In 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.
Who 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?
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.
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.
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.
Look, 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.
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.
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.
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.
When 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 she 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.
I was also saddened to learn that not only was this 30 year old mother a teacher, 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.
I 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.)
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.
Ativan 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.
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 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.
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
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.
Yesterday 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:
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.
Lower 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.
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.
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….
When I heard this news break I was in the car this afternoon, and I immediately thought well there it is:every parent’s nightmare, a missing child. And that is exactly what is unfolding in Radnor Township.
A missing teen. Now I have just heard Radnor might be calling another press conference for 9 pm, so I hope it is good news and the girl is found. She’s young – 13.
This is the stuff that makes your heart sink like a stone to your stomach. I guess there were creepy people out there when I was 13, but maybe because there was no Internet and I had parents who were actively involved in my life (sometimes much to my chagrin), the seemy side of life didn’t touch me. Thank God.
Being a teen can’t be easy today, even if the technology is zippy. And young teens like this 13 year old missing girl want to be treated like grown-ups but they are still children.
It’s hard to figure out as parents where you draw the line isn’t it? You want them to be safe, yet you can’t wrap them up and keep the world at bay. And they don’t want to be babied even if they are your babies.
But given the age of this missing girl I am sorry, but I think it is important to keep an eye on the kids, who they are Facebooking, Face timing, tweeting at, texting. I think part of that has to be limits when it comes to the smart phones and computers. I think computers should be in a common area.
Talk to your kids. They might not want to talk to you all of the time, but better to know what is up. Yes I know, everyone wants to be a friend to their children, but sometimes you just have to parent.
Savanna Marie MacMullett is the name of the missing girl. I pray she gets home safely.
Makes you wonder what caused her to reach out to someone as screwy as they are saying she ran away with doesn’t it?
As of 9 pm There is a rumor running around she has been found in DC alive and the guy is in jail but I have no formal confirmation. I hope so.
By David Chang| Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012 | Updated 6:10 PM EST
Police are searching for a missing teen girl as well as the man who they believe took her after they met on the Internet.
Police say they spotted Ashley Hareford, 20, of Grottoes, Virginia standing outside the Radnor Township home of 13-year-old Savanna MacMullett on Sunday. Police say he looked suspicious and they stopped him while he was on foot to question him. However, after he was questioned, they let him go because they could not find a reason to hold him in custody.
On Monday police say MacMullet left her home around 4 p.m. and has been missing since then. MacMullet’s father told police his daughter met Hareford online and had conversations with him. Police believe MacMullet is with him.
9:15 PM : my source was correct – Savanna has been found in Washington DC:
13-year-old Garrett Hill resident Savanna Marie MacMullet, who went missing Monday afternoon, was found by U.S. Marshals in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
With her was Ashley Ryan Hareford, 20, who Radnor Police said met MacMullet online and traveled to Pennsylvania from Virginia.
Radnor Township received an anonymous tip that the pair were arriving on a Mega Bus in Washington, D.C. around 7 p.m. Tuesday. Hareford was taken into custody without incident, said Lt. Christopher Flanagan.
MacMullet is being evaluated by medical staff and will be interviewed by police. She may return home tonight.
Hug your kids, people. That is all I have to say.
UPDATE DECEMBER 5th 2012
I have decided to update this post yet again. Why? Because of something I read in Main Line Media News where the father of this girl named Thomas MacMullett is quoted. I find it all disturbing.
First of all, the father apparently ALSO spoke to this kid outside his home. Did he know the creepster was there for his kid? If he did, why didn’t he call the police THEN?
But what really got to me was reading where the father remarks that Savanna’s older sister took off with a 28-year-old guy when she was 14? I am sorry, but does that make the proverbial hair on the back anyone else’s neck go up ? Am I missing something where 13 and 14 year old girls routinely take off with 20 and 28-year-old guys respectively or is this a GIANT red flag that something might be wrong at home?
I am glad this girl is home safely. It could have ended quite differently. But does the story end there with that guy being arrested or was this really a girl running away with the wrong person because something isn’t right at home?
I am trying not to be all judgey here, but you read the article and decide for yourselves:
RADNOR — A missing 13-year-old township girl was found in Washington, D.C., traveling on an inexpensive Megabus with a Virginia man authorities believe she met online, possibly Facebook.
Shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday, a team of township and county detectives were on their way to escort Savanna MacMullett back to Delaware County…The teen, who was last seen when she left her home at 4 p.m. on Monday, was described to be in good condition but would undergo a medical evaluation making the return trip and reuniting with her family…..With MacMullett’s whereabouts no longer a mystery, the focus now turns to the relationship with Hareford….According to authorities, Savanna MacMullett left her home in the Garrett Hill section of the township at 4 p.m. on Monday and was believed to be in the company of Hareford. The teen left the house after telling her grandmother she was going to the library.
Flanagan said Hareford was questioned by police outside MacMullet’s house Sunday night, when an officer on patrol thought he looked suspicious. Thomas MacMullett, Savanna’s father, said he, too, spoke to Hareford outside his home….Thomas MacMullett said earlier Tuesday that he was “very afraid” for his daughter’s safety.
“Just the fact that she is not home,” he said.
According to her father, Savanna created a Facebook account exclusively for her and Hareford.
Thomas MacMullett said he found Hareford’s interest in a 13-year-old girl “disgusting.”…Thomas MacMullett mentioned an incident involving Savanna’s older sister, who was 14 when she went off with a 28-year-old man, to New Jersey. At the time, he said Savanna was angry with her sister for her behavior
Yesterday was the 225th anniversary of the United States Constitution. Truly, the bible of our freedoms was signed on September 17, 1787. Yesterday a friend of mine had to defend her honor as a free woman of the United States of America.
Why is it Tredyffrin feels it is above the very principles upon which this country was founded? How ironic is that considering as a municipality they hold within their borders part of one of the most sacred sites of the American Revolution and of our history? You know, Valley Forge?
What truths do we really hold to be self-evident? In Tredyffrin, quite frankly, I shudder to think.
I am astounded at the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors President Michelle Kichline. She danced around the subject of Vice President of the Board of Supervisors John P. DiBuonaventuro turning Tredyffrin’s taxpayer-funded website into TMZ.com. And I am still somewhat astounded that exiting Tredyffrin Township Manager Mimi Gleason went along with this whole enchilada, including a personal attack by an elected official on Pattye Benson who gives so much to her community. And as a blogger, I have been in Pattye’s position. I have been threatened, as have other bloggers I know. And time and again I ask for what? Having an opinion that runs contrary to the party line of some petty local government or selective government officials? Was People’s Republic of Tredyffrin Supervisor DiBuonaventuro channelling his inner Corbett? (Remember when Corbett went after bloggers before becoming governor? I wrote about that topic in *shock and horrors* Main Line Media News and it is reprinted below.)
I was thinking today about my balloon ride on 9/11, and how I was moved to tears by not only what the day represents (and it has extra meaning to me as someone who by happenstance walked out of the shopping concourse in the World Trade Center in 1993 just as the garage blew up), but moved by the beautiful green field dotted with a couple hundred first responders from all over Chester County who came together on 9/11. Then I thought about what my friend Pattye had to bravely do last night. She stood up and disclosed to all (see YouTube) that because of Lettergate she received a very odd phone call last week – from the departing Township Manager and Chief of Police. What was the point of that? Intimidation? I can’t help but wonder if I will also become a target because I have blogged about this? (This is not my first rodeo, and when horrible things like this happen it seems again that ordinary citizens have hit upon subjects government doesn’t want aired in public, right?)
When you think of what our founding fathers fought and died for, and what all those people (including first responders) died for on 9/11, I am so truly and deeply saddened and angered that Tredyffrin Township seems to think this is all o.k. and don’t you feel the same?
It’s not. Today, we as bloggers in the South Eastern PA blogosphere applaud Pattye Benson for rising above and speaking her piece in a dignified and forthright manner. She behaved far better than any in government (either elected official or township employee) deserve. Tredyffrin owes her, Main Line Media News, and anyone who exercises their First Amendment Rights an apology.
And as a municipality which is Republican dominated,
they are not exactly forwarding the cause of their party or their party’s political belief system. (As a Republican I am ashamed and embarrassed for them) I am so over bullying by government. (IMHO it doesn’t just happen in Tredyffrin either) I mean think about it people! Pattye Benson was in fact cyber-bullied by government officials and township officials. Cyber-bullied, the thing they worry about in schools and here it is adults in power not exactly practicing what they preach, right?
….The regular Board of Supervisor’s meeting ended with supervisor and citizen new matters. Chairman Michelle Kichline read a statement from the Board of Supervisors concerning the use of the township website for John DiBuonaventuro’s letter to the citizens. Although a personal attack on a private citizen, Kichline stood by the decision to post his letter on township letterhead on the website. She did say that the board will look into developing a policy for the use of the website going forward. As the private citizen who was the target of DiBuonaventuro’s venomous attack, Kichline and the Board of Supervisors response was far from satisfactory.
Following Kichline’s statement on the Suzy Pratowski matter and the use of the township website for a supervisor’s personal letter, Andrea Felkins, a former School Board director and longtime resident , presented a lengthy statement in opposition. Felkins was absolute in her conviction against DiBuonaventuro’s use of the township website for his personal attack on me and of Community Matters…Below is the transcript of my statement from last night’s September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting:
Pattye Benson Personal Statement September 17, 2012
Members of the Board of Supervisors and citizens of Tredyffrin Township – I had not intended to speak tonight, preferring to listen to other’s voices. But something happened this past Friday, that has shaken me to my very core. At approximately 9:40 AM on Friday, September 14, I received a joint phone call from township manager Mimi Gleason and Police Superintendent Tony Giaimo that has forever changed who I am. In life’s journey, this is my watershed moment and a feeling that I will never forget.
Unable to shake how I was feeling, after 24 hours, I wrote the following email to Mimi Gleason and copied Michelle Kichline, chair of the Board of Supervisors.
Let me share that September 15 email with you.
Dear Ms. Gleason,
There are two reasons that I am writing this email (1) to state that as a citizen of Tredyffrin Township, I now feel threatened and harassed by our government and (2) to request that you never contact me again, unless it is with a written apology for your actions.
I have thought of little else since receiving your phone call yesterday, Friday, September 14. As a township resident, to be blindsided with a conference call from the township manager and the police superintendent was more than a little intimidating; I have to wonder how often you have taken a similar approach with other citizens in this community. The telephone conversation left me wondering exactly what was the purpose of the call and why did you involve Tony Giaimo except as a witness or possibly to record the phone conversation. Although there was no mention made of the call being recorded, Tony did state he was in his police vehicle, so am I to assume that the telephone conversation was recorded without my knowledge.
Between the historic house tour, the Paoli Blues Fest and personal health issues, I do not have the time or energy for your directives, missives or whatever else was the intention of your phone call or of your email dated September 7. On September 7, I emailed you the following simple question:
“Who is responsible for Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter on the township website? Was placing the letter on the website sanctioned by you, the township manager?”
The only response that my question required was a simple, yes or no, with the possible addition that the chair of the Board of Supervisors and the township solicitor had OK’d the letter for the township website. However, no, you decided on a different response, one that was not required, not needed and not necessary. Frankly, as a citizen and taxpayer in this township, your response was one that I believe you should never have sent. When I received your email, I made no response.
Your call yesterday revisited the opinion you stated in your September 7 email to me; again complaining that Community Matters contained misinformation and incorrect facts, specifically the assisted living project. However, never once in the conversation did you cite specifics as to what was incorrect. As a response to your complaints about the Suzy Pratowski matter, I stated that the Main Line Media News, TE Patch, Daily Local and the Philadelphia Inquirer had all written articles on the subject. I further stated that there was at least a week after the news articles appeared for the police department, the township or the Board of Supervisors to make a statement before I wrote anything on Community Matters. Residents were asking questions and no one seemed to be providing answers.
As a result of the situation, I did my own mini-investigation, speaking with District Attorney Tom Hogan, District Judge Tom Tartaglio, BOS Chair Michelle Kichline and Police Supt. Giaimo. After a thorough analysis, I presented my own summary statement on Community Matters. I clarified that John DiBuonaventuro was not the unidentified driver with Ms. Pratowski in the May 28 incident, as a photo in the newspapers may have implied. In my summary, I stated that DiBuonaventuro was interviewed by the police and that the police were satisfied that he was not in any way involved with the two police officers not appearing for the August 21 court date. I wrapped the summary up and tied a ribbon on it, stating that the two police officers missing the hearing was a human error, a mistake. I also thanked those involved (Hogan, Tartaglio, Kichline and Giaimo) for their help and used the words that I was ‘closing the chapter’. Little did I know, what was to happen … DiBuonaventuro’s letter, your involvement with the letter on the website, your September 7 email and most recently, your telephone call of September 14.
Feeling threatened by your phone call, I remarked at one point during the conversation that I should have an attorney on the call. I stated to you and Giaimo that as a resident of this township, I have rights, and as a citizen of the United States, I have rights, including 1st Amendment rights. I believe that our government does not have the right to harass and intimidate those citizens it serves to protect. I am not an attorney but I cannot imagine that your actions of yesterday (or your email) would be viewed favorably by the courts. Further, I cannot imagine that you would have considered making a similar phone call to Main Line Media News, TE Patch or the Philadelphia Inquirer nor would you have dare taken this approach with an attorney who might understand the legal implications of your actions far better than me.
Supt. Giaimo asked what I would like to see happen going forward – my response was a denouncement from the Board of Supervisors for the letter going on the website and an apology from the township manager. It should be noted that I quickly also stated that I did not expect either of those two things to happen.
It saddens me greatly that you were compelled to bring Tony into this matter. He and I have enjoyed a good working relationship over the last several years, including the blues festival and the house tour. Was your motive to damage my relationship with him, or was it to record the conversation? It is entirely unclear why you involved the police superintendent, except to further intimidate me.
In case you are not aware, your phone call was so upsetting, that I immediately called Michelle Kichline, chair of the Board of Supervisors to report the conversation. You suggested that I was ‘mistaken’ when I suggested that Ms. Kichline had not seen Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter before it was posted on the website. For the record, Ms. Kichline again confirmed that she had not seen the actual letter before it went on the website; I guess you are the one who is mistaken.
In closing, your intimidating actions have contributed to my feeling harassed and threatened by some in our local government. I ask that you not contact me again, unless it is with a written apology. For the record, I believe that John Petersen is also owed an apology from you, for the words, “so-called legal expert has no expertise …” contained in your Sept 7 email to me.
Sincerely, Pattye Benson
This is the end of my email to Ms. Gleason but I have a few closing remarks.
The great irony is that today is this country’s Constitution Day. Two hundred and twenty five years ago, on September 17, 1787, forty-two of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting. Only one item of business occupied the agenda that day, to sign the Constitution of the United States of America. Our founding fathers fought and died for our freedom, and I am left wondering if what is going on in this township is what they would have intended.
In closing, I am but one person, but I believe that I represent a far greater community.
Can we question our government?
Do we dare to have an opinion?
I believe that ALL our voices matter.
There is nothing subjective about the First Amendment and any of our other inalienable rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
Will Pennsylvanians soon be looking forward to a new slogan for the Commonwealth? How will “Welcome to the People’s Republic of Pennsylvania” roll off the tongue? I don’t think it will dance as nicely as “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania” somehow. Nor should it.
What has my wanton blogging soul all a-twitter (pardon the pun)? News which went viral across Pennsylvania as well as the country: Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett, upholder of truth, justice and the American way in Pennsylvania as attorney general, issued a grand-jury subpoena to Twitter to unmask a couple of anonymous bloggers who weren’t part of his fan club.
Yes, that’s what I said, “Huh?” Apparently these two bloggers are known on Twitter by the handles of @bfbarbie and @CasaBlancaPA and they have been criticizing Mr. Corbett. OK, well, it’s 140 characters or less, right? He’s a tough-guy politician, right? So why the thin skin? Surely Mr. Corbett has faced tougher criticism from opposing candidate Dan Onorato? In today’s world, who hasn’t criticized a politician? Over dinner, in the editorial page, at the grocery store, in a public meeting, on a blog, on some other form of social media? It’s an American tradition as old as this great nation for goodness’ sake!
This is so confoundingly perplexing on so many levels that this issue has even prompted a comment from Paul Alan Levy, a litigator with the Public Citizen Litigation Group. Mr. Levy commented in part on Mr. Corbett’s decision to sue the federal government to try to block the new health-care bill as being too invasive in citizens’ lives. Like Mr. Levy, I have to wonder: what is so different about this?
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was written to protect things like free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press. It says literally:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
So how does this work with politicians again? Are we as human beings supposed to blindly follow where all lead? Are we only supposed to agree with politicians, never disagree? I’m sorry; did I fall asleep and wake up down the rabbit hole with Alice in Wonderland or something?
Is Tom Corbett the new Henry VIII of Pennsylvania? “Off with their heads” and all that? Instead of priest holes, will we all soon have blogger holes in our houses and an underground railroad to move bloggers from safe house to safe house to avoid the AG’s guards?
Are bloggers all now criminals and outlaws for expressing our opinions about elected officials and those seeking not only local but higher state and even federal-level office? If some of the most famous founding fathers were alive today would they be in jeopardy as well for scribbling broadsheets under pseudonyms? You know, like Benjamin Franklin or John Adams or Thomas Paine?
Seriously, what century are we living in? What’s next? Resurrection of the Scarlet Letter? Only this time it is a “B” for Blogger? Stocks? Pillories? Being paraded through the proverbial town square in chains?
This is a man who wants us to consider him for governor, right? So how many people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania blog or use some form of social media to express themselves? And should elected officials use their office as a bully pulpit to squash all critics like bugs? What is it about politicians? You can write about them as long as it’s good news or they can control the content? That is what their publicists are for, I thought.
If the First Amendment rights of these bloggers were or are in peril, can it be considered that so could be the First Amendment rights of every American from coast to coast?
Given the now undeniable symbiotic relationship between the media and bloggers, one would hope the media would pay close attention to this story as it unfolds and at its conclusion. After all, the media get a lot of information from blogs and bloggers (“citizen journalists”), they can’t deny it, and so in theory if the First Amendment rights of bloggers are challenged thusly, the press is next.
Media reports indicate that by Friday, May 21, 2010, Mr. Corbett was just having a bad day and is pulling his subpoena. It is a good thing that Mr. Corbett has done the right thing, but it still gives all of us pause for thought, doesn’t it?
Pennsylvanians of all political persuasions indeed have a lot to think of come November 2010.
I guess in November 2012 and every election going forward until Tredyffrin residents have more fairly representative government people will have something to think about, huh? They can try to quell our voices, but like our votes, they are our own, are they not?
A member of the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors this week injected himself into the recent dust up over why police officers failed to show up for a court hearing in a public intoxication and disorderly conduct case involving a township zoning and hearing board member.
The letter was in response to an issue that was first brought to light two weeks ago on Main Line Media News’ website. The article sought to find out why the police failed to show up to a summary court hearing regarding the arrest of a member of the Tredyffrin Township Zoning and Hearing Board.
Suzanne Pratowski had been arrested in May 2012 on public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges. The hearing date was scheduled for Aug. 21. However, the police failed to show up for the hearing and as a result the charges were essentially tossed out.
In the letter signed by DiBuonaventuro, the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors vice-chairman said that Main Line Media News suggested that he was the unnamed designated driver in the car when Pratowski was arrested. DiBuonaventuro’s name was never mentioned in the article.
An undated file photo showing Pratowski and DiBuonaventuro, along with six other people, was posted along with the article. The photo was taken by Main Line Media News at a social event in October 2011. DiBuonaventuro stated in his letter that “the MLSL internet-based story accompanied by the picture left the reader with the obvious implication that the driver was me. It was not.”
In his letter, DiBuonaventuro states that he had a relationship with Pratowski that lasted a little over a year and ended in November of 2011.
DiBuonaventuro also used the letter to suggest that a local blogger, Pattye Benson, has been trying to discredit the local government through her website, Community Matters. DiBuonaventuro said the site “[A]ppear[s] to be an on-going effort to discredit our government and its efforts to serve the citizens by creating and fostering an environment of conspiracy and mistrust among its limited readership,” the letter reads in part…..DiBuonaventuro went on to raise other questions about bloggers and what he calls “anonymous commentators.”
“I also question if they (bloggers) would have the fortitude and stamina to engage in a one-on-one campaign for elected office let along serve in a position with little or no pay, full responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens they serve, and with appears to offer nothing more than continuous ridicule in return,” according to the letter.
Township supervisors have control over local taxes, development and a host of other issues that have a direct effect on the lives of residents, businesses and visitors to a particular municipality.
DiBuonaventuro did not return e-mails seeking comment and clarification of the issues he raised in the letter.
A posting on Tredyffrin Township’s official FaceBook page seems to agree with the assertion that DiBuonaventuro has been defamed in some way. The posting was in response to a question raised by [Chester County] resident and blogger Carla Zambelli when she asked “is this letter attacking a private citizen and local media outlets currently posted on your site an official government sanctioned release?”
The response to her question was posted by Tredyffrin Township Manager Mimi Gleason.
“It is unusual to post a statement from an individual Supervisor, but given the inaccurate and derogatory statements and innuendo publicly made about John DiBuonaventuro, the Township Manager approved the posting of Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter on the Township website. In this case, he was the subject of baseless public speculation simply because he is a Tredyffrin Supervisor. The circumstances justified the use of the website to publicly defend him, carrying with it the implicit endorsement of the Township to the accuracy of his statements. The Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and the Township Solicitor agreed that it was appropriate for the letter to go on the website,” the posting reads…However, Police Supt. Anthony Giaimo and Board President Michelle H. Kichline have not returned phone calls or e-mails this week regarding the issue.
For more on The Peoples Republic of Tredyffrin read Pattye Benson’s blog Community Matters. If you have FiOs and depending on where you live in Chester and Delaware counties, some of you may be able to watch Tredyffrin’s next Board of Supervisors meeting on Verizon Channel 24. If you live in Tredyffrin, get thee to a meeting!
The next Board of Supervisors Meeting as per Tredyffrin’s website appears to be Monday, September 17 in something called Keene Hall in Tredyffrin Township at 7:30 p.m. Show up and speak out for Pattye and for yourselves. If you are very good and very lucky, maybe they will post another letter on how horrible residents are?
Local governments like this only have the power you allow them to have. It is time for Tredyffrin to change. And your Board of Supervisors President Michelle H. Kichline has some explaining to do, does she not? And is her surly vice chair just supposed to keep on bullying residents and potentially anyone who disagrees with him?