gone but not forgotten

On February 19th, 2013 this blog broke the story of intolerable cruelty in West Vincent Township.  It was about the unwarranted shooting of two puppies named Argus & Fiona by a man named Gabe Pilotti in West Vincent Township. Since that time there has been much back and forth and legal hop scotch as people wait for a trial date so justice may be done the right way through our legal system.

This morning was supposed to have been the court date at the Chester County Courthouse in downtown West Chester, PA.  These were the charges levied back in February by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office:

CHARGES

1 M1 18 § 5511 §§A2.1IA Cruelty To Animals 02/12/2013 T 295420-6

2 M1 18 § 5511 §§A2.1IA Cruelty To Animals 02/12/2013 T 295420-6

3 M2 18 § 2705 Recklessly Endangering Another Person 02/12/2013 T 295420-6

argus and fiona

But according to my sources, no court date took place earlier this morning.  (I am sick or I would have been at the courthouse, truthfully.)

The Bock family has suffered through the loss of their dogs and the ups and downs of the justice system, and I feel really badly for them and the memory of Argus & Fiona.  No one has asked for the sun, moon, or stars.  No one has condoned or asked for vigilante justice.  All anyone has asked for is that the justice system see this through and for lawmakers to consider strengthening dog laws in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so families and pets in this state not only have legal recourse, but laws that aren’t antiquated and might actually protect innocent pet owners and their domestic animals.

We’re still waiting.  And we want everyone to know we have not forgotten Argus & Fiona.  And neither should you.

I know that West Vincent Township would love everyone to forget about Argus  & Fiona because it happened in that warped Mayberry.  And like everything else that happens in West Vincent, it seems to be a bit of a hot mess still doesn’t it?  After all, why is it months ago when the charges were announced, why is it that West Vincent Township PD couldn’t confiscate one shotgun pending the outcome of the legal proceedings?

Mary Bock commented the other day on the Justice for Argus & Fiona Facebook page:

To all the wonderful people who have been supporting us and this fight for justice for Argus and Fiona, I wanted to give you a little update as to where we stand.  Because the defense has control over  the dates for court appearances, our initial main concern was having the gun removed from Pilotti’s possession….but because he has an “emotional attachment” to the gun it wasn’t that easy…..The DA suggested…that the gun be placed in a lock box at his neighbor’s house. The background checks were done on the neighbor and the gun was handed over….Sometimes it’s very hard to get any information…Thank you everyone for the continued support and all of your kind words

Again, I am not having a gun debate here (nor am I deliberately slamming or questioning the Chester County District Attorney’s office ) but I still fail to understand that since there has been a reckless endangerment charge pending why West Vincent didn’t pick up that gun and simply lock it up for safekeeping when those charges landed months ago? I have been told that is common practice when there are legal proceedings pending so I have always found this back and forth on what should be fairly cut and dry confusing.  I also do not get how you could have an emotional attachment to a shotgun, do you? I sure hope that West Vincent has periodically checked to see that this gun is in fact locked up  in this neighbor’s gun safe don’t you?

I do know that people in West Vincent are holding their breath still on this and let me be abundantly clear, I embrace responsible dog ownership just like I embrace responsible gun ownership.  I also respect the farmers’ rights to defend their livestock in crisis situation, but this was never a crisis situation because these puppies never attacked anything did they? I am also still at sixes and sevens as to whether or not Gabe Pilotti is actually a farmer or truly a hobbyist?  There is a difference.

I will also state again for the record that despising what Mr. Pilotti did in February is honest human emotion.  However I do not condone the behavior of people who stood in the middle of roads shouting with bullhorns or trespassed on people’s property or threatening him.  That is all wrong.

I post today to reaffirm that  people have not forgotten these poor dogs and what fate befell them and to remind lawmakers that they can’t just talk a good game when it comes to protecting our domestic pets like dogs.  They actually have to get off their duffs and DO something.  These pets aren’t property like an azalea bush or an ear of corn, they are part of our families. And since Argus & Fiona were shot to death we have heard of other cases of intolerable cruelty like this in Pennsylvania and other states.

Please contact your lawmakers again about Justice for Argus & Fiona and for changes to the dog laws and animal cruelty laws so animals are properly protected. I would also go as far as to suggest not only contacting your state elected officials (as in State Representatives and State Senators) but your U.S. Congressman as well for stronger Federal laws.  For most of us in Chester County, we are either served by Pat Meehan or Jim Gerlach.

And I really hope some day that Mr. Pilotti can express remorse to the Bocks eye to eye, don’t you? After all how will that man ever have peace in his own world without doing that?

I will close this post with a Buddhist prayer I find oddly apropos here today (yes I know not the norm you expect from a Catholic but never the less):

By the power and truth of this practice:
May all beings have happiness and the cause of happiness
May all beings be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow
May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrow less
And may all live in equanimity without too much attachment and too much aversion
And live believing in the equality of all that lives.

-The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

 

malvern train station: all that $ spent and still not ADA accessible?

malvern 3Wow.  Way to go Pete Kennedy from Malvern Patch!  Millions of tax dollars were spent on making SEPTA’s Malvern Train Station new and improved….and I thought that meant fully ADA accessible. Only, as Malvern Patch is reporting it is NOT truly  ADA accessible after all.

SEPTA seems to have provided Patch with some amazing non-answers.  I find it absolutely astounding that train stations are being reconstructed at the tune of millions and millions in tax dollars, grants, you name it and they are supposed to be new, improved, shiny, and ADA accessible…only they aren’t?

malvern1

Malvern Patch: Wheelchair Users Can’t Board Trains in Malvern, Despite Ramps/How can a person in a wheelchair get onto the train? They can’t, SEPTA said.

ByPete Kennedy Email the author 5:30 am

A Malvern Patch reader who watched the $9.2 million renovation of the Malvern SEPTA station has been wondering something.

Rob Anderson, a daily rail commuter for more than 12 years, writes:

[T]hey installed all the ADA required ramps, etc. and that is great.  But, how can a person in a wheelchair get onto the train?  Has SEPTA made any indication of how they are going to install ramps for riders to get on/off the train?

We reached out to SEPTA, and spokesperson Kristin Geiger explained that there’s currently no way for someone in a wheelchair to board the train in Malvern, despite the many new ramps. They can, however, request free transportation from Malvern to a nearby station with a high-level platform

You can read the full SEPTA response on Malvern Patch.

malvernSo how are the railroads accountable exactly?  Shouldn’t they be fined and forced to remediate? I pretty much just asked Philadelphia Inquirer reporter that question a few moments ago as he wrote a rather large article the other day about the Paoli Station makeover which is moving forward.  If all new and reinvented, rebuilt, repurposed train stations are supposed to be ADA accessible, why aren’t they? I mean ask anyone who opens a business that has public rest rooms for example.  They can’t just say “oops we’ll add handicap accessible bathrooms later” can they ? So why is it any different for public transit entities like AMTRAK and SEPTA?

According to AAPD Of the nearly 2 million people with disabilities who never leave their homes, 560,000 never leave home because of transportation difficulties

I can tell you off the top of my head in addition to Paoli, Bryn Mawr and Ardmore train stations are not ADA accessible.  So now Malvern is back on that list after a very expensive face lift that included all sorts of fancy ramps.  I was using Malvern station a great deal almost two years ago now when being treated for breast cancer. It was so difficult for me to navigate, and I kept thinking that at least at the end of the project people with temporary and permanent disabilities would be better served when the renovation was complete.

I am utterly amazed that Malvern Borough did not stay on top of this project to ensure ADA compliance, but should I be surprised?  Malvern Borough has some of the worst sidewalks I have ever seen in their downtown, so obviously ADA compliance is not a huge priority is it? Maybe it will be when someone trips on a sidewalk and sues the borough?

I figure I would bring this up now, given the money about to be spent in Paoli on a new train station. I am thrilled that this project is moving forward as in Ardmore there is nothing transit related happening with regard to THAT train station project and one can assume people will be riding Dranoff condos or apartments into Center City Philadelphia.  The Paoli project will remove that hideously dangerous and outmoded North Valley Road bridge, but Paoli Train Station has serious ADA issues now, so will the station be ADA compliant?

Part of why these train stations are getting makeovers isn’t just parking and aesthetics, the functionality is supposed to be bought current.  I guess I just don’t understand the thinking of SEPTA with regard to Malvern and wonder why they can’t just do something right the first time?

To quote the AAPD again:

Transportation and The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is the landmark civil rights law that addresses the rights of people with disabilities. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public transportation services, such as city buses and public rail (subways, commuter trains, etc.). Under the ADA; all new vehicles used in public transit must be accessible; key existing rail stations and all new rail stations and facilities must be accessible; and transit operators must provide paratransit (on-demand, door-to-door) services for those who cannot use available mass transit.

 Accessibility

Twenty years after passage of the ADA, transportation choices for people with disabilities are still limited. The ADA has led to major improvements in transit systems across the United States. However, there are persistent gaps in compliance that continue to create significant barriers for people with disabilities. In addition, because the ADA only addresses public transportation, few transportation options exist for people with disabilities where no public transportation is available. In some areas, such as in rural communities, insufficient funding has left people with disabilities with little or no transportation options. In urban areas, where individuals often rely on accessible taxis, a lack of requirements has meant very uneven progress.

meanwhile, business as usual in west vincent?

 Wow West Vincent.

I mean REALLY?  Is this true? Did you think no one would say anything?  And truthfully, I have recently heard other West Vincent tales from people I have continued to meet socially who aren’t “active”. They are just ordinary people trying to live their lives.  Suffice it to say their tales lend even more credence to everything Chickenman and others say.

I do not understand why the state doesn’t have a corruption squad to come into West Vincent?  Silly me, I thought Corbett was a law and order kind of guy?

From Chickenman this evening:

Now, I wondered, why would that sign appear?

It seems there was a “private meeting” between township representatives and the Hilltop Road residents on August 14 about road ‘improvements’ estimated to cost over $100,000.

I discover that no surveying, engineering, or professional planning has been done.  It seems, judging by the sign, that the residents don’t actually want the road improvements. They don’t want the bottom part of Hilltop widened and  paved.

So I leave you, my dear reader, to ponder over the question over who might benefit from this road improvement scheme?  Could it be something to do with money and not to do with local benefits?  Could it just be that a local contractor needs the work and a certain local farmer might benefit indirectly?  Answers on a postcard please, and there are no prizes.

If you don’t agree your tax monies being spent in this way, please follow the sign, and go to the meeting.  Support your neighbors and follow the sign. YOU might be the next. It’s what happens in West Vincent.

Now a tiny little gripe.  I only just heard about this.  Please tell me earlier, I can often help.  I can’t do anything if I don’t know about it.

To see my previous mailings please click on http://tinyurl.com/westvincentinfos
As usual, if you want to be on or off my list, or have some comments or  suggestions, or know someone who would like to be on the list, please let me know.  Feel free to forward this email on to anyone you think might be interested.   Especially though, if you don’t want to continue to receive my mails, please tell me, it will be done.  Just hit reply to this email or write  to chestercountynews@gmail.com

Best wishes  Chickenman

Also don’t forget in addition to Chickenman there is also the group http://www.birchrunvillepeople.com/index.html – they point out how people might want to look at Second Class Township Codes to see how West Vincent follows the basics.

I found something interesting when reading about Second Class Townships:

Section 503. Removal for Failure to Perform Duties.-If any township officer fails to perform the duties of the office, the court of common pleas upon complaint in writing by five percent of the electors of the township may issue a rule upon the officer to show cause why the office should not be declared vacant. The officer shall respond to the rule within thirty days from its date of issue. Upon hearing, the court may declare the office vacant and require the vacancy to be filled under section 407.

Folks, it also wouldn’t hurt to remind Congressman Jim Gerlach the issues have issues in West Vincent.  Call his Chester County office or campaign office in Eagle. You also need to write letters to the Daily Local.  Go to meetings.

Again, I can write the occasional blog post but I do not live in your community.  Small minded petty politicos only have as much power as you allow them to have.

historic yellow springs…additional thoughts

I wrote a post recently about Historic Yellow Springs Village looking like a dust bowl run down ghost town.

I keep receiving comments.  Like for example:

You ask  the questions that many  wonder about.  Join the HYS Board, and continue to ask these good questions. They need you.

Uhh no.  My role is one of provocateur.  I am someone who admires the village.  So I blogged about it. I photographed it. I visit it.  The village has a board that should be doing more and can do more.  If they are unwilling to do so, they should move on.  But to be on the board of Historic Yellow Springs I would have to have the time to commit and  the coin to donate in the degree they need in that village desperately.  I do not right now, plus I also have not decided where exactly I want to volunteer in Chester County.   And if you want to consider thinking about this in a different way, my taking the time to write about the plight of Historic Yellow Springs Village and photograph it  is like volunteer work.

Now I did have a nice exchange back and forth with the new-ish Executive Director Eileen McMonagle.  She has the heart and the smarts but she is not an island of one.

One thing she wrote to me, I would like to share:

I read that you feel  the village is falling apart.  Sadly many of the historic sites in our area are struggling because there is no funding on the federal, state or local level.  HYS however has been blessed with a great group of volunteers and members who are working hard to turn the village around. As with all major projects, everything cannot be done at once.

 

I still say her board needs to step up.  I also think they need to cross pollinate with other preservation boards, and consider the other amazing people they have living close if not in  the Historic Village of Yellow Springs who want to see the village survive and thrive.  As in Chester Springs people.  Maybe they aren’t people who have been there for decades or centuries, but sometimes you need fresh blood.  And I can think of a few people right off the bat.  But it is not my job to find people to help this board and village.  They have the tools and creativity to do it themselves.

And they have a very cool art show starting August 2nd that runs through August 31st.  It is a weekend thing or by appointment during the week:

Historic Yellow Springs Presents :

The Lost Generation of Pennsylvania Impressionists

 

When: August 2nd through August 31st 2012

Where: First Floor Lincoln Galleries, Historic Yellow Springs, Chester Springs, PA

Open: Opening Thursday August 2nd at 5:30 as part of Chester County’s Town Tour.  Gallery is open weekends Saturday 10-4 and Sunday 12-4.  Weekdays open by request.

Cost: FREE

Historic Yellow Springs (HYS) will be hosting a diverse collection of work by talented students who attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) Country School from 1917 to 1952.  The PAFA Country School is now the village of Historic Yellow Springs, Chester Springs, PA.

The beautiful landscape of Yellow Springs prompted then PAFA president John Fredrick Lewis to open a summer school for artists at the turn of the last century. The Country School provided the much needed en plein air (in the open air) style of art training to these already accomplished Academy artists. The foundation of the PAFA Country School’s teaching philosophy was the 19th century French Impressionist movement. The magnificent grounds and scenery of the Country School attracted some of the area’s best art instructors and students, including Daniel Garber, N.C, Wyeth, Albert Laessle, Roswell Weidner and Albert Van Nesse Greene. In addition to landscapes, Country School artists were educated in portraiture and sculpture.

The artwork is from Historic Yellow Springs’ own archives and various private collections. Many have not been seen in over a decade.  The collection of artwork features work by well known artists who attended the Country School such as Darce Boulton, Lucus Crowell, Albert Van Nesse Greene, Roy C. Nuse, Francis Speight, Dorcas Kunzie Weidner, Roswell Weidner and Paul Wescott.  A number of the works were saved from destruction by Country School instructors Dorcas Kunzie Weidner and Roswell Weidner.

About Historic Yellow Springs: Historic Yellow Springs (HYS) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1974 and dedicated to the visual arts, the environment, and the village’s  300-year old history. The mission of Historic Yellow Springs is to share, preserve, and celebrate the unique living village of Yellow Springs. Focusing on the visual arts, history and the environment, HYS enriches the lives of all who come here.

 

And if you know anyone on the board of Historic Yellow Springs get them to get those trails in order.  Those springs made the village, and people still want to see them! And right now you really can’t.  Things are too overgrown.

 

the historic village of yellow springs is falling apart.

I do not want to upset anyone. Or deliberately offend any volunteers.  But Historic Yellow Springs Village is falling apart. And there was a lot of activity not so many years ago.  I know Congressman Jim Gerlach got money for the village around 2009. And he honored the village around then too.

Not to be blunt, but WHAT HAPPENED?

Take for example, what is known as “Vaughn House”.  It is at the end of the village right before the West Pikeland Township Building.

It had a fire at least two years ago.  I have been digging around on the Internet and in 2009 I found a reference in some West Pikeland report:

K.  H istoric Yellow Springs Vaughn House – Mrs. Matthews reportedthat the Township has not received a response from Historic Yellow  Springs regarding the current status of repairs needed to the  abandoned Vaughn House. A discussion ensued regarding the need   to have the property secured by fencing to assure public safety.

Maurie Kring offered to allow Historic Yellow Springs to use fencing from his recent demolition. The Township Public Works  employee will transport the fence for Historic Yellow Springs.

Then I saw this report which mentions it:

February 12, 2010.

1.Mr. Ross stated he has spoken to Prudence Haines, Director of Historic Yellow Springs in regards to the fire damaged Vaughn House. Ms. Haines informed Mr. Ross that Historic Yellow Springs has secured the facility and does not have funds for maintenance and repair and would consider selling the property.

Then I find another reference from June of this year, 2012:

PERSONS WISHING TO BE HEARD

Barbara Miller of Art School Road stated that she has observed two properties damaged by fire; one being the Vaughn House owned by Historic Yellow Springs and the other a private home located in the eastern most portion of the village. Ms. Miller stated that the properties are blighted and are unattractive and asked if they were going to be repaired. The Board informed Ms. Miller that the private home has been sold and is plans are presently being made for renovation. Eileen McMonagle of Historic Yellow Springs was present and stated that Historic Yellow Springs is currently working on a solution to restore the property.

I dug a little more and this is what Historic Yellow Springs has to say on it’s website today even as Vaughn house is all boarded up and half covered by tarps:

Connie’s, Vaughn, Jenny Lind, and Yeaworth Houses

Connie’s House dates to the late 1800’s and was originally a post office and general store. It is now owned by the Chester Springs Studio and is used for exhibitions and artists’ residencies. The building was given to the Studio by Yellow Springs Founder Connie Fraley, hence the affectionate name. The Vaughn House, named for its last resident, is a charming small farmhouse built in the 1830’s. Historic Yellow Springs completely restored the house in 1989 and it serves as a tenant residence.

Mrs. Holman, the retiring owner of the Yellow Springs Spa property, built the Jenny Lind House in the early 1840’s as a boarding house – it has eight bedrooms!

The Yeaworth House, also named for its last resident, was built in 1899 as an infirmary for the Soldiers’ Orphans School. It was converted to a residence in the 1950’s, extensively renovated in 1987-88, and now serves as another tenant residence.

The English actress Fanny Kemble describing her visit to Yellow Springs during July 1843 in her book Records of Later Life, 1882:

“This morning the children took me up a hill which rises immediately at the back of the house (the Jenny Lind House), on the summit of which is a fine crest of beautiful forest trees, from which place there is a charming prospect of hill and dale, a rich rolling country in fine cultivation – the yellow crops of grain, running like golden bays in the green woodland that clothes the sides and tops of all the hills, the wheat, the grass, the variegated patchwork covering of the prosperous summer earth.”

Vaughn House is no charming tenant property now.  I took a good look at it on Sunday.  It is a wreck after a fire, and how embarrassing that Historic Yellow Springs can’t be honest about it.

I dug around and was told Historic Yellow Springs  did collect insurance post-fire,but it was not enough to effect historic preservation repairs.   Given the June 2012 meeting minutes I quoted above, I would say they are in a fair pickle when it comes to this property.

Someone I know who looked at the house recently said it was not beyond redemption but would be soon if they did not get busy.

The irony is everyone knows there is some serious money in and around Yellow Springs, so why can’t some of those people rescue this house and preserve it?  What happened was a tenant fire, I am unsure of the timeline, but I noticed on West Pikeland’s website a last name that is the same as that general store, or Harold M. Hallman III.   From what I have been told years ago, this family has been around forever and own a lot of land?  Couldn’t a family like this help Historic Yellow Springs?

See this is what I do not get about this place: those who can’t don’t.

Yellow Springs has an amazing history and still has three mineral springs: magnesium, sulphur, and iron.  The whole village grew up around the medicinal value of these springs. There are references to them in Colonial Times and Washington hung out there…and they can prove it.  People used to travel up the Schuylkill by packet boat from Philadelphia to Pottstown/Phoenixville and then by coach to the Inn for taking the waters in the springs.

On their website, the iron spring gazebo is in a field neatly cut.  It is practically drowned by brush and rushes right now.  There used to be these amazing walking trails that you could take to check out the springs.  I could not see any of the trails this weekend, as things are that overgrown.

I totally get Historic  Yellow Springs  currently seems to be  swinging toward a more public revenue stream with using the village for  weddings, rentals,  and sponsored events. I have done enough work with small non-profits to know non-profit funding is there but grantors want specific results over the long-term.  However, when I say the place needs donor angels I am not kidding.  They are advertising the old inn “The Washington” as being event ready, and maybe it is o.k. but I have heard from people who inquired that you have to bring in a kitchen to do an event, there is no longer a kitchen. That adds significantly to what you have to rent.

This place is like a ghost town now.  The life comes from the restaurant in the Jenny Lind House, The Yellow Springs Inn.  But that is privately owned, and the care taken to do a restoration there is obvious.  So should Historic Yellow Springs consider selling some of the properties provided they can ensure they can, and will be preserved?

This is the list of HYS board members as per their website and if it is not current that is their issue:

Mark Ashton, President

Anne M. Congdon

Stephen P. Cottone

Polly Gable, Secretary

Karin E. Gedge

Rita Kaplan

William LaCoff, Vice President

Edward A. Meltzer, Treasurer

Terri Moran

Moira Mumma

Matthew E. Roberson

Brendan J. Sherman

Robert C.F. Willson

I do not know any of these people but is this board active?  Or are they a board that treats their non-profit as a private club?

Here is the staff list:

Heidi Brett, Arts Program Manager – 610-827-7414 ext. 16 hbrett@yellowsprings.org
Callie McGlone, Office and Events Manager – 610-827-7414 ext. 10   cmcglone@yellowsprings.org

Eileen McMonagle , Executive Director – 610-827-7414 ext. 14 emcmonagle@yellowsprings.org

Sandra S. Momyer, Moore Archivist – 610-827-7414 ext. 19 smomyer@yellowsprings.org

Diane Peterson, Business Manager – 610-827-7414 ext. 17       dpeterson@yellowsprings.org

John Shaw, Volunteer Coordinator jshaw@yellowsprings.org

I have been told the Executive Director is fairly new and very nice and really into preserving the historic village.  Maybe they need some new board members then?

The history from the springs, the Revolutionary War Hospital, the who artist colony history makes Yellow Springs cool.  But it does not matter how many volunteers it has if no movement is occurring.

They used to do so many events, and that has dwindled.  You need events to bring people to town, not just putting the event for rent sign out on the village.  Bring back the antiques show, for example.  That drew thousands to the village.

They could host re-enactment events.  There are tons of people who live to come to these things in correct period costume and share their knowledge of particular periods in United States History – I have seen it at places like Historic Goshenville.  I have seen it at various Civil War re-enactments.  Also things like Farmers’ Markets will draw people to a community – look no further than the markets we all go to every week in Chester County during growing seasons. Or flower shows.  Or old-fashioned things like quilt shows.  Open air antiques and crafts markets.  Partner with local farms for farm table dinners in the Village or haunted hay rides in the fall. People love those too. There are a lot of things that can be done, but the people controlling this historic village need to want to do things to better the lot of the village.

And what can the West Pikeland Township people do that is positive for the village to encourage and entice people to support the village.

I know so many areas that would kill to have history like this.   Don’t squander it Historic Yellow Springs.   People care about the village.  I watched a guy cutting really long grass just to make things look better.  I asked someone if he worked for the township.  The answer was no, he is just a resident who cares about the land.

Look at the historic homes inventory in and around Yellow Springs Village. (Mind you one thing I found interesting on that list was the 1083 Bodine Road owned by The Barnes Foundation.)

If Chester Springs is supposed to be one the most affluent sections of Chester County, then I wish some of them would wake up and see that Historic Yellow Springs gets a shove.

No one wants to write a donation check in this economy that is not going to be accounted for, I get that.  So what about targeted donations?  Or very specific fundraising efforts?  Like how much needs to be raised to restore Vaughn House?

What kind of special events (not just recurring ones)  can the board of Historic Yellow Springs bring to the Village?  If those people want to sit on the board then are they responsible for helping raise a certain dollar amount in donations?  Face it, this place needs not only an active board, but a proactive board.  And if these board members aren’t bringing in a certain amount of donations each year, or giving it themselves, they need that board freshened up a little more often.  Who can they partner with in neighboring communities or other areas of historic interest to raise awareness?

And the walking trails.  People love walking trails, especially when there is not only beauty, but a lot to look at.  And face it, those springs are still cool a couple of hundred years later!  But the trails seem to be lacking maintenance.  Why not invite boy scout troops from Chester County to adopt the trails as service projects?  Maybe let them camp once in a while  in one of the fields like the one being used for parking of studio vehicles.

O.k. rant over.  Sorry, but I think this is worth saving and the people in control do have the tools to do so.  Only I can’t figure out what they are waiting for.

just say no.

Oh good lord!  I forgot this guy was running for Congress in the 7th (that would be Pat Meehan’s current seat.)

George Badey thinks he’s a politician, or thinks he might want to be a politician (I’m not sure.)  His only appeal, truly, is with Radnor Township Democrats, and I hear they are pretty split on him. Truthfully, the Democrats in Radnor I know who think he is ineffectual and silly far outweigh those who are enamoured (and there is no accounting for taste.)

George Badey ain’t exciting and being a bigwig with the Radnor Democratic Committee isn’t enough in my book to consider voting for him. Yes , he lives somplace like  Chamounix Road so he must have a couple wooden nickels to rub together, but really?  What has he done?

Yawn.

He is like Vanilla Junket.  If you like Vanilla Junket, by all means, vote for him.

As for myself, a new voter in the 7th?  I don’t want this guy representing me. He doesn’t currently adequately represent a lot of the people I know in Radnor who are of a Democrat persuasion, so why would I extend that reach knowingly?

This is a Main Liner who needs to stay home.

The Democrats should truthfully be embarassed that this is all they can dig up to run against Pat Meehan.  And I thought who they run against Jim Gerlach is usually pathetic. And I am saying this as someone who doesn’t have a dog in the race.  Only met Meehan a couple of times and he would not know me from Adam’s house cat.

Look, it’s an easy choice: if you have loved the last four years in this country, think the economy is fabulous, and love big government getting bigger and up in your business while they contemplate their collective navels and get nothing done, well then, Badey is your guy.

I am an inveterate ticket splitter.  I will consider candidates because of who they are and what they have done, not because I am some zombie who does as they are told.  I form my own opinions, donate money to zero campaigns.

Some boring and bored Main Liner who has not been a shining light is just not someone I am going to vote for.  He’s concerned about jobs, healthcare, and the economy?  That is quite Obamariffic of him, but not particularly original.  And for the record, saying you are concerned about something and actually having a track record of doing things that are positive for the community is something entirely different. And as far as Democrats being a “majority” in Radnor Township, check the numbers – that distinction is not by a landslide, it is by but a handful of votes – a couple people dying or moving or whatever, could completely tip the political scale back the other way.

And there is a third person running in the 7th as far as I can tell.  An indie named Jim Schneller.  Also from Radnor Township.  Google him.

Of course, the other way to look at this is the choices are so pathetic that it will make it all the more easy for Meehan.

Main Line Suburban Life > News

Badey opens Congressional campaign office

Published: Friday, June 08, 2012

Democrat George Badey opened his Congressional campaign office at 711 E. Lancaster Ave, Villanova, on Wednesday night, with hoagies, cookies, bottled water and the latest polls that show Democrats doing well. Badey is running for the 7th District  of Pennsylvania seat currently held by Republican Pat Meehan.
Several dozen people filled the office’s three-or-so rooms, then listened as Badey as he discussed numbers and issues.
Badey, a lawyer in private practice, who lives in Radnor Township, has health care, jobs and the economy at the top of his list of concerns and on his platform. His Web site refers prominently to “the hopes and dreams of 7000,000 working people in the 7th District.”

when a community needs to get back to basics. and save itself.

When West Vincent Supervisor Ken Miller’s wife, Sue of Birchrun Hills Farm got up at a recent meeting to speak her peace in West Vincent, I watched it as an outsider and counted my lucky stars I did not live in West Vincent Township.  Which truthfully, I hate to say because it is a wonderful community and has a lot of beauty….or it will until the developers all have their way, but I digress.

I received something from Chickenman that has given me pause for thought (you can read it HERE.) As did a letter that was directed towards West Vincent in March.

So this letter from March seems to have something to do with some property that West Vincent used to own?  That has now a commercial use with few or no restrictions?  If this is true and they are so big on preservation, why didn’t they at least sell this land with some sort of conservation stuff to go with? Something about an old township building and whether it is in or out of compliance with use, as in was it too long ago and should prior uses be considered abandoned? And why does anyone need another “office park”?  (I hate that phrase “office park”.) Is there enough business to sustain this?  And something about waivers?  (Maybe it is just me, but as I have watched development in 3 counties in PA I always love when developers come in asking for waivers when sometimes it seems the hardship is not on them, but the community left questioning their own property rights when it comes to saying no to development.)

So back to Sue Miller, the Farmer-Supervisor’s wife.  She spoke up at this meeting, which is cool, don’t have a problem with that, it’s just the bully pulpit of it all and the irony of her words that continue to stick in people’s craw.

Sue Miller has issue with Chickenman, claims the fearless fowl is trying to put her and her hubby out of business.  Seems to me, all he is asking for is for a level playing field and honesty.   That Clare Quinn who used to work for The French and Pickering Conservation Trust while she voted for eminent domain for private gain (because nothing says conservation/preservation like eminent domain) doesn’t like Chickenman, either?  (Clare seems to live off the fat of the community in so many ways, doesn’t she?)

But why is it that any resident or other who speaks up a liar?  There seems to be a lot of residents speaking up, which generally speaking could be a divining rod to major issues, yes?

I am going to have to agree with Chickenman when he said in his e-mail June 6th that like it or not, Ken Miller is not just a private citizen but an elected official.  And as such, indeed subject to the same public scrutiny as a public official, elected or appointed.

The irony of Mrs. Miller claiming all the good people are trying to put her out of business in her township doesn’t escape me.  Since I started to pay attention to this area (they did it themselves with eminent domain), all I hear about is what is done dirty to residents, so what is she talking about?   And she speaks of Chickenman and Chickenman “Posse” (have you heard anything so stupid and paranoid?) retaliating?  Who is actually retaliating?

Mrs. Miller stood on her soapbox for quite a while, and then there were comments from the peanut gallery and this guy in the meeting who seemed like he was threatening another resident in the meeting and no one did anything? This same person also used profanity, and nothing was done?

No I don’t understand.  But I do know that there is too much nastiness in this bucolic community.

What is community?  Defined it is:

noun, plural com·mu·ni·ties.

1.a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2.a locality inhabited by such a group.
3.a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually preceded by the ): the business community; the community of scholars.
4.a group of associated nations sharing common interests or a common heritage: the community of Western Europe.
5.Ecclesiastical . a group of men or women leading a common life according to a rule.

Some people would describe West Vincent as merely rural.  The more I read, the more meeting tapes I see and hear about, I think it is positively feudal.

Ahhh yess, feudalism:

Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for structuring society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.

Although derived from the Latin word feodum or feudum (fief),[1] then in use, the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the medieval period. In its classic definition, by François-Louis Ganshof (1944),[2]feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs.[2]

There is also a broader definition, as described by Marc Bloch (1939), that includes not only warrior nobility but all three estates of the realm: the nobility, the clerics, and the peasantry bonds of manorialism; this is sometimes referred to as a “feudal society“.

West Vincent residents, you need to be involved where you live.  Even you the McMansion dwellers.  I  can’t believe you aren’t bothered (for example) when the agendas for the meeting aren’t posted or easily found and it is the Friday before a meeting.  I mean LOOK at the website.  Agendas are public documents to be provided in a timely manner prior to a meeting.  When is the last time they posted an agenda and since I don’t live there I can’t say it was timely, but it appears by their own website to have been 4/23/2012:

04/23/12 7:30 PM:  Board of Supervisor Meeting

Written by Tammy Swavely. Posted in Event Dates – Township Meetings

05/14/12 7:30 PM:  Board of Supervisor Meeting

Written by Tammy Swavely. Posted in Event Dates – Township Meetings

Board of Supervisor Meeting at the Township Building

05/29/12 7:30 PM:  Board of Supervisor Meeting

Written by Tammy Swavely. Posted in Event Dates – Township Meetings

Board of Supervisor Meeting at the Township Building

06/04/12 Special Board of Supervisor Meeting

Written by Tammy Swavely. Posted in Event Dates – Township Meetings

06/04/12 Special Board of Supervisor Meeting

One of the oldest dumbing down tricks in the book: don’t post things in a timely fashion and keep taxpayers and residents ignorant and in the dark.  But does that violate Sunshine Laws in PA?  Or will I open a discussion on the letter of the law versus the spirit?  (If you think I do not like eminent domain, I dislike sunshine slayers as well.)

Did you know Pennsylvania has an Open Records website?  With the Right to Know Law and a handy Citizen’s Guide and FAQs?

I also can’t believe you think it’s ok when anyone threatens or bullies a resident in public at a meeting.

None of this is o.k.

It’s not my community, people, I am but a observor.  I am grateful for the community I call home (even if there has been a bit of a reach at me from there to here for my opinions), glad I got out of a community that was a political cesspool on a much larger stage that West Vincent.  (So I have indeed been there and I do get it.)

I would think you all wanted better for yourselves.  I understand how many of you are fearful or intimidation and retaliation, but the truth is these yokels only have as much power as you allow them.  Go above them on a state and federal level if you have to.

Who is your Congressman? Is it Jim Gerlach?  Show up at his town hall meetings or his freaking campaign office and ask for equal time in the community.  No incumbent is completely immune to elections, no outcome is guaranteed.  Gerlach used to be my Congressman, and I found him very easy and fair to deal with.  From a practical standpoint, his elections have also been squeakers.  He was redistricted again, so that might help, but you never know.  Those who write his campaign donation checks are not the only people an elected official will listen to in an election cycle, trust me.  And I say that as someone who does not as a matter of choice, donate to political campaigns.

Who is your state rep?  Your state senator? Get busy with them.

Community is what you make of it.  I can’t do this for you, nor can others.  A community must rally to save itself.  And it is a lot of hard work.  I know it can be frustrating, but if you are not happy with the way things are, you need to change it.

I have said it before,  and I will say it again: you live in a beautiful area.  Please fight to save it, and change the faces of who govern you.  Shine a little sunshine.  Do supervisors have term limits?  Maybe West Vincent is an example of why they should.

And to the person on the meeting tape who referred to Facebook?  I am sorry, will there be a blog burning and banning of Facebook in West Vincent?  Kindly remember what this country is founded on – you know, that little thing called the First Amendment? Just saying.