has developer bentley been “barn” again?

kennedy barnIn a rather un-developer-like turn of events, it appears Bentley isn’t tearing down the barn? Has decided to stop fighting residents?  Well, I will believe it when I see it, but here is hoping he really will find an adaptive reuse.

The world could use a few more historic barns and a few less McMansions. I am so glad Caroline O’Halloran is writing more.

News

Builder raises white flag on historic Devon barn

Tuesday, October 29, 2013   By Caroline O’Halloran
cohalloran@mainlinemedianews.com

barn saleThe luxury homebuilder who wanted the right to tear down a 200-year-old stone barn in Devon is having second thoughts.

Tom Bentley has decided not to continue opposing residents who have been fighting to save the so-called Kennedy barn in their neighborhood.

“We’re working hard on a concept to preserve the barn and make it appealing to someone who might buy the lot,” Bentley said, in a phone interview.

 

 

 

more thoughts on malvern borough

malvernWho has the most to gain from development in Malvern Borough? Who will get the most out of TOD or Transit Oriented Development? Some have suggested that I narrow my question scope to what will Woody Van Sciver, Malvern Borough Council President gain from all this proposed development in Malvern Borough? (And I was reminded that Woody is a developer too at some place called Monument Management Corp.)  I think after some thought, the answer to this question in as far as who will GAIN from cram plan developments is not the residents or neighbors of Malvern Borough, but Borough officials and developers, and can’t you agree?

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When I wrote about Malvern’s growing pains last week it unleashed a flurry of comments. I was accused of writing a post with racist undertones and all sorts of stuff.  I had people say I was being hysterical, which most easily translated is women shouldn’t have strong opinions on anything and should leave all the big decisions to the men folk. Well I am not exactly a women’s libber but I feel passionately about local governments who give away communities and their ingrained character and history and charm for the nearest buck.  I find it to be like a political lap dance.

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I will keep writing about Malvern Borough’s foolishness.  Because it is foolishness.  I believe small town politicians are corruptible and forget who and why they serve.  In this case they see the Emperor’s New Clothes and can’t see the forest for the trees on what the intrinsic value and charm is of Malvern remaining a small town.  These elected and appointed officials driving the development bus to nowhere don’t even *get* that developers all over the country try to recreate small towns like Malvern Borough.

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Henry Briggs has written another column on this.  I am  looking forward to his column next week, too.  That one is about why Malvern residents are NOT being heard about their own future.

8457330900_c69d4fa589_cLook, please don’t waste your breath leaving me comments that I should basically have no opinion here.  With all due respect, I have a brain and I am not afraid to use it. I am not against growth.  What I am against are these giant one size fits all plans that are the proverbial square peg in the round hole.  This is a small town, emphasis on small.  And Malvern is often quite precarious financially, and the current economy in which we find ourselves in all across this country should cause local governments to exercise caution, not throw caution to the wind.

If Malvern Borough wants to grow, do it responsibly. Allowing developers to shove in developments on small parcels and in a small area so everyone is crammed in like lemmings is IRRESPONSIBLE.  Planning needs to be a partnership between community and government, not government and developers.

Enjoy Henry’s column.

Henry Briggs: Say hello to Malvern Transit Oriented Development

Main Line Suburban Life > Opinion

Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013

Malvern, Pa., once a storybook small town like many around the country, is being beefed up like cows in a holding pen by three different special interests: developers, business people, and governments.

It started at a breakfast in 2008 hosted by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce where Barry Seymore of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission was holding forth.

Woody Van Sciver, Borough Council president, really liked what he was hearing. The subject: TOD – Transit Oriented Development – adding density to areas within half a mile of transit hubs….Around the same time, Eli Kahn, a developer in West Chester, started courting The Malvern Business Association….Kahn’s plan for the biggest development Malvern had ever seen was like free beer at a frat party….Van Sciver, a developer himself, had headed the Malvern Planning Commission  before joining the council and had been heavily involved in drafting Malvern’s Comprehensive Plan, a multi-year effort to define where and how future building and development was to occur…..Because of this background, and the fact that he was Council President, the council decided Van Sciver should lead the negotiations with Kahn.

One developer negotiating with another.

…Malvern is now home to a four story, 45-foot-high behemoth of 190 apartments and a number of stores and restaurants. It stretches nearly a fifth of a mile along the eastern approach to Malvern. When you walk by it, you feel like you’re in Philadelphia…..One recommendation from a recent market study financed by the borough and TOD interests calls for a 12-story, 600 “dwelling unit” high-rise near the SEPTA station….The council has approved plans of another developer for five big houses on a one-acre lot. Still other developers are working on “infill projects,” cramming large, money-making houses and townhouses into whatever bits of land they can find.

Malvern, once a Norman Rockwell small town, has lost it’s magic, irrevocably, at the hands of its own business community, its own government, and developers.

 

 

deadly decision (updated 6/4/15)

 UPDATE 6/4/2015

No winners here. This young woman, now pregnant with another child has been sentenced to prison for the death she caused with the accident.  This is in published media reports, so it is public knowledge.  I hope this woman can get through this.  I still feel the same about her prior behavior, but there are no winners in this case. At least this time family members could be seen with her.

Here is the coverage:

Meredith Williams-Earle (in black and pink dress) leaving courtroom with her husband, Timothy Earle (left), and her attorney Christian Hoey. (Laura McCrystal/Staff)
 On the morning of Aug. 6, 2013, the Lower Merion mother took a prescription sedative, swigged champagne, and filled a plastic cup with whiskey as she headed out the door.

Then she strapped her 2-year-old son into his loosely fastened car seat in the back of her Toyota Prius and set out to drive him to day care. At Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue in Bryn Mawr, Williams-Earle sped through a stop sign and slammed into a flower delivery van.

Its 72-year-old driver died at the scene.

Now pregnant with her third child, Williams-Earle, 32, sat sobbing Tuesday in Montgomery County Court, apologizing and pleading for mercy…Judge William R. Carpenter said the death of Winston Staats could not be overlooked. Turning aside her requests to be free before her baby is born, he sentenced Williams-Earle to nine to 23 months.

The sentence brought to an end a tragic case that even perplexed the jury….The jury convicted her of driving under the influence and reckless endangerment – including endangering her own child…..and deadlocked on vehicular homicide.  By pleading guilty Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter, she avoided a retrial.

FROM BEFORE:

meredith 3When Meredith Williams-Earle, a high school Latin teacher who lives in Bryn Mawr near Historic Harriton House, got into her car on August 6th, she was above the legal limit for alcohol and had Ativan (Lorazepam) in her system.  Not only that, but she had one of her children in the car.

What happened next, no one except her would know for sure, but media reports (based upon police reports) indicate mweshe blew threw a stop sign at Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue and struck and killed an older man in a delivery van.   Main Line Media News reported she was going 42 miles per hour.

I know where those roads meet quite well.  I worked in one of the Tower Bridge Buildings in Conshohocken for a decade and that is how I traveled back and forth. I remember hearing about the accident on KYW News Radio in my car when I was buzzing around on August 6th and thinking “wow that sounds like it could be bad.” You see, initial radio reports were in the form of a traffic advisory, no mention of anything other than something like it being called a serious accident.

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I was also saddened to learn that not only was this 30 year old mother a meredith 2teacher, but a graduate of my alma mater The Shipley School as well (and no I have no clue who she is, and I do not believe she was even born when I graduated high school). So bright, a mom, lived in a nice area, so what went wrong? Because something did.

meredithI am asking because the media has been floating photos of her out on the Internet and well, there seems to have been a metamorphosis.  She went from being a pretty co-ed at UPenn and pretty young teacher to the mug shot above.  You don’t travel from point A to point C without a point B. (And I am sure some reader somewhere will roll up and give me grief about writing about this, unfortunately.)

Bryn Mawr woman charged with DUI in fatal crash that killed Conshohocken man

Published: Friday, August 30, 2013 By Linda Stein
lstein@mainlinemedianews.com

Meredith Williams-Earle, a high school Latin teacher who grew up in Bryn Mawr, was trembling as she sat next to her lawyers at a preliminary hearing Thursday related to an accident that took the life of a 72-year-old flower shop delivery driver.

Williams-Earle, 30, who teaches at Interboro High School, was driving a Toyota Prius with her 2-year-old son in a car seat when she allegedly ran a stop sign and struck a van at 10:28 a.m. on Aug. 6 at the corner of Spring Mill Road and Morris Avenue in the Bryn Mawr section of Lower Merion, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office……..Officers spoke to Williams-Earle at the scene and smelled alcohol. Her eyes were glassy and her speech slightly slurred, police said…..Later…Williams-Earle allegedly admitted to Officer John Kuvik that she had taken Ativan the night before and felt dizzy that morning, according to the criminal complaint. …..a friend told her that alcohol reverses the effect of that sedative so she had drunk some leftover Champagne, the complaint said….defense lawyer Joseph Hylan argued that his client had lived in Lower Merion her entire life, was a graduate of The Shipley School….She lives with her husband, mother and two young children, on the 700 block of Harriton Rd.

DSC00662Ativan and champagne are a heck of a combination.  And the drug is prescribed for anxiety, correct? So I have to ask in the pill happy nation in which we live, who was monitoring this young mom and for what? What she one of the millions of women detrimentally affected by depression after having children? Was something going on regarding the home front? This is a woman who doesn’t appear to have had many brushes with the law so to speak (although I did find record of a speeding ticket in Radnor Township in 2011.)

Also something that bothers me is she did the “perp walk” caught on camera alone.

Where is her familial support?  Wouldn’t you think a young mom like this would have had either her husband or mother there?   A friend? A grandparent, aunt, uncle, someone?  The media reports that she grew up in Bryn Mawr and lives in that house currently with her husband, mother, and little kids.

NBC10 Philadelphia: Teacher Charged in Deadly Drunk Driving Crash         

By     Lauren DiSanto    |  Friday, Aug 30, 2013  |  Updated 6:16 AM EDT

A Delaware County teacher is charged in a drunk driving crash that killed a 72-year-old Vietnam War veteran.

Meredith Williams-Earle, who teaches at the Interboro School District, was charged today with homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence and recklessly endangering another person.

My initial reaction was to write a much more harsh post.  I have a huge problem with drinking and driving.   There are just too many tragedies.

But as I have read and seen the media coverage and read the comments left by people on websites with articles on this, the conclusion I come to in my opinion, is this is a woman in crisis. And these charges she is facing unless a county judge grants leniency is up to 3 years in jail.

My instincts (and I do not know her or even of her), is this is a person who would not survive jail.  And what good is justice if it creates more motherless children?

I have to think that this is a woman who needed help but no one was listening, or listening closely enough.  How do you live in a house with someone (again media reports other adults in her household, a husband and mother) and not know someone is in trouble or self-medicating?

Ativan is a high potency drug often used as a sedative. It is also  is used in the short-term treatment of anxiety and insomnia.  There could be any number of reasons she took it.  She could have been prescribed it or someone stupidly could have just given her some to take the edge off. We live in a nation of extreme pharmacology and well, pills are the new jellybean at times I think.

Sedatives are things I find both serious and scary.  If she was taking this drug for whatever reason she should not have been in a car, let alone left alone with the potential for pulling a Karen Ann Quinlan by mixing hard core prescription drugs with alcohol. And whomever this “friend” was who suggested she mix Ativan with champagne is a huge loser.   A friend is the person who says if you are dizzy let’s get you to a doctor, not have a drink and you can get in the car.

This young woman faces a boatload of charges (see docket sheet) –  two counts of homicide by vehicle, three DUI counts, recklessly endangering another person, reckless driving, careless driving, failure to stop at a stop sign, speeding and improperly restraining a child.

This is what you call a real tragedy, boys and girls. A 72 year old man not wearing a seatbelt and everything that was going on with Meredith Williams-Earle.

Meredith Williams-Earle is a woman in crisis.  I don’t know why no one has addressed whatever is obviously going on with her, but I wish they would.  I do not think she is just some run of the mill gal who likes to play with drugs and alcohol.  I believe, right or wrong, that she needs serious help. And support from her family.  Because if she had help and more familial support or even familial awareness I am not sure she would have been behind the wheel the fateful day of August 6th, are you? But I wasn’t there, I don’t know, and can only guess and opine…as can all of us except immediate family.

There are no winners here, only quite a few take away lessons of life. This story makes me sad.

gone but not forgotten

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

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

CHARGES

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

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

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

argus and fiona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

 

hit and run coward sends 5 year old to hospital: have you seen the truck responsible?

WPVIYesterday on the news I heard about a hit and run in Bryn Mawr, in Lower Merion Township where I used to live.  At an intersection where I almost got hit several times over the years.  The intersection is the big one at Lancaster Avenue and Bryn Mawr Avenue right where Bryn Mawr Trust Company is and across from Ludington Library. I held my breath every time I crossed, and played chicken with cars ignoring the stopped traffic and pedestrian crossing signal more than once.  I hate that intersection for pedestrians.

This is a busy pedestrian intersection and on weekends there are things like the Bryn Mawr Farmers Market in the big municipal parking lot. Lots of the vendors who serve that Farmers Market hail from Chester County, incidentally.

This light has signals which are supposed to stop traffic in ALL directions for pedestrians.  Only I have discovered that many impatient Main Line and other drivers often disregard this.

So why am I writing about this in Chester County?  Because the truck that mowed down a mom and her twin children headed WEST on Route 30/ Lancaster Avenue, so who knows who may have seen the truck.

And this mom is part of a group I belong to called Philadelphia Social Media Moms.  They sent out an e-blast a while ago asking people to tweet out the following:

Here is a tweet you can copy and paste. We are trying to raise awareness so the perpetrator will be caught:
6yr old in hospital, Black Ford F150 still at
large. See something? Call police. #PSMM4Janeane http://ow.ly/ks5hi

 

By my calculations, 24 hours have passed since this incident. This mom has one child at home and one at DuPont in Wilmington.

This is not ol, and what this mom wrote to those of us who are part of this group chilled me to the bone.  I will share an excerpt only:

It is a terrible thing to see your child hit so hard [they are ] knocked out of [their] shoes. Please know we appreciate all your kindness and help

This is one of the things I disliked most about living on the Main Line, and in particular, Lower Merion.  They always talk a good game about pedestrian friendly communities and business districts, but the reality is often quite different. Like now.

This intersection is no stranger to horrific accidents, either.  Here is a photo from July 2007.  A woman named Maryjo Delvescovo, 43 died from her injuries in this accident.  I remember at the time the media saying she left behind a child. This photo taken by a friend of mine is pretty raw:

2007 accident

Accident at same intersection in 2007

If you know anything about this accident, please call police ASAP! Police are asking for witnesses or anyone with information to contact them at (610) 649-1000 or (610) 645-6260.

It would be nice if the driver of this black pick up truck were to come forward on their own of course.

This is why I wish more municipalities around here enforced pedestrian cross-walks more like they do in other places including New York State and Washington, D.C.

I am just sitting here shaking my head as I type.  I remember having conversations with one local politician in particular about this very intersection in the past.  I said at the time I was afraid a pedestrian would get hit.  Mind you, I completely expect this politician to have a large case of political Alzheimer’s when it comes to this.

Please…if you know anything come forward.  Everyone else, please say a prayer for this family whose children and mom were hit.

Update: Police looking for driver of Bryn Mawr hit-and-run that left a 5-year-old in hospital

Published: Friday, April 26, 2013

By Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@mainlinemedianews.com
LMTLower Merion police are asking for the public’s help with information on the truck or the driver who stuck a woman and her two children crossing Lancaster and Bryn Mawr avenues Thursday afternoon. One of those children remains hospitalized in Delaware with head injuries.

According to police, the woman and her five-year-old twins were crossing Lancaster when the driver of a black pickup truck going north from Bryn Mawr onto west on Lancaster Avenue stuck them.

….One of the children was taken to Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., overnight Thursday for a head injury….The driver failed to stop and continued going west on Lancaster Avenue toward Villanova. The vehicle was described as a full-sized black pickup truck similar to a Ford F-150.

Police & Fire

Hit-and-Run Injures Bryn Mawr Mother and Children; Police Seek Black Truck

The accident happened at Lancaster and Bryn Mawr avenues in Bryn Mawr.

ByBryn Mawr-Gladwyne Patch Staff and Sam Strike  April 25, 2013

 

 

wow malvern borough sure is confusing….

malvern1

File under who’s on first and comings and goings – One chief leaving, old chief suing…good thing East Whiteland always has someone to spare for Malvern Borough….

Police Chief to Leave Malvern PD

Chief Mark Ercole will leave the Malvern Police Department in June, and it’s not clear who will take his place.

By Pete Kennedy Email the author 1:00 am

Malvern Police Chief Mark Ercole will return to the East Whiteland Police Department when the contract that brought him to the borough expires in June.

At a Borough Council meeting Tuesday night, Malvern Mayor Jerry McGlone said that Ercole had “respectfully requested that the borough not re-up the contract.” Ercole was an EWPD lieutenant when the borough and East Whiteland Township struck a one-year contract in 2012 for his services as police chief.

The borough is pursuing a similar contract with East Whiteland Township to bring another EWPD officer on as chief, but no plans have been finalized.

malvern

Meanwhile….

Main Line Suburban Life > News

Fired Malvern police chief files lawsuit against the borough; heads to hearing

Published: Wednesday, February 06, 2013

By Richard Ilgenfritz
rilgenfritz@mainlinemedianews.com

The former Malvern police chief who was fired from his position last year has filed a federal lawsuit against borough and both sides are due in court Wednesday for a hearing in front of federal District Judge Joel H. Slomsky.

In November, Michael McMahon filed suit in federal court in Philadelphia naming the borough of Malvern, the individual members of the borough council and the mayor as defendants.

Wednesday morning both sides were scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on the borough’s motion to dismiss on grounds that McMahon failed to state a claim in the lawsuit.

In the suit, McMahon, through his attorney, Brian M. Puricelli, claims that the borough officials violated McMahon’s civil rights under the first and 14th amendments to the United States Constitution as well as Article I of the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Pennsylvania Whistle Blower Statute, and the Pennsylvania Workers Compensation act.

“The Borough acted negligently, grossly negligently, recklessly, purposefully, intentionally, and/or with deliberate indifference, causing and proximately causing injuries and harm to McMahon,” the complaint reads in part. Among the claims McMahon is arguing is that he was wrongfully terminated and cites a conspiracy on the part of borough officials….McMahon, a retired Philadelphia police officer for 26 years, was hired by the borough of Malvern to be its police chief in 2001, according to the civil complaint filed by McMahon. Prior to going to Malvern, McMahon was also a police chief in Coatesville for three years. According to his complaint, McMahon was being paid $91,000 a year with an additional $1,000 a month for health insurance at the time he was fired.

 

Well look on the bright side, they have a farmers’ market come spring time and maybe some day developer Eli Kahn will run for mayor…..and if we’re really lucky they will fix all those broken and heaved up sidewalks in the business district too….

loch aerie in frazer 2013

Here is beautiful and marooned Loch Aerie.  It’s 2013 and she is still hanging on.  Wouldn’t it be nice if the Tabas family cared as much about this mansion’s preservation and future as the airplanes in their front yard they feel the need to get media for?

DSC_0082