hump day havoc: patch does mass layoffs

patchfiredCan you still call it AOL Patch?  I am not sure because they mostly sold out to an entity called Hale Global recently as per the Wall Street Journal.

USA Today said on January 15th:

AOL Inc. effectively abandoned its ambitious strategy of reinventing hyper-local news when it agreed Wednesday to sell a majority stake in the Patch website network to technology investment firm Hale Global.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed. The companies anticipate closing the deal in the first quarter.

The deal is touted as a joint venture between AOL and Hale Global, which says it specializes in turning around underperforming businesses…..

Hale Global and AOL say Patch will be relaunched as a place for contributors and businesses to create “locally-themed news and content.” ….”We are committed to bringing users, local businesses, writers and advertisers together into a Patch experience full of innovation and growth,” said Charles Hale, CEO of Hale Global, in a statement.

Well corporate raiders, acquirers, whatever you want to call them never seem to follow through on the warm and fuzzy moments do they?  With them and underperforming assets it is all about business. And the bottom line.

Well as of today all of our local Patch sites are kind of over.   The web pages are up but this morning AOL Patch did mass layoffs.  It is all over social media and the news is slowly trickling to traditional media.  It is “off with their heads” Wednesday.

Romenesko has covered it the best thus far.  He has a recording of “Hello You are Fired”

Part of what was said (courtesy of Romanesko):

Hi everyone, it’s  Leigh Zarelli Lewis. Patch is being restructured in connection with the creation of the joint venture with Hale Global…..Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated and you will no longer have a role at Patch and today will be your last day of employment with the company

Romanesko writes:

I’m told that hundreds — two tipsters claim two-thirds of the editorial staff — have been laid off by Patch’s new owner, Hale Global…

“The patch years were years of being aol’s tool and plaything. Killed myself, almost literally. Left with literally nothing. Better off dead.”

“I was a local editor for Patch for 3.5 years, up until about an hour ago. ….We knew it was coming, but the silence from New York over the few months was deafening. They left us in a state of suspended animation. For those of us who killed ourselves working for this company, it was a real slap in the face.”

I have many friends who worked with Patch since it’s inception.  Some were traditional journalists and writers by trade. People like Tom Walsh, who is now the Public Information Officer of Lower Merion Township. Or  former Managing Editor of Main Line Media News, Tom Murray and Sam Strike from the now defunct Suburban and Wayne Times, Tom Sunnergren, Anthony Leone. And more.

Heck, when Patch was in its embryo stage I was a freelancer for photos and occasional articles for mostly Ardmore Patch.

I have been critical of Patch in the past couple of years.  It had gone from being this wonderful hub of hyper-local news to a mish mosh of spelling and grammatical errors with very little emphasis on what was happening in the communities it was covering.  But yet, there were Patch sites that continued to stand out – locally Malvern Patch until Pete Kennedy left, Phoenixville Patch, Tredyffrin-Easttown PatchEast Hampton Patch and Radnor Patch.

If I had to pick my favorite it would have been Radnor Patch, where Sam Strike was editor.  She is a friend and I have always loved her writing and photography skills.

If I had to pick a golden time for a lot of the local Patch sites, it would have been when Tom Murray was a Regional Editor.  A real newspaper guy, he really taught me how to write when I used to contribute to then Main Line Life Newspaper.

But this morning for my remaining friends at Patch like Sam Strike it was “hello, you must be going, you are fired.”

Sam Strike wasn’t the only fine Patch person who got the axe today.  Bob Byrne of Tredyffrin Patch and it looks like West Chester Patch and Malvern Patch and the list goes on. Basically if you go to Patch, click on the editor’s hyper link. It goes to an “oops there is nothing here” page. That is how I am counting up who is gone from our region.

I have been in touch with some of the Patch people I knew today.  Tom Sunnergren who now writes  for places like ESPN.com and hibu (you know those Malvern Life and similar “Life” magazines we get in the mail now once in a while?) and I spoke this afternoon for a few minutes.

Tom said he left Patch  in August 2013 for a new position and when he thought he saw the final handwriting start to appear on the wall. He told me he believes all the Patch editors in our region is gone. He said enjoyed his experience at Patch, they gave it the “college try”.  He remarked towards the end of his tenure there was a period of mixed directives that was hard on editors.

We spoke about Patch being almost a social experiment after a fashion.  He remarked it would serve as a cautionary tale to the next group that tried this hyper-local formula.

Not to armchair quarterback but at first Patch had too many sites and tons of people working for them.  Then they kept cutting people but not consolidating Patch areas to keep up with the layoffs.  First they were right there with your hyper-local news reporting on local issues from local meetings.  Then they were not covering the news but telling you  that you could blog on Patch “for free”.

The Patch sites around here operated under a mushy soft news umbrella after Tom Murray left  the Regional Editor spot for another job.

Sam Strike now former editor of Radnor Patch sent a note out to her e-mail list this afternoon:

Date: Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Subject: It’s been a pleasure

Hi all,

I wanted to let you know that it has been a pleasure working with you all over the years (some many, some few). Today Patch laid off the majority of its staff, myself included.

I’ve been doing local news in Radnor for a decade. And I’ve enjoyed it. But I think it’s time for a new challenge.

I have been and will continue to be pursuing work in the public relations/communications sector. I would appreciate any leads that you may encounter.

My Patch email will be shut down at 5 p.m. today

I was also in touch with Anthony Leone today.  He used to be a Patch editor I worked with at the Haverford-Havertown Patch. Anthony always had an uphill battle while at that Patch and so did every subsequent editor because it wasn’t just the Havertown/Haverford Township Patch. They also tossed in the town I used to live in when I lived in Lower Merion: Haverford.

Haverford, Lower Merion Township should have been attached to Bryn Mawr or Ardmore Patch but only the local editors ever got that.  Anyway, I asked Anthony what he thought and this is what he shared with me:

While it is a shame that this happened to so many of my former Patch colleagues, some of whom I have worked with personally, it is not a surprise. I do wish them the best of luck. One of the wonderful things that I have discovered since I left Patch in July 2012 is the fact that so many former Patchers are still in contact with one another and offer support.

Since I left Patch, I’ve written a lot about it on my blog What Burns My Bacon, but I thought in the beginning that they were filling a true community need, something that the readers really wanted. But over time decisions were made and it started to have a negative impact on Patch and its readers. I just hope someone can take the best parts of Patch, fix the things that were wrong with it and make something that will employ journalists and give readers what they truly desire: Original, local news.

So now what?  What is the future of journalism? Regionally and locally our newspapers have had to keep cutting back while beefing up on things like new technology and an online presence.

Years ago I had the good fortune to become aware of a blogger named Karl Martino who was one of the folks who thought up this amazing blog, a blog community really, called PhillyFuture.org which is now defunct.  One of his topics there was the future of journalism.  I wish I still had those posts he and others wrote. (he still blogs at paradox1x.)

Journalism was so different when many of us were little kids.  Real newspaper people and hard-core editors chasing the story.

Then came the failures.

I remember the first time The Philadelphia Bulletin closed. 1982.  Then the name was bought and it was resurrected for a second life. Then it died again in June 2009. It became deficit omne quod nasciture or everything that is born passes away.

Patch was launched in our area on or about September 10, 2010.  One of their editors wrote at the time:

“Want the facts without bias? A team of trained journalists covering every government meeting, every school board hearing and keeping the community abreast of local events? A brand new online newspaper launching Sept. 10, 2010 in Ardmore.  Patch.com is owned and funded by AOL, supports community journalism on a “hyperlocal” level.  Patch will cover all of the goings on in its three namesake communities, and will be updated multiple times every day with breaking news and information. “

The initial Patch sites in the greater Philadelphia area went “live” at 10:55 a.m. on September 10, 2010.   The Patch editors were ironically all fired by that time today.

Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News wrote an interesting article about the future of journalism on Attytood this past October 16th.

He said in the article titled Like it or not, this is the future of American journalism  :

I think we’re seeing that since actual civic-minded good-for-you news and investigative reporting  — propped up for more than a century by department store ads, classifieds and crossword puzzles — has zero economic value in the digital free market, there’s only one thing that will keep it alive. And it’s not really what those hundreds of journalism reform articles I read over all those years were about — things like reader engagement and crowdsourcing and using social media (although those things matter).

It’s really just about very rich people.

And not just any very rich people, but very rich people with an agenda.

Given the state of politics and craziness that has defined the rise and fall and rise and fall and rise again of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News I am almost surprised he was able to articulate much of this particular piece.

But is he wrong? Sadly, I think not.

Who will be our voices in Chester County now?   We get some coverage on TV if too many people in Philadelphia aren’t being murdered or politicians aren’t causing scandal.  But as far as local news, we don’t have much coverage by the Philadelphia Inquirer (they jettisoned their Chester County bureau a few years ago), and the Daily Local and Main Line Media News are stretched thin.

Will we be our own voices? We have all but run out of our traditional real-time story tellers A/K/A reporters and editors.

Not surprisingly most major media outlets like the New York Times are now starting to report on the Patch editorial massacre today.  They all are saying that neither AOL Patch nor new owner Hale Global would comment on the layoffs.

Interestingly enough according to Fox News a Patch that survived with editor intact apparently is Greenwich Patch.  As in Greenwich, CT. Why? Because Tim Armstrong (AOL) lives there basically. Fox reports that AOL still owns 40% of Patch.

To now former Radnor Patch Editor Sam Strike and Tredyffrin-Easttown and lately Phoenixville Patch Editor Bob Byrne I wanted to say thank you. They were among the last editors standing until today that I really respected.  They are true journalists and are people of integrity.

My friend and former editor  (as well as Patch Regional Editor) Tom Murray said to me today “Very sad day when journalist and friends lose their jobs.”

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

What is the future of media? Journalism?

how patch responds to criticism: the delete button?

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

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

10331056035_183a40bba2_b

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

what does AOL Patch actually cover?

malvern patchChester County is a big place.  Not all areas of Chester County have much media coverage at all.  I am going to zoom into where news matters most to me: the areas of West Chester and Malvern.  I am also going to zoom in on one “media” outlet in particular: AOL Patch, the self-decried innovators of “hyper-local news”. (And FYI there are many all over the country critical of Patch.)

When I first started reading Malvern and West Chester Patch a couple of years ago I was impressed. They were actually living up to AOL Patch’s mission statement or whatever of covering local issues important to residents, in other words they were actually doing hyper-local news coverage. At that time they had a terrific regional editor and hard-working individual site editors.

What has evolved to present day is somewhat disappointing. Quite a few changes in individual site editors and a regional editor who sees big news as things like what the best diaper is. Not that diapers aren’t important to moms everywhere, but are they hyper- local newsworthy?

Malvern and West Chester is a fairly large area to cover with multiple municipalities representing zip codes 19380 and 19355. I want to acknowledge that up front. But it seems to me that news in West Chester and Malvern is not being covered and that is not good.

Many Municipalities out here in these two zip codes do not have any televised meetings even if they could if they wanted to. So we depend on local and hyper-local media for coverage. And I don’t see this gap coverage on Patch. What I see is a lot of fluff and things re-posted from other Patch sites that are not necessarily newsworthy.

What do you think of Malvern and West Chester Patch and the current editor who is covering both sites?

Are you disappointed in Malvern Patch and West Chester Patch?

I am.

There is a lot going on out here, and while no media outlet can cover everything, in my humble opinion they should be covering a fair representation of news in the communities under the “Malvern” and “West Chester” umbrellas.

What was the impetus of this post? Not just one thing, but a culmination of many things.

Take for example a recent article from Abington Patch cross-posted in Malvern Patch on September 16th titled Forty-Six Parishes Under Archdiocese Scrutiny. This article was basically a republication of a Philadelphia Inquirer report.  Furthermore, Patch references affected parishes in Bucks, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.  Not one word about CHESTER County, so what was the point of putting this on Malvern Patch?

And then there is the STILL uncorrected spelling error in an obituary headline.  I wrote about that on September 18th I found it so sloppy and disrespectful to whomever the deceased was.

There are many other examples I could cite as disappointing, but I won’t. You all get where I am going.

west chester patch

Do you think Patch has lost its way?

What do you want to see coverage of?

My list includes (but is not limited to) coverage of local meetings and issues facing residents, information on candidates for upcoming elections, real coverage of local businesses, meaningful profiles of residents doing terrific things, and coverage of local sports that is not borrowed or regurgitated from other sources.

It would also be helpful to see our local Patch editor out and about covering some things, because as it stands I do not see where this guy has actually visited our communities. And face it, if you are going to cover us in a hyper-local manner you have to get out and explore. And face it, Chester County has a lot of cool things to cover in addition to local government and other issues which may not be considered so positive.

At the end of the day, I would like to see Patch in Malvern and West Chester to once again cover where we live. They have employees being paid to do this, right?  Why can’t they cover the area like Radnor and Tredyffrin Patch sites do?  And if AOL Patch has changed and will no longer be covering where we live, it would helpful if they just said so.

Also to consider is what is the future of journalism? Once upon a time we thought it might be AOL Patch.

Thanks for listening.

media advisory: justice for argus & fiona trial set for jury selection monday, sept. 9

argus-and-fionaIt’s to be a very dog-centric week on this blog, apparently. The day of justice is nigh.  We received word via the Bock family this morning that jury selection begins Monday, September 9th:

announce

This odyssey began for me on February 19th when I saw a cross-post about these puppies who were shot on a friend’s Facebook page.

Then I heard this:

Since February we have suffered the ups and downs of this case with the Bock family.  We have rallied and supported the family as a community.  And as a community of Chester County residents and dog lovers it is time to come together PEACEABLY and show our support for the Bock family and in a  PEACEABLE manner express our hopes for justice.  We need justice so the family has closure.

pilottiThat does NOT mean going anywhere near Gabe Pilotti, unless you don’t want him to face a judge and jury of his peers and be held accountable? Unless you want him to become the victim in this tragedy in place of the true victims: the Bock family and two deceased Bernese Mountain Dog puppies.

Here is the docket: CP-15-CR-0001099-2013  – that is a fluid web-based docket, so you can also follow it online.

Justice for Argus & Fiona can be considered a necessary component or step in reforming dog laws can’t it?

The Chester County Courthouse is in downtown West Chester, PA. Consult the court’s website for directions.

west chester growers market at risk! help save the market!

marketAs shocking as it may sound, the Borough of West Chester might do something exceedingly dumb and horrible where the West Chester Growers Market is concerned.  The buzz around Chester County is that they are purportedly considering selling the lot that the market calls home!!!

How dumb is that?

I have been busy and was playing catch up with e-mail when I all but fell out of my chair last night.  I had received an e-mail from Melissa at Applied Climatology LLC – I buy plants from her at the West Chester Growers Market.  Here is what the e-mail said:

Hello Garden Club members!

We received some very concerning news last Friday.  If you are already on the West Chester Growers Market mailing list, then you may have already received this news via the market newsletter.

The borough of West Chester is entertaining offers for the sale of the parking lot where we hold our market each Saturday morning.

I’ve attached a copy of the official letter that the market vendors have composed for you, our valued customers.

Letter_to_the_Public

We hope you will consider writing to your local representatives to let them know what the market means to you. Even if you live outside of the borough, please consider writing these officials, as they need to hear from all of our loyal customers.  The borough website in the attached letter will provide you with both email addresses as well as a general mailing address.

If you are as concerned about the market’s longevity as we are, please contact the borough as soon as possible.

We are grateful for all of your support – past, present and future!

Thank you very much for your time

wc1

Seriously??  Could the Borough Council and Mayor of West Chester be such whores that they would render homeless one of the BEST things about the town of West Chester in fair weather months?  Would they really jettison the Grande Dame of local farmers markets? The market that inspired so many OTHER markets?

fresh veggies

With all the emphasis on eat local, buy local (you know that little thing called the localvore movement) why would West Chester Borough be so dumb?  Is all the borough wants to be known for something like that college party turned riot from last weekend?

The West Chester Growers Market has been a goodwill ambassador and champion of downtown West Chester since before there was a Business Improvement District isn’t that correct?  Speaking of the West Chester BID, what do they have to say? Are they ALSO that dumb that they would be behind a decision that if made would take feet off the street in a town they are supposed to promote and support businesses in?

jam

For Sale, Free, or Trade Chester County has posted a petition on Change.org.  Please consider signing it and sending it along to everyone you know.

This is what the petition letter says:

To: Carolyn Comitta, Mayor Holly Brown, West Chester Borough Council Member Cassandra Jones, West Chester Borough Council Member Charles Christy, West Chester Borough Council Member Jordan Norley, West Chester Borough Council Member Thomas Paxson, West Chester Borough Council Member Stephen Shinn, West Chester Borough Council Member John Manion, West Chester Borough Council Member Staff, Borough of West Chester

Keep The West Chester Grower’s Market at Church & Chestnut Street!
We, the residents in Chester County, would like to ask for your consideration in keeping the West Chester Grower’s Market at it’s current location.  The possible development no matter how high of a dollar figure can’t replace the community out reach that this market has created and sustained for 19 years.
Keep The West Chester Grower’s Market at Church & Chestnut Street!
We, the residents in Chester County, would like to ask for your consideration in keeping the West Chester Grower’s Market at it’s current location.  The possible development no matter how high of a dollar figure can’t replace the community out reach that this market has created and sustained for 19 years.
As residents and fellow business owners, we ask you to sincerely think about our community. The Grower’s Market brings not only families and locals to West Chester, but it brings residents from all over Chester County.  These residents then stroll the streets and patronize the local businesses around the Market.  Local West Chester neighbors have found a sense of community on that lot like no other.
We ask you to reconsider this decision.  When making the decision, think of how many businesses have not be able to sustain and have had to cave to the economy and close in West Chester over the past 19 years, and then think about what it takes to keep something going for 19 years in a town, the West Chester Grower’s Market has pulled it off!  Please do not stop them from Growing!

Sincerely, [Your name]

West Chester Does is also talking about this.  “Market Faces Possibility of Losing it’s Place in the Community” and they provide a link to West Chester Borough’s public officials contact information.  I like to go to the top so let’s start with the mayor:

Carolyn T. Comitta, Mayor

115 S. Brandywine Street
Tel: (610) 692-6521
ccomitta@west-chester.com
Term to expire 2014

I don’t feel like putting up every e-mail as I am a little pressed for time, but go to the web page where you get contact informationContact the borough council members and the Mayor. Sign the petition.  You can politely remind them that a fair number of them are up in 2014. To me it is never too early to start election issues if they are thinking about things as dumb as getting rid of the farmers market.

people

I have to ask is West Chester Borough really poor or something?  They can’t afford to keep this parking lot?  Or are they just that greedy and short-sighted?

I also would like to know what developer wants this lot.  They should be contacted too.  Is this a developer who has also bought up a lot of land in the borough or a new Johnny Jump Up?

Do you all know that some of this market’s vendors do good things like participate in the Pennsyvania Farmers Market Nutrition Program? This program, the  Pennsylvania Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) distributes checks to eligible seniors and Women, Infants & Children (WIC). These checks can be used at participating farm markets and roadside stands to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables which are grown (or are growable) in Pennsylvania.

This market is also about community, and no developer sucking up to a bunch of politicians can really create that except in the false, made for marketing material sense.

Please help save the market!  If you tweet try a hash tag like #SaveTheWCGrowersMkt

Together we can save this market.  It is a shame someone couldn’t buy the lot from the borough and give the market a 99 year lease or something, right?

The other alternative is if you own land this market could move to close to this lot with parking, please step forward.  The easiest and most properly right thing is for West Chester Borough to sit down and leave the farmers market and that parking lot  alone, but in case that doesn’t happen, it would be good to have alternatives that  could save this awesome market.

Thanks for stopping by. it’s a sin truly the way politics can potentially ruin a good thing and tradition like this…..

more market


unacceptable behavior

west chesterThe West Chester University students involved in what erupted into a near riot this past weekend and included terrifying innocent people and destroying private property should be expelled.  Period.

The behavior exhibited this past weekend is quite simply put: unacceptable. Who wants that kind of behavior and activity occurring in our county seat only blocks from the Chester County Courthouse? No one.

And if this whole debacle can indeed be tracked back to those “I’m Shmacked” people, here’s hoping the District Attorney is a little bit  proactive and finds a way legally to deal with this and hold all accountable who should be held accountable.

In February 2012 I ironically wrote a post about this whole shmacked stupidity. At that point in time the organization “I’m Shmacked” came up in connection with a startling series of events at Lower Merion High School. I had said (at the time) that this was germane to folks in Chester County because basically this nonsense could occur anywhere. I wasn’t trying to be psychic, it is just common sense and here we are.

This Shmacked Movement is this project by Arya Toufanian, 20 (?), 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.

So if “I’m Shmacked” is behind this, enough is enough.  What happened over the weekend in the Borough of West Chester could have resulted in serious injuries and even someone getting seriously hurt or killed.

West Chester University needs to do more here than  say they will hold students accountable under their honor code or whatever.  Those students who are responsible need to be ejected.  West Chester Borough has worked too hard to fix up that town and make it attractive to more than those searching for a good kegger. It is admirable that the University is cooperating with police, but they need to do as much as possible to see that nothing like this ever happens again.  And quite frankly, unless students responsible get permanently booted from the University who is to say it won’t happen again?

I hate to sound like a Purtian, but this is why no one ever wants off campus college students as neighbors.  Let’s get real, no one wants college students to NOT have fun, but fun should not include destroying property and possibly harming others.  And parties like this one which turned into essentially a riot in West Chester will follow these kids for a long, long time.  And I have to ask at the end of the day is one kegger worth possibly ruining your immediate future over? Is the behavior at this party the same kind of behavior these kids would exhibit in their parents’ homes? I sure hope not.

I am not going to go into the whole hazards of binge drinking, violent drunken behavior in some, or drunk driving. We all watch the news and we know the reality there.  Besides, everyone knows when you are the age of most of these college students you feel invincible and untouchable by reality.   Well, they felt untouched by reality…I daresay some of them involved were wishing life was a little less real right now.

Sign me tired of exceedingly stupid and destructive behavior related to alcohol.  I know I am not the only one – read this post on “From The Editor’s Chair”

Here is selected coverage on this – there is so much I can’t capture it all:

The Daily Local:  Motorist describes Walnut Street chaos 

By GINGER RAE DUNBAR gdunbar@dailylocal.com

Posted: Tuesday, 05/07/13 12:01 am

WEST CHESTER — A 1993 graduate of West Chester University who asked to remain anonymous said he may stop donating to the university after witnessing Saturday’s wild party on Walnut Street.

“I used to give on occasion to WCU, but I doubt I will anymore,” he said. “There may be a lot of great students, but I didn’t see much care from the hundreds that were around me on what was happening.”scary

He said he saw the events unravel in the early afternoon as he turned his car into the 400 block of Walnut Street on his way home to East Goshen.

He said he stopped his car and was unable to drive forward with the mass of people in the street. Unsure of what was happening, he said, he was boxed in by all the people surrounding his car.

“It seemed like we (the drivers) might just be there for a bit while the drunk students were milling about,” he said. “It lasted a while with no movement, and then the crowd started to get nasty.”…He said he had heard someone in the crowd say the pole was used to smash a car window. And when he later drove past, he saw a parked car’s window had been broken….In between calls to the 911 dispatcher, he took a photograph. At that point, people were standing on parked cars. While in the center of the crowd, he said, he was “worried if my car was next.”

His 14-year-old daughter was in the car with him, he said, and she was scared, too.

 

Main Line Media News: Police bust up huge beer party near West Chester University; Villanova resident faces charges

By GINGER RAE DUNBAR
and JIM CALLAHAN
Jcallahan@21centurymedia.com

Published: Sunday, May 05, 2013

WEST CHESTER — Frustrated party guests flipped a car onto its side Saturday afternoon after police broke up a beer blast that organizers were warned not to start.  Witnesses said the party was based on a YouTube video called “I’m Shmacked”.

“Booze and education don’t mix,” said West Chester police Lt. William Morris.

Two people were arrested in what Police Chief Scott Bohn described as a “mass disturbance.” In a news release issued Saturday, police classified the incident as a “riot.”….Police said Zachary Geanotes, 19, of Villanova, was charged with riot, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, furnishing alcohol to minors and underage drinking.

Police said Andrew Derr, 19, of Willow Grove, was charged for failure of disorderly persons to disperse, forgery, underage drinking and carrying a false identification card….The West Chester police were assisted by Westtown East Goshen, West Goshen and West Chester University police as the crowd was dispersed.

‘I’m Shmacked’ Behind Chaos in West Chester, Partygoers Say

The production company, co-founded by a Lower Merion graduate, documents wild parties and posts the video online.

ByTom Sunnergren  Email the author 5:22 am

I’m Shmacked,” a production company that specializes in video of teens and college students having wild parties, is being implicated in the near riot that led to a flipped car on S. Walnut Street in West Chester this weekend, Action News reported.

According to Philly.com, “I’m Shmacked” was co-founded by 2011 Lower Merion High School graduate Jeffrie Ray.

NBC10:Caught on Cam: Police Bust Party, Partygoers Flip Over Car

By  Danielle Johnson and  David Chang

|  Monday, May 6, 2013  |  Updated 6:53 PM EDT

Police have arrested three people in connection to a wild West Chester party in which guests flipped a car onto its side.

Police were called to a home in the 400 block of South Walnut Street around 12:42 p.m. Saturday after neighbors complained of loud noise. Police say several college students were among the hundreds of people in attendance.

“We saw a cop come maybe a half hour after it started,” said Andrea Lavish, a West Chester student. “I asked, ‘are you going to shut it down?’ She said, ‘I’m not sure yet,’ and she let it continue. Then about 45 minutes later more cops came and shut it down.”

 

justice for argus & fiona: court date confusion

UPDATE  3.27.13 11:33 a.m:   *UPDATE* Tom Hickey from DogPAC just called.  He says that his sources have told him the hearing is STILL on for Pilotti (Argus & Fiona) 3 pm at 1130 Ridge Rd in Pottstown, PA.  He asks that if you are able to come show support, to please do so in a peacable manner.  No one expects this hearing to last more than five minutes – it will undoubtedly get waived to county court.  But apparently, he does have to appear. This is all we know and what we have been told.

UPDATE 3.27.13 10:08 a.m.:   Greetings – this morning greets everyone who want justice for Argus & Fiona with confusion.  Some sources say Pilotti has waived his hearing so there is nothing today, other sources say everything is moving dates again.  So the long and short of it is, we just don’t know.  We will update when we do.  Sorry to put folks in a holding pattern.  We appreciate your support.

argus-and-fiona

UPDATE 7:40 P.M. (and note this is a moving target so who knows if it will move again or not):

Tom Hickey from DogPAC was kind enough to connect and tell us the hearing date had indeed changed….to TOMORROW. YES ANOTHER CHANGE TOMORROW (Wednesday, March 27th) at 3 p.m . If you can be there to show your support, THANK YOU. You know , they can keep changing it and we will still come, 1130 Ridge Road Pottstown, PA 19465  Justice, Love and Change ~ Argus and Fiona ♥ spread the word!  And VERY important – out of respect to the dogs and the Bock family, if you go tomorrow, PLEASE just bear witness quietly and show support.  No drama or the dogs will lose out. It is my belief this district justice doesn’t want this in his court, but I could be wrong.

EARLIER:

I feel a bit like a puppy chasing it’s tail this morning.  It seems that Justice for Argus & Fiona is not going to be so simple after all. We are hearing that the court date for Commonwealth v. Pilotti has been moved….again….we are hearing 3/28/2013 at 8:30 a.m. (We are waiting for media and other sources to confirm this 100% but that is what a law enforcement source has said.)

If you refer to the official court docket you will see that the date of the hearing in the court room of Magisterial District Judge James V. Deangelo has been moving about like a game of Chinese Checkers.  The original hearing was 3/28/13 at 9 am.  Then it was 4/4/2013 at 9 a.m. and then it was 4/4/2013 at 1 p.m. However on another docket most people never click on called the Public Court Summary is says “Next Action Date: 03/28/2013”

So we now have ANOTHER change that the court will neither confirm or deny: that the trial is BACK to 3/28/2013 or this THURSDAY as in the day before Good Friday and Easter Weekend.

I have to ask why this court date and the times are  moving at such an extraordinary rate.  Is this a ploy on the part of the defense, a/k/a Gabe Pilotti’s lawyer?  Or is it because the District Justice Court in Pottstown  keeps moving the date to avoid a media spotlight and crowds of Justice for Argus & Fiona supporters? Do the officials elected or otherwise in West Vincent have anything to do with this?

I want to remain calm, cool and collected and avoid conspiracy theories, but I have to tell you when you have VERY reliable sources telling you the D.A.’s office in Chester County is telling THEM the date is the 28th of March again or this Thursday as in two days from now, yet when I call out to the court and speak to a lovely woman named Rebecca who asks me how I heard this because (and I quote) “It is not the 28th…nothing formally has been changed…but you can check the docket later.” well it is darn frustrating.

So it seems to me something more is afoot.  I can’t help but think someone is trying to sneak something past everyone AND the poor Bock family who have a right to their day in court for their beloved pets.

Here is the address and phone number of D’Angelo’s court:

Magisterial District Judge:James V. DeAngelo
District Court 15-3-01
1130 Ridge Road
Pottstown, PA 19465-8612

Phone:
610-469-1910
Fax:610-469-1913

Townships of Spring City,
North Coventry, South Coventry, East Coventry, Warwick, East Nantmeal, East Vincent, and West Vincent

The Chester County District Attorney’s office telephone number is (610) 344-6801.  Feel free to call D.A. Tom Hogan’s office and ask what the CORRECT date is and why the date to a simple hearing in a Magisterial District Court is jumping around quite so much.

Regional and local media, you have been so incredibly generous in your coverage of this issue.  We hope you can see all this Tom Foolery over the magically moving court date will encourage you to resume coverage.   After all, will justice be so thorough without the eyes of the region upon her?

Supporters of dog issues please watch the court dockets too.  Apparently it is going to take more than a village to get justice after all.