By Jim Tankersley and Ben Casselman New York Times July 15, 2020
WASHINGTON — The United States economy is headed for a tumultuous autumn, with the threat of closed schools, renewed government lockdowns, empty stadiums and an uncertain amount of federal support for businesses and unemployed workers all clouding hopes for a rapid rebound from recession.
For months, the prevailing wisdom among investors, Trump administration officials and many economic forecasters was that after plunging into recession this spring, the country’s recovery would accelerate in late summer and take off in the fall as the virus receded, restrictions on commerce loosened, and consumers reverted to more normal spending patterns. Job gains in May and June fueled those rosy predictions.
But failure to suppress a resurgence of confirmed infections is threatening to choke the recovery and push the country back into a recessionary spiral — one that could inflict long-term damage on workers and businesses large and small, unless Congress reconsiders the scale of federal aid that may be required in the months to come.
This is no joke. I know people who are losing their jobs. I know people who have lost their jobs. I know people struggling under major salary cuts. This is not a joke.
This is not some “liberal conspiracy” folks, this is death in real time, in real life. Compounded with riots and protesting because of the racism that is so insidious in this country, and based upon what comes out of that man’s mouth on a daily basis, how much worse is everything going to get before it gets better?
And look at all the time that was wasted on impeachment proceedings? Nothing was ever going to happen because there were never the votes to make anything happen. The votes we need come from us in November. And if we allow four more years of they are not Republicans, they are Trumpublicans, will our country actually really and truly hit the skids? Instead of dancing on the precipice? If this is a precipice and not a slow slide?
My personal opinion is we can’t wait to find out. With Coronavirus alone, we need change. As in different people. That is the power of the vote, people.
Please don’t shoot the messenger here. For years and years and years I was a moderate Republican. And happily so. I of course split my ticket because I resent being told how I am supposed to vote to be considered “good”. I still split my ticket.
But this fall, America needs to vote for herself and we as Americans need to vote as if our very lives depend upon it. Because our lives depend upon it. We can’t take four more years of living a very bad reality TV show.
True story. A niece of mine went to visit her boyfriend’s parents at their summer home. She and boyfriend were invited to a party of a friend of his. My niece and her boyfriend decided they were not comfortable going to a party with people they potentially would not know because of COVID-19. They were also unsure how many people would be there, would everyone social distance and wear a mask. A couple of weeks later, every person who went to the party they did not go to tested positive for Coronavirus.
Yes every person. That is how easy it is.
It’s like when you run across a person on social media whom you know to have had Coronavirus. And there they are taking selfies out in the world. You don’t want to be paranoid but when family members say they are still sick, what are they doing out?
I will be honest. I have had to go out to keep medical appointments. But nothing much more than that. I am just not comfortable. It’s very weird being out. And we are supposed to be wearing masks and social distancing and people just aren’t. And some of the grocery stores have even removed some of the Plexiglas barricades between cashiers and customers. I wouldn’t know personally because I have not been in a grocery store since the first week of March. But that is what I have been told.
I am afraid we are going to face new stay at home orders because people are kind of throwing caution to the wind. Being in a green status might mean “open” but it doesn’t mean we are out of danger.
We are all being introduced to coronavirus. Our pandemic for modern times. A reminder that while we have come so far in many aspects in society, we as humans are still vulnerable to disease and pestilence. Hunker down, it’s a global pandemic. Literally.
Now we know why things like the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Philadelphia is cancelled. In Philadelphia pretty much all big events are being cancelled. All colleges and universities seem to be going to virtual/online learning modes and emptying schools. Some school districts are closing schools. This is also why annual traditions to us in Chester County like the Chester County Antiques Show which was to open tomorrow with a special preview party.
I received notice of other things being cancelled that I was attending. My friend Andy King had a show scheduled at The Living Room in Ardmore. He’s been postponed until June, and the venue is closed until May 1st . A pop-up dinner by Peachtree Catering we were going to at the end of this month is also postponed indefinitely.
Last night it was announced flights from Europe weren’t coming to the U.S. for 30 days – a 30 day ban starting Friday I think it is. Ban thus far doesn’t extend to the U.K. as of now. Unless passengers were U.S. Citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents. Residents returning to the U.S. will be expected to self-quarantine upon return for about two weeks. It’s all very confusing, even to CNN.
Our financial markets are having big time issues. The U.S. markets have always been driven in part on emotion, and it’s 2020 but starting to feel like 2008. And people can weather that, what we don’t want is 1918.
I was doing a little gardening event and that is being postponed too. I can’t help it. I am still a cancer patient, which means I am in that lovely class of the immunocompromised. We are all supposed to practice social distancing – AKA minimizing close contact with people. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Those precautions involve “social distancing,” meaning minimizing close contact (defined as within 6 feet) with other people. While big gatherings increase the risk that lots of people could be exposed to infection — especially events where cheering could mean saliva flying — there may be no safety in small numbers.
“There’s no threshold. This is a time when if you’re invited to a dinner party with five people, you should say, ‘No thanks,’ ” said Carolyn C. Cannuscio, a social epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine….Cannuscio at Penn was dismayed by city officials’ implication that gatherings of fewer than 5,000 are low risk.
“They need to walk back that number,” she said. “That number will be talked about in public health classes for decades to come. Everybody is vulnerable to making mistakes in communications, but I want our leaders to recognize that we need to reduce social contacts. I know I might sound hysterical, but I recognize the public doesn’t understand the importance of social distancing.”
People, for the time being, it’s time to practice our nesting instincts and just stay home and enjoy each other’s company. Even Broadway, yes as in New York City, is going dark for a couple of weeks:
This is actually no joke, yet on social media I see otherwise intelligent people saying that coronavirus is a “liberal conspiracy”. Seriously.
I am not in the mode of panic, but honestly? I am concerned. It’s taking people down in Europe and elsewhere and there seems to be no solution. It seems like pandemics before it, it must run it’s course?
But what really gets me other than the mass confusion is how will this affect small businesses and hourly workers? Our economy is not as dandy as everyone would like to play make believe about. A friend of mine with a small business recently posted the following:
Governor Tom Wolf…now that you have taken our kids out of school, how are you going to help all the parents who work full time and have to work full time but have kids in school? How are you going to help small businesses who have moms or dads as employees and now they can’t come to work? What are you doing for the 1,000,000 small businesses in PA that are losing work but still have to pay mortgages, bills, employees?
What’s your game plan? You wanted to be our leader and I respect your position…I just need answers on what your are proactively doing for us.
For a lot of us if we don’t work, we don’t get paid. Those in the millionaire category will grumble about their various inconveniences… and survive.
A Philadelphia School District teacher gave the grim news this week: A relative had tested positive for the coronavirus, and he had been in close contact with the family member recently.
The Randolph High School teacher informed his students on Wednesday, then the principal sent the teacher home to isolate for two weeks.
What followed was panic: Staff had questions, students had questions, but it seemed no one could provide answers. Students panicked, some donning rubber gloves, many asking if school should be closed. Eventually, most of the student body walked out. But parents were never notified about the close contact the Randolph teacher had with the coronavirus patient.
I am so at sixes and sevens about this. I don’t know what to think. As far as society progresses, we can’t escape the natural correction caused by disease is what keeps floating through my brain. I know, I am being repetitive.
MARCH 10, 2020 Yascha Mounk Contributing writer at The Atlantic
We don’t yet know the full ramifications of the novel coronavirus. But three crucial facts have become clear in the first months of this extraordinary global event. And what they add up to is not an invocation to stay calm, as so many politicians around the globe are incessantly suggesting; it is, on the contrary, the case for changing our behavior in radical ways—right now.
The first fact is that, at least in the initial stages, documented cases of COVID-19 seem to increase in exponential fashion. On the 23rd of January, China’s Hubei province, which contains the city of Wuhan, had 444 confirmed COVID-19 cases. A week later, by the 30th of January, it had 4,903 cases. Another week later, by the 6th of February, it had 22,112.
The same story is now playing out in other countries around the world. Italy had 62 identified cases of COVID-19 on the 22nd of February. It had 888 cases by the 29th of February, and 4,636 by the 6th of March.
Because the United States has been extremely sluggish in testing patients for the coronavirus, the official tally of 604 likely represents a fraction of the real caseload. But even if we take this number at face value, it suggests that we should prepare to have up to 10 times as many cases a week from today, and up to 100 times as many cases two weeks from today…..
The coronavirus could spread with frightening rapidity, overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, until we adopt serious forms of social distancing.
This suggests that anyone in a position of power or authority, instead of downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, should ask people to stay away from public places, cancel big gatherings, and restrict most forms of nonessential travel.
Well it’s a good thing I like being home I suppose. But then there is the other thing: you can’t even get food/pantry basics in some places because people are just wiping out stores. Some hoarding and I am sure the people who will re-sell at astronomical levels will surface more and more (Just look at trying to get supplies on Amazon.)
My mother just called me. She lives in Philadelphia. My stepfather had just gone to Trader Joe’s for some basics. Their shelves are literally bare, and not just for toilet paper.
One of my friends has a husband who is very immunocompromised – she’s been buying cases of rubbing alcohol.
What is the right answer? Everything in the US is a study in confusion. To me it feels like a somewhat rudderless ship. (See CNN)
Vox has this interesting chart and notes the following:
The Spanish flu of 1918-’19, the most horrific pandemic in modern times, focused mainly on the young. It had biological similarities to a flu pandemic in the 1830s that gave some older people in the 1910s limited immunity.
So PhillyVoice had this amazing article in 2018 about the Spanish Flu in Philadelphia:
September 28, 1918 was to go down as a great day in Philadelphia.
Some 10,000 people were expected to watch the latest Liberty Loan parade – a patriotic spectacle designed to boost public financing for World War I.
But amid growing excitement that the war was nearing an end, 200,000 people flooded Center City, loudly cheering as thousands of military personnel, industry workers, relief workers, scouts and veterans marched down Broad Street.
That so many people came out astounded the local press, which did not hold back any praise in its coverage. The Philadelphia Inquirer lauded the parade for its pageantry and the enthusiasm of its onlookers, often in flowery prose.
“The energies of the city – its wealth, its brawn, its intellect, its patience, its skill in the works of brain or of hand – these were seen, as they never had been seen before in such a time and under such stress,” The Inquirer wrote in a front-page story. “Yet in every stride and in every voice there was to be seen and heard the first premonition of – victory.”
The Evening Bulletin, published later that afternoon, was more succinct but no less laudatory in its parade coverage. “This is a great day in Philadelphia,” its front page story began.
But tucked deep inside the newspaper was a story about Thomas Harlacker, a 30-year-old city policeman who was one of influenza’s latest local victims. The account, which noted 118 new cases of the disease in the city in the last day, carried a warning that, 100 years later, reads prescient.
“The epidemic is assuming more serious proportions,” the story cautioned, citing a warning by the city’s health director, Dr. Wilmer Krusen. “If the people are careless thousands of cases may develop and the epidemic may get beyond control.”
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote in 1859.
Nearly 60 years later it was an apt description of life in Philadelphia.
World War I was winding down, victory in sight. The city had proudly and vigorously raised millions of dollars to support the local soldiers on the battlefield. The patriotism and excitement was palpable: the boys would be coming home soon.
But in late summer 1918, the city was in “the grippe” of a second wave of a Spanish influenza epidemic sweeping the United States. The city was quickly plunged into misery. Illness and death and decay was everywhere. Dread and despair tormented the living. Unspeakable indignities visited the dead and alive.
For two weeks in September and October, from the start of the epidemic through some of its darkest days, the city’s newspapers chronicled the misery in the streets of Philadelphia. But they also shared tales of heroism, hope, frustration and evil.
Here’s how the epidemic played out – day by day – for days immediately after the Liberty Loan Parade that many experts say led to the explosion of influenza in Philadelphia. They were some of the darkest days this city and surrounding towns have ever seen.
We need to learn from the past. But it would help if information wasn’t conflicting or seemed to omit things wouldn’t it?
Government does not want full scale panic.
Hell, no one does. It won’t kill us to practice “social distancing” but we need to live our lives.
And I don’t think individual people should be able to clean stores out of cleaning supplies and more, do you?
I guess there is a reason we didn’t have any snow days with schools this year other than global warming, right? Because snow days are becoming coronavirus days but what of the parents of all these kids being told to stay home? Are we all supposed to stay home?
I was told this afternoon all of the schools and colleges/universities in Ireland had closed down.
So our ultimate takeaway? Hunker down I guess.
But I still do not know how I feel about this. Other than don’t hug, don’t spit, and PLEASE wash your hands.
I don’t talk about what I watch on TV much on this blog. I like a wide range of things including what the streaming services put out. But yesterday I watched Modern Love from Amazon Prime and well…awesome, amazing, beautiful.
The thing about love is that it is never perfect and always idealized, often unrealistically so.
From a female perspective, when we are little girls and even teenagers we have completely unrealistic expectations about what love actually is. We have no clue and fall in and out of love with great regularity as we grow up. (Often in defiance of what our mothers want us to do or be.)
You learn about love as you grow up and experience it, and continue to learn about love and it’s many forms and twists and turns throughout your entire life.
Love is is exhilarating, exhausting, and even terrifying. Love is beautiful and sustaining and true and can be all-consuming.
To have love in your life is a blessing. Love takes many forms. Love is friendship and love is also romantic and love is the enveloping warmness and all consuming love and protectiveness you feel for a child. Or the unconditional love of your favorite pet.
Love is also a process. Sometimes it’s more simplistic, other times complicated. I think it depends on your age and stage of life and maturity as much as anything else.
I hope you give this series a chance and watch it and appreciate it for what it is on your own. I found it lovely.
In two days it’s another anniversary of 9/11. It has been 18 years.
Above is a screenshot of a New York Times newsletter email I opened this morning.
I. Can’t. Even.
On the eve of 9/11, no less.
February, 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Let me tell you a true story…
I came out of the trade center during the first trade center bombing. February 26, 1993. I was working on Wall Street for a municipal bond trading firm and I had gone with a friend from work into the shopping concourse of the old trade center because this woman – her name was Deirdre – had wanted to visit the Hallmark Gold Crown store – her grandmother or someone collected their Christmas ornaments and they were on a clearance sale.
So we went there and we grabbed lunch, and as we were standing right outside the trade center staring at Century 21 Department Store and wondering if we had enough time to go in there as well, the ground started to shake. Like you would imagine an earthquake. And then we thought it was snowing because all the stuff was floating down in the sky. We of course later realized that was like soot and ashes and stuff and then one by one it was the strange cacophony of car alarms in the garage going off like weird church bells. Then the sirens of first responders started.
But at first, right after it happened, time stood still. The explosion underground which caused the sidewalks to move underneath our feet, followed by a hold your breath moment of complete silence. Then came the chaos.
We got back to our office which was at 44 Wall Street and people were all freaked out. It was at that point we learned what had actually happened and came to the realization of how lucky we were to get out.
Over the course of the next couple of hours we had “refugees” that we knew from the twin towers who had to go down hundreds of flights of steps in some cases and came to our offices to wash the soot off their faces and just chill.
I remember this girl name Katie who was a trading assistant along with me whose fiancé worked for Dean Witter at the time. He was one of those people that had to walk down lots and lots of stairs and showed up in our office looking like he was completely done in black face but it was soot. And he was shaking, just standing perfectly still in our reception area, shaking. I will never forget it.
So when 9/11 rolled around and the first report came over my car radio, tears started streaming down my face as I sat in my office parking garage. They came back was the only thing that went through my head. Then my cell phone rang and it was my late father who at the time was on a train to New York City to head into his office. He was reaching Metro Park and I told him to get off and turn around and come home and he didn’t listen to me because the Amtrak conductors told him it would be fine.
My late brother in law was working in NYC by this point and thankfully he was able to meet up with my father and they holed up in someone’s apartment for a couple of days until they were able to get out of the city. But it was scary when they were all cut off from us with no phone communication whatsoever. Because it was absolute insanity in New York when the towers came down.
I remember when I went up to my office in between the first plane and the second plane and people were crowded around TVs and some broker’s office and I remember again I said “they came back.”
People looked at me and said you don’t know what you’re talking about it’s just a small plane that crashed into the side of the trade center. A horrible accident. Then the second plane hit. Then you had the news out of the other two planes.
I think all of our lives in some small way changed on 9/11. For years I kept running into people that knew people who died. People I knew from college died in the twin towers. They weren’t people I knew very well but a small school on a small campus they were people you recognized.
And our current President was going to meet with the Taliban at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 except it got cancelled?
WASHINGTON — On the Friday before Labor Day, President Trump gathered top advisers in the Situation Room to consider what could be among the profound decisions of his presidency — a peace plan with the Taliban after 18 years of grinding, bloody war in Afghanistan.
The meeting brought to a head a bristling conflict dividing his foreign policy team for months, pitting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, in a battle for the competing instincts of a president who relishes tough talk but promised to wind down America’s endless wars…..In the days that followed, Mr. Trump came up with an even more remarkable idea — he would not only bring the Taliban to Washington, but to Camp David, the crown jewel of the American presidency. The leaders of a rugged militant organization deemed terrorists by the United States would be hosted in the mountain getaway used for presidents, prime ministers and kings just three days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that led to the Afghan war.
Thus began an extraordinary few days of ad hoc diplomatic wrangling that upended the talks in a weekend Twitter storm. On display were all of the characteristic traits of the Trump presidency — the yearning ambition for the grand prize, the endless quest to achieve what no other president has achieved, the willingness to defy convention, the volatile mood swings and the tribal infighting….And even after it fell apart, Mr. Trump took it upon himself to disclose the secret machinations in a string of Saturday night Twitter messages that surprised not only many national security officials across the government but even some of the few who were part of the deliberations.
No words. I just don’t get politics except for the overwhelming feeling on the eve of 9/11 that national politics just must be for dangerously selfish and narcissistic people.
Timing is everything and had this meeting happened it would have created more opportunistic divisiveness in this country.
Enough already. Some dates on the US calendar need to be respected. Stop already the national politics of self aggrandizing narcissistic behavior.
I will let John McCain’s final words be a lot of this post. He was a great American. He was an American Hero. We were lucky to have him in our corner.
We live at present with turbulence and ugliness that is NOT a hallmark of being an American and certainly resembles no Republican party I recognize and, in fact, it’s a travesty. Maybe you don’t like my opinion, but it is what it is and I am not alone in my sentiments. In my humble opinion, John McCain represented a good portion of what I respected once about most Republicans.
Time for a brief segue… (come on now, it’s only a wee ramble…)
When I was child, Ted Kennedy was in Philadelphia. It would have been after Chappaquiddick. Anyway, he was making a stop at the American Catholic Historical Society at 263 S. 4th Street in Society Hill. My family at the time lived at 271 S. 4th Street.
I was a little girl with an autograph book (remember those?) and I knew a Kennedy would be a few doors down from listening to all the grown-ups talk about it. So I asked my parents if they could take me down for an autograph. Kennedy got out of the car. He didn’t see me and waved his arms out I guess to wave at people or greet them or something a politician would do… and he knocked me down. Seriously and for real. He didn’t stop to see if the little girl he knocked over was o.k. But that is why at an early age, I became an UN-fan of Senator Ted Kennedy.
Back to John McCain. He was true to himself and to the American people. You can’t ask for more than that in a public servant/politician.
John McCain was a man whom I would have been proud as an American to have had as a President. Sadly, they paired him up with Caribou Barbie, otherwise known as Sarah Palin. He would have had a much better shot at becoming President I think if they had not stupidly chosen Sarah Palin. No I have nothing kind to say about Sarah Palin. I have always found her to be ridiculous. Her comments upon his death are no exception. She sounds like a bitter divorcée who lost her alimony or something. However, since even our current President is apparently lacking in the decorum at death department, why should Scarah Palin be any different? Maybe she’ll be the next new hire on the White House edition of the Apprentice?
The New York Times has written a beautiful obituary on John McCain . READ IT HERE.
John S. McCain, the proud naval aviator who climbed from depths of despair as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to pinnacles of power as a Republican congressman and senator from Arizona and a two-time contender for the presidency, died on Saturday at his home in Arizona. He was 81.
According to a statement from his office, Mr. McCain died at 4:28 p.m. local time. He had suffered from a malignant brain tumor, called a glioblastoma, for which he had been treated periodically with radiation and chemotherapy since its discovery in 2017.
Despite his grave condition, he soon made a dramatic appearance in the Senate to cast a thumbs-down vote against his party’s drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act….A son and grandson of four-star admirals who were his larger-than-life heroes, Mr. McCain carried his renowned name into battle and into political fights for more than a half-century. It was an odyssey driven by raw ambition, the conservative instincts of a shrewd military man, a rebelliousness evident since childhood and a temper that sometimes bordered on explosiveness.
Fittingly for someone who always seemed larger than life, the death Saturday of U.S. Sen. John McCain at the age of 81 seemed like several events wrapped into one.
For McCain’s family, friends and colleagues – both in Washington and across the nation and world – it was a time to mourn a beloved father, spouse and colleague who battled bravely against an aggressive form of brain cancer to the very end.
For historians and political scientists, it offered the chance to observe, in real time, the passing of one era of American politics and the continued dawning of a new – and very different – one.
And for the rest of us, it was an opportunity to reflect on an extraordinary career of public service….Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who appeared at McCain’s side throughout his 2008 White House bid, said his longtime friend “lived a life to service as few others have. And when you take a look at that lifetime of service, his was performed with unfailing integrity.”
….He taught us that we work best when we work together.
I hope you read the entire Penn Live Editorial. It is brilliant.
U.S. Sen. John S. McCain, the son and grandson of four-star admirals, was bred for combat. He endured more than five years of imprisonment and torture by the North Vietnamese as a young naval officer and went on to battle foes on the left and the right in Washington, driven throughout by a code of honor that both defined and haunted him.
Sen. McCain, 81, died Aug. 25 at his ranch near Sedona, Ariz., his office announced in a statement. The senator was diagnosed last year with a brain tumor, and his family announced this week that he was discontinuing medical treatment…..A man who seemed his truest self when outraged, Sen. McCain reveled in going up against orthodoxy. The word “maverick” practically became a part of his name.
Sen. McCain regularly struck at the canons of his party. He ran against the GOP grain by advocating campaign finance reform, liberalized immigration laws and a ban on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — widely condemned as torture — against terrorism suspects….Once Trump was in office, Sen. McCain was among his most vocal Republican critics, saying that the president had weakened the United States’ standing in the world. He also warned that the spreading investigation over Trump’s ties to Russia was “reaching the point where it’s of Watergate-size and scale.”
John McCain was indeed a maverick. And American here. An example of a dying breed of public servant. We need more like him from both parties. I think it’s high time to look for actual public servants, true voices of the people. Not puppets for their respective political parties, beholden to lobbyists and deal makers.
John McCain, thank you for your service. A literal lifetime of service. You weren’t perfect, you did not pretend to be, but I think you were amazing. May your memory be a blessing.
On May 8th and May 10th I wrote posts on Stoneleigh in Villanova. A little far afield from Chester County but so important. I am a supporter and believer in Natural Lands, and then there is a more personal bent. You see, one of my high school classmates grew up on Stoneleigh. His parents, John and Chara Haas, put the property into a conservation easement in 1996.
The 1996 conservation easement was with Natural Lands. The express wish of Mr. and Mrs. Haas was that the property be preserved for future generations to enjoy. Open space, gardens, and so on. Now today is Mother’s Day and yesterday at the members preview on Stoneleigh, people were speaking of when Mr. and Mrs. Haas would open up the property on Mother’s Day for people to enjoy.
Here is a photo array to see before continuing with the post here – it takes a while to load – a lot of photos:
After Mr. and Mrs. Haas passed away, their children decided to donate the property to Natural Lands, and that happened in 2016. The conservation easement remains very much in place today, but is now under the stewardship of the Lower Merion Conservancy. Lower Merion Conservancy now is responsible for the annual monitoring.
I think Lower Merion School District is already starting damage control with their eminent domain B.S. given this overly verbose don’t hate us because we are big jerks press release currently on their website. I am more than a little disappointed by former 6ABC reporter Amy Buckman already. Her predecessor’s press releases were much easier to follow and didn’t word wander, but I digress.
With regard to what is on their website, it is the full on poor pitiful Pearl routine where among other things they say that “LMSD is now the fastest-growing District in Pennsylvania by total number of students over the past eight years and enrollment could surpass 9,500 students in the next ten years.”
But do they tell you WHY the district is growing so fast? Do they mention all of the development they have never, ever questioned? And yet, they are making a play for Stoneleigh based on future assumptions, or a possibility? Call me crazy but they seem to want land for a future not a present need? And why are their needs the problem of Natural Lands and Stoneleigh? Just because it is there?
Stoneleigh’s history dates back to 1877 when Edmund Smith, a rising executive with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, purchased 65 acres of land in Villanova and constructed a residence there. To shape the grounds, Smith hired landscape gardener Charles H. Miller, who trained at Kew Gardens in England and later served as chief gardener for Fairmount Park.
At the turn of the 20th century, Samuel Bodine, head of United Gas Improvement Company, acquired the property. In addition to building the Tudor Revival style building that exists today, Bodine hired New York landscape architecture firm Pentecost and Vitale to radically redesign the gardens in a more formal, or “Beaux Arts,” style.
Evidently, Bodine was not pleased with the results. In 1908, he retained the Olmsted Brothers of Massachusetts—sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, and the most prestigious landscape architecture firm in the country—to “guide him in the gradual transformation of the place.” Over the next 50 years, the Olmsted Brothers firm returned periodically to Stoneleigh to plan vistas and pathways, establish gardens and terraces, reroute points of entry, select plant species, and transplant trees.
Following Samuel Bodine’s death in 1932, Stoneleigh was subdivided and sold. Otto Haas, entrepreneur and co-founder of Rohm and Haas Company, purchased the southwestern portion of the estate, launching a more than 80-year tenure of careful stewardship by the Haas family. Otto and Phoebe’s son, John, and his wife, Chara, acquired the property in 1964 and lived there for the next five decades.
Yesterday, Stoneleigh was packed. Natural Lands members turned out from everywhere to tour the house and the grounds. It was lovely and bucolic, and I would like to think what the Haas family had hoped for. Family members were on site yesterday. I am sure it was also a little bit hard for all of them. This was their home, after all. Now it’s an achingly beautiful public garden space and although this is the path set forth by their lovely parents, it just has to be bittersweet. And then to learn that Lower Merion School District is seemingly proceeding on a path of land stealing? Well, I can only imagine.
Due to a need for additional field space, Superintendent Copeland has stated that the District would like to pursue the 6.9 developable acres of Stoneleigh no matter whether or where a new middle school site is acquired. The District is hopeful an amicable accommodation can be reached. As part of their continuing due diligence, and especially now in light of the possibility of the Class 1 designations on two of the potential sites, District representatives in April requested a walk-through of the entire Stoneleigh property for May 18, 2018.
Amicable is school district speak for give us what we want NOW.
Here is an excerpt of what WHYY wrote in an article May 12th:
To combat overcrowding, Lower Merion School District has proposed buying — or seizing through eminent domain — 6.9 acres of the Stoneleigh estate and historic garden in Villanova.
In response, Natural Lands, the conservation trust overseeing the property, has launched a public advocacy campaign called “Save Stoneleigh,” urging the district to drop its bid…
At Stoneleigh, gardeners and conservators have been doing their own planning, preparing the picturesque 42-acre estate that once belonged to the Haas family to open to the public, starting Sunday….
Lower Merion School Board will ultimately weigh every option before deciding whether to invoke eminent domain.
“It’s not the district’s first choice to do that,” said Roos. “But it just can’t be taken off the table as an option.”
Thugs. That is a good descriptive adjective don’t you think? I am all for what lawyer Arthur Wolk wants at this point: removal of the entire school board. To that I add the removal of autocratic school Superintendent Robert Copeland. To THAT I add Lower Merion Commissioners and township staff who have been ever so gung ho over development for YEARS and years. Just clean house.
Legal battles aside, that is exactly what needs to happen to prevent this B.S. in the future.
Savvy Main Line has a lovely write up about Stoneleigh on their website. Check it out.
And now that Stoneleigh has opened, visit. It will take your breath away. And once you are there and experience the magic of the place, you will understand why oh so many of us are so passionate about it. It is magical. Simply magical.
I hope you have enjoyed the photos I shared.
Please see Save Stoneleigh for more information. Please consider signing the petition . Please write a letter, speak at upcoming meetings, and keep spreading the word. Open Space should not be threatened like this. And at the end of the day, if the Lower Merion School District is unwilling and unable to respect the legacy of the Haas family, it is our duty to see that they are taught respect, don’t you think?
Pipeline and sinkhole. Just The Fact Please photo. November, 2017
Before I moved to Chester County, I was somewhat ambivalent about Sunoco and their pipelines. Among other things, I grew up with a father who was for years, in-house PR for a then major oil company. And part of that was during the Exxon Valdez era. But oil companies had deep pockets and what did I know? Nothing was near where we lived and those oil company deep pockets were always giving box loads of stuff to schools, bought full page ads in school newspapers for the kids of employees, etcetera.
When you first hear about problems with pipelines, pipeline construction, or even fracking, it is like this fuzzy thing out of focus ahead of you in the haze. It can’t possibly affect you. Until it does. And in my opinion, it is. I have friends who hail from Western Pennsylvania who literally have been warning people for years. And they are just nastily labeled “fracktivists”. Guess that is the new label for “concerned citizen”? Because I have got to tell you, the people I knew who once lived in Western PA are…wait for it…MOMS. You know how dangerous moms are, right?
Then it seems like in an instant but a couple miles in either direction from where you live as far as the crown flies in any direction, stuff starts to happen.
You feel like local municipal officials and politicians are just covering their ears saying “na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na,na” in order to NOT have to listen to residents. Respected environmental activists are labeled as being alarmists.
When Danielle Otten woke up Monday morning, she didn’t expect to see men working on the Mariner East 2 pipeline construction site that sits about 40 feet from her backyard, along Devon Drive in Uwchlan Township, Chester County.
For one thing, work in the area had stalled after drilling dried up and damaged nearby water wells this past summer. And just last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection issued a court order halting construction along the 350-mile long pipeline after Sunoco/Energy Transfer Partners continued to violate its permits, causing damage to private water wells, streams and wetlands…..When DEP issued a stop work order to Sunoco last week, it appeared that all work would halt aside from drilling and erosion controls that had to be continued in order to prevent additional environmental damage. But a spokesman for the DEP now tells StateImpact that when it comes to anything other than earth disturbance or water crossings, the agency doesn’t have jurisdiction.
In Chester County, as a resident, you can’t avoid the truth of the pipelines. And the risks and dangers. So many of us are on wells. And so many with wells are already having issues. And then there are those other pesky things…you know like sinkholes and so on?
The jarring visuals you see with your own eyes like the beautiful swaths of lands torn assunder are burned into your brain. Once you see it, you can’t un-see it and you wish you could.
Swing sets and play houses of small children sit in macabre juxtaposition to giant earth moving machines and huge pieces of pipe.
Giant walls, pipes, and earth moving machines also sit across the driveway from senior citizen apartment complexes and grocery stores.
Pipeline so close and on top of churches and schools in addition to residential neighborhoods and please, tell me, how is that safe?
Next to firehouses too? So basically, Sunoco puts those supposed to protect us at risk as well?
You have friends and former neighbors who have Sunoco gobbling up their land for the pipeline. You count your blessing like we did that we moved long ago from certain parts of Chester County because otherwise this view could be your very own backyard:
Uwchlan Safety Coalition photo
Only you can’t help but wonder if your slice of heaven will remain unmolested by pipelines? Like Medieval Feudal Lords, you are never quite sure what they will swoop in and take, are you?
You are, as residents of Chester County and elsewhere, supposed to bend over and accept these new vistas:
My photo, taken July, 2017
When you say “no I think this is bad” there are people who will jump all over you. “It’s perfectly safe. You don’t know what you are talking about.”
Sunoco is raping our land. They are depleting it, irrevocably changing it and in my opinion putting us all at risk. It is not OUR pipeline, it is THEIR pipeline being forced upon us all and we are not benefiting from it. This isn’t OUR infrastructure, it’s Sunoco’s infrastructure. What they take is being shipped OVERSEAS.
As another friend Ginny said to others:
Sunoco cannot replace the large, mature trees they are chopping down for this. Nor can they restore the fragile and important wetland there if they wreck it, just as they couldn’t restore the private wells that they wrecked in Marchwood this summer with this pipeline.
Living with hazardous liquefied natural gas lines is not a part of living in suburbia. In fact it is reckless to put these lines through densely populated areas, right alongside houses, schools, apartment buildings, shopping centers, seniors homes, etc.
When does it stop? When did Corporate America’s rights become more meaningful than ours in Chester and Delaware Counties and elsewhere in Pennsylvania? Why are we as residents being forced to live with something that destroys and takes and give nothing back in return? Why don’t residents matter? Why do we spend so much time feeling like our elected officials have forsaken us on this issue?
And why is it when you mention anything about not liking or distrusting pipelines some fool will always hop up and cry foul partisan politics? I mean do they really think we are such imbeciles that an issue which is non-partisan and affects EVERYONE is an example of partisan politics? Take off the dunce caps, because opposition to Mariner East is clearly bi-partisan.
Pipeline, East Goshen. My photo. Summer/Fall 2017
Today in addition to the CBS News report, Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety is a nonpartisan, fact-based, grassroots coalition of locally-based safety groups, made up of concerned Pennsylvanians from across our Commonwealth issued a press release:
Well guess what? I believe these folks, and this pipeline and it’s march across Chester County and elsewhere terrifies me. These people protesting are our neighbors and friends. And there are quite the growing numbers of experts, environmentalists and others who believe these residents.
My my my. My late father always said a lot of real news was buried in the Saturday paper. And here we have it.
File under April Fools’ from the Pennsylvania DEP?
At this point I can’t decide who is sleazier, can you? Developers with their perpetual sets of the emperor’s new clothes or the state agencies who are supposed to protect us?
I wonder what does the EPA think? I realize they are a Federal agency but do they care? Or are residents on their own with TCE across the country and the damage it does? The damage TCE has done already?
So yeah, Pennsylvania DEP, people ARE watching you. Remember Limerick? Remember how people rose up and demanded the DEP actually do their jobs and not just push paper around?
And while we are calling people out on toxic Bishop Tube and the fact that way too many in authority have known for DECADES about this site, should we not call out State Representative Duane Milne and State Senator Andy Dinniman?
This is a deadly, toxic site and it needs to be cleaned up properly. Those three hot spots which are the only ones that supposedly are going to get cleaned up are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg and the Pennsylvania DEP knows it, don’t they?
Pay attention to the post containing documents above, old documents tell interesting tales don’t they?
As of now there is a meeting hosted by East Whiteland Township on Bishop Tube on April 19. Note the careful wording of the notice because they have invited all the below parties to show up and hopefully all the below parties will show up considering the fact that some of them are now contacting residents right? I think this meeting is a demonstration of good faith on the part of East Whiteland Township. Here’s hoping all invited show up to the party, can’t we all agree?
Described as an enclave of “luxury” town homes, with views of an exclusive golf course anyone has yet to see how storm water runoff will affect and whose memberships are not exactly included with the purchase price of the townhouses. (Yes holy run on sentence Batman but I don’t know how else to say it.)
You see photos of rolling Chester County fields with nature, only there is no nature at Linden Hall. Only a crumbling historic carriage stop and inn that sits and rots unrestored, even though the original developer (Benson or whomever) who sold Pulte the townhouse land and approvals promised to restore but thus far has not. All that has happened is a version of construction fencing has been erected to surround it. (Maybe with black plastic fabric fencing around it we won’t notice the building rotting, right?)
This video says that this development is 3.5 miles from a Septa Station. I assume they mean Eston which already has parking issues? And you get to that station from congested route 100 right? Or you have to invent a space at Malvern station?
The video proclaims 4 miles from Main Street at Exton and 10 miles from the King of Prussia Mall because God forbid people support local, small businesses, right?
And my favorite, they tout the Great Valley “School System”. Of course no one ever talks about the effect a rampant increase in development has on a school district which eventually affects our taxes and our kids, do they? And before all the PTA cheerleaders gather up their pom poms against me, that is NOT a slam at the school district, that is a very grim reality which is inevitable.
But overall what bothers me the most is here is yet another developer touting our beautiful Chester County they are carving up into plastic houses one acre at a time. The site these townhouses are on once supported quite an ecosystem. Foxes and birds and rabbits and so on. I know the neighbors behind Linden Hall are very unhappy and worried how this development will affect their property values down the line.
The price points are not affordable for those who would need affordable housing. The quality is not so spectacular that the exteriors won’t wear quickly after a few Chester County winters. And the way they describe them, well you don’t realize if you are looking at a development essentially sitting on a highway. No matter what you do to them they are sitting on a major thoroughfare. And it’s not pretty.
Ok this brings me to the impetus behind this post:
….“The quality of the experience of being in Boulder, part of it has to do with being able to go to this meadow and it isn’t just littered with human beings,” said Steve Pomerance, a former city councilman who moved here from Connecticut in the 1960s….These days, you can find a Steve Pomerance in cities across the country — people who moved somewhere before it exploded and now worry that growth is killing the place they love.
….But a growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment, when multiplied across countless unheralded local development battles, is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal American economy….
Zoning restrictions have been around for decades but really took off during the 1960s, when the combination of inner-city race riots and “white flight” from cities led to heavily zoned suburbs…To most people, zoning and land-use regulations might conjure up little more than images of late-night City Council meetings full of gadflies and minutiae. But these laws go a long way toward determining some fundamental aspects of life: what American neighborhoods look like, who gets to live where and what schools their children attend.
And when zoning laws get out of hand, economists say, the damage to the American economy and society can be profound. Studies have shown that laws aimed at things like “maintaining neighborhood character” or limiting how many unrelated people can live together in the same house contribute to racial segregation and deeper class disparities. They also exacerbate inequality by restricting the housing supply in places where demand is greatest.
This article is written by someone who doesn’t get the realities of rampant development. Nor does the author mention the fact that a lot of these developments are built just to build, not because there is an actual need.
The author of this article of this article also does not get how these developers are actually contributing to what he seemingly despises. As in these developers are actually contributing to racial segregation and deeper class disparities. They are in fact limiting the housing supply by their very price points. How many families of multiple people and kids are going to look at condos for example that are studios and one bedrooms and if not rentals start at mid 500,000s? How many agricultural, factory, or service related workers are going to be able to afford Linden Hall or Atwater or so on or be encouraged to buy there?
And look at all the zoning together. That is developments in progress in one area, regardless of municipality, along with other development in various states of approval. A sleeper to watch for in East Whiteland would be that thing a developer named Farley got approved a while back, remember? A multi acre parcel that is accessed off a property on 352 that looks like a hoarding situation that goes up into woods and would be shoehorned in between Immaculata and the William Henry apartments for lack of a better description? So you have the increasing traffic nightmare on Route 30 by Linden Hall which will only get worse with completion of neighboring projects like off of Frame Ave and Planebrook Rd. Can you imagine adding this 352/Sproul to that? And the effect it will have potentially on King Road? Let alone what one more project so close together would have on the ecosystem of the area AND the school district!
See that is the problem with all these developments, developers, and the factual analysis this New York Times writer Conor Dougherty thinks he has done. The reality is we do NOT live in a bubble. We are connected. Developers envision and present these projects as stand alone things with no real time or effort put into the relationships between projects. It starts when you see the plans presented at a local municipal meeting.
These projects are depicted all by themselves with nothing around them, or nothing around them realistic to human or other scale. They do traffic studies when no one is around, they don’t really look at what a large uptick in population will do to anything from roads, to hospitals, to school,districts, to the environment. They do not care about us, they just want to build, get their money, and get out. So pardon the hell out of us Conor Dougherty if we want to preserve the character of where we live and do not want our school districts, property values, and our shrinking open space detrimentally affected. And his affordable housing argument doesn’t wash at least around here because they are not building affordable housing. These developers truthfully don’t give a rat’s fanny about actual affordable housing. None of this is about actually helping others, it’s about lining their pockets at the expense of many communities.
Chester County is at risk. I am not sure why Chester County even has a county planning department because everything getting built is about the dollars developers get from density. Our open space and communities and agricultural heritage are seriously at risk. That doesn’t anyone make sny person saying that some kind of NIMBY ….it is the truth. Why is it that the rights of those who already live in an area seem so less important than what politicians and developers want? Look at Embreyville and Bryn Coed – what happens to those areas if development gets approved for maximum capacity? Embreyville is already in play, and Bryn Coed is only a matter of time, right?
Community preservation and open space preservation aren’t dirty words. They should be our right as residents of this beautiful county we call home.
Happy July 4th. Our forefathers fought for our freedoms and apparently we are still fighting for our rights.
But along with the last season, come the critics more snarky than usual. And none of them are as obnoxious as author Louis Bayard of the New York Times. It must be truly wonderful to be as superior as he thinks he is.
Mr. Bayard has been doing episode recaps for the New York Times. Except it is more like a hatchet job. Why dear Mr. Bayard, if I did not know better I would say you had a bad case of bitchy SOUR GRAPES. Maybe Mrs. Patmore can whip you up a digestif?
This recap contains spoilers for Sunday’s episode of “Downton Abbey.”
Send in the puppies!
And that is all I am posting. It’s obnoxious. As a matter of fact most of his scribbles on Downton Abbey are obnoxious. (And apparently, he also doesn’t think much of the works of Jane Austen, which I also enjoy.)
January 3rd he referred to “the dagger-mouth of Maggie Smith”
Ok wow. Dame Maggie Smith is one of the finest actresses alive and well who hasn’t loved how she has played the Dowager Countess these past few years? (Thanks to Maggie Smith and Julien Fellows we have some marvelous one liners to last us a few years.)
I guess the point I am trying to make is this: this show has been coming into our homes for the past few years and it has been a long time since we had something capture our imagination much like Upstairs Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street, Lillie, or the original Poldark (which has been reborn into a remake of the original series and it’s also terrific so Mr. Bayard will undoubtedly hate this series too.)
Television today is a lot of showing of body parts (usually female, and usually “enhanced”), guns, sometimes bad fashion, and darkness. A lot of darkness. Downton Abbey instead these past few years has transported us to another place and time and gloriously so.
So why does the New York Times have to tear down every episode with obnoxious recaps masquerading as reviews? Has it been such a trial watching a beautiful period drama? Would Mr. Bayard prefer endless seasons of ABC’s The Bachelor? Are mindless boobs (quite literally) more his speed?
With all the dreadful reality we deal with in our everyday lives in out everyday world – you know like the terrifying array of potentially psychopathic US Presidential hopefuls (cue Ted Cruz), Downtown Abbey has been a pleasant respite. And why not?
But the New York Times? Wow. Are they that desperate to sell papers and online subscriptions that they can’t just enjoy Downton Abbey for what it is? They have to rip it to shreds weekly like proverbial blood sport? That is journalism? Is their some unwritten law where critics can’t like anything? Or can’t review without a large dose of bitchy? That is really sad.
I will miss when there is no Downtown Abbey next season. Again, I have loved it from the setting, the age in which it is set, to the wardrobe. It has been so fun!
(And yes, spoiler alert I have seen the finale…I loved it.)