chester county spca continues to be in the news…

ccspcaI mean what can I say?  I am incredulous. While we sat in court, another damning article came out on the Chester County SPCA.  Now every time an article comes out, the CCPCA and supporters cry foul.  Only thing is this reporter always does her homework.

And when I was talking about the Chester County SPCA not sending anyone to the Argus and Fiona case in court the past two days (my personal opinion is they are afraid they will be questioned by reporters), this woman named Kris Keffer from York of all places rolled up on this blog in a comment and says how I am unprofessional and have a vendetta against the Chester County SPCA. Apparently she has lots to do with the Chester County SPCA.

I don’t know how she would judge from professional, her opinions on my blogging talents are par for the course when people disagree with my perspective, but I am not going to have someone tell me I have a vendetta against the Chester County SPCA.  One of my best dogs ever came from the Chester County SPCA.

I am appalled and disturbed and quite frankly upset at all the bad things that keep getting unearthed about an organization I never, ever thought would have these issues.  But they do.

My opinion (if you care) is there is a top down rottenness going on that would be solved by booting the president of the board and the board members he controls, getting the staff hired that they need, and getting back the good volunteers who felt they had to leave.

I also feel if the supporters of the SPCA don’t get a grip and deal with these issues a beloved institution may eventually cease to exist and how will that serve homeless pets and the community?  Deal with the issues, quit saying they don’t exist.  If they didn’t exist there would be nothing for the media to report on!

I am not out there personally destroying the Chester County SPCA but even I have heard things the past year that were most distressing.  And that freaks me out because you can’t help but worry what would they do if they picked up your pet given what is going on?

And the part-time veterinarian stuff leaves me distinctly uncomfortable.  Chester County is literally blessed with some of the best veterinarians in the country. Maybe if the SPCA was run a little differently they could attract some of these vets?

Mari Schaeffer is a very fine reporter and an outstanding human being.  She is doing her job reporting the news.  It’s a damn shame no one at the Chester County SPCA can apparently do theirs right now. This article is profoundly disturbing.  And it is just not possible that all of this is just “made up”.

Any board member that won’t step up, should step off the board.  And that includes Conrad Muhly.

Here is Mari’s article (please go to and read whole thing – there are also photos):

Treatment at Chesco SPCA raises questions

Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer  Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Current and former staff and volunteers and a board member at the Chester  County SPCA said recently that they had reported mistreatment and neglect of  animals to shelter officials, but that their accounts were ignored or not  addressed seriously.

Conrad Muhly, the board president, and other board members declined requests  for comment on the allegations.

The shelter has defended its performance. “Our staff and volunteers will  continue to devote all our efforts to the compassionate care of the animals in  our open-access shelter, where no animal in need is turned away,” SPCA spokesman  Richard Britton wrote in an e-mailed statement…..In June, Mona, a bulldog mix prone to painful ear infections that became  worse while at the shelter, was euthanized after she tired to bite a staff  member, said Leslie Celia, a former volunteer.

Last year, a pit bull puppy was found to be sick, and a “huge amount of  blood” was seen in her wire cage. The staff, concerned the dog had parvovirus,  recommended the dog receive outside care and be monitored overnight. The memo  was unclear as to whether the dog received veterinary care on the night in  question.

“The dog was left at the shelter alone and died that night,” a letter from  staff members to the board said.

Petey, a shelter ambassador with the “Dogs on Tour” program, became sick with  worms and was isolated in a feces-infested quarantine room for more than three  weeks. With little human interaction, he was labeled aggressive and euthanized,  volunteer Kenneth Schmidt wrote in a letter to the board last year.




justice for argus & fiona: pilotti trial day 1

argus and fiona

I now understand why reporters say sometimes what they see in a court room haunts them.  I will be haunted a long time by the crime scene photos which were shown of the slain Bernese Mountain Dog puppies Argus & Fiona.

The  scene photos (I am not a police officer so I don’t know what  to call them), were not intentionally gruesome, they were what they were. (We saw a photo of the shotgun too.  It was not one that repeats, either, which means the buck shot had to deliberately reloaded, correct?) There seemed to be some sort of quiet sidebar conversation as in jury and audience could not hear) before the audience, judge, and jury saw the photos.  I am thinking it had to do with the photos – but I don’t know for sure.

The photos – Argus lay there on the ground like he was shot in mid-flight.  He seemed to be facing away from us.  Then there was the photo of the female puppy Fiona. This photo made me cry (several things made me tear up this afternoon- so much was so hard to hear)  it was so heart and gut wrenchingly awful.  Fiona was curled in a semi fetal position staring at the camera with lifeless eyes. That is the photo I will see in my head for a long time it is so awful.

But back to the beginning.  Three papers were there: Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily Local and Brandywine News Media.  There were Argus and Fiona friends and family and supporters on one side and Gabe Pilotti had a mish mosh of people on his side.  I never saw the man in person before today so I have no way of knowing who was family and who might have been church folk. I will note that whomever they are had minor children with them, who were in the room when the photos of the shot up dogs were displayed.  Not to judge, but would you have wanted your children to see that? The smiling Pilotti from the mug shot was not present today.

Ramsey, Pilotti’s attorney referred to a “media campaign” over this issue.  He seemed to make a lot of referrals to the Justice for Argus and Fiona Facebook Page and obliquely this blog (or in my opinion that is what it was) like we were all bad people for talking about this.  Judge Nagle seemed to shut this commentary down on several occasions as being somewhat irrelevant to the case at hand.

Pilotti’s attorney was somewhat brutal with the Bocks.  But that is a defense attorney doing their job I suppose.  I do think the defense attorney was unnecessarily hard on Mary Bock in particular – asked her something like did she have remorse over the whole incident.  My personal opinion was that asking something like that was gratuitously nasty.  She was practically in tears having to relive parts of that awful day as it was.

Pilotti’s attorney seemed to make a big deal out of these neighbors of Pilotti’s that the Bocks used to be friendly with – people named Dallas and Kelley Definbaugh.  I wonder, are those the people holding Pilotti’s gun?  Anyway, it is not like it is some dirty secret.  The couples used to be friendly, more from the wives knowing each other and kids being in same sections of classes at school.  But that changed. The kids moved on into different groups and classes at school and the wives don’t hang out any more.  So what?  Do you keep in close contact with people with whom you no longer share any meaningful commonality? I don’t.

I wouldn’t know the Definbaugh people if I fell on them, and am just getting to know the Bocks, so I can only go with my gut.  I like the Bocks.  They are honorable people who experienced something so horrible.  And when you see the photos of those dead puppies from that day and hear about how they were moved in a front end loader or a tractor or something to the township building the day they were shot, well let me tell you, you get a much more clear picture of how these people have suffered.

Remember this news report?

I also did not get why Pilotti’s attorney kept bringing up a letter that Mary Bock wrote to her neighbors after her dogs were shot. I mean get real, there are tons of kids out there and tons of people with dogs.  If she wanted to tell her neighbors is that so wrong?

And Pilotti’s attorney wants to make a big deal out of this blog?  I did not drive his client to shoot those dogs.  And I am not condoning violence against his client, only like hundreds of others out there hoping for justice and a strengthening of Pennsylvania dog laws.

Today we heard from Officer Russell from West Vincent Police Department.  He was the first on the scene and apparently present later when Pilotti was interviewed by police. He seems like a totally honorable and stand up guy.  He also seems to be some sort of authority on fire arms and he spoke with some intelligence about the gun used – a 20 gauge single shot non repeating shot-gun with 9 pellet buck shot if I have it correctly.

Officer Russell recounted that fateful February day calmly with some degree of detail. He remarked that at the time (as in day of shooting) he found Pilotti’s answers “vague”. (his verbiage) . He reported that on the day of the shooting in front of the Police Chief he asked Pilotti for a written statement to assist in the investigation. He stated that Pilotti in his opinion seemed hesitant to do so, but eventually went back to his garage and sat down and compiled a “list”. Officer Russell also described seeing the dogs.  He reported that Argus took a fairly direct hit to the head and the dog’s head was “kind of blown apart.” He described Fiona’s position (that I saw in the photos) and the blood coming out of her mouth and I believe he said on her paws.  I will admit the photo of her so disturbed me that I could not get past the quasi fetal position and lifeless eyes staring at the camera.

District Attorney Tom Hogan appeared in court to watch for a while at approximately 3:45 p.m.  That made people sit up and take notice – he is a busy guy so you know he can’t audit every court proceeding.  I was thankful for his presence.

I stayed until just before the defense was going to cross-examine Officer Russell.  People in the court room said that got out of hand.  I remember before I left Officer Russell stating that they wanted to talk to Pilotti again because “something did not seem right.”

Pilotti’s attorney at one point referred to when Pilotti had shot dogs before, but West Vincent locals told me that those dogs were shot on a neighbors property because the neighbor’s animals were being mauled and is that not the truth?  So that was something different from when Argus and Fiona were shot, huh?

And I have to ask (bearing in mind my limited knowledge of buck shot) but if  Argus and Fiona were actually pursuing sheep why is it the audience and jury didn’t hear about injured sheep? Or see photos of bloodied sheep or dead sheep? I ask because as buck shot was explained today to everyone in that courtroom it sort of spreads or sprays out, right?

Watching the face of the jury all afternoon was quite interesting.  That is all I will say on that.

Court continues tomorrow at the Criminal Justice Center in Downtown West Chester, PA.  I strongly urge dog lovers to attend if possible. The Bock family and the memory of these puppies deserve our support in a peaceful way as an extended community.  It is a public proceeding and the courtroom is open, not closed. You can go to all or part of tomorrow.  Parking is not expensive in the new garage, either. You just park, go through the court screening and ask to be directed to Judge Nagle’s court (7th floor room 8 off the top of my head)

Today was deeply disturbing and very emotional. But I am glad I went. It makes me even more resolute than ever that dog laws need to change.

And here is some of the media coverage:

Trial begins for 73-year-old accused of killing neighbor’s dogs
Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer 

Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013, 4:54 PM

In a case that outraged animal-rights activists and generated national  attention, a trial began Monday for a Chester County man charged with killing  his neighbor’s dogs because he believed they posed a threat to his sheep.

Gabriel Pilotti, 73, of Chester Springs, was charged with cruelty to animals  for shooting the two Bernese mountain dogs — 2-year-old Angus and 1-year-old  Fiona — after they had escaped the fenced yard of their owners, Mary and  William Bock….In his opening statement, Kevin Pierce, assistant district attorney said  Pilotti willfully and maliciously killed the two dogs in cold blood and then  left a voice message for a neighbor bragging about the incident……Argus was shot in the head as he  trotted up toward Pilotti and that Fiona was shot as she ran away. Pilotti did  not try to yell at the dogs or chase them away with a broom, he said.

“He choose to go to the most extreme measure first,” said Pierce.

Also noteworthy?  The Chester County SPCA which is currently under fire in Chester County and beyond did NOT bother to show up today.  I found that extraordinarily cowardly.  They should have put the other stuff aside and shown up for the dogs.  Good thing no one was depending on them for anything.

Here is the Daily Local:

Daily Local: Motives differ as trial starts in dog shooting case

WEST CHESTER – Gabriel Pilotti, the 73-year-old West Vincent resident on trial for shooting two dogs that wandered onto his property, was portrayed in two different lights Monday as his case opened in the Chester County Justice Center.

To the prosecutor, Pilotti was a trigger happy man who shot first and asked no questions – taking the matter of dogs in his pasture to the “most extreme measure” by killing the two dogs without provocation.

“This is a simple case of a cold blooded killing of two family pets,” Assistant District Attorney Kevin Pierce told the nine women and three men on the jury in Senior Judge Ronald Nagle’s courtroom. He said the defendant “mowed down” one of the dogs as he “moseyed” toward him, and then reloaded his shotgun and shot and killed the second, younger dog as it ran from the yard.

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

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

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.

the bell “tolls” for thee, chester county

With apologies to John Donne, the poem reference just popped into my head.

I find it somewhat ironic that I just posted within the past few days a post cautioning about allowing Chester County to be swallowed by rampant development . And well here we are, with a story in The Daily Local about one of the kings of plastic houses, Toll Brothers.

The long and short of it is, now I know what that itty bitty zoning notice was about on Little Connestoga Road that I saw within the past few months.

How saddened am I by this news?  A lot, actually.  Among other things, although I don’t know Chester County really well yet, I think this is proposed rather close to the Byers Station Historic District. This is all being proposed in Upper Uwchlan, a municipality I know nothing about.

I am pretty sure when the hot air balloons landed on 9/11, they landed within a Toll Development – maybe even Byers Station.  It was a very Welcome to Stepford feeling with rows and rows of houses exactly the same.  From the air, they looked like Lego buildings.  The field we landed on had something to do with the development’s septic.  I don’t know much about this stuff, but that was what I was told when I asked why everything had a wafting odor of rotten eggs – you know that icky sulphur smell?

Anyway, I am very troubled by all this development.  Not just because once open space and agricultural-use land is gone, it’s gone, but also because Chester County is so very beautiful.

I don’t like plastic houses.  I don’t think developers should be allowed to continue to contort Chester County into a series of homogeneous plastic communities with no spirit, no soul, zero individuality.

Here’s the article I found today.  Below it is a very interesting one from the Inquirer in 1987 which talks about the Frame property now in play….when it was a cattle farm and they were worried about then proposed plastic house developments causing the farm to flood.

Again, this is all happening in Upper Uwchlan Township.  I guess Upper Uwchlan sees its future as being composed of 100% recycled plastic material?  Will they be substituting grass for Astroturf too?

When is enough development enough in Chester County? Where do communities draw the line?  What do you think about development in Chester County, especially in this economy?

What happens here is bog turtles are discovered? (And by all means, if you have seen bog turtles around here, by all means speak up!)

And based upon the article I found in the archives of the Philadelphia Inquirer, when did this Frame family go from their position back then of concern about development, to becoming part of the problem?

Toll Bros. wants to build 67 new homes

Sara Mosqueda-Fernandez

09/21/2012 – 11:55 AM EDT  Updated 09/21/2012 – 7:28 AM EDT

UPPER UWCHLAN – The Toll Brothers company is currently seeking a conditional use approval from township supervisors in their attempt to construct 67 new single-family homes on the Frame Property.

The conditional use would include use of the Flexible Open Space Design Option, and placing improvements within steep slopes to construct the dwellings.  The proposed site for the construction is located along Little Conestoga Road.

The hearings, which have occupied three supervisor meetings and remain ongoing, have addressed wastewater treatment, traffic planning and design, recreational space.

With the proposed houses within service area of the Route 100 wastewater treatment plant, Toll has proposed use of the plant and disposal in their existing field sites at the Reserve at Eagle, Byers Station, and Ewing subdivisions….

John Snook, a professional land planner at the Brandywine Conservancy, was hired to consult for the township regarding Toll’s proposed plans.

Snook said that there are a few significant concerns that he hopes will be addressed through conditions that the township might impose on the developers, such as replanting vegetation in some areas to strengthen riparian buffers.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service previously requested a study to determine whether bog turtles inhabit the area, which has yet to be accomplished.  Snook said that wetlands in the northern and eastern tracts of the property were characteristic of habitats that typically harbor bog turtles, which are protected under the U.S. Federal Endangered Species Act.  Should bog turtles be found, the commonwealth would institute greater constraints on the development project.

Plan For 183 Townhouse Units Is Presented To Commissioners

March 15, 1987|By Wendy Walker, Special to The Inquirer

Developer Phil Davies of Kimberton has presented a plan for Eagle Falls, a proposed 183-townhouse subdivision, to the Upper Uwchlan Planning Commission.

The 31-acre tract borders Little Conestoga Road and Route 100 and is zoned for townhouse development. At Thursday night’s meeting, Davies said the townhouses would be built in clusters of four, five and six units and would be divided into three “villages,” each with its own residents association.

The developer said that the main entrance to the tract would be on Little Conestoga Road opposite Buckingham Drive. A road would run through the site to a shopping center planned for property owned by Frances Funderwhite on Park Road, Davies said…..

In other business, farmer Robert Frame Sr. and his son, Robert Frame Jr., told planners that a 49-house development proposed by Bernard Hankin Builders of Exton would flood Frame’s 103-acre cattle farm on Little Conestoga Road.

“I know every inch of that land. I’ve farmed it for years and years, and it’s a bad situation,” the elder Frame said.

“Pop’s right,” said his son, who is a lawyer and a member of the Planning Commission.

The Frames said that they also were concerned that future residents could use chemicals on their lawns, which could pollute the farm’s water and poison the cattle.

“What’s going to happen when we have animals that are all four legs in the air?” the younger Frame asked the planners. “Who’s going to take the responsibility?”

need to know HOW you can use gilmore’s gift certificates up?

Yellow Springs Inn

So many were *shocked* when Gilmore’s in West Chester closed.  I will note, however, that some of their real people reviews had been slipping.    And I never got how Peter Gilmore was quoted on his website as saying “I didn’t intend Gilmore’s to be a destination restaurant, I wanted it to be a comfortable family restaurant.”

I had positive dining experiences at Gilmore’s, but I will admit I did not dig how restrictive it was as far as the seatings and the plate sharing fee was obnoxious.  It was not, however, not family casual. Ever.

It is sad that they are closed, but many were left with unused gift certificates. (And I know a place to use those gift certificates and gift cards not yet posted anywhere else!)  West Chester Dish has a post about this and the fabulous Michael Klein of the Philadelphia Inquirer had this to say in his Insider column:

Have a Gilmore’s gift certificate?

……And now it seems as if anyone holding a gift certificate to Gilmore’s  restaurant is out of luck.

The restaurant closed after dinner July 14.

On July 16, owner Peter Gilmore told me that he decided to close the  restaurant only days before because he had grown tired and wanted to “go out on  top.”

On July 18, he notified customers of the closing in an email that concluded:  “If you have any inquiries, please send them in writing to: Gilmore’s  Restaurant, 133 East Gay Street, West Chester, PA  19380.”

On July 20, I spoke to him about gift certificates and he told me that John  Brandt-Lee, who owns Avalon in the borough, would honor them at 50 percent of  face value. But, I replied, if you’re going to give refunds, why would anyone  take up Brandt-Lee’s generous offer?

Gilmore said he would proceed on his attorney’s suggestions.

In the last 10 days, Gilmore has not returned subsequent calls and emails.  People have posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page to inquire about gift  certificates; there’s been no response.

Those with gift certificates are indeed owed money, but if history is any  guide, they’re better off using their card as an ice scraper this winter.

When a restaurateur truly cares about his customers, he announces a closing  well in advance  – much as Gilmore’s former longtime boss, Georges Perrier,  did. Give those with gift cards a chance to use them. Bask in the glow a  little.


Sadly it seems that perhaps Gilmore’s is yet another victim of the current economy, doesn’t it?  Even more sad is the playing dodge ball about gift certificates or gift cards. And Chef Gilmore remarked in his final interview with West Chester Dish :

“We’ve loved working in West Chester, it’s a great town, it’s been a great run. It’s time to make a change in lifestyle. For now, I’ll be sitting by the pool drinking a scotch and soda deciding what move I want. Who knows what will happen in the future,”

Considering the apparent gift card/gift certificate debacle, that comment is a definite ouchie now. Yikes.

However, fear not.  I know where you can use the Gilmore’s gift cards that will give you an awesome meal and memorable experience.

Give up?


Yellow Springs Inn located at 1657 Art School Road, Chester Springs, Pennsylvania 19425  ( phone (610) 827-7477 )  is accepting the gift cards and gift certificates which are unused at 50% of their original face value.

A little birdie told me about this, so I did phone Chef – Owner Charlie Orlando to verify this personally.   Charlie verified that YES Yellow Springs Inn would like the former patrons of Gilmore’s in West Chester to know that if you have any gift certificates from Gilmore’s you would like to use and not waste, Yellow Springs Inn is happy to accept those gift certificates at 50% of their original value.

Yellow Springs Inn is open Wednesday through Saturday 5 pm to 9:30 p.m.  They have a Facebook page now too.  They also offer catering services.

Yellow Springs can do what Gilmore’s never could: they can be BOTH a destination and a comfortable family restaurant.  I would not suggest insulting Chef or staff by showing up in a ripped t-shirt and jean shorts, but you can come comfortably attired and enjoy a wonderful evening on the porch or in one of their dining rooms.  Yellow Springs Inn is BYOB.

If you enjoyed dining at Gilmore’s, you will love Yellow Springs Inn.  And truthfully, I think Charlie Orlando is a better chef.  And the historic village in which the Yellow Springs Inn sits is also amazing!

No disrespect to other restaurants offering to use Gilmore’s gift cards, but if I were you I would use those gift cards or gift certificates up at Yellow Springs Inn.

Tell Yellow Springs Inn you read about this on Chester County Ramblings.


eat fresh, buy local

Neighbors Main Line/  

Posted: Tue, Jul. 3, 2012, 7:28  PM

Eat locally: Farm fresh fruits and veggies from your own  ZIP code

By Carla J. Zambelli

Seasons evoke memories.  Summer evokes hot days and a slice of juicy  watermelon, slightly warm from being recently picked; juice trickling down your  chin from a local peach; mouth blue from blueberries; fresh picked tomatoes  waiting for a salad.  In addition to the many taste delights of fresh local  produce, many are finding plenty of other reasons to put locally grown produce  and other items on their tables.


The current economy is pushing people to look for alternatives to the  increasingly enormous supermarket chains. In addition, food that is locally  produced is not only fresher, but often less expensive because it doesn’t travel  great distances to get to market.


People are also growing increasingly aware of the effects of chemicals and  pesticides, which also causes people to seek alternative food sources. There is  something to be said for being able to check out who is producing the food you  put on your table.  Ever notice the increasing number of those little “Buy Fresh  Buy Local” bumper stickers? The website is a wonderful  way to do some exploring of all the varied local alternatives – it’s also not  just produce any more.


If you grow it yourself you can choose to be pesticide free, and many of  these farmers and producers at these local markets also strive to pay attention  to pesticides and chemicals, and in many cases are truly organic growers.  (Organic growers go through a certification process and you can learn more about  it and even find farms on


Many have also chosen to start growing their own food in addition to  patronizing local farms and markets.


Community gardens and local farm markets  are also community builders. These days, we often don’t have time for our  neighbors, and farmers’ markets and community gardens are old-fashioned  throwbacks to a simpler time. Given the popularity of markets and community  gardens, many people seem to like the healthier ways of eating and  socializing.

Read more by clicking HERE 

And of all the super coolness possible with this byline, it is also over on the main news stack under food.  My byline right up near Craig LeBan.  Who woulda’ thunk it?  I love to write, and this is some amazing validation.  And I am thrilled to be able to write about things I love!

does penndot CARE about all the accidents on route 202 near boot road?

A couple of days ago, on June 16th a woman was killed on Route 202 near Boot Road.:

Crash kills woman, closes Rt 202 for 9 hours

June 16, 2012|Breaking News Desk

An overnight crash involving a box truck and a car has left a 25-year-old woman dead and closed the southbound lanes of Route 202 near the 30 Bypass in Chester County for nine hours today, reopening only after the morning rush hour ended.


The crash occurred about 1 a.m. on the highway near Boot Road in West Whiteland Township.

A 25-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene of that accident.

Today, the accident involved a pregnant woman in a hit and run, trapped in her car.

Pregnant Woman Victim in Rt. 202 Hit-and-Run

Police want to talk to the driver of the SUV that fled the scene and to any witnesses

By   Karen Araiza NBC10
|  Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012  |  Updated 9:34 PM EDT

A pregnant woman is the victim in Tuesday’s hit-and-run accident on Route 202 in West Goshen Township, Chester County, Pa.

The accident happened at noon on the Northbound side of the highway near Boot Road.

The victim’s SUV rolled over after hitting a guide rail and she had to be extricated from her car. She was taken to Paoli Hospital. Police told NBC10 the woman is 7-months pregnant.

I first saw this accident news on the Daily Local’s website and felt nauseous when I read:

Police said emergency crews arrived at the scene to find the pregnant driver of a 2004 Honda CR-V trapped in her vehicle, which had rolled following a collision with a guard rail.


Members of the Goshen Fire Company cut the roof off the vehicle to free the driver…Police said witnesses saw a white SUV entering the CR-V’s lane just prior to the crash, causing the driver to swerve suddenly to avoid a collision. The driver of the white SUV briefly pulled off the shoulder after the CR-V crashed, but then left the scene.


Police did not provide the name of the victim.


The Westtown-East Goshen Police Department is attempting to locate the driver of the white SUV, who can contact police at 610-692-5100. Any witnesses who saw the accident are also asked to contact police.


A pregnant woman could have lost her baby today.

I don’t like Route 202.  I don’t like how games are played with highway repairs on Route 202.  I don’t like the GIANT digital billboard along 202 in Westtown.

But what I don’t like even more are the stretches of 202 that are constant and chronic accident zones.  And the one I hate the most is the cattle chute that runs by Boot Road.

There are too many accidents.

Since I became a Chester County resident, I feel like all I hear about are accidents on this stretch of Route 202. In fair weather and foul.  During the day and at night.

So why are there all these accidents?  Is it just there are THAT many awful drivers? Or should the design and design flaws of a PennDOT responsible road be considered?

One of the things I love about PennDOT is if you have ever driven up to Harrisburg, you should check out their glowing edifices to themselves.  PennDOT seems to spare no expense for their offices and buildings up around the state capital.  Yet, they never seem to make many of our roads quite as safe as they should be.

I think this stretch of Route 202 is one of those stretches of road, PennDOT needs to look at.  Our highway system is multifaceted and multi-flawed.  Many roads have outlived their original engineering design because there are just that many more cars on the road – the best example around here for that would be Schyulkill Expressway.

Incidentally, I just discovered the name of the woman killed on 202 near Boot on June 16th.  Her name was Meghan McGuire of Berwyn.

It’s time to make PennDOT look at this section of road.   There are just too many accidents in this one particular stretch.

And please, if you were on 202 today and saw this accident and have any information on the driver who hit and ran, please call the police.  That mama to be and her baby deserve better than they got today.  Who is the State Senator around here?  Is it Andrew Dinniman?

Thanks for stopping by.





yes, they should be “shmacked”

The word of the week is SHMACKED.  Which loosely translated is so wasted you are super dumb and useless.

Fallout from student drinking, drug video continues for Lower Merion

Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012   By Richard Ilgenfritz

Lower Merion school officials say the parents of all the students who have been identified in the now infamous video appearing to show local teens drinking and using drugs have been contacted.
Tuesday, Lower Merion officials learned about the video posted on YouTube that shows several students appearing to drink from bottles of alcohol and smoking from a bong. Late Tuesday, Lower Merion officials released a letter informing the community about the video. The letter stated that local police had also viewed the tape.
“At this point it’s in the hands of parents and law enforcement,” said Doug Young, school district spokesman

So Lower Merion School District has literally been the school for scandal for a few years now.  Evil spying laptop cameras, busing, budget, politics, costs of expansion of the high schools, pick a topic.

How does this matter in Chester County?

It matters because of this Shmacked Movement that they found themselves ensnared in could be any area.  There is this project by Arya Toufanian, 19, of Potomac, Md and  Jeffrie “Yofray” Ray, a 2011 graduate of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, PA .  In a nutshell it is like girls gone wild for the college party scene.

That in and of itself is bad enough, but then what brought this all home to the eyes of school and law enforcement officials was the purported video featuring high school students.  High school students.  That’s nuts.

I was sent the letter LMSD officials sent out by a friend with teens in one of the LMSD high schools:

From: “Lower Merion School District” <> Date: Feb 21, 2012 9:19 PM Subject: Important Letter to Harriton and Lower Merion Parents To: [REDACTED]

Dear Parents/Guardians:
Earlier today, we learned about a company that posts YouTube videos of high school and college students engaged in apparent underage drinking and illegal drug use. One of the videos included footage of current and former LMSD high school students. Though the video is no longer online, we had an opportunity to view it and it was shared with local law enforcement.

The activities depicted in the video are reprehensible and cause for great concern. They include binge drinking, marijuana use, substance-induced violence and several dangerous situations involving drugs and alcohol in vehicles. Though all of the activities occur off campus, and the film appears to have been recorded last summer, it is critical that there are swift and appropriate consequences. Where we have the authority and power to act and respond, we will. We are in the process of notifying parents of students that appear in the video and will do so by Thursday afternoon. We ask for continued parental support in conveying the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse.
Additionally, we remind you that there are extensive resources available in our community to address substance abuse issues and addiction. While this information is always shared directly with families whose children are involved in specific incidents, we encourage you to contact your child’s school counselor or any member of the LMSD health services team at (610) 645-1829 for confidential guidance and support if you have any concerns or questions.
The video also serves as a reminder that whether or not your child is engaging in harmful and illegal activities, there may still be significant consequences for attending events where such activities occur. In this age of social media and immediate electronic communication, video and/or photographic images often do not distinguish the “innocent” from the “guilty.” Students that participate in school sports or other competitive activities may face a team suspension even if they haven’t had a sip of beer, but are found to have been “in the room” at a party where alcohol is served.  On the line are college acceptances, scholarships and personal reputation. It’s simply not worth the risk.
We trust this troubling incident will serve as a valuable learning experience for our students and families. Our staff is available to support you should you need assistance or guidance in discussing this matter with your child. As you know, our primary concern is ensuring the safety and well-being of all students. We appreciate your ongoing support and dedication to this effort.
Steven Kline Principal, Harriton High School
Sean Hughes Principal, Lower Merion High School

So over on the SAC site a lot of the comments are concentrated on whether or not the school district should be involved or not.  Some comments even talk about Montgomery County convening a grand jury, which is a ludicrous thought in my opinion and how would that even happen?

As a matter of fact, all the back and forth all over the web misses the point:  that regardless of the fact that we were all (or a good portion of us)  young and dumb once, this takes young and dumb to a new level that does bump it up a notch into possibly more dangerous territory because all these kids are being filmed.

I am sure that these budding party documentary dudes are having people sign releases, but seriously what did they think was going to happen if they did this with high school students too?   And face it, these budding entrepreneurs are looking for a pay-day off this, which is fine, but don’t they get that no matter how they try to justify this, that this is really not the best idea?

So the high school video disappeared and the e-mails came out from the creators says the videos are all innocence and light and not real anything.  My eyes are rolling.

I am kind of surprised that kids’ parents are o.k. with this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more kids from this area aren’t caught up in this on various college campuses.  And the thing is this, when these kids get a little older, how do they think graduate schools and potential employers are going to view these actions caught on tape?  See that is the thing of it, they aren’t partying like rock stars on the down low when it lands on video.  It will last time in memorium.

And let’s talk about the behavior.  Like it or not, it is risky. What happens if a kid gets hurt?  Gets alcohol poisoning?  Causes a deadly accident because they got in a car wasted and more?

Do I sound like an old fart?  Am I becoming my mother?  Well let me tell you, thanks to the fact that my parents were involved in what we did in high school and actually parented, I am alive to write this post today.  No, I wasn’t Sister Popularity when my parents called to see if alcohol was being served at a party, but now as an adult I can say I would rather have had that in the long run than parents so worried about aging, not being cool, and being their kids friends first and parents last, or just ignoring their kids for others to worry about that they got messed up in crap like this.  Because face it, this is all cool to these kids now, but ask them again in 10 or 20 years and I bet the response might be different.

When I was in high school I remember something in the local paper about a kid at a party out around Berwyn (or somewhere around that area) that ran over another kid passed out on the road at a high school party – they thought the kid was a pile of leaves.  Flash forward to the years just post college.  A woman I knew who was bright and beautiful starting a fabulous career used to get a little too shmacked with great regularity.  One night some of us took away her keys and asked a bartender to NOT give them back.  Somehow she got them back and she wrapped herself around a tree on I believe if memory serves, on Darby Road in Haverford Township.  In an instant she became not only severely mentally challenged with little or no recall of anything or anyone after a certain point, but a quadriplegic as well.

So don’t tell me there are no consequences to being shmacked.  No matter what generation we are, we know it happens. And maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s hip to be square.  I think what these kids are doing is stupid on any number of levels, and parents that support this have rocks in their heads.  There is way too much that could go wrong here, and eventually I think it will. And these kids who created this?  They are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame.

A selection of media stories are below.  What are your thoughts? My ultimate thoughts is this is not ok.  It’s dumb, dangerous, and risky.  Would I have done this at that age? Hell, no.

Founder of controversial video showing L. Merion teens partying wants to discuss it, but school officials decline

February 24, 2012|By Bonnie L. Cook and Ashley Nguyen, Inquirer Staff Writers

The founder of I’m Shmacked, the enterprise that posted a controversial video online of Lower Merion teens partying, says he wants to “hash it out” on live TV with school district officials who objected to the post.

Arya Toufanian, 19, of Potomac, Md., defended his business Thursday, saying he “was not at all upset about Lower Merion complaining.”

School spokesman Doug Young declined to be drawn into any debate with Toufanian.

“Our focus is on the safety and well-being of our students,” Young said, “and that’s the bottom line.”

NBC10: Lower Merion Students Filmed Drinking, Doing Drugs/Lower Merion School District officials say they saw students drinking and using drugs on a YouTube video series called “I’m Shmacked.”

By  Teresa Masterson
|  Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012  |  Updated 4:59 PM EST

Current and former Lower Merion School District students have been seen allegedly drinking alcohol and using drugs in YouTube videos posted online, district officials told parents this week.

The alleged underage drinking and drug use was on a YouTube video series called “I’m Shmacked.” The Twitter and Facebook pages promoting the movie called “I’m Shmacked” describe the project as a film “documenting the experience of a weekend at 20 of the best and biggest universities around the United States intertwined with a book and a Web site being pitched to major publishers and studios.”

chester county news: disgusting on two fronts

Both of these articles just skeeve me out.  It makes one question one’s faith in human kind.

Posted: Tue, Feb. 21, 2012, 8:51 PM 

No jail for Chesco woman accused of selling horses for slaughter


HARRISBURG – A Chester County woman accused of selling thoroughbreds for slaughter after promising to put them up for adoption will avoid prison by agreeing to enter a first-offender program.

Kelsey Lefever, 24, of Honeybrook, abruptly waived her preliminary hearing on four counts of theft by deception Tuesday in a Dauphin County district court. Prosecutors withdrew a fifth charge, that she had engaged in deceptive business practices…..

Lefever was charged last November after a state police investigation found she had sold four retired racehorses to an individual contracted by a slaughter plant in Quebec after having promised the horses’ previous owners she would retrain the horses and find them new homes, according to police documents.

One of the owners, Kevin Patterson, told an investigator that he gave his racehorse, a five-year-old thoroughbred named Beau Jaques, to Lefever with the understanding that the horse – which had suffered a career-ending injury – would be rehabilitated and placed for adoption. He also gave her $200 and 10 bags of feed to help care for the horse until it had a permanent home.

Lefever, who promoted herself at racetracks as a horse rescuer, assured Patterson that she never sent horses to slaughter, authorities said. They said Patterson later learned that Beau Jaques had been sold to a “kill buyer” outside the New Holland auction in Lancaster County.

Posted: Tue, Feb. 21, 2012, 7:18 PM  Are Chester County occultists into dog sacrifices?    BY VINNY VELLA Philadelphia Daily News  215-854-5926

 When it comes to pagan religions like Voodoo, Santeria and Palo Mayombe, sacrificing and eating chickens, goats and other livestock is no big deal.’

“It’s virtually the same thing as having Easter Sunday dinner, only you’re killing and preparing the animal yourself instead of buying it,” said Eric Lee, co-owner of Mystickal Tymes, an occult store in New Hope.

But it seems that some occultists in Chester County might have taken their celebration too far. According to evidence found by the county’s SPCA, their menu may have included dog, a big no-no in the animal-sacrificing community.

Chester County SPCA spokesperson Rich Britton said that investigators found knives, books on witchcraft and skulls that appeared to be canine in the freezer and kitchen of a home in Caln Township Monday night.