another unexpected loss. good-bye tom murray.

Tom at the Harriton House annual Plantation Fair in 2008 with reporter and photographer Ryan Richards.

Tom at the Harriton House annual Plantation Fair (Bryn Mawr, PA) in 2008 with then reporter and photographer Ryan Richards . Tom supported local events and he would pop up at many personally, not just send a reporter.

Yesterday I went to say good-bye to my friend Al Terrell.  This morning I am writing about saying good-bye to someone else I called friend.  Tom Murray, Managing Editor/Lead Content Manager of The Daily Local, our Chester County daily newspaper.

Yes Tom, yes Sam, I know…I just buried the lede. But it is like I have to get my head all wrapped around this. And this one is tough.

It was not quite a year ago that I wrote my blog post about Tom Murray coming on as managing editor of The Daily Local .

We had a joke he and I from way back when he took over for Warren Patton at then Main Line Life (eventually Tom’s job grew and he helped create the whole thing known as Main Line Media News and bring multiple papers together.) When he had come on board to Main Line Life, I had as a local blogger and community activist with the then fledgling Save Ardmore Coalition (back in the days of eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore) sent him an email welcoming the “new sheriff in town.”  He laughed and we became friends.  

Just like that.

These photos I am sharing are my favorites that I took of him. September 2008 at the Harriton House Fair in Bryn Mawr. And one he sent me when I said I wanted to write about him assuming the editorial helm at The Daily Local. The other is a newspaper box from Saturday. And a photo shared by whom he first referred to as “his lady” when he first told me about her, Terry Hardin.

Terry sent me this photo this morning. She loved him so much.

Terry sent me this photo. She loved him so much.

Tom gave a lot of us voices back in the day and today, and all my reader’s editorials were published under him. His “As I see it” columns for readers to have a voice.

But he also then became a friend.

I loved talking to Tom. He was a real daily newspaper guy. He was also a modern media guy and not afraid to try new things, new media platforms. He also was with Patch early on – when they were actually micro news sites and not just regurgitations and shameless re-publishers of the work of others that they are today.

When I was stiffed on fees for some freelance writing last year, he was someone whose wise counsel I sought.  What he told me left me better prepared to take on writing assignments after that.  And I loved the few choice words he had for the person who reneged on payment and said I was a lousy writer. “You know you can write, ” he told me “How many years did I edit what you wrote?”

Tom and Diane - photo taken at Harriton Fair 2008.

Tom and Diane – photo taken at Harriton Fair 2008.

I watched him support his late wife Diane through cancer and we all learned the hashtag #distrong . Like everyone else who knew him our hearts all broke a little when he lost Diane. And then when he met his Terry, we smiled and our hearts were happy.  He and Terry were to be married.

One of Tom’s photos from his Main Line Life Days when he also has a local access TV show.

I was at a dinner party Saturday night with my sweet man n Philadelphia when I checked my phone around 10:00 pm. At 9:47 pm my childhood friend Bob Robinson had messaged me to tell me he had heard from Tom’s son Ian that he had suffered a fatal heart attack around 7 pm. Bob and I shared Tom as a friend.

Behind me I heard the chatter of a happy dinner party as I stared at my phone re-reading Bob’s message. A surreal moment. There I am having a conversation with myself in my head “No, no, no. This can’t be true, it must be a mistake” and around me the cheerful banter of friends.

Because of Tom I got to know so many great people who I am lucky to call friends today. One of them, Cheryl Allison (who was a reporter at Main Line Media News for years) said to me

“I’ve never known anyone who was more passionate about the process of gathering and reporting the news. What many may not have known, but what I had the opportunity to witness, was how Tom delighted in finding, encouraging and mentoring talented young journalists starting their careers.”

Another friend, Caroline Mangan O’Halloran, who wrote for him when he was with Main Line Life and Main Line Media News and now pens the fabulous Savvy said to me

“I am terribly saddened by his loss. Tom was my boss at Main Line Life after Warren Patton. Tom and I bantered about (and disagreed) over many things, but he always played fair and shot straight. He respected everyone and was a kind and generous man. An old-fashioned newsman, he was a a truth teller. I too plan to pay him tribute in SAVVY.”

Truer words were never spoken.  He encouraged the inner writer in both professional writers and citizen journalists.   (And yes, perfectionists of the craft of writing I have done these two quotes like this on purpose.  They are beautiful and I want them to stand out.)

I started blogging before it was quite fashionable, and when I started it was often perceived as a bit scandalous and definitely controversial. He was an early champion, yet would call me out if he felt I could do better.

As I had mentioned earlier, during his many year tenure at Main Line Life/Main Line Media News I wrote a lot of reader’s editorials. I wasn’t the only one – Tom was a big believer in the vox populi or the voice of the people.  Tom is one the many traditional journalists I know that has helped me become a better writer. More importantly, this guy does good newspaper. He did the First Amendment and “sunshine” right.

And so I am writing about Tom for my blog. As I write I remember a really great guy and friend. And a man who was a true newspaperman, a dying breed indeed. True newspapermen are to journalism as cowboys were to founding the west. Mavericks, yet good and true. And so darn American if you want to distill it down.

I thought of Tom Saturday morning when we went over to the D.K. Diner in West Chester for a bite to eat in the afternoon. The first thing that greeted us before we went inside was a Daily News newspaper box.  Way back when in the days of Main Line Life I would always tell him if a box emptied out fast.  He liked to know which issues were selling big time.

img_0925

Life is fleeting.

RIP Tom Murray. So many of us will miss you. I had no idea when we spoke last week it would be for the last time. The future of true journalism just dimmed a little.

Updated: JANUARY 25, 2017 — 3:21 PM EST by Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer @cookb

The Heron’s Nest: RIP, Tom Murray – an ‘old school’ newspaperman

  • By Phil Heron editor@21st-centurymedia.com @philheron on Twitter
  • Jan 23, 2017

Tom Murray, old-school editor with love of the future, dies
By Michael Rellahan, Daily Local News
POSTED: 01/23/17, 5:00 PM EST

Tom Murray had sent me this photo a little over a year ago. Tom at work. He loved the newspaper business even when it frustrated him.

Tom Murray had sent me this photo a little over a year ago. Tom at work. He loved the newspaper business even when it frustrated him.

BREAKING: hit and run driver sought for knox covered bridge in valley forge park

ys1

A friend of mine posted this photo above a little while ago on her Facebook page! YES! Unbelievably it happened again! Some IDIOT hit ANOTHER one of our beautiful Chester County Covered Bridges! If you recall, a truck driver with a giant tractor trailer destroyed the Rapps Dam Bridge in East Pikeland in 2014. The damages were estimated in media reports at $500000, and a repair contract wasn’t awarded until this past April.

So this beautiful bridge known as the Knox Covered Bridge is in Valley Forge Park. I have taken it’s photo easily dozens of times and walked the bridge. It’s beautiful. It is 252 on one side along the creek and Yellow Springs Road on the other.

Here is one photo I have of it that I took (I think this one is circa 2008):

2956022900_5d1fab3b1c_o

So someone according to my friend and others (including two television stations) did a hit and run on this beautiful bridge!

YS2

What kind of jerk does this???

As per PennDOT this bridge (The Knox Covered Bridge) is now structurally unsound and closed as of today. No estimates on repairs.  This is in Tredyffrin Township Police Department’s jurisdiction, here is hoping they and Tredyffrin Township in general are as diligent and thorough as East Pikeland was with Rapp’s Dam and bringing that truck driver to justice.

This bridge, the Knox Covered Bridge was just recently part of an award of monies for repairs:

Three county covered bridges to be rehabilitated

By Candice Monhollan, cmonhollan@ 21st-centurymedia.com, @CMonhollanDLN on Twitter (Pete Bannan photos)

People will be able to take a drive through history once again after PennDOT rehabilitates three covered bridges in Chester County.

PennDOT awarded a $3.2 million contract to Eastern Highway Specialists, Inc., who will set to work on the Rapps Dam covered bridge in East Pikeland, the Speakman covered bridge and West Marlborough and the Knox covered bridge in Valley Forge National Historic Park in Tredyffrin Township.

“The ideas to rehabilitate the bridges came from a variety of sources — from the county, from PennDOT, from the historic preservation community and from legislators, such as myself,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman. “PennDOT is trying to rehabilitate as many bridges on the funds that we have approved. The historic covered bridges are still being used..

Good thing that money is there, right?

Unbelievable.  If anyone out there knows anything or saw anything, please please please call Tredyffrin Police or Valley Forge Park or PennDOT. It is hard to see who is taking tips as early media reports indicate that Tredyffrin Police are sort of referring this along right now.  This apparently happened this afternoon around 2 pm but there is nothing on the Tredyffrin Police Department Website yet.

I found an email on that site that is  police@tredyffrin.org and this other information:

Tredyffrin Township Police Department

Anthony Giaimo, Superintendent of Police
Taro Landis, Lieutenant – Administrative Division
Joseph Glatts, Lieutenant – Operations Division
Organizational Chart [PDF]

Contact the Police Department
Tredyffrin Township Police Department
1100 DuPortail Road
Berwyn, PA 19312-1079

Business Number: 610-644-3221
Dispatch Number: 610-647-1440
Emergency Number: 911
Fax Number: 610-644-5394
Email Address

Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm

alert

Please…if you know anything, or you say saw a damaged vehicle driving away from this direction this afternoon, PLEASE call police. This bridge is part of our heritage and our history and a lot of people still use this bridge daily. Accidents happen, but a hit and run like this is not right.  The bridge is painted white so a vehicle could have all sorts of white paint on it and hopefully Tredyffrin will do their bit and see if any automobile paint is on the damage. yes, yes I know a little Nancy Drew meets CSI but this is such an awesome bridge!

Here is the media I have discovered thus far on this:

Car Strikes Covered Bridge In Tredyffin

The bridge, located in Valley Forge National Historical Park, has suffered structural damage and is closed indefinitely.

Authorities are seeking a driver who reportedly struck a covered bridge in Tredyffin Township Monday afternoon.

Knox Bridge, located where Yellow Springs Road crosses Valley Creek in Valley Forge National Historical Park, was hit by an unknown vehicle at approximately 2:30 p.m. According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) spokesman Gene Blaum, the only information currently known about the vehicle is that it was ”large.”

The bridge remains closed indefinitely pending a PennDOT investigation….

Later, in a PennDOT statement, Blaum reported that ”nearly an entire stone-masonry wing wall adjacent to the bridge” had been damaged along with a 20-foot-long section of its timber siding….

Originally built in 1865, the Knox Bridge has rehabilitated twice, in 1996 and again in 2006.

Asked for comment, a representative for the Tredyffin Police Department referred all questions to Valley Forge National Historical Park, where an official in turn said any new information would come from PennDOT

 

CBS3:   Covered Bridge In Valley Forge National Historical Park Closed Due To Damage 

6ABC Action News (has video) TRAFFIC Covered bridge struck in Chester Co.; driver sought

 

how patch responds to criticism: the delete button?

9:48 p.m. UPDATE- the new regional editor referenced below at end of post actually responded to me. Yes given the way contacting Patch before was like a black hole of nothingness it was a surprise. Anyway, he said he was sure it was a “mistake.” As of a few minutes ago or so it seems like my account is back, but I am not sure if all my comments and/or posts are. I will let you know. I am pleased this new guy seems responsible as a Regional.

I went to sign into my Patch today because a lady I comment back and forth with responded to me on a Malvern Patch post where I had commented the other day. Ironically, I had even been complimentary to the editor Nate Adams because it is one the first real news posts I have seen out of him on Malvern Patch. But when I went to log into Malvern Patch, I got this:

10331056035_183a40bba2_b

Yes, my account was deleted. Mind you I have had a Patch account for years. As a matter of fact, I used to be a freelance photographer for Ardmore Patch on occasion between 2010 and 2012! I even contributed to Radnor Patch.

I thought, wow, this couldn’t be possible, surely this is a mistake. So I cleared out my browser and tried logging into other Patch sites like Ardmore and Radnor. Nope. Same message.

The only thing I can deduce is because of my criticism of West Chester and Malvern Patch editor Nate Adams that he took it upon himself to delete me?

It has to be that. And here’s the rub: there was no reply to my e-mail I sent him on September 29th asking how coverage was determined these days and expressing my concerns that local news wasn’t being covered for West Chester or Malvern. Mind you there were other Patch people on that e-mail and none of them responded either.

So I posted the e-mail openly on Patch. It had a LOT of comments from Patch readers who felt pretty much exactly the SAME way as I did.

But now, that post and every comment I have made on ANY Patch site over a few years along with my original Patch account have been deleted.

There was no e-mail sent to me telling me to simmer down or I would be deleted. No e-mail sent saying ANY comments were being removed because I violated some terms of service. Nothing. I was simply erased.

And while that is their right because it is their site, is that what a true editor does? Is that what a media outlet does? Lordy, look at the comments left on major metropolitan media outlets – print, radio, and television.

But no, because I criticized Patch and the current editor rather than dealing with it, I was simply deleted. That is not journalism.

So I wrote to the new regional editor who has apparently replaced the former regional editor. His name is Tim. I told him how I felt about it flat-out.

I re-registered with Patch. I fully expect Nate Adams to delete that account too. I guess I am somewhat stunned at the lack of professionalism. However, to that end, I have been told by many that I shouldn’t worry about Patch as a local media resource and hyper local news outlet because they are all faltering THAT badly. As in it is only a matter of time.

Time will tell. In the mean time, consider this a cautionary tale: Patch editors don’t respond to criticism like real media professionals. And to those who will say that bloggers do that with comments, yes we do, but our blogs are our own. I am not owned by AOL Time Warner. I am not owned by a large corporate entity who pays me to be an editor of a hyper local news site. These Patch editors are compensated media professionals and should be able to handle themselves better as well as actually do the job they are paid to do.

Sign me amused. I love the smell of the First Amendment on a cloudy fall day.

spell check anyone?

spellcheck

Now I know my friend Ann will have a giggle over this.  She and I have fun at places like Giant when display signs and posters printed by Giant’s marketing people are wrong.

This is in Malvern Patch today.  I am sorry to be picayune but ummm they are supposedly media and this is supposedly posted by an editor and the dude can’t spell check a headline?

Really?

Mind you I do not pretend to have perfect spelling but I am not passing myself off as hyper local media. Maybe AOL Patch with all their woes can no longer afford spellcheck? Or is it spell check?

This was done by the new (and invisible) editor of Malvern Patch.  Gone are the days when actual Malvern and Malvern-area news is reported.  It is pretty sad, actually.

This editor always has typos. But OMG in an obituary headline?

Can’t an editor get a dictionary?

 

barking out loud

swimming dog, East Hampton, NY

swimming dog, East Hampton, NY

Dog rescue is an emotional business.  Want to see people get up in arms quickly? Talk about animal rescue and shelters.  So that being said, some are not going to like that I am posting about the Chester County SPCA.

The Chester County SPCA has a fabulous history.  One of my most favorite rescue dogs ever, an English Springer Spaniel named Winston came home from there.  But like every other animal rescue place time in memoriam, apparently the Chester County SPCA is having some fairly serious issues.

The Chester County SPCA has exploded all over the news in the past few days or so much like the Delaware County SPCA did a few years ago. I am not surprised because very early on in the summer I heard some really upsetting things about the Chester County SPCA.  Is it true they are NOT scanning animals for micro chipping and are in a lot of cases just shipping animals down to Philadelphia?  I find that personally distressing because why are we micro chipping and licensing pets if no one is really going to try to use these things to identify our animals if god forbid they get lost?

The Inquirer broke news that Chester County SPCA volunteers said the shelter had turned into a “kill factory”. If it had been anyone other than Amy Worden and Mari Schaeffer (whose article first appeared) breaking this news I might be very skeptical.  But these women know their stuff. So is it true?

And the stories leaking out are of volunteers and shelter employees being punished and/or shown the door for questioning things? And even board members are talking?

I personally am very concerned because if the Chester County SPCA doesn’t quit trying to muzzle people and deal with its issues they will have real problems which may cause them to have serious, serious issues in the long run. I will say I realize and accept that not every dog and cat can be saved. However, that being said, if they are taking the money to pay for the saving, then the Chester County SPCA needs to open up and be honest.  I figure because they take public money they might be subject to right to know requests?

Sign me worried and disappointed and see below for what is in the media and so on.

Like it or not, something is going on because TOO many media sources are writing. And a blog I never saw before has cropped up – Justice For Chester County Animals:

We tried to tell them -parts 2, 3, & 4

Theresa Duffy, former volunteer, wrote this on July 28, when she was still a core dog walking volunteer and a member of the Dogs on Tour team.

Board of Directors

The Chester County SPCA 1212 Phoenixville Pike West Chester, PA 19380

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am currently a volunteer at CCSPCA. Until recently, I was a regular face at the shelter, spending as much time as possible there walking dogs and having the pleasure of getting to know their individual personalities.

I am writing to you to express my concern for the well being of the animals that reside in this shelter. I feel this is a matter of urgency and requires your attention. My observations are detailed as follows:

The absence of an operations manager is apparent. I hope you are actively and aggressively seeking to fill this position with a qualified individual. There is no evidence of that in the job openings section of the CCSPCA website or a search conducted on the internet.

It is clear the shelter is under-staffed in the kennel specifically. On several occasions, fellow volunteers and I have cleaned up the dog pens and ensured water was replenished. I never minded doing it, but it speaks to the need for more attention to detail. Potential adopters may turn away due to offensive odor. Also, I’m sure you wouldn’t want someone conclude that the animals were not given fresh water at all times.

Regarding the health of certain animals, I have observed that some animals’ conditions do not appear to improve over time and then they are suddenly missing. Veterinary attention is a basic need for the health of these animals. I have heard rumblings that veterinary care was being reduced as a cost cutting measure for shelter. I understand the shelter is not a sanctuary, but euthanizing a dog when an antibiotic could have spared its life, is reprehensible.

The shelter is losing long standing solid contributing volunteers for 2 reasons. First, they are being fired because they care too much. The policy states that a volunteer cannot question euthanasia decisions. Volunteers give of our time because we care, asking us to ignore that is impossible. Enforcing shelter policy related to volunteers specifically should require the use of some compassion. The situation with Leslie Celia could have been handled with much more respect and understanding rather than inflaming an already emotionally charged situation. Second, they are leaving out of disgust specifically due to Deb Murray. As volunteer coordinator I believe she’s actually going out of her way to deter volunteers from participating. She removes Facebook posts that she deems inappropriate when in actuality, that’s the only place we can share information and learn from each other. She is rarely present at the shelter and when she is, doesn’t participate in walking dogs. Therefore, she doesn’t know their personalities, or needs. How can this individual be in charge of volunteers?

I am also wondering why the dogs park days have been eliminated. The importance of these informal outings shouldn’t be diminished. These animals are given so little time in the fresh air, that a good long walk, in normal surroundings benefits their mental well being. Additionally, some critical learning’s about the dogs behaviors help to inform potential adopters of any special needs. Please consider reinstating this as soon as possible.

Michele Amendola’s absence is noticeable. Not one dog, that I am aware of, has gone to rescue since she began medical leave. Have you discontinued trying to move these animals and spare their lives? Also, what happened to the satellite adoption centers for the cats? Didn’t that program move over 40 animals to families?

I am a volunteer specifically for the CCSPCA for a variety of reasons. The Mission and Vision contribute to it. If these values have changed, please let me know.

 

Also look at these media reports:

Philly Dawg: Volunteers: Chester County SPCA Has Become a “Kill Factory”

By Amy Woden Philly.com

Animal lovers are speaking out about treatment of pets at the Chester County SPCA, including dogs put down for minor health problems and a majority of cats getting a one-way ticket to the euthanasia room.

Volunteers say the shelter in the state’s richest county has become a “kill factory.”

The shelter is taking in hundreds if not thousands of more animals now than it did two years ago before taking the contract to handle animal control for Delaware County when the Delaware County SPCA became a “no kill” shelter and no longer accepted strays.

Exactly how many additional animals are being admitted we don’t know because the SPCA will not release its intake or “outcome” statistics, despite requests from reporters and the fact it is performing a tax-payer funded service for a neighboring county.

The new influx of animals has come as the shelter is plagued by management troubles, ineffective board leadership and conflicting philosophies about euthanasia, according an article by my colleague Mari Schaefer in Monday’s Inquirer.

Euthanasia numbers on rise at Chesco animal shelter

Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer

Last updated: Monday, August 12, 2013, 1:08 AM

It is a regional hub for taking in stray dogs and cats, but the Chester County SPCA shelter has become a “kill factory,” say SPCA volunteers, a former board member, and ex-staff members.

They blame ineffective board leadership, unfilled senior management positions, and a clash of ideologies for a significant rise in euthanasia numbers.

Though shelter management does not dispute that euthanasia numbers are rising, it says it is battling the realities of dealing with a tremendous volume of unwanted dogs and cats, many of whom are not adoptable.

The shelter takes in about 5,000 animals a year, according to board president Conrad Muhly, who said the critics are not representative of those who have worked and volunteered at the shelter

 

Pottstown Mercury: Animal advocates concerned about Chesco SPCA euthanasia rate

 By Vince Sullivan vsullivan@21st-centurymedia.com

Posted: Monday, 08/19/13 01:11 pm

When Dave Schlott picked up a stray dog in Chester, Delaware County, last Monday, he was enamored of its personality.

Found on a porch, the dog was frail, but not starved. A homeowner had been feeding it, and it seemed friendly. It also showed signs of physical abuse.

Schlott is filling in as the city’s animal control officer for a few weeks after having retired from that position last year. The reason he gave for retiring was the county’s then-new contract with the Chester County SPCA to take in all of Delaware County’s stray animals.

 Schlott had been in the business for many years with contracts for 15 Delaware County towns and he didn’t want to have to make multiple trips a day to the West Chester area facility.
The reason he gave for not taking this particular dog, which has been named Gretchen, is that he is concerned with reports from former volunteers and employees in Chester County that the SPCA’s euthanasia rates have skyrocketed since it started taking in Delaware County’s strays.

“They seem to be overwhelmed by the number of animals they’re getting in,” Schlott said. “I was determined to save at least this dog.”….A group of current and former workers at the Chester County SPCA have banded together to try and change what they deem as unsatisfactory policies and practices regarding the euthanization of animals….The volunteers and staff members say that the influx of animals from Delco has overwhelmed the Chester County SPCA.

“Every staff member said we can’t handle this,” said Kaity Dempsey, who worked at the shelter for seven years. She was fired from her position as rescue coordinator nine months ago.

“They just said we’ll take your money,” said Jen McCreary, a former volunteer who fosters animals. She stopped volunteering in May because of her issues with the organization’s leadership.

Rich Britton, spokesperson for the Chester County SPCA, declined to talk about euthanasia numbers Friday. He instead highlighted the issue of animal overpopulation…One of the chief complaints from the former workers is the lack of qualified people in leadership positions. The shelter is currently searching for an executive director, which is traditionally a person who oversees the day-to-day operations of a facility. That search has been ongoing for several months after a handful of short-lived interim managers.

“They’ve never had any leadership,” said a former employee who asked not to be named because they aren’t permitted to speak about the shelter’s operations. “It’s been nine months since the last operations manager. But the executive director is the big piece that’s missing. That’s your fundraising.”

“They need to hire day-to-day management,” said a current volunteer who asked not to be named because they didn’t want to be barred from the shelter

Patch: Chester County SPCA’s Message About Pets Surprises Some

The SPCA has an urgent plea for pet owners who can no longer afford to care for pets.

Posted by  Bob Byrne   (Editor) , August 11, 2013 at 11:41 AM
The Chester County SPCA has a message for pet owners who may no longer be able to care for their pets: Please try to find a new home for your pet before bringing it to the SPCA.

carol’s story

Happy horses grazing somewhere in Chester County

Happy horses grazing somewhere in Chester County

So way back in late October and early November when a friend saw these kooky Craig’s List ads and then I started looking on my own and asking questions about horse rescue, I have said it before, but it is the truth: I had no clue the craziness that would ensue.

Day after day, week after week things just swirled about Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue in Glenmoore (Oxford too?) and Parx Racing’s Turning for home.  I did not seek it out.  I even got comments from people as far away as Oklahoma. On and on, and drama swirled.   Facebook kamikaze to odd things happening at people’s homes. (Unless you think the state police showing up in full Ninja turtle gear is normal for Chester County mornings?). People getting followed, people feeling generally bothered, and lots of finger-pointing, and how nutty was all of it?  Even I received comments and such that could be interpreted as threatening or menacing, and wow, what did I do?  Ask questions? Care about animals in rescue?

When would it stop?

No one seemed to know.  And all it was to begin with was worry over horses entering rescue and how they were being cared for and where was LAPs in all of this?

Now from my perspective can it be said that Barbara Luna who is with Parx Racing’s non-profit Turning for Home among others has a lot of questions she should be answering versus dodging?  After all isn’t it Barbara Luna who helps shift these racehorses who have outlived their track usefulness off the track around here and into local rescue?  Still to this day, where is this woman’s accountability?  How did these horses end up across state lines without proper paperwork in some cases? And did some end up in that awful New Holland place in line to become god knows what?

Anyway, last week it was noticed that Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue of Fairview Road in Glenmoore (and elsewhere?) was offline.  As in the Facebook page and website suddenly went dark. It had be active in both cases as of March 11, because they were advertising a yard sale to raise money for the rescue sometime this month, so why?  Why is the only thing left (probably until this post gets published) a tumblr page? Are they closing their doors or merging with another horse rescue?  If either occurs, what happens to the horses in this rescue?  And where are they?

So many unanswered questions.  But today, I have been asked by someone who says they were duped by Off The Track Thoroughbred Rescue to publish something.  It is her story.  She wants to go public because she is tired of being painted as a villain in a multi-act play.

Her name is Carol.  Below is what she wrote verbatim.  She owns her words and takes responsibility for them.  If Off  The Track Thoroughbred Rescue is indeed done, then perhaps Barbara Luna of Turning for Home can address this? Even  apologize?

Click on hyperlink for Carol’s Story.  carols story

A lot of this centers around Carol’s special needs daughter.  And anyone who knows horses or has worked with say Thorncroft or other horse therapy programs knows the power horses have for good in these situations.

Here is the text (there are photos and other things the author embedded in the document above):

In Jan of 1999 God blessed our family with a beautiful baby girl. Her birthmother loved her so much she actually came to our home with a weapon and ripped her from my arms.

My baby was lost to me for 3 months before authorities were able to bring her home. She came home very lethargic. I had my baby back but, she didn’t laugh, she didn’t coo, she didn’t even cry all that much. She simply laid there, a human baby with no light in her eyes. It was like holding a doll.

Doctors said she’d outgrow it…experts said that severely neglected infants become very withdrawn but love would heal that. I couldn’t just sit by and hope. I quit my job and devoted every minute of my life to bringing her back. She never left my sight during those first nine months. We bonded and slowly I began to see a spark in her eyes.

At 4, we learned she was on the autism spectrum. I watched my child struggle to fit in, to make friends, to be good at something/anything for years. The pain was incredible. Then in 2010 at the age of 11 she discovered horses and her whole world changed. She started taking lessons, she learned to ride and she found her voice. Finally she had friends, she was good at something and she liked her world. For months she saved every penny of her allowance, her birthday money and Christmas money. Her goal was to own a horse of her own.

Day after day she spent hours on dream horse trying to find a horse she could afford until the day she saw an ad placed by Jessica Troxell Basciano. Of course we took her to see the horse. Of course we let her buy him. What parent could say no to a child’s dream?

Never did we think anyone, much less a mother, would take advantage of a handicapped child but that is exactly what Jessica Troxell Basciano did. She said the horse was perfect for my daughter. She said the horse was sound and well trained. Jessica Troxell Basciano stood next to me, watched the tears rolling down my face as my only child lived out her dream on the back of that horse…and she lied.

Instead of a sound, well trained, suitable for a child, horse Jessica Troxell Basciano sold my baby a horse that had only been off the track for three weeks, had been recently gelded and had severe stifle issues.

We returned the horse to Jessica Troxell Basciano within 24 hours of purchase. Two years later we are still fighting to have my daughter’s money returned to her.

mooseThis is “Moose’.  In the background is my car and the tent we slept in next to Moose because my child refused to leave him that night. Below is Jessica’s response. We did not leave the horse alone at all actually. He never fell during the night and he didn’t have a soft tissue injury anywhere on his body.  He was not injured while we had him.

words

As for the vet bill:

  1. My husband is a well respected, highly intelligent engineer. To suggest he would offer to pay anything more to her is just insulting.
  2. What vet charges $300 to come look at a horse? No x-rays were taken. The vet came at 3:00 pm and Jessica started texting me to say the horse was perfectly fine at 3:05.
  3. She claims to have a bill and a letter. We have yet to see anything of the sort.

Jessica Troxell Basciano “re-homed’ ‘Moose’ to a young woman named Jenn Messner. Jenn is one of many young women who work for Jessica in exchange for free horses. Below is Jenn’s response:

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Please note that she says she wouldn’t have put my child on that horse but Jessica did. Also note she says he has stifle issues.

All I want is my daughters money back and for Jessica Troxell Basciano not to be able to do this to any other family. Yes, it IS about the horses but sometimes it’s also about the people who love them.

Carol Linares

too much sunshine in west vincent for vampires?

I am on pins and needles waiting for the update of last evening’s Board of Supervisors Meeting in West Vincent where they were discussing controlling the public voice as far as public participation. Or was he there and just really, really tiny wearing his Super Politician Cloak of Invisibility?

What I heard thus far is King of all Goats Supervisor Ken Miller was a no-show?  Now some of my farmer friends are starting to see their mama goats drop new kids on the block, so was he playing midwife?  Or merely playing possum?

And was the Township Manager James Wendelgass really out sick?  Does he need chicken soup from Chickenman? I seem to recall reading/hearing about absences like this when eminent domain was heating up to try to be the Christmas gift that keeps on giving?  So is this a small government tactic to make sure there are no quorums, etc when decisions have to be made?

My largest amusement factor of meeting tidbits thus far is Supervisor David Brown having an apparent case of selective male Alzheimer’s and having zero recall on how meetings, etc go in Lower Merion Township? Where he spent many years, as in decades before becoming a reinvented country gent? REALLY?

Ok so if he can’t remember, wow, if I were him I would worry about being effective as a West Vincent Supervisor.  Here are some choice activities from his own political resume posted on his own website (one will asume the website will stay up of course?) He posted this info, to show you the good people of West Vincent his qualifications.  So pardon me if I do not believe he doesn’t know anything about “how Lower Merion does things, and that’s where I’m from”.   See (partial posting):

CIVIC

  • Gladwyne Fire Company Director 1982 – 2005 Member Executive Committee 1990 – 2005 Solicitor 1980 – present
  • Gladwyne Civic Association Former Director

POLITICAL ACTIVITY

  • Republican Committee of Lower Merion & Narberth Committeeman 1976 – 1990
  • Counsel to Committee 1990 – 2004
  • Member Executive Committee 1990 – 2004
  • Former Solicitor to Montgomery County Controller

Mr. Brown, with all due respect to your many years of service in Lower Merion, but in my humble opinion, you know exactly how things are done now and were done then in Lower Merion.

As an outsider looking in, I do not get any of this.  Why so many issues that skirt transparency and sunshine let alone public participation in the government residents are paying for?  They want public participation, but only if they control it? Welcome to Pravda or what? How is West Vincent supposed to know and listen to its citizens if it muzzles them?

Is it true when it got around to this public participation on the agenda that Supervisor Brown said there was nothing to the issue other than to tell people that it was “still being worked on”?  Magna Carta anyone?

Maybe as a helpful outsider I can remind Mr. Brown of his own words from when he was a candidate?

Thus far West Vincent has left me alone.  I do feel, however, that they need to be reminded of freedom of speech and opinion….and that political satire is as old as dirt.