eminent domain should be a four letter word/ little pink house

Susette Kelo

Susette Kelo taken in front of her little pink house circa 2008 . Scott Mahan photo.

Sunday we went into Philadelphia to see the movie Little Pink House, which I had written about recently.

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Mary Cortes from Cramer Hill, Camden, NJ on left with another Cramer Hill resident on the right at the Little Pink House Screening in Philadelphia with the Institute for Justice.

The Institute for Justice in Washington, DC was kind enough to sponsor an event reuniting a lot of groups who had fought eminent domain for private gain.  I was so happy to reunite with my original Save Ardmore Coalition friends and to see Mary Cortes and some of the Cramer Hill, Camden folks. I was thrilled to spend time with Scott Bullock, who is now President of the Institute for Justice and Susette Kelo, about whom the movie is about.  I had met and spent time with Susette Kelo when she was going to the United States Supreme Court and after.

Little Pink House  coming to town brought back a lot of memories.  Eminent domain should be a four letter word. Here is a re-cap of what the movie is about:

April 27 – May 3:  Philadelphia, PA: Landmark Ritz East

Based on a true story, Little Pink House is about a small-town paramedic named Susette Kelo leaves a bad marriage, and starts over in a new town. She buys a rundown cottage with a gorgeous water view. She fixes it up and paints it pink. Then she discovers powerful politicians want to bulldoze her blue-collar neighborhood for the benefit of a multi-billion dollar corporation. 

With the help of a young lawyer named Scott Bullock, Susette emerges as the reluctant leader of her neighbors in an epic battle that goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, inspires a nation, and helps millions of Americans protect their homes.

Most of you probably have no idea what this means. Or care. But I think you should, even more so after seeing the movie.  It is the movie about the 2005 United States Supreme Court Case Kelo vs. New London, and what Susette Kelo and her Fort Trumbull neighbors endured at the hands of Pfizer , the State of Connecticut and New London, Connecticut.

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My dear friend Sherry Tillman (left) with Susette Kelo on Sunday at the Little Pink House screening.

Little Pink House could happen to any of us.  And as I sat through the movie I was struck again by the B.S. spouted by politicians salivating and greedy for development (it’s universally sleazy.)  How they were doing this for the residents and how it would be so wonderful….and what did they do? They stole people’s homes, bulldozed them, and handed it all on a silver platter to Pfizer (it really makes you despise big  B.S. development plans all over again after seeing this movie.)

In 2009, Pfizer left New London. Yes, left.  People’s lives and homes were destroyed for them.  These were every day working and middle class people.  The heart of their community was bulldozed into oblivion. Stolen by eminent domain for private gain.

Here is a New York Times article about Pfizer’s final bad act in this play of misery and human suffering:

N.Y. / REGION
Pfizer to Leave City That Won Land-Use Case
By PATRICK McGEEHANNOV. 12, 2009

From the edge of the Thames River in New London, Conn., Michael Cristofaro surveyed the empty acres where his parents’ neighborhood had stood, before it became the crux of an epic battle over eminent domain.

“Look what they did,” Mr. Cristofaro said on Thursday. “They stole our home for economic development. It was all for Pfizer, and now they get up and walk away.”

That sentiment has been echoing around New London since Monday, when Pfizer, the giant drug company, announced it would leave the city just eight years after its arrival led to a debate about urban redevelopment that rumbled through the United States Supreme Court, and reset the boundaries for governments to seize private land for commercial use.

Pfizer said it would pull 1,400 jobs out of New London within two years and move most of them a few miles away to a campus it owns in Groton, Conn., as a cost-cutting measure. It would leave behind the city’s biggest office complex and an adjacent swath of barren land that was cleared of dozens of homes to make room for a hotel, stores and condominiums that were never built.

The announcement stirred up resentment and bitterness among some local residents. They see Pfizer as a corporate carpetbagger that took public money, in the form of big tax breaks, and now wants to run.

In Chester County, many of you should remember the case of Coatesville trying to steal the Saha farm for a golf course and whatnot.  That was eminent domain for private gain and I saw the Sahas often during the time we were fighting eminent domain in Ardmore.  Dick and Nancy Saha were wonderful folks.  I have not run into them since moving to Chester County, and hope someday our paths will cross again.
Here are a couple of articles that will refresh your memory on the Saha case:

During the two-hour hearing, much of the testimony referred to the battle between Dick and Nancy Saha and the city of Coatesville.

Prior to the hearing, Sen. Jim Gerlach, R-44th of East Brandywine, who is chairman of the committee, said he wants to establish whether one municipality can condemn land in another municipality without that municipality’s approval and whether eminent domain can be used for nontraditional uses such as for recreation centers.

The testimony which began with Greg Lownes, the nephew of Dick and Nancy Saha….

“We are not against the revitalization of Coatesville. What Coatesville does with their property, we don’t care. Dick (Saha) has a business in Coatesville. He has a vested interest. But we object to the city taking the Saha’s land for a for-profit business,” Lownes said.

In his testimony, Lownes said he would like laws to be passed that would not allow one municipality to condemn land in another municipality without that municipality’s approval.

The Sahas beat city hall quite literally. But is was a long, ugly, drawn out legal battle.

Also note the 2013 article in the Daily Times where the land acquired that the Saha land was supposed to be added to. The land was being auctioned off.  Here is the article from then:

Chester County land sale marks end of long battle for Saha family, Delco natives

By Ginger Dunbar 8/13/13

The Saha family – Delaware County natives – rocketed into the headlines a decade ago when they dug in to fight a municipal land grab in an eminent domain case that sparked national headlines.

The Sahas’ struggle with the City of Coatesville centered over the city’s desire to use a part of their family farm for a golf course development.

The Sahas, who came to Chester County from Drexel Hill, decided to fight City Hall. And they won.

They stopped the golf course plan. Elected officials from Coatesville pushing the project were ousted by voters. The city administration was replaced.

An auction Tuesday hopes to dispose of the property surrounding the Saha tract that were acquired in efforts to build the golf course and related projects.

A city property in Valley township is 22.5 acres of land with old stone farm home and is zoned as conservation land. The property is at 175 South Mount Airy Road. The property, officials said, is ideal for agricultural uses.

The city property in West Brandywine township is 63.5 acres of vacant land that is zoned as agricultural and residential land. The property is located off North Manor Road (Route 82).

Dick and Nancy Saha moved to their farm on Mount Airy Road in 1971. They said they worked hard for 15 years to make their home live able and added heating and plumbing. They raised five children on the farm.

In April 1999 they said city officials knocked on their door with legal papers for the intention to take their 38 acre farm land through eminent domain. For the six years that followed, the Sahas said their fight against the city cost them more than $300,000 in legal fees.

There are stories like the Sahas’ from coast to coast. Eminent domain for private gain has been addressed on a state level in many states, but not on a federal level.

Eminent Domain for private gain is legal stealing, economic segregation, and more often than not, class warfare. When you receive a notice of a taking, your world turns inside out, not just upside down. At first you feel like you are in the battle completely and utterly alone. But you aren’t alone. There are a lot of us out there.

I didn’t set out in life to become a grassroots activist on any level, but eminent domain is an issue that, as an American, I found I simply could not ignore. I loved Ardmore, where eminent domain threatened a block of small businesses in a local historic business district. Ardmore to me was a quintessential old fashioned main street-oriented town. It represents the bygone days of small town America.

The township (Lower Merion)  had declared this block “blighted,” and it intended to acquire these properties in a certified historic district for inclusion in a mixed-use development project to be owned by a private party.

One of the first lessons we learned as SAC was that when you are fighting a battle like this, you become an instant pariah. SAC next contacted the Institute for Justice and newly formed Castle Coalition, who gave us a crash course in grassroots activism.

We held rallies, protests and community meetings. We wrote letters to the newspapers until we had writer’s cramp. We took every opportunity to speak at public meetings. We lobbied government officials on a state and national level.

In November 2005, we watched as five new faces against eminent domain were elected to the 14-member Board of Commissioners.

During this whole time before and after the election, we had the good fortune to finally get some national and even international media publicity. We networked further with other eminent domain fighting citizens locally and nationally.  Members also gave testimony before both the Pennsylvania Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. We submitted written testimony to the U.S. Congress and became part of the record on HR 4128.

In March 2006, the five new commissioners who came to office promising to end the specter of eminent domain did just that: they proposed and passed a resolution to end eminent domain. The businesses were free.

I will not lie. It was an exhausting process fighting eminent domain.  I went to so many municipal and other meetings during this time, that even today I have a hard time going to meetings.

We won our battle in Ardmore and the Sahas won in Coatesville, and Long Branch, NJ won….because Susette Kelo lost the U.S. Supreme Court Case by one vote. This of course also demonstrates what happens when administrations stack the United States Supreme Court, doesn’t it?

Seeing this movie on Sunday, and listening to Scott Bullock and Susette Kelo again, brought all of this back.  Susette and I spoke before and after the movie and I said I thought she was so brave and amazing to keep telling her story but I imagined it was incredibly hard some days to sit through showings of this beautiful film.  She said it was.

Recently I wrote a post about Lower Merion Township and Main Line Today Magazine and an article I found to be quite the piece of revisionist history. It was another fluff piece on Ardmore.

Main Line Today March, 2018

As Ardmore Prepares for a Revitalization, Some Residents are Hesitant About the Change
Will additions like One Ardmore Place disrupt the town’s way of life? Many locals are divided.

BY MICHAEL BRADLEY

Excerpt:

📌None of this is Angela Murray’s fault. Not the giant crane that hovers over the Cricket Avenue parking lot, its American flag billowing in the breeze. Not the 110 apartments rising from a giant hole in the ground. Not the upheaval for residents and business owners alike. Not the possible traffic congestion. None of it.

“People have blamed me,” says Murray, who’s been Lower Merion Township’s assistant director of building and planning for 16 years. “But I think it meets a need that was pressing.”….The allocated state money was supposed to go for the station, but when Amtrak balked at allowing apartments so close to its tracks, the plan—which included replacing some buildings along Lancaster Avenue south of the station—lost momentum. Meanwhile, the Save Ardmore folks filed lawsuits and protested the idea mightily. “Amtrak didn’t want people living so close to the rail line because it didn’t think it would be safe,” Lower Merion’s Murray says. “They were concerned about people throwing things out of windows onto the track.”📌

So….this is quite the piece in favor of Ardmore development. I don’t know who the writer is but my, he was sure led by the nose down a primrose development path.

I also take issue with the latest attempt at glossing over eminent domain in Ardmore. But then I also do not quite understand the article love affair with Angela Murray of Lower Merion Township, but perhaps she had a hand in the placement of the article?

Lower Merion Township can not unring the bells of the past.

Back in the day, as a member of the ORIGINAL Save Ardmore Coalition, Ms. Murray was awful to us. She was not nice, she was perennially unpleasant. However she wasn’t alone. You were either with them or against them. If you were against them, well then you were the enemy.

Those of us who reunited from the original Save Ardmore Coalition on Sunday remember what it was like.  It was at times, awful.

But also on Sunday we realized what we were a part of with Susette and all of the other folks who the Institute for Justice helped back then.

Also see the huge interview on Megyn Kelly on Today.   44 states changed their eminent domain laws as a result of the Kelo Case.  So many people’s lives have been destroyed by eminent domain.  Real people. Nothing in the abstract.  It almost happened to my friends in Ardmore.

Ironically today, the current governor of Connecticut announced jobs coming to Connecticut…including New London. But it won’t bring back the houses and displaced lives.

I will note that the whiff of eminent domain is once more in the air in Lower Merion Township. Why? because Lower Merion School District is searching for land they can beg, borrow, or steal to expand.  Why? A story for another day but the Cliff Notes version is all of the development there has caused the schools to (shocker) get over-crowded, right? One place mentioned in a recent Main Line Times article is Stoneleigh. Otherwise known as the Haas Estate in Villanova that was given to Natural Lands to preserve the open space.

Also don’t forget the attempted (and failed) eminent domain taking by a prior administration of West Vincent Township. Of Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show. It was real. It happened. And because of the path Susette Kelo laid down by going to the United States Supreme Court, this also was a failed taking attempt.

See 2012 East Coast Equestrian: Township Tries, Fails to Take Ludwig’s Corner Show Grounds by Eminent Domain

WNPR: ‘Little Pink House’ Hits The Big Screen, Reviving New London Eminent Domain Saga
By HARRIET JONES • APR 24, 2018

A landmark Supreme Court case over eminent domain and people’s right to private property is back in the headlines with the new movie “Little Pink House.” It tells the story of the Fort Trumbull neighborhood in New London, which was the scene of an epic struggle between a municipality that wanted to take property for the purpose of economic development, and the homeowners who resisted every step of the way….“You go to work every day, you pay your bills, you’re a taxpayer, you’re a law-abiding citizen, you keep your yard clean, grow your vegetables in your little garden, raise your family — and to have this happen to people who were just trying to be simple people and live their lives was really wrong,” said Kelo in a recent interview with Connecticut Public Radio.

 

If you are interested in learning more about what the Institute for Justice does, check out their website. IJ.org  .  Also check out the Little Pink House website to find our where the movie is playing or if you can get a screening where you live.

Little Pink House is more than a movie. It happened.

Related image

 

ask not for whom the bell “tolls” west vincent….

toll brothers

So, what a difference a couple of years makes, right? A friend sent me this photo the other day.  Toll Brothers at their finest. Guess this is the next phase of Byers station or whatever, right? Because nothing says Chester County like the smell of plastic siding roasting in a treeless sky, right?

I know you can’t save every old house, but what is being done in places like West Vincent is almost criminal. Can you imagine if THIS above is what happens to Bryn Coed which sits not only in West Vincent but a neighboring township? That estate is like what? One and a half times the size of Chesterbrook when it was created? Can you imagine what Bryn Coed land would resemble if stripped bare like this?

Here is a photo of the same house that I took in June of 2013:

June 2013

Now for those who live in West Vincent, the thing to remember is when KenOCrat Supervisor Roadmaster Farmer Miller sends his ladies in waiting forth to invite themselves into your homes to say what a fabulous job he has one, how he is all about preservation, the environment and so on, remember these photos or the next one….which is another for whom the bell “Tolls” over at Eagle Farms/Chester Springs Road (also sent to me ):

toll brothers1

Now they naysayers and cheerleaders will try to tell you how Mike Schneider who is running for Supervisor against Ken Miller is not the guy for the job and heck come on it is all the same tired rhetoric from when John Jacobs won and well John is doing an awesome job isn’t he?   The bottom line is Ken Miller got booted by his own political party so in desperation he was a write-in fake Democrat. (How embarrassing that the Chester County Democrats have a horse in this race and it is a veritable Trojan Horse, right?)

Ken Miller’s supporters (because you NEVER hear from Ken personally do you?) will tell you how Ken is “fiscally conservative” into “conservation and environmental protection” and oh yes “good planning” and “road maintenance”.   If he was Pinocchio he would be using a Toll Brothers wielded chain saw to slice off his ever growing nose.

This man voted in favor of eminent domain for private gain when they tried and failed to take Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show. His supporters will try to explain that away “It was for the good of the horse show”, “it was to protect the land” , “it really wasn’t eminent domain for private gain.”

Yes. It. Was.

That crappy Ludwig’s Corner Overlay Plan? What do you think that was about? Tea and scones? Moving pony club? And they could have seized the land, sort of twiddled their thumbs for a couple of years, sold some to a developer to build that crappy overlay plan and what would that be? Tea and scones?  moving pony club? The answer is still eminent domain and it is private gain because well these overlay plans aren’t public purpose and a municipality as tiny as West Vincent isn’t going to develop these big honking plans themselves are they? Miller can barely take care of the roads, and not very well, correct? So that all leads back to what class? Eminent domain for private gain.

And then there are the current developments. Aren’t there enough? And what about Fawlty Towers over there behind the horse show? Remember how bitterly disputed they were?  Ken Miller didn’t exactly fight to preserve the land over there did he? The Daily Local described him basically as akin to a mute during the process, didn’t they?  And FYI the nickname preferred for Stone Rise is what? Miller Towers. (It’s a shame Malvern Borough wasn’t paying attention before Eastside Flats went up, right?)

Basically it is the same pool of developers all over.  In every community they tell the same tale as how they want to “help” the communities they wish to destroy with new development. But God only loves those developers who help themselves (to higher profit margins) and the occasional politician, right? (Sorry it’s called opinion and I am entitled to it.)

At the end of the day people, local elections matter. And if West Vincent residents don’t wake up in November or are afraid to vote intelligently, well scarred naked landscapes is what will replace the beautiful fields and forest and winding country roads.

And that ladies and gentleman is what I will never get about Farmer Supervisor Roadmaster KenOCrat Miller. He’s a farmer. Farmers are supposed to love the land right? So how is all the bad development out there loving the land?

Be wary Chester County. Ask not for whom the bell “Tolls”. It “Tolls” for all of us if we don’t slow down development everywhere.

Thanks for stopping by (and keep those bad development photos coming.)

ludwig’s corner horse show turns 70 on august 31st!

Photo courtesy of Ludwig's Corner Horse Show

Photo courtesy of Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show

One of the more fabulous traditions in Chester County is Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show.  And it turns 70 on this upcoming August 31st!!!ludwigs 4

Ludwig’s Corner is the tradition that many, many people turned out to save at Christmastime a couple of years ago when West Vincent Township wanted to exercise eminent domain for private gain on this beautiful piece of land and Chester County tradition.

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Photo courtesy of Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show

The Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show is going strong and is looking forward to their 2013 show!  They asked me to post about the show and to mention that they are looking for volunteers.  So if you are new to the area or always wanted to volunteer, now is your chance!

Here is the note I received from the volunteer chair:

Saturday, August 31, 2013  Marks the 70th Annual Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show & Country Fair, Glenmoore, PA!!

We are seeking volunteers to help with the 70th Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show & Country Fair, Glenmoore, PA, which will run Saturday, August 31, 2013 through Monday, September 2, 2013.  Volunteers are needed to help serve Food, Sell Tickets, Park Cars, Help with Children’s Games, and help in the Volunteer Tent!  This horse show is run with all volunteers and requires approximately 250 volunteers to support our efforts each Labor Day weekend.  Without the assistance of volunteers, this 3-day event would not be possible. http://www.ludwigshorseshow.org/Home/Volunteering/tabid/76/Default.aspx

Last year, the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Association was pleased to have the assistance of non-profit groups, The Owen J. Roberts Band Supporters and the Downingtown East Soccer Booster Club, along with the Knights of Columbus from St. Elizabeth’s Parish.  *In addition, the Pickering Hunt Pony Club provides 100 hours of volunteer service to the horse show grounds, as well as providing volunteers to support the event. This event has become a Community-wide event, and is known as a jewel of events in Chester County, PA.

We would appreciate any notifications that you can provide to help us recruit volunteers, and then to let the public know about this great event over Labor Day weekend.

Many thanks in advance.

lchsvolunteerchair@comcast.net

Photos courtesy of Ludwig's Corner Horse Show

Photos courtesy of Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show

I even have the handy volunteer form for anyone who is interested: LCHS Volunteer Flyer . And better yet, click here for the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show website

 

 

the worm turns in horse rescue?

DSC_0004Is it true what they are saying on the Thoroughbred Breeders/Owners/Trainers Hall of Shame Facebook Page?

Has there been a cat fight over horses and has Barbara Luna from Turning for Home really removed all the rescued race horses she doled out to  Off the Track Thoroughbred Rescue? This all started on this page yesterday when people noted  horses were on the move.

Then I saw this earlier this morning:

truth

tfh

Of course there is reported drama over who actually “quit” and who was “fired” and are you surprised? What is it they say about truth being optional for these people?

So what the what?  And if Barbara Luna and Turning for Home are moving horses does that mean all these people worried about all these horses for all this time were right?  And if Barbara Luna is moving horse around like pawns on a chessboard so they finally have their paperwork together?  And what does Barbara Luna and Turning for Home have to say about all of this?  After all Off the Track Thoroughbred Rescue never magically just clapped their hands and twitched their nose for horses to appear, right?  So what does Barbara Luna have to say for herself?  Does she track all the stipend money doled out along with the horses?

And where is LAPs on this?  You know the mythical Large Animal Protection Society?  Do they have a handle YET on horse rescue in Chester County or are they pretending that probelms with horse rescues in Chester County isn’t really like problems with puppy mills in Lancaster County?

trip d

And speaking of LAPS, can someone please explain to me this brand new horse rescue over in Oxford that popped up on Facebook and loves everyone but doesn’t take donations?  What rescue doesn’t need donations? For real? Are they on some unknown DuPont estate with a giant endowment running them or are they over maybe on the fan heiress’s farm?

trip d1

And here I thought Triple D was only Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.

This of course begs the question once more of how many horse rescues exist in Chester County and how are they regulated?  I ask because my horse friends tell me one sick horse coming into a barn can put the entire barn at risk.  Other animal rescues are regulated so how exactly do horse rescues get regulated?

Finally, someone sent me this photo.  They described it as “horse training” at a horse rescue? So are these kids even old enough to drive or vote that are handling this horse? Looks dangerous, but what do I know, right?

horse training

Horse rescue remains a great mystery of life to me.  I just wish anyone seemed to know what the rules and regulations were, right?

justice for argus & fiona

poolWhen I posted “the post” almost 48 hours ago now, I hoped this would take off as an issue so this family could have peace and justice, but truthfully this has surpassed my wildest imaginings. Justice for Argus & Fiona has spread far and wide and the Facebook page set up for support by the Bock family’s friends has almost 1500 members and continues to grow. And a petition has begun as well so feel free to sign it!

The outpouring of support is so amazing.  From every day people to almost every media outlet that exists regionally, people care about what happens. People who sometimes normally can’t agree on anything have come together with this issue because they want better things to happen then two dogs getting gunned down within twenty minutes (give or take) from when they escaped their home yard for a tragic first and only time.

kidsTo be clear, I am not a big fan of West Vincent government.  I think they rule oddly over one of the prettiest places in Chester County.  And weird and unnecessary things always seem to happen. And for Pete’s sake, elected officials seem to spend an inordinate amount of time worrying and spreading nonsense about a writer called Chickenman don’t they?

West Vincent the truth shall set you free but that is a topic for another day.  Well, it won’t be if you aren’t respectful of your citizenry at the upcoming Supervisors Meeting on Monday February 25th at 7:30 pm.  I know full well residents have contacted you and requested that the matter of the shooting to death of puppies Argus and Fiona be put on the agenda.  If you try to stifle your people on this, West Vincent, the hue and cry over attempting eminent domain at Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show will be child’s play by comparison.

West Vincent Township is located at :
729 St. Matthews Road
Chester Springs, PA 19425
 Phone: (610) 458-1601

a2Residents want to learn about firearm use in a residential area, what constitutes a farm, and how to make changes to bad laws.  And in addition to all of this, they strive to find a positive from this tragedy.  West Vincent, you owe decency and answers to your citizenry.

To the citizenry I urge you to make your voices heard respectfully.  Emotions are running hot on this issue and I was told by a reporter today about a woman who stood outside the dog shooter’s house yesterday  and just stood in his driveway yelling “Dog killer!!” at him for 5 minutes. That, I am so sorry, is not cool.   First of all he has guns and isn’t afraid to use them, and secondly he has neighbors who must feel under siege by all the media crawling around West Vincent, and third and most importantly things need to happen the right way with this.  Don’t stoop to the level of someone who shoots dogs, please.

Last evening on the heels of the truly remarkable coverage by NBC10 Philadelphia and CBS3 . Today came coverage from 6ABC, KYW News Radio 1060, Syndicated talk show host Michael Smerconish, Main Line Media News, The Daily Local, Patch, and a really good piece from Claudia Gomez at Fox 29. Tomorrow will bring more – the Inquirer and who knows what else.

dog killer signA friend of mine commented  something that is worth repeating. She was afraid of people getting too vigilante justice for lack of a better term. She is absolutely correct that cooler heads must prevail.
It is with that in mind that I must say that  encouraging people to call this guy who shot the dogs or stand outside his property is NOT the right thing to do. In my mind that falls into two wrongs don’t make a right.
If you want to help, show the Bock family support and condolences and empathy- losing a pet under ANY circumstances is so hard, and what happened to their dogs IS intolerable cruelty, but justice should be served under the law by those qualified to serve it.

If you want to help, get Pennsylvania lawmakers to update outmoded farm statutes and other laws so Pennsylvania’s dogs are PROTECTED.

If you want to help, go show support for these people at the upcoming West Vincent Board of Supervisors meeting and ask them to do their jobs as elected and appointed officials the RIGHT way.

If you want to help ask the Chester County DA to ensure that people use firearms responsibly as in DON’T fire them in residential areas and gun down dogs and possibly put unsuspecting humans at risk. Violence should NOT beget violence. As adults we have the free will and ability to pay this forward the RIGHT way.

And among other things, we need to pass that along to our children. Ok so lecture is over.

Let us get back to the business at hand: Justice for Argus & Fiona and peace and love for their humans.  Together we can enact positive change so other dog owners don’t go through this. thanks for reading.The momentum is growing.  Truly together we can enact change. It might take time, lots of petitions and bus trips to Harrisburg, but we can do it.  And if we are successful, other pet owners and their furry friends might be spared unspeakable tragedy.

Now as far as the Chester County District Attorney goes, the following message was sent to media today:
From: “Billela, Barbara C.” <bbillela@chesco.org>
Subject: Dog Shooting Incident
Date: February 21, 2013 4:31:28 PM EST
To: “Billela, Barbara C.” <bbillela@chesco.org>
The Chester County District Attorney’s Office will have a press release tomorrow with significant new information about the dog shooting incident in Chester Springs, PA.

 Barbara Billela

Administrative Assistant to District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan,
First Assistant Michael Noone, and Chief of Staff Charles Gaza
Chester County District Attorney’s Office
201 West Market Street, Suite 4450
Post Office Box 2746
West Chester, PA  19380-0989
(610) 344-6827

I have no idea what this means, but I hope it means they are taking a second look.

I am also taking this opportunity to share something from the Justice for Argus & Fiona Facebook page written by Mary Bock:

mary1

mary2

The outpouring of support has been amazing.  Can I say that again?  There is even support from elected officials like State Senator Andy Dinniman.  Congressman Jim Gerlach has also been made aware, so I urge anyone who reads this to contact elected officials about this horrible turn of events.

Now a lawyer I know sent me three things for people to read, so please do:

459-501 statute re dogs

Crueltytoanimals

Ingram

I have to say this whirlwind has left me dog tired, so I can’t imagine how the Bocks feel.  More media coming tomorrow I hear. And oh yes, please check out the Daily Local article by Michael Price:

Officials: West Vincent dog shooting legal under state law

 By MICHAEL N. PRICE mprice@dailylocal.com

Posted: Thursday, 02/21/13 10:31 am Updated: Thursday, 02/21/13 06:16 pm

WEST VINCENT — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office is expected to release new information Friday in the shooting deaths of two family dogs in Chester Springs last week.

According to a statement from a District Attorney’s Office spokesperson, authorities will release “significant” new details related to the killing of two Bernese Mountain Dogs who were shot on Feb. 12 after they escaped a fenced-in yard in the unit block

The District Attorney’s Office previously determined that the shooting was legal due to a century-old state law allowing someone to kill animals that pursue their own livestock or pets.

 Officials said Thursday afternoon that investigators received additional information in the case and that the investigation is ongoing.

Mary Bock, the owner of the two dogs, spoke out Thursday about the experience and expressed hope that her pets’ deaths may lead to a change in the law that allowed their killing to initially be ruled legal.

 Bock also spoke about the neighbor, Gabriel Pilotti, who told police he killed the dogs with a shotgun because they entered an enclosure housing his sheep. She said Pilotti expressed no remorse over the dogs’ deaths when her husband, William Bock, confronted him last week.

“It seemed like he almost enjoyed it a little bit,” Mary Bock said. “He was so cold and callous, he feels like he did nothing wrong. There were a million things he could have done differently, and he chose to pick up that gun and kill them.”

The dogs, 2-year-old Argus and 1-year-old Fiona, were shot less than 15 minutes after escaping the Bock’s two-acre property through a fence that was damaged by a falling tree limb several days before. The dogs eventually made their way to Pilotti’s nearby property, where they began an attempt to “herd” his sheep, Bock said.

My previous post which was the first thing out there on this horrible tragedy can be found by clicking on this link called “intolerable cruelty”. And I know those funkadellic horse rescue folks think I have forgotten all of that, they should think again.  I am hoping now that the media knows how to get out to Chester County they will check it all out too. (Well Fairview Road in Glenmoore is not that far away from the scene of the dog crime is it?) Especially since Victor Fiorello wrote on Foobooz today about Philadelphia chefs wanting to add horse meat to the menu. (As an aside, can I tell you how I will now never go to a Mark Vetri or Peter McAndrews restaurant again as a result?)

Ok people, thanks for reading, thanks for supporting Justice for Argus & Fiona.  Hug your pets and say a prayer to St. Francis.

Over and out.

Shooting of dogs sparks ill will in Chester Springs

Carolyn Davis, Inquirer Staff Writer

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013, 3:01 AM

Contact Carolyn Davis at 610-313-8109, cdavis@phillynews.com, or @carolyntweets on Twitter.

Inquirer staff writer Mari A. Schaefer contributed to this article.

APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer

To the Bock family of Chester Springs, the Bernese mountain dogs Fiona and Argus were happy, loving pets. To neighbor Gabriel Pilotti, they were apparently pests.

And when he found them loose among his sheep last week, he shot them dead.

“It was just really vicious,” Mary Bock said. The dogs had not touched the sheep.

As of Thursday evening, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and the West Vincent Township police still were trying to determine what happened the morning of Feb. 12 in a part of Chester County where sheep, horses, and alpacas amble in yards larger than the patches of green in more urbanized suburbs and smaller than more rural farms.

On that day, the dogs, two-year-old Argus and one-year-old Fiona, got out of their enclosed backyard when a tree branch fell and collapsed part of the fence, Mary Bock said. The dogs ran through yards of residences on the street behind them and ended up on the 72-year-old Pilotti’s property, which includes a pen where he keeps sheep.

Around 11:30 a.m., Pilotti saw the dogs near his sheep, pulled out the 20-gauge single-shot shotgun he legally owns, and fired, said West Vincent Police Chief Michael Swininger. Mary Bock said police told her Pilotti first fatally shot Argus in the face, then shot and killed Fiona.

Police investigated and sent their report to the District Attorney’s Office. That office has not filed charges against Pilotti, citing a portion of the Pennsylvania dog law that says, “Any person may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing or wounding or killing any domestic animal.”

That could change.

“We have gotten new information and are continuing to investigate,” said First Assistant District Attorney Michael G. Noone, adding that a development could come Friday.

Pilotti could not be reached for comment.

And oh yeah, people from some church called Calvary Fellowship in Downingtown have been calling the Bock family and I have to ask why? And what do the West Vincent police have as far as info for the family?  Someone says they want to speak with them today?

 

horsegate…oh, the drama!

Photo courtesy of Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue and their public Facebook Page

Photo courtesy of Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue and their public Facebook Page

Here I was minding my own business, moving onto other topics, taking care of my family, seeing a dog through chemo and WHAM!  I get sucked back into Horsegate, not yet a movie.  As in Much Ado About Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue.

When last I heard about all this stuff, I heard from the owner of Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue, Jessica Troxell Basciano. It was 12/8/2012.  She sent me comments she asked me not to publish.  I decided to honor her request for the time being (as in not forever).  I am beginning to regret that as it seems this blog is being contacted by her posse, her protégés, her employees or her pals? (Just a hunch, yes?)

I am generally speaking an experienced blogger and tolerant and understanding when people get upset or heated about a topic.  I also know when to call a spade a spade when comments cross the line.

Yesterday the comments on “the funny thing about asking questions about horse rescue” exploded.  So I nosed around the horse community and someone tells me there was some sort of court date yesterday?  Possibly near Oxford PA? (I am asking because I don’t have the docket so can’t say definitively – if I did have the docket which is indeed public information I would post it.)

Anyway, comments from a Christina, Alice, and I don’t remember who.  At first I thought they were comments threatening towards me for writing about this in the first place.  That in and of itself kind of pissed me off in the whole First Amendment of it all.  I saw crazy ads on Craigslist, so why couldn’t I write about and ask questions about them and a horse rescue? But the comments as per a clarification by the poster Christina (thank you for apologizing to me by the way), were directed at someone else – someone who must have testified in court.

I said to “Christina”:

I wrote about this topic, I have moved onto other topics and for a topic that is purportedly such a “non-issue” it seems to be a problem. ….If you took in horses on the up and up, have all the records, have those coggins things people talk about and so on and so forth you are good, so why respond to anyone anywhere in a threatening matter?

I have been patient with people on both sides of this issue and have tried to be fair to whomever this Jessica is.  As a matter of fact at her plea, I did not post some comments she left when obviously upset.

Then there was a post by someone named “Heather” who told someone else she wasn’t angry and couldn’t care less (but she still felt the need to comment.)

Alrighty, quite the tempest in the stable teapot don’t you think?

My Spidy Sense is tingling and if there wasn’t something funkalicious going on, why would people keep leaving comments?

Jessica Basciano and Barbara Luna what say you on this?  The horses start with Barbara and Turning for Home before coming to Jessica and Off The Track Throughbred Rescue right?

Again, if this Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue ends up being totally legit with a good non-profit status, etc, etc I will update the posts.  Just like if this Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue doesn’t end up being legit and isn’t really a non-profit, etc, etc I will update the posts.

But it is four days before Christmas and I am sick of the happy horse manure quite frankly.

I do not take threats lightly, and I live in a part of Chester County with very helpful and friendly law enforcement.  More importantly, a lot of people read my blog, including fairly influential Chester County folks any rescue or rescue owner might wish to cultivate.

So rein it in ladies.  I don’t do girl fights and intimidation.  I am a lot of years out of high school, so let the mean girl of it all go.

If this is supposed to be about the good of the horses, then stop making it about the people and personalities.

And media out there that I know watches this blog a story on this would be nice as it is getting to be a bit much in the drama of it all, don’t you think? Besides since it is in some court room somewhere in Chester County there might be something to all of this after all, maybe?

And for you true horse rescue types, here is yet another Craigslist Ad that makes me scratch my head – it is out of Douglassville, which I have no clue where that town is:

horse ad

For those wondering who is on first, let alone who is on third, here are links to the posts and comments….except the ones I am withholding for the time being that is:

wading into a potential manure pile

the funny thing about asking questions about  horse rescue…

not snapped to anyone’s lead line

hint to clare: buy a nespresso machine

https://chestercountyramblings.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/tacie-1.jpgSo a while ago I wrote that West Vincent Supervisor Clare Quinn was going into the cafe-hospitality-bakery business.

Well, apparently Tacie’s is open.  I encourage everyone to go because West Vincent taxpayers are still paying Supervisor Clare’s health benefits, right? (If they aren’t and she is once again self-supporting in that area, by all means leave a comment so I can correct the post!)

Unfortunately for our burgeoning Chester County Barefoot Contessa the first review is *not* so good.  It’s a yelp that yelps alrighty.  ONLY 1 star given? Yikes!

Here is what the Yelp reviewer said:

Tacie’s Cafe and Bakery

Categories: Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch, Bakeries

11/30/2012

Terribly disapointing…Build up and PR led one to expect a comfortable coffee cafe with free wifi where sitting with your computer, having a cup of fine coffee and a homemade pastry or sandwich would fill a huge void in this area (The only other close spot of this sort is St Peters Cafe and they have very limited hours)
The atmosphere is NO different from the old, dowdy, church-lady style of the former Coventry Tearoom. Coffee was awful—as bad as Wawa and no one even knew what roaster they were using which made it clear that it was just standard Aramark type coffee.
I was given the tiniest cup I’ve ever had in my life for a takeaway. Sticky bun which I took home was ok, nothing special.
But the main disappointment is that this place opened as if we were in 1965 and that the population out here hasn’t changed since then. Not even an attempt in a comfortable decor or even any current great background music.
Completely unsophisticated and mediocre. Youd at least think that with Kimberton Roaster so close by they’d make an effort to have a great coffee if nothing else!!
With all the money being saved on quality/decor and such, the should hire a consultant to bring them into the 21st Century! Being cosy in the country is not the same as being cultural crap…..and according to the review above, obviously no one in the kitchen realizes that we now ( those of us who care in any case) eat with a thought to our heart health. The last thing this area needs is more fat fried in fat disguised as ‘food’.
Really , really a shame…..

Now I won’t ever go to Pottstown just for coffee and a bun, so honestly it is doubtful I would ever darken her door.  Also doubtful because much like Farmer Ken she supported eminent domain for private gain a year ago at Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show. How can I support a business that has an owner who supported even the thought of eminent domain for private gain? It’s a personal thing with me, but it is how I feel.

However, don’t let me stop you from going to Tacie’s because if she makes money she gets off the dole in West Vincent for health benefits, right?  Even if we all know she and some other petty people in West Vincent are not so supportive of fellow West Vincent residents and their businesses, right?  Even if they see magical  chickens behind every bush and tree, right? (I am somewhat disappointed as she has never accused me of being Chickenman – LOL it makes one feel left out of the fowl club!!!)

But Clare, wow, maybe you should just buy a Nespresso machine. They make fabulous coffee.  There are few things worse than a bad cup of coffee in a cafe.

As for the rest of it, you either have style or you don’t.  You can either cook and bake or you can’t. You are either hospitable with a generous spirit or you aren’t.  Maybe you can fake it til you make it? And a Yellowbook coupon? really?

I wish her luck, but the truth is so many people who don’t know boo about running a cafe or restaurant open them up.  I love to cook for example, am very good at it, but I know that doesn’t make me Julia Child.