and it’s impacts on us is widely studied.  This article from 2018 was insightful-  Stress and our mental health – what is the impact & how can we tackle it?. So was this article- Psychological Stress, Physical Stress, and Emotional Stress, and this one – All the Ways Living in a City Messes With Your Mental Health.

We live in an area that was bucolic and peaceful. Agricultural and equine heritage and traditions.  It is now being overrun by development.  Every time you turn around, another community is threatened. That is stressful if you are directly affected/impacted, and it can raise your blood pressure just driving by a place where you used to see cows, or horses swishing their tails while they grazed to seeing how  it is now just a big pit of scraped earth or budding Tyvec-wrapped communities where everyone is or will be jammed in like lemmings.

And then there are all of the pipeline sites. They are ugly and raw and NOISY.  People’s property values are declining, their wells being poisoned by whatever the heck it all is they drill with (there are enough articles in local papers etc about this, right?) And we can’t forget the sinkholes. When I was first coming out to Chester County before I moved here, I used to love when I turned on 352 off of West Chester Pike if I came that way.  All of a sudden it was just green with rolling stretches of lawn and trees. Now it is a raped landscape that actually stresses me out just driving by it, so I can’t even imagine how directly affected residents feel.

Or other area stressers like contested sites within municipalities where state agencies like PennDOT are concerned.  Take the site of Route 352 (A/K/A N. Chester R or Sproul Rd) and King Road in Malvern.  This directly affects residents in East Whiteland and East Goshen.

And here we are at year end and no one knows what is happening for sure at that intersection, and that includes the directly affected residents.  Will they face any eminent domain? Will they face a complete loss of certain properties through eminent domain? It’s a big mystery. And I watch email after email by affected residents go by to municipal officials and PennDOT.  PennDOT never replies. It is like they are ignoring the residents utterly and completely, which adds to the feelings of stress, dismay and uncertainty.

Is it just me or have any of you noticed how people aren’t putting up their usual Christmas displays in some of these areas targeted by pipelines, development,  construction, and PennDOT? This is what I have noticed, and it bums me out to see houses usually bright and cheery at the holidays look dark and sad. But in all fairness, if you were facing any of these things, how cheerful and full of Christmas spirit would you feel?

Life can be hard, that is the reality of life.  But for a lot of these people, it shouldn’t be so hard. These folks moved here and bought their homes to raise their families.  Their piece of the American Dream.  You live right, pay your taxes, are part of your community.  And your home is indeed your castle, and for a lot of these people there are quite literally barbarians at the gate.

Elected officials NEED to think about how these scenarios are affecting their constituents. All they have to do is drive by and notice how the longer these negative issues persist, how they affect people. Real people. People who in a lot of cases voted for them. It shows in the little things like gardening and holiday decorations.  I think it is criminal to drive by homes where you know the owners were once so house proud and see these changes.

Just some of life’s little observations.  Wishing these people peace.

in the shadow of the goshen fire company on greenhill and boot

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I still do not understand how it is Sunoco/Energy Transfer/Sunoco Logistics is doing anything next to a fire house?

How is this even safe?  I thought firehouses were supposed to be respected and protected? How can our first responders keep us safe when they are literally not safe?

This is what it used to look like:

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Now it’s this and I just don’t get it:

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for the love of goats

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One of the New Kids on The Block at Yellow Springs Farm

Ha! That title caught your eye, eh gentle readers?

Good! I love my Yellow Springs Farm goats! Well they aren’t really my goats but I love them. And every year, this time of year Yellow Springs Farm has open farm weekends :

Sat, 05/18/2019 – 10:00am to 4:00pm
Sun, 05/19/2019 – 10:00am to 4:00pm
Yellow Springs Farm Native Plant Nursery and Artisanal Goat Cheese Dairy, will be having our Springs Native Plant sale over 2 weekends in May. Originally a dairy farm 150 years ago,the farm and nursery consists of an historic farmhouse, dairy barn, a springhouse with pond on 8 acres of land. We grow native plants, design and install native landscapes and produce over 25 varieties of fresh and aged artisanal goat cheeses. So come on out and take a picture on our Open Farm day weekends(May 11th/12th and May 18th and 19th) with our Nubian Goats, sample cheeses, and see our blooming wildflowers! Plant experts will be available to help you select plants for your garden or landscape plan.

It’s a little slice of heaven. The goats are total characters. The plants are awesome – I have planted three gardens with them now. And the goat cheese and yogurt? Award winning for a very good reason – totally delicious.

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People visiting with the goats this weekend.

I have known the farmers Catherine and Al Renzi for years.  I remember back to circa 2001 when they decided to start their farm and when they bought it.

Over the years a well-deserved following has developed and the event has grown…as in the number of visitors increases every year. And this is where I am going to open my big mouth because it is a distinct privilege being able to visit Catherine and Al’s farm. And no, I don’t work or speak for the farm, I am speaking my mind based upon what I saw out of guests this year that I thought wasn’t the best behavior ever considering these farmers open up their farm (where they live and work) to all of us. 

Let’s start with parking.  They know their farm and their road so they tell you quite politely where to park.  That doesn’t mean the road and it doesn’t mean parking in roped off areas of the farm or blocking people in or even taking what amount to multiple spaces. Be polite, you are a guest.

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This is a farm. Not a dog park.

Pets.  This weekend people bought their dogs. Yes their dogs like it was a dog park.  It’s not a dog park, it’s a working farm with valuable animals including the farm’s own dog.  It is simply not fair to presume YOUR pets are welcome.  Keep them at home. Please. That’s like bringing uninvited guests to a sit-down dinner party.

The goats.  The goats are lovely creatures who are independent minded.  So listen to the goat herders. They know their charges.  And please do not feed their charges.  They have plenty of their own food.  Yes, they look at you with those big brown eyes but resist LOL, resist!

The plants. The plants are awesome!  Around 200 varieties of native plants. From all over the Mid Atlantic and Northeast.  I bought my first witch hazels ever here years ago.  On Saturday I had an impulse buy: one of my favorite kinds of oak trees, a Chestnut Oak. It was here at Yellow Springs that I discovered one of my favorite native perennials called Indian Pinks. Also flame azaleas.

And the cheeses? Mmmmmm mmmmm mmmm.  I recommend the goat cheese with mushrooms that was recommended to me this weekend. I can’t remember it’s proper name but it was delicious.

Yellow Springs Farm is located at:

1165 Yellow Springs Rd  
Chester Springs, Pennsylvania 19425
 (610) 827-2014
 www.yellowspringsfarm.com

Enjoy the goat photos and thanks for stopping by.

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#tbt gunkle spring mill in east whiteland

DSC_8213Yes…more life got in the way and I never posted these photos after Chester County Day in October and well…enjoy them now!

Gunkle Spring Mill is a very cool treasure in East Whiteland Township.

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like visiting an old friend: going back to baldwin’s book barn

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Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, have a passing thought, go back to sleep?  Well, my weird passing thought in the wee small hours overnight was I had not been to Baldwin’s Book Barn on Lenape Road in literally about 20 years!

I am and always have been a bibliophile. A bookworm. A book hoarder. I love my books.  They have moved with me thoughout my life. Even books from my childhood. Books from my parents. Cookbooks. History books. Gardening books. Fiction by Laura Ingalls Wilder to Daphne DuMaurier to Elizabeth Goudge to Marguerite de Angeli to Dickens to Robert Frost and the list goes on.  I married another bibliophile.  We love out books and they are all over the house in various bookshelves.

Growing up I loved the book store at Bryn Mawr College known as The Owl.  The college disbanded the beloved Owl years ago to make way for progress. There is still The Title Page in Bryn Mawr (which was started originally by ladies who were at The Owl), and that is amazing, but for those of us in Chetser County, and book nuts in general, there is nothing like Baldwin’s Book Barn. Nothing.

And yes, when I popped awake in the middle of the night last night, my mind was on a big stone barn full of books…Baldwin’s Book Barn. What’s not to love? A giant Chester County stone barn built in 1822 filled to the rafters with books? Used books, out of print books, rare books, fun books, paperback books, bags of specially priced books….it’s book Nirvana…and it’s Chester County tradition.

As per their website:

William and Lilla Baldwin established their used book and collectible business in 1934 in nearby Wilmington, DE. In 1946 they moved to “The Barn”. The old milking house was converted into a residence for the Baldwin Family and the stone barn became the bookshop and for some years, a country store museum. We are located deep in the heart of the enchanting and historical Brandywine Valley. Baldwin’s Book Barn is one of America’s truly distinctive bookstores. Step inside and you are transported to another time and place. Today, our store is stuffed to the rafters with a treasure trove of 300,000 used and rare books, manuscripts, maps as well as fine paintings, prints, estate antiques, and other valued collectibles.

Store Hours: 10AM – 6PM Every Day
Except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
Baldwin’s Book Barn
865 Lenape Road, West Chester, PA 19382
Phone: 610-696-0816        E-mail: info@bookbarn.com

So when I woke up woke up this morning and my husband asked what else I would like to do today, I said “let’s go to Baldwin’s Book Barn.”  So to the Book Barn we went. And it was like visiting a fondly remembered old friend.

Ahhh the smell of books greets you still even with the door just cracked!!!  And the door still creaked the same was going in. Still the same smell of woodstove fires. And still the same floor to ceiling books! I will note they still have a terrific Wyeth section and Chester County section.

We went from bottom to top, top to bottom. I bought a couple of cookbooks. It is nice that some things remain the same in this life.

I will note as an aside as I overheard this, that they could use firewood for their woodstove cut to 14″ or 15″ lengths if you can GIVE them any.  There are enough woodstove folks in Chester County and so many people with firewood, how about paying it forward a little?

Here are some photos I took.  I will note with amusement that I never knew Paris Hilton wrote a book. I had a lovely time and won’t wait 20 years to go back. Go buy a book!

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talk to the hand…

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Sometimes you just need something funky.  I found something funky today.

Talk to the hand.

Sorry, I just crack myself up. But hey, it’s a great funky piece to hang jewelry when you are doing the dishes.  It’s a vintage glass jewelry display basically.  These were/are used for holding or displaying rings, watches, scarves, other jewelry items, and fashion accessories.  And for $10…. I splurged.

I was at Resellers in Frazer when I found the blue hand. I was loving on a couple of pieces of furniture and an oriental rug I have neither need nor room for (but ohhh that chair!):

They have a lot of cool stuff right now. I am glad they are still there considering all the upheaval around the shopping center where they are a tenant (you know like Beam’s Music, Frazer Dental, the Frazer Post Office, etc?) – here is what showed up on the Chester County Sheriff Sale Lists:

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Today I was told this wasn’t happening tomorrow, but who knows? Maybe there was a stay of execution?

And don’t you feel so incredibly sorry for all of the small business owners like Reseller’s there? To be in this not knowing?

I went noodling around and found this:

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Sadly, this is almost perfect for development vultures if they have $8 Million lying around, right?

But please NO MORE MIXED USE APARTMENT TOWERS CARRIAGE HOMES PLASTIC TOWN HOUSES.  East Whiteland where this is located is full up. (In my humble opinion.)

There was this thing in Federal Court from March, 2018 – some sort of court order:

Order from judge (CLICK HERE TO READ)

It’s all public record.  According to a sign on the property the agent for Wells Fargo managing now is Metro Commercial.  According to some thing I found in a New York State (as in government) register, this local shopping center is owned by guys in Brooklyn NY.

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When you plunk that Brooklyn address into Google what comes up is a little random. So it’s no wonder why not very much attention was ever paid to the shopping center, right? Out of sight, out of mind, cash the rent checks?

Anyway, back to talk to the hand…A fun little treat. Go visit Reseller’s . They are still open.  Just like the other businesses suffering through this along with the post office. It has also been hard on all of  them because the sign to the shopping center has literally been broken for months.  They were working on it today.

Nancy Drew over and out….talk to the hand….

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