#savestoneleigh (I really hate being right about eminent domain happy lower merion school district)

ss1

 

The other day I wrote a post about Stoneleigh.  I said then I thought that Lower Merion School District would not settle for 6 acres, that they would want all 42.  My reasoning is simple: it’s expensive to wage an eminent domain battle so it would not make financial sense to go through everything for just 6 acres.  (Not that doing things that make financial sense have ever been a hallmark of this school district, right?)

 

saveI grew up in the area, and the Haas family are amazing and wonderfully inclusive generous people who thought enough to want their land preserved for all to enjoy.

Lower Merion School District is NOT entitled to this land, just like they were NOT entitled to Ashbridge Park. I lived through one eminent domain battle in Ardmore years ago, so I know how ugly this is.

1st letter

Also culpable here? Lower Merion Township Commissioners for all of the years of infill development. We went to so many meetings on unwanted development and asked for YEARS about future impact on the school district. Anyone who asked this was poo-pooed as being obstructionist of the future.  (Yes Commissioner Liz Rogan I am thinking of you and others.  2esrogan@gmail.com ) And the school district never,ever did a thing, never opened their mouths. The school board never did a thing. Who do all these folks serve at the pleasure of? Each other? Developers? 

Arthue Wolk, Esq may be right and the entire school board should be removed. Robbery err Robert Copeland should also be removed (without his pension).  Hmmm I think Robbery Copeland has a nice ring to it, don’t you?

 

This is egregious and unacceptable. It makes me worry for places like Saunders Woods too. Any park or piece of land, truthfully as this school district and Superintendent Copeland seem to be suffering from a GIANT misplaced sense of entitlement.

 

Check out  www.savestoneleigh.org

Sign the petition:

Save Stoneleigh from Condemnation

Want to tell Lower Merion School District how you feel? This is what I was able to rustle up:

Comments for the Board?  Your email will be distributed to the School Directors: communitycomments@lmsd.org

Here is who is on the school board:

Dr. Melissa Gilbert – President -(She is Professor
gilbertChair, Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities.  Sadly, years ago I helped her get elected to school board in the first place)

 

 

 

Mr. Ben Driscoll – Vice President

Ms. Laurie Actman

Ms. Diane DiBonaventuro – she is among other things a coach at Shipley  (Shipley has a long established Haas connection)

bio

Mr. David Federman

Ms. Debra Finger -also works for Shipley (and again school has a long-established Haas connection -see Main Line Media News from March 2017: )

proof

Ms. Virginia Pollard

Ms. Subha Robinson

Dr. Robin Vann Lynch
Comments for the former 6 ABC reporter turned LMSD talking head? Amy Buckman
Director of Community Relations Lower Merion School District
301 E. Montgomery Ave. Ardmore, PA 19003 Main Office: (610) 645-1800
Direct Line: (610) 645-1978   Email: buckmaa@lmsd.org

Mr. Robert Copeland Superintendent of Schoolscopeland@lmsd.org  (also this e-mail shows up on the Internet copelar@lmsd.org )

Denise LaPera Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
Phone: 610-645-1930  Fax: 610-645-0703
Email: laperad@lmsd.org 
301 E. Montgomery Ave., Ardmore, PA 19003

 

Going to Stoneleigh’s opening weekend this weekend? Either as a member for the special preview Saturday or opening day Sunday?  I am sure that some of the Lower Merion Township Commissioners past and present will be there.  No group of commissioners loves photo ops more than they do, so use the opportunity to give them an earful….but try to be polite as some of them are delicate flowers.

 

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.

IMG_7178

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

 

toxic nightmare site bishop tube goes back to zoning…

This photo was taken in 2010, long before I lived in Chester County. It was taken by d.coleman in June of 2010. I found it on Flickr. This is a screen shot of photo with attribution and description as found in yellow. Photographers have been photographing Bishop Tube for years and I hear that high school kids find their way onto the site as well?

This photo was taken in 2010, long before I lived in Chester County. It was taken by d.coleman in June of 2010. I found it on Flickr. This is a screen shot of photo with attribution and description as found in yellow.  Photographers have been photographing Bishop Tube for years and I hear that high school kids find their way onto the site as well? I will note I have only ever taken photos from OUTSIDE the chain link fence.

Bishop Tube is a toxic site. It has been through remediation to a point, but I can’t find anything for 2015 in as far as a public accounting of where the clean-up is. Now maybe an update exists, but is it posted publicly anywhere that is easily accessible?  I am including a letter from Chester County Planning Commission from 2014 I do not think I shared before ( chester-county-planning-on-bishop-tube-march-2014 ).

Something that jumped out at me from said letter:

RECOMMENDATION:    While  the  County  Planning  Commission  supports  single-family  attached and multi-family residential development in the Suburban Landscape where infrastructure capacity can support such development, along with the implementation of adaptive reuse and infill strategies to redevelop abandoned industrial brownfield sites for moderate to high density multi- family housing designation, it does not appear that this location can support the density being proposed due to its existing physical and environmental characteristics.  Additionally, the amendment petition does not appear to be consistent with the Township’s Comprehensive Plan and its vision for Community Mixed Use.  The Commission recommends that East Whiteland Township deny the applicant’s zoning ordinance and zoning map amendment petition.

 

So that was 2014.  We are now in 2017.  East Whiteland has had Bishop Tube as a guest star topic at many meetings since then.  So truthfully, I don’t know which iteration of Constitution Drive Partners LP anyone is looking at.  Constitution Drive Partners = Brian O’Neill, remember?

Well, this plan is up in front of East Whiteland Zoning NEXT week January 23:

bishop-tube-zoningHERE in case you can’t see all of the fine print:

LEGAL NOTICES

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the East Whiteland Township Zoning Hearing Board conduct a continued public hearing at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, January 23, 2017, at the East Whiteland Township Municipal Building, 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, Pennsylvania, to consider Appeal No. 2016-24 Application of Constitution Drive Partners, L.P. and 9 Malin Road Development, LLC (collectively, “Applicant”) for a variance from Section 200-57.C.(6) of the East Whiteland Township Zoning Ordinance to permit single-family attached dwellings and townhouses in rows of more than six units, with associated driveways and grading to be located in both steep slope and very steep slope areas of the property formerly the site of the Bishop Tube complex (which is currently a brownfield site improved with dilapidated industrial buildings), located at 9 South Malin Road, 10 South Malin Road, and 1 South Malin Road (Tax Parcels 42-4-321, 42-4-321.1 and 42-4-321.2) (collectively, “Property”). The Property is located in an RRD (Residential Revitalization District) Zoning District. The public hearing was opened at the Zoning Hearing Board’s November 28, 2016 meeting. The Applicant has subsequently amended its Application to request a variance from Section 200-93.B of the Zoning Ordinance to permit the proposed retaining walls to exceed the permitted six (6) feet in height. On the above date, the Zoning Hearing Board will continue the public hearing and may render a decision on Appeal No. 2016-24. Anyone with a disability requiring a special accommodation to attend should notify Joseph T. Leis, Zoning Officer, at 610-648-0600 x 268. The Township will make every effort to provide a reasonable accommodation. Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco Attorney for Constitution Drive Partners, L.P. DL-Jan 10, 16-1a

Steep slope and very steep slope.Still the key here. They want to increase site density if they want relief from steep and very steep slopes, right? How many hundred units do they want?  Last count was what, 264? And before that over 300?

Bishop Tube is what they call in crass terms a potential flipper baby site still, correct? Will super high amounts of residential density built on slabs with no basements solve all problems? Or is another use better for the site?

Forget about the problems with the site in the DEP and EPA categories and let us talk traffic, infrastructure, schools, basic township services.  Why does East Whiteland want to be King of Prussia or Bensalem? Is that what the majority of the residents want? Or do residents actually want thought and carefully planned growth versus one construction explosion after another?

How many 1000s of living units are planned, approved, or are in various stages of approval in East Whiteland at this point? That also affects neighboring municipalities and anyone in the Great Valley School District.

And do not forget this interesting developer O’Neill article from December:

Former O’Neill site on Rock Hill Road goes up for sale; was to be part of area’s transformation

Former O’Neill site for sale; was to be part of ‘gateway’ to Lower Merion By Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com @rpilgenfritz on Twitter Dec 2, 2016

Bala Cynwyd>> A long awaited building project that was supposed to be part of the transformation of an old rock quarry along Rock Hill Road in Bala Cynwyd has officially gone back on the market. Except for a groundbreaking and some preliminary work a couple of years ago, the approved project never moved forward.

 

The site was to become a mixed-use development proposed by Brian O’Neill, owner of O’Neill Properties.

Monday, Kevin Flynn Sr. of The Flynn Company confirmed that his company has the property at 131 Rock Hill Road up for sale.

According to Flynn, the 8.2-acre site was approved for four buildings of four-stories each with parking decks underneath. There would also be a surface lot and numerous other amenities.

 

O’Neill owned the site since 2004, when it was purchased for $3.5 million, according to online Montgomery County records. In 2014, the site was sold to an LLC called Alexander Street, for $11.122 million as the preliminary work was being done. They were to be the financing arm of the project.

 

Another site across the street on Rock Hill Road had also been owned by O’Neill and had been sold in 2010.

 

It’s not clear why O’Neill is apparently divesting himself in his holdings in that area. Calls to the company this week were not returned.

In Lower Merion Township people went through YEARS of awful meetings over steep slopes and a developer driven zoning overlay known as ROHO.  Has anyone asked Brian O’Leary of the Chester County Planning Commission about this as he would be very familiar with this plan given his time on Lower Merion Township’s Planning Commission?

I can’t see Bishop Tube from my window.  But if I could I sure as heck would turn up at this meeting.  Or if I lived at the edge of Malvern Borough where traffic here would become an issue. If I was a neighbor or affected by Bishop Tube, I would see that board room was packed.

Here are some of the old articles on Bishop Tube:

full tilt crazy

 

You see that lovely young woman?  Her name was Alison Parker and this morning she and her cameraman Adam Ward were shot and killed near Roanoke, Virginia in a place called Moneta. She was 24 and was a graduate of James Madison University and he was 27 and a graduate of Virginia Tech. They were with Virgina CBS affiliate WDBJ7. They were killed in the middle of a live shot interview it looks like.

This story is so horrific and I like many others didn’t know either Ms. Parker or Mr. Ward. For me personally it hits home because I have friends who are reporters and cameramen as well as newspaper reporters and newspaper photographers . I thought of them all immediately as this news broke. You think of them covering the news, not becoming the news and victims of violence.

And even more horrible? It has been disclosed that the shooter was a former reporter, one of their own,  who for a while put what he did on video on Twitter! They are reporting he is being chased through Virginia and other media reports say he may have committed suicide.

Two WDBJ7 employees killed in attack at Bridgewater Plaza. Reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were attacked during a live broadcast

Web Staff, WDBJ7, news@wdbj7.com
POSTED: 07:27 AM EDT Aug 26, 2015 UPDATED: 10:56 AM EDT Aug 26, 2015 
Virginia TV reporter, photographer killed in shooting during live interview

By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN

Updated 11:05 AM ET, Wed August 26, 2015
Sources: WDBJ shooting suspect is former reporter Bryce Williams

  Posted: Aug 26, 2015 8:20 AM EDT

Updated: Aug 26, 2015 11:34 AM EDT

By NBC12 NewsroomCONNECT

This county is on full tilt crazy again. You can click on the links above to read about this horrific event. But before everyone goes into another endless gun control debate, remember what just happened here yesterday at the Chester County Courthouse, which made national news.

Yesterday a guy named Curtis Smith of Coatesville went crazy with a knife inside our county courthouse, hurting people. He was shot and killed by Sheriff’s department personnel. As e dust began to settle we learned this guy had been arrested in Washington DC for scaling a wall of the White House.

Washington Post National Official: Deputy’s attacker arrested at White House in March

  
A Chester County sheriff’s deputy with a hand injury is taken from the lobby of the Chester County Courthouse following a shooting Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, in West Chester, Pa. The Daily Local News of West Chester reports that the shooting involved a member of the Chester County sheriff’s office and a man who apparently tried to enter the courthouse. (Pete Bannan/Daily Local News via AP) (Associated Press)

By Associated Press August 25 at 5:58 PM

Daily Local News Chester County Justice Center suspect dead

By Michael P. Rellahan, mrellahan@21st-centurymedia.com,, @ChescoCourtNews on Twitter

POSTED: 08/25/15, 12:31 PM EDT | UPDATED: 2 HRS AGO

Questions linger in courthouse shooting

Justine McDaniel and Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writers

Last updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 1:06 AM

But seriously, this country is such a country of unpleasant extremes these days. When did we become a nation of violence?

Sad day again for this country. We need to dial back the violence.

do parents have the right to parent?

rachel2

Really,dear?  Is that all?

When you are the parent of a teenager, unusual stories about teenagers make you sit up and listen.  I am the step-parent of a teenage boy.  I haven’t been at this for that many years, so as opposed to parents with more time logged under their belts, I might think about things more in some cases just because I don’t have that many years of life experience doing this.

And life experience is key here.  Kids have life experience, and no one said they were dumb or without rights, but where do you draw the line between kids and adults? Adults do have more life experience, right? And we are supporting these kids emotionally, financially, and literally, so what if one kid really throws a curve ball? Do we wrap kids in cotton batting and keep them insulated from the world and reality, or do we let them experience life and make mistakes?

And then there is the battle of the sexes.  My friends with teen girls always tell me boys are easier.  I don’t have enough experience to know, but after something caught my eye on the news this morning, I might be rethinking that.

My experience with teenagers is limited personally to my friends’ kids, my nephew, and my stepson. I am learning to speak teenage boy…..slowly.  It involves lots of patience, occasional piles of clothes on the floor, mono-syllabic conversations, fear of green vegetables, video games, things are never “cute”, and girls (although girls are not discussed).

Immediate family-wise, I am lucky.  I have an amazing kid, and my nephew is an amazing kid. (Please note: My niece is not being deliberately left out here, she is just not a teenager yet even if she is the best fashion stylist in the family.)  But how would any of us be if we were the parents of one Rachel Canning of New Jersey? This is what caught my eye this morning on the Today Show : the story of this girl suing her parents.  Only this isn’t some cute ’80s move starring Drew Barrymore.

This is the story of a teenager who didn’t like the house rules and basically ran away, went to live with and be supported by a friend’s parents and is now 18 and suing her parents for money.

New Jersey honor student sues parents for school fees after they cut her off at age 18

Rachel Canning, 18, claims her parents, Sean and Elizabeth Canning, threw her out of their Lincoln Park, N.J., home last year and stopped paying for her private high school, where she excelled as a cheerleader and lacrosse player. But Sean Canning says Rachel left voluntarily after she refused to abide by simple rules of the house.

By      / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Published: Monday, March 3, 2014, 5:07 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 9:40 AM

But Sean and Elizabeth Canning say their “spoiled” college-bound daughter doesn’t live by their house rules and left the home because she didn’t like the law of the land — overseen by her father, a former Lincoln Park police chief.

The Morris Catholic High School senior and lacrosse player instead has lived at the Rockaway, N.J., home of a classmate, whose father, John Inglesino, has foot the bill for the suit.

“My parents have rationalized their actions by blaming me for not following their rules,” Rachel said in her court papers, according to The Daily Record of Morristown, N.J. “They stopped paying my high school tuition to punish the school and me and have redirected my college fund, indicating their refusal to afford me an education as a punishment.”

“I want money but I don’t want to live with you?”

It sounds like a bad Lifetime TV movie, doesn’t it?  Only it’s not and it is happening up in Northern New Jersey. This girl, Rachel Canning is a senior it looks like at Morris Catholic High School. It also looks like she has two Facebook Pages. This one and this brand new one she has been posting on for a few hours. She has been posting comments she has been receiving.  (For the record: no matter what she is trying to do she does not deserve to be called all sorts of vile and crude four letter words as that accomplishes nothing .)

So she isn’t getting along with her parents.  Sounds like a teenager.

So the parents say they don’t want her partying, hanging out with a certain boy, and there are house rules.  Sounds like parents.

So she runs away to a friend’s house.  Sounds like teenage girl d-r-a-m-a.

So friend’s parents take up her cause, including living expenses and court costs? Ok, that sounds like over-stepping a bit?  And the father of the best friend where she is living is according to media reports Former Morris County Freeholder John Inglesino? A politician and a lawyer? Why would he take this on? Does he have something against the parents? Does that sound normal to you? We’re not talking about the  cool parents you can talk to once in a while, we are talking about the parents that call me crazy seem to want to take over someone else’s child?

I must admit that I am somewhat astounded at these other parents inserting themselves here.  Are there real instances of abuse? Or are they just the type of parents of teens today more interested in being friends with their kids versus actual parenting?

rachelNow look, we were all teenagers once.  I remember one time in a fit of young teen drama like many other teens I told my mother I couldn’t stand it any more and was leaving.  I still remember my mother’s response which was “use shopping bags from the grocery store, not the good luggage.” That really pissed me off, I slammed a couple of doors….but I came down for dinner a few hours later and all was forgiven.

I did not have the acceptably “cool” parents of the day.  They didn’t throw us keg parties and they did things like called other parents before I went to a party to see if (a) parents were there (b) alcohol was being served. Needless to say, I missed a lot of parties. But at almost 50 I can say I am around to tell the tale.

Did I clash with my parents? Yes I did.  What kid doesn’t?  As a matter of fact, if I am brutally honest it has taken years to find the adult relationship with my mother I am actually comfortable with as an adult. And we still tangle on occasion.  That is the nature of parents and children.  It’s not always perfect.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t love my parents and don’t love my mother, it’s just reality.  They were parents, not my good buddies.   I loved them, I hated them, they embarrassed me, I embarrassed them.  And somehow, we all survived. They were real people, not Carol and Mike Brady.

My father has been dead a few years now and I love him and still miss him every day. I am lucky I still have my mother, and yes she is an original.  She is not your orthopedic shoes, gray hair and knitting kind of mother and grandmother. She is more like a senior fashionista who still loves her heels and dressing up.  She can be outrageous and even annoying to me because I am her kid even if I am almost 50, but would I have essentially divorced them, run, away, and sued for money?  Would I have turned them into a Bravo TV reality show?

No.  My parents weren’t perfect, but neither am I.

As a relatively new parent I am acutely aware of things like helicopter parenting.  Those are the parents that do everything including think for little Johnny and Susie….even well into purported adulthood. I have had people tell me stories of these types of parents which are truly a little crazy. I have seen things I thought was crazy.

The flip side of this, is I have seen some somewhat astounding kids here and there.  I used to live (for example) near an esteemed private school for boys. These boys used my old neighborhood as a parking lot – there wasn’t enough on-campus parking and well, that wasn’t cool anyway (you could get away with much more if you parked off campus).  I used to see two types of teenage boys: the really lovely ones who were in many cases children of my friends growing up, and the others with extreme misplaced senses of entitlement who quite frankly were brats.  Now that isn’t going to endear me to the private school set, but it is the truth.

And I saw it all I think.  For example, a lot of the kids drove mommy and daddy’s expensive cars to school and not only didn’t think twice about getting tickets (mommy and daddy would pay them natch’) , but they didn’t think twice about dinging the cars or even losing the keys. I remember finding a couple of those expensive starter keys that don’t look like regular keys for Mercedes Benzes and BMWs.  I used to always walk them back to the school, because as an adult I knew each one of these keys costs a ridiculous amount of money.  Every time I took the keys to the school I was told by the school I shouldn’t bother, the parents would just replace them anyway.

Weekends meant a lot of these boys would come back to my neighborhood as a meeting point to go to parties, mess around with their girlfriends, and dump their liquor bottles after parties.  The best story about bottles were the kids who tried to dump them in our trash.  My neighbor at the time (who was a psychologist by trade), stood there and made them take every bottle out of the trash.  They whined and protested and she kept it simple: they could deal with her or they could deal with the local police.  And yes, I still have still photos somewhere of this.  I remember one kid saying “you don’t know who my parents are”.

And all this time, through to present day I am told by parents of teenage girls that teenage boys are much easier to deal with.

After seeing this news report, I might be inclined to agree.

This girl Rachel got a bit of a smack down by a judge yesterday.  He told her no.  I am guessing that doesn’t happen very often.

N.J. judge denies teen honor student’s request for emergency funds in suit against parents 

Rachel Canning, 18, won’t get $650 weekly child support or payment of her private high school tuition from estranged parents Sean and Elizabeth Canning, a judge decided Tuesday. But a second hearing on the suit is scheduled for next month, and the Morris Catholic High School senior could still force her parents to pay up her impending college costs.

By      / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 6:45 PM

A judge Tuesday ruled against New Jersey teen Rachel Canning, who sued her parents for expenses and education tuition after she says they tossed her out of their Lincoln Park home last year.

Morristown Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard appears to have agreed with an independent investigators’ assessment of the home atmosphere: that the high school cheerleader and lacrosse player is “spoiled.”…..“We love our child and miss her. This is terrible. It’s killing me and my wife. We have a child we want home,” Sean Canning told The Daily Record of Morristown, N.J. “We’re not draconian and now we’re getting hauled into court. She’s demanding that we pay her bills but she doesn’t want to live at home and she’s saying, ‘I don’t want to live under your rules.’”

Rachel Canning has lived in the Rockaway, N.J. home of classmate Jaime Inglesino. Inglesino’s father, John Inglesino, has foot the bill for the girl’s lawyer fees, more than $12,000 thus far.

So I looked up this Rachel’s father on Facebook along with her.  I did that after Facebook, being Facebook I saw a comment by a friend of a friend talking about this Canning family. What she said prompted my further look:

“Father was police officer and chief in this town and….they still live there (he retired and now works in another town as town business admin.). Family has had personal struggles, but really nice family. Love the mother, very involved…. I think Rachel has headed down wrong path. Broke my heart to watch judge read ruling and Liz (mom) cry and Rachel not react. As hard as I remember those [teenage] years being, I cried a lot over arguments with my mom and dad…..That other man [parent of friend] is too involved. He should be siding with his peers not with children’s friends”

canning family

This person’s comments are nice and measured.  And see this is the thing: small towns always have gossip about the families of people who hold public positions so don’t you think if this girl’s parents were so awful or abusive to the point Children and Youth would have to step in or should step in that people would have heard of it?  I found this public photo of the family on Google and sorry, as a photographer you learn to pick up certain things in photos, and maybe my radar is off, but what do you see here?

This is what Rachel’s dad has to say:

father 1

father 2

father 3

father 4

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And then there are the photos of the parents and this student-sues-parentsgirl at yesterday’s court hearing.  The parents in tears, the teen smiling and showing little other than that. I am sorry, but the more I read, the more I feel for the parents.

girlsCourt testimony seems to paint a picture of parents trying to not lose a kid to partying and bad influences, so I guess I don’t get why the parents of this friend of hers has inserted themselves here? How is their business to influence someone else’s child? If this was an “at risk” teen, maybe I would feel differently but what I can’t escape is this is a teen who was told “no” and didn’t like it.

Rachel Canning has two Facebook pages.  Her new one is very much in the public eye and she is “sharing” publicly.  I wonder if she is being coached? Or does she think at 18 she knows best in the sharing/over-sharing department? Does she want to prove our case or paint herself cleverly as a victim in overpriced jeans? Or is she just a messed up kid ?

brat 1

brat 2

Is it the responsibility for every parent to reward bad behavior? Because if this girl is an honor student really being wronged, why wouldn’t she be one of these kids applying for scholarships and financial aid? Is it just me, or might that be too much work?

And I have to admit this gal needs a dose of reality because not every parent can afford to send every kid to college as much as they might want to. And I know and have known kids who had less than nothing who figured it out and got the education they wanted.

I think this girl is about to learn a very valuable life lesson of who to trust and listen to OR she will continue to hold everyone else responsible for her life and her decisions.  I hope it is the former and not the latter.

N. J. teen sues parents but loses first round in court

Rachel Canning wanted $650 in weekly child support, plus the payment of her tuition at Morris Catholic High School. But a New Jersey judge denied her initial request. “Are we going to open the gates for 12-year-olds to sue for an Xbox? For 13-year-olds to sue for an iPhone?” he asked.

By David Porter, Associated Press / March 5, 2014

A northern New Jersey honor student who has sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home had her initial request denied Tuesday by a judge who cautioned that the case could lead to a “potentially slippery slope” of claims by teenagers against their parents.

Rachel Canning had sought immediate relief in the form of $650 in weekly child support and the payment of the remainder of her tuition at Morris Catholic High School, as well as attorney’s fees.

State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied those motions but ordered the parties to return to court on April 22…..Court documents show frequent causes of parent-teenage tension — boyfriends and alcohol — taken to an extreme. In the filings, there are accusations and denials, but one thing is clear: the girl left home Oct. 30, two days before she turned 18 after a tumultuous stretch during which her parents separated and reconciled and the teen began getting into uncharacteristic trouble at school.

In court filings, Canning’s parents, retired Lincoln Park police Chief Sean Canning and his wife, Elizabeth, said their daughter voluntarily left home because she didn’t want to abide by reasonable household rules, such as being respectful, keeping a curfew, doing a few chores and ending a relationship with a boyfriend her parents say is a bad influence. They say that shortly before she turned 18, she told her parents that she would be an adult and could do whatever she wanted.

She said her parents are abusive, contributed to an eating disorder…Canning wants the judge to declare that she’s non-emancipated and dependent as a student on her parents for support…

But this raises a conversation with parents.  What rights do parents have as far as discipline? Should they be more concerned about being popular with their teenagers, or about being their parents?

Now maybe these Canning parents didn’t handle every conversation well with their daughter, I have no way of knowing.  Do I believe that the relationship issues between adults affects kids? Sure it does, but does that mean every teenager should rise up and sue their parents?

If she wanted to leave, she is now 18.  But it seems to me she didn’t necessarily want out of Hotel Parents, she just wanted her own way. I mean let’s get real if you are a woman: did your parents like every boyfriend? Isn’t boy drama just a part of growing up?

Of course with girls especially, there is that whole forbidden fruit thing.  The parents say no and they work harder to get around them. However, as much as it pains me to say it, for the most part my parents were right when they said “no”. I for one just didn’t want to hear it.  Do I think they could have phrased things better and as a new parent do I try to improve on what passed for teen-parent communication back in the day? Yes to both.

I feel strongly about kids trying to respect adults.  I do not see teens as equals to adults.  I think a lot of kids are more intelligent than adults, but now that I am the adult I kind of get the other side of the dynamic.  And it’s hard.  You want to be their friend, yet you literally have to be the grown-up.  You think you are saying the right thing and half the time it falls on deaf ears….face it if it is longer than two or three sentences I think all teenagers hear is the “waah, wahh, wahh” that Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty used to hear whenever their teacher spoke.

I admire the super patient among my friends.  I will admit sometimes I don’t get it, a lot of times I don’t get it….but I try all the time to get it.  I will admit I get hurt feelings when I try to make a super awesome dinner and it gets pushed around the plate or  my teen just shows up late. I will admit I don’t get the love affair with video games and dirty socks on the floor. And I know these are little things. But as opposed to some, I am so new to this, so this is all my learning curve.

And then I read about kids like Rachel Canning. And I hate to be all judgmental and mean grown-up, but I count my lucky stars.

But I feel for these parents.

So Rachel, I know you are out there lapping up your press. I can see it on your face in video and photographs and on your Facebook page.  Maybe you see yourself as a Real Housewife of New Jersey in training, or feel your parents should just cater to your every whim, but life doesn’t work that way. I hope you go to counseling with your parents and work it out. But do I think they should pay for you as a non-emancipated teenager living elsewhere? Nope. I hate to say I think you are being a brat, and I am sure it is not that simple, but that is how I feel. I also find your behavior selfish in as far as you as a kid don’t even realize your actions could say….cost your parents their employment and then where would all of you be, including your sisters?

And little girlfriend, I wish you could see how creepy it is that your BFF’s dad has so inserted himself into your life. Sorry, but the jaded adult in me just doesn’t see this as normal or good.

Love them or hate them, we only get one set of parents.  Don’t do something you regret. There is plenty of time to be a grown-up, my dear.  Go home. Actions have consequences, and I really don’t think you have a clue…..

 

MORE media is covering barn-gate in upper uwchlan! save picking in rural chester county!

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I have been horribly sick all week so I completely missed the fact that The Daily Local has also picked up on The Smithfield Barn!

I am thrilled. The article is fair and unfortunately (once again) Upper Uwchlan doesn’t really sound so nice, do they?

Upper Uwchlan, farmer at odds over barn sales Daily Local By Kendal Gapinski, Daily Local News POSTED: 01/09/14, 5:49 PM EST |

UPPER UWCHLAN – The Smithfield Barn, a spot where residents can pick through antiques, toys, furniture and collectibles at barn sales, has been asked by the township to stop the sales.

According to Phil Smith, owner of the Smithfield Barn at 425 Little Conestoga Road, the township made the request at the end of November because it said he was running a business on a property zoned residential.

Smith said the barn sales are held occasionally, once or twice a month in the spring and fall, and should not be considered a business.

“There’s no heating or air conditioning, it’s a barn,” said Smith.

However, the township disputes the claim that sales are held only “occasionally.”

Township Manager Cary Vargo said it had become apparent the sales were happening more frequently.

In October, Vargo said, the township’s zoning officer spoke with Smith and advised him “it was a retail establishment.”

“It was clearly a successful business,” said Vargo, who added the township believed sales were held nearly every weekend.

The meeting was followed up with an official letter in November telling Smith to stop the sales or be fined $500 a day, Smith said.

Smith said the barn sales, which he said are similar to garage sales, have been going on for nearly five years without objection from the township.

I have only posted an excerpt. Read the whole article and comments.

All of the people leaving comments on this have been IN support of the barn except for a poster named “Elizabeth McGill”. Her comment profile on the Daily Local shows a photo of an older lady who looks like a cookie baking, scarf knitting grandma. Her profile description says she became a widow in July after being married fifty years. Her comments, however, are negative and also untrue. She says (and I quote):


I was there last summer looking for unique antique treasures. All I found was junk obviously obtained through “dumpster diving.” His garage sale/store is open to the public every day in fair weather….What if your next door neighbor turned his house into a strip club, gas station, or retail store? This man is operating a store in a residential area. If anything goes, and everyone is allowed to do this, fine. But don’t blame the township for ‘sticking their nose’ into THEIR business which is enforcing the rules

Since when are their rules for yard sales, garage sales, and barn sales? And wow has this lady every been to the super fabulous and super popular Clover Market? You go there and you will see sometimes priced at hundreds of dollars things like the ones you might find at the barn for literally pennies.

How can you compare a barn sale or garage sale to a strip club? Unless of course designer stripper poles are developer add on options in these “communities” gobbling up farm land in Chester County LOL? And how can this woman outright fib and say the barn is open “every day in Fair weather”? The Smith family lives on that property and just because a barn door is open, it doesn’t make it a barn sale day does it?

It’s like the rumor that was heard when this barn-gate issue first surfaced that a complaint was supposedly made from Green Valley Road. At first I could not figure out what road this was. Then I looked at the map. It is the little spit of road that is in front of the barn, but isn’t Little Conestoga Road. It sort of dead ends a bit past the edge of the Smithfield Farm property. It looks like it runs to the Frame property. But the thing is this, those are the most immediate neighbors of the barn, aren’t they? And these are the people who are supportive of the Smith family so who would start such a rumor?

But back to this whole negative comment thing.

When I asked Kristin at the barn if she knew who this woman might be, do you know what she said? Not what you might think for someone who is in a sense under siege from the township she calls home. What she said to me was (and I quote):

We live in a world filled with hatred and poverty and crime, but someone attacks the barn for in essence recycling. That makes me feel bad because I feel sad for her.

You see, that is a prime example of the kind of people the Smiths are. They are good people who even now when someone is literally casting stones at them would turn the other cheek and feel badly and feel concern for this person leaving comments like this.

Good people like the Smiths deserve better than they are getting. The residents of Upper Uwchlan deserve better.

Barn sales and yard sales are part of Chester County life and a lot of fun. Picking is as American as Apple pie and fireworks on the 4th of July! They should be allowed to continue. And this is a very nice family that I feel is being victimized by local government most unfairly.

Please help Save The Barn! Barn Picking hurts no one. And again I say there are a lot of very poor people in parts of Chester County who need places like the Smithfield Barn so they can just get stuff for their homes – you know the basics like a kitchen table and chairs that aren’t over priced?

Save picking in rural Pennsylvania. It is as American as Apple Pie. Contact Upper Uwchlan or your favorite TV station or heck even American Pickers or the Institute for Justice and tell them the Smithfield Barn and their OCCASIONAL barn sales should live on just the way they are until the Smith family doesn’t want to do it any more.

The Smithfield Barn is not a retail store and if you suddenly need a zoning variance for yard sales, garage sales, and barn sales wow so Big Brother and how is that even American?

Upper Uwchlan

Guy A. Donatelli Chairperson 78 Stonehedge Drive Glenmoore, PA 19343

GDonatelli@upperuwchlan-pa.gov

Catherine A. Tomlinson Vice-Chairperson 788 North Reeds Road Downingtown, PA 19335

CTomlinson@upperuwchlan-pa.gov

Kevin C. Kerr Supervisor 16 Heron Hill Drive Downingtown, PA 19335

KKerr@upperuwchlan-pa.gov

140 Pottstown Pike Chester Springs, PA 19425 Phone: (610) 458-9400 Fax: (610) 458-0307
Cary Vargo Township Manager (610) 646-7008
cvargo@upperuwchlan-pa.gov

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