What's happening in and around Phoenixville, PA.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year


Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2009!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Terrapin Cafe and the Green Room Open on Main Street

Reader Pete also wrote in to tell about a new Cafe that is Open on South Main Street. Terrapin Cafe, located at 6 S. Main Street, offers "a unique culinary experience, with traditional favorites, (usually with twist) and lots of new and exciting options."

They also offer catering services through their sister company, The Green Room, which is located at 22 S. Main. For more information, including menus for both the cafe and the catering services, please see their site at terrapincafe.com.

Thanks to Pete for the head's up.

The Handcrafted Cookie Company Opens on Main Street

Reader Pete wrote in to tell me of a new addition to Main Street. The Handcrafted Cookie Company is an online retailer of "gourmet cookie dough that is inventive, delicious and convenient." Locals can stop by their store at 24 S. Main Street where they sell "baked cookies and other fun indulgences."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!



Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Second Annual Robert Burns Memorial Whisky Tasting

On Friday, January 23rd, the Second Annual Robert Burns Memorial Whisky Tasting will be held at Franklin Commons, 400 Franklin Ave., Phoenixville. The tasting, which started last year, will once again be emceed by Riannon Walsh, world-renowned expert on single malt whisky.

From an email I received last week:

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Riannon Walsh, world-renowned expert on single malt whisky, will return for our Second Annual Robert Burns Memorial Whisky Tasting on Friday, January 23 at 6PM. Join us for whisky with cheese and chocolate pairings featuring single malts from around the world and Eclat Chocolate.

We wish to thank our sponsors for their support:
Master Distiller: New Century Bank

Head Stillmen: Cloonaughill Celtic Malts, Inc., Eclat Chocolate, and Phoenixville Hospital

Cask Tender: Centre Grafik

Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please call Mary at 610.917.1228 for more information.

This event can be a great holiday gift for family, friends or business associates. Each attendee will receive the hand blown whisky glass they use in the evening's tasting as a keepsake. These glasses were designed by Riannon Walsh to accentuate the subtle nuances of fine spirits.

This year's event will be held at Franklin Commons in Phoenixville. Click here for a map. Seating is limited to 120. Individual tickets are $100 and can be purchased online via Click & Pledge. Hope to see you on the 23rd!
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Open Mike Night On 1/1/09 To Benefit PACS

A Great Way To Start The New Year!

Steel City Coffee House will host an Open Mike Night on Thursday January 1, 2009 from 7:30-10:30PM (6:30 PM signup). The cover charge of $2 will be donated to Phoenixville Area Community Services, PACS. Join your friends and neighbors for an enjoyable evening while supporting a worthy organization.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Outdoor Air Monitoring Device Installed At Kindergarten Center

The Phoenixville Area School District posted a new letter to parents on their site with an update on the steps being taken to test the air quality around our schools. The letter indicates that the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection installed an air monitoring device outside of the Kindergarten Center last Friday. Updates will be provided as results come in.

View the letter here.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Phoenixville Jaycees Holding Live Nativity on December 21st

The Phoenixville Jaycees will be holding their annual live Nativity on Sunday, December 21st at 6pm in Reeves Park Band Shell, Phoenixville, PA.

“The Phoenixville Jaycees have been holding this event for years. It is a great way to bring the holiday spirit to the Phoenixville Community,” said Jaycees President Shane Dilworth.

The event features a re-enactment of the Nativity, with live animals, singing and readings. The Nativity story will be read by reigning Dogwood Queen Amelia Osterhoudt and singers from the Forge Theater's recent youth production will be present. Candles will be distributed to add to the festive nature of the event.

The Nativity is open to the public and is a great event for the family. Reeves Park is located between Main and Starr Streets and 2nd and 3rd Avenues, Phoenixville, PA 19460.

PACS 2nd Annual Murder Mystery Dinner Show

On Saturday, March 28th, Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS) is hosting their 2nd Annual Murder Mystery Dinner Show. From an email I received:

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Holiday gift idea - PACS' 2nd Annual Murder Mystery dinner event

If you need a unique holiday gift idea, consider tickets to Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS) 2nd Annual Murder Mystery Dinner Show planned for March, 2009.

"I Love You to Death" invites you to be a guest at a wedding reception. Unfortunately, at this wedding someone is murdered! There will be mystery, drama and lots of laughs! During the investigation, audience members participate by questioning suspects, examining clues and figuring out motives. And whoever solves the crime wins a prize!

Ticket price is $75 per person and includes hors d’oeuvres, three course dinner, non-alcoholic beverages and the show. Wine and beer cash bar available.

Join us on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at Robert Ryan’s Columbia Station, 4 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA. The reception begins at 6:00 p.m. Don’t keep the bride and groom waiting!

Proceeds benefit PACS’ charitable mission – connecting Phoenixville area residents with community resources and emergency assistance.

For information and tickets, contact PACS at 610-933-1105 or development@pacsphx.org.
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Music for a Cure Fundraiser Scheduled for February 20th

On Friday, February 20th, Steel City Coffee House is hosting the 'Music for a Cure CD Release Party'. From an email I received:

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Friday, February 20, 2009
Music for a Cure CD Release to raise funds For Brain Cancer Research

Featuring Performances by:
Dave Saunders
Cliff Hillis
Todd Martin
92nd Street
Shovelhook

Doors Open 7:30 PM
Price: $20 minimum donation Includes FREE CD
BYO - Beer and Wine only
And enjoy a cheese platter compliments of Steel City Coffee House

Silent Auction and Wine/Beer Basket Raffle
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Friday, December 12, 2008

Update On Air Quality Concerns

Thanks to everyone who has gotten in touch with me over the past couple of days with updates they have received from various places. Here is an overview of what I have learned from these emails:

The PA Department of Environmental Protection had a press release yesterday in which they address the issue. Here are some of the highlights:
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In a series of articles this week, the newspaper used data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2005 to analyze exposure to industrial pollution at 128,000 schools across the country. The stories cited five Pennsylvania schools where the newspaper’s test showed elevated levels of pollutants and identified 38 others that it calculated were located in high-pollution zones based on EPA data.
...
Hanger added that while DEP is committed to monitoring the levels through additional testing, its initial evaluation of the newspaper’s methodology found an instance where outdated Toxic Release Inventory data was used, consequently inflating the level of pollution estimated to be around two Philadelphia area schools. Hanger also concurred with the EPA’s assessment that the modeling tool used by USA Today was inappropriate for this kind of analysis. The Risk Screening Environmental Indicators model that was used is designed for point sources and fails to take into account mobile sources that can greatly elevate health risks.
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The DEP has already taken air samples outside of some of the schools in PA that fared the worst in the study and plans to do so around several more. According to the press release, however, Phoenixville is not on the list. The full press release can be seen here.

Today, the Phoenixville Area School District posted a letter on their website from interim Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Terry Mancini. In it, the Superintendent notes that USA Today did not take actual air samples from outside any of the schools in Phoenixville but rather used the modeling data as described in my first post. Even still, the school district has requested that the PADEP perform a full air quality study and, should that fail, the district will hire an independant consultant to perform the study. It was indicated that the School Board is fully behind the study and will provide the financial resources needed should an indepedant study be required. A follow up letter will be sent out next week with any updated information the district receives.

For those of you interested in contacting the PA Department of Environmental Protection, click here for their website for reporting Environmental Complaints in our area.

More to come as I get it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Local Schools Score Extremely Poorly In New Environmental Study

Reader Randy pointed me in the direction to some rather disturbing news regarding pollution levels at our local schools. USA Today released a special report called the Smokestack Effect, which "used an EPA model to track the path of industrial pollution and mapped the locations of almost 128,000 schools to determine the levels of toxic chemicals outside."

Sadly, most of the schools in Phoenixville scored very poorly. Below are the results, click the link to see the full details:

Phoenixville Area Kindergarten Center - 1st Percentile (only 149 of 127,800 schools have worse air)

Barkley Elementary School - 3rd Percentile (only 2,037 of 127,800 schools have worse air)

Phoenixville Area High School - 8th Percentile (only 9,497 of 127,800 schools have worse air)

Phoenixville Area Middle School - 8th Percentile (only 9,497 of 127,800 schools have worse air)

Schuylkill Elementary School - 8th Percentile (only 9,497 of 127,800 schools have worse air)

The methodology used for the study can be viewed here.

Its important to note that these results are based on modeled data using information provided to the EPA by industrial and government facilities. Having said that, since all schools were subject to the same methodology, it stands to reason that the results are pretty accurate.

Randy is trying to contact the Chester County Health Department to see if they have done any air quality studies recently to see if things are as bad as this study indicates. I will post any updates that he sends along.

UPDATE: Interim Superintendent of Schools Terry Mancini has posted a PDF on the school district's website addressing the report. Click here to view the PDF.

UPDATE 12/11: Here are the websites for both Senator Dinniman and Representative-Elect Drucker. Both have contact forms on which you can submit a message requesting that they look into the potential issue we are facing.

Senator Dinniman: www.senatordinniman.com
Rep-elect Drucker: www.votepauldrucker.com

UPDATE 12/11 4:45pm: It has been suggested that concerned parties also get in touch with House Members Sestak and Gerlach. Their websites, along with contact info, can be found at:

Representative Sestak: sestak.house.gov
Representative Gerlach: gerlach.house.gov

Monday, December 08, 2008

That Italian Place Ristorante Opening December 16th

That Italian Place, located at 150 Bridge Street, will be expanding to include a dining room starting December 16th. From an email I received:

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We are excited to announce the opening of That Italian Place Ristorante on Tuesday, December 16.

As you enter through the doors of That Italian Place Market & Pizzeria, you will have the opportunity to peruse the many DiBruno Bros. gourmet cheese selections, Boar's Head meats, a variety of olives and pepper shooters, coffees and frozen pastas. Head to the back of the market and arrive at the Hostess stand to be seated and prepare to choose from many specialty entrees our chef has put together for you.

We will be opening for dinner beginning at 4 p.m. We do accept Call Ahead Seating. Call us at 610-935-1800.

Looking forward to seeing you there!
Stephanie and Andy Pennisi
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Friday, December 05, 2008

The Polish Club Hosting Breakfast With Santa, NYE Party

The Polish Club, located at 328 High St, is hosting two events to help celebrate the holidays.

Breakfast with Santa
December 21, 9am - noon
The Polish Club, on High Street in Phoenixville, is open to the public every Sunday for a delicious and affordable breakfast. Join us on December 21 when Santa stops by to pose for photos and hear Christmas wishes. Please bring your own camera to take your own pictures. For more information, call 610-933-9801.

New Year's Eve Gala
December 31, 6pm - 1am
Say goodbye to 2008 with a festive winter wonderland-themed evening at the Polish Club, on High Street in Phoenixville. Tickets are just $60 per person and include hors d'oeuvres, catered dinner, open bar, champagne toast, light breakfast, and noisemakers! Dance to the music of Geronimo and celebrate the night locally. Tickets are selling fast. For reservations call, 610-933-9801 or 610-506-4172.

Lush Consignment Boutique Opens on Bridge Street

Received an email today about a new store that has just opened up on Bridge Street. Lush Consignment Boutique, located at 164 Bridge Street, is "a ladies resale-clothing boutique that sells on consignment popular department store brands to high-end designer clothing, handbags, shoes, and accessories."

From their website (ishoplush.com):
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Not your typical consignment shop.
Our goal at Lush is to allow all women the ability to unleash the inner Fashionista within them. With the help of our in-house wardrobe stylist, you will be sure to leave with the perfect outfit for you! We collect a perfect mix of high-end New York and LA celebrity styles directly to you, at a fraction of the price! At Lush you will find popular department store brands to high-end designers. Lush offers a unique and eclectic selection of designer fashions in a stylish and organized environment that will leave you with an unforgettable shopping experience. Our inventory changes daily, so be sure to visit us regularly for high quality rare finds at amazing prices.
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Lush is open from 11am-7pm Monday-Saturday and 12-5pm on Sunday. They will have extended hours for tonight's First Friday and will be serving light refreshments.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Gingerbread House Contest & Silent Auction


Photo by Barry Taglieber, The Phoenix
For some old fashioned holiday fun, stop by Artisans Gallery & Cafe (236 Bridge Street in Phoenixville) to see the gingerbread houses created for the 2008 Gingerbread House Contest & Auction. All the entries are creative and fun. The replica of Phoenixville's Foundry building is spectacular (created by Chef Chad Durkin, Desserts International, who does desserts for Artisans Cafe). From 12/6 until 8 p.m. on Friday, 12/12, a silent auction of gingerbread houses will be held. Proceeds will benefit PACS and their "Holidays from Hunger" campaign.

For more information, see Tuesday's article in the Phoenix.

Citizens for the Train Meeting Recap

Here's a brief overview of what was said at last night's Citizens for the Train meeting.

Due to the economic situation many local businesses are facing, the ability to finance the train study using solely private funds is not going to happen. It was stressed that this does not mean that there will not be any source of private funds as the project goes along but rather it means that public funding would also need to be used.

To this end, PennDOT is providing money statewide to various transportation initiatives. Barry Cassidy and others are in the process of completing an application which, if approved, would see the project receive $300k for the feasibility study which is the next step of this process. The application is due by Dec. 15th, no word on when an answer from PennDOT is expected. Should the money be received, the feasibility study would proceed and take about six months to complete. There was no discussion on what would happen should the PennDOT money not come through.

One additional note of interest was that the extension to Oaks, which was originally described as a possibility, will be a part of the train line should it happen. This will connect 422 to Paoli, in theory relieving a lot of the congestion along that route.

There is an article in today's Phoenix with some more details as well.

Breakfast With Santa On December 13th

On Saturday, December 13th, from 8am-12pm, Phoenix No. 1 Fire House and the Kiwanis Club will be hosting a Breakfast with Santa at the Phoenix No. 1 Fire House.

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Don't miss your chance to dine with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the stars of the Downtown
Phoenixville Holiday Parade!

Saturday, December 13, 2008
8 a.m. - noon
Phoenix No. 1 Fire House
177 Church Street, Phoenixville
Tickets are $5

Enjoy breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Photo with Santa is FREE!

PLUS

Write Santa a letter with all your Christmas wishes. Include your name and address so Santa can write you back!

Face Painting and Coloring Activities

See Elmo, Cinderella, Tweety and Sylvester, Scooby Doo, Shrek and many more!

Tickets are available at the following locations:
PACS - 257 Church Street
Chamber of Commerce - 171 Bridge Street
Phoenix No. 1 Fire Company- 177 Church Street
or see any member of Kiwanis!
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Proceeds go to benefit the PACS’ Heating Assistance Program.

Philadelphia Premium Outlets Hosting Events Throughout December

The Philadelphia Premium Outlets have several holiday themed events taking place throughout December.

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Breakfast with Santa Claus Sponsored by Nathan’s Famous
Saturday Dec 6 & 13: 8am – 9am
Children of all ages are welcome to come and visit with Santa and enjoy breakfast from Nathan’s Famous.

Tickets are available at the Information Center located in the Food Court.

AAA Member Appreciation Day
Part of the Show Your Card and Save Program
Sat, Dec 13
Don't miss this fun-filled event to include:
-Special savings at participating stores for AAA members
-Enter to win great prizes!

No purchase necessary, visit the Information Center located in the Food Court to receive offers and Enter to win.

Strolling Santa Claus
Dec 6: 9 am - 12 pm
Dec 13: 9 am - 12 pm
Dec 21: 12 pm - 4 pm

Victorian Carolers
Dec 6: 12 pm - 3 pm
Dec 14: 12 pm - 4 pm
Dec 20: 12 pm - 3 pm

Live Holiday Entertainment
Dec 6: 3 pm - 6 pm Piano and Saxophone Duo
Dec 13: 12 pm - 3 pm Kromer’s Carousel Organ, 3 pm - 6 pm Jazz Trio
Dec 20: 3 pm - 6 pm Jazz Trio
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 7th

On Sunday, December 7, Mill Grove will be hosting a Holiday Open House from 1:00-7:00pm. From their email:

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Our annual celebration of John James Audubon's love of nature. We've brought the outside in and decked the halls of the Audubon art museum with natural decorations and whimsical teasel critters. A critter scavenger hunt for the children as well as musical presentations and holiday treats await you. A costumed artist impersonates John James Audubon and draws birds in his studio. Museum gift shop open for holiday shopping. FREE admission.
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Mill Grove is located at 1201 Pawlings Road, Audubon, PA 19403. For more information, see their site linked above.

Activate Phoenixville Area Presents 'Yoga Basics Class'

Starting Saturday, December 6th, Phoenixville Area Residents will get a chance to "learn how to use the practice of yoga to bring stillness, strength and vitality to the body and mind."

Classes will be held on Saturdays from 9:00-10:15am and cost $5 per person per class. 1/2 of all proceeds will be donated ot the Montgomery County SPCA.

For more information, please see ActivatePhoenixvilleArea.org.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Phoenixville Area Business Association Unveils DiscoverPhoenixville.com

The Phoenxville Area Business Association (PABA) recently unveiled a new website, DiscoverPhoenixville.com. The site, which was created by local marketing firm Virtual Farm Creative, Inc, highlights the many business in the Phoenixville area as well as provides additional information about the PABA and the town in general.

From the Virtual Farm press release:
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“We were hired to make the PABA website a useful tool for the organization,” reflects Todd Palmer, creative director at Virtual Farm Creative, Inc. (VFC). The Phoenixville-based advertising agency was selected to rebuild PABA’s website as the association reorganized. “While developing the PABA site VFC identified the opportunity to create a resource for visitors to Phoenixville whether online or on Bridge Street.”

DISCOVERPHOENIXVILLE.COM profiles the categories of businesses that call Phoenixville home by showcasing different businesses with each visit. PABA members receive a full profile page with a link to their site in a compelling interface.

“We were determined to make DISCOVERPHOENIXVILLE.COM the definitive resource for all Phoenixville entities while supplying current event information and positive news about the organization and its member-businesses within a robust database,” adds Palmer. “The custom database and administrative interface behind DISCOVERPHOENIXVILLE.COM will allow it to naturally grow as the Borough evolves.”
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Citizens for the Train Meeting Tomorrow Evening

The Citizens for the Train, a local advocacy group looking into the possibility of building a train line from Phoenixville to Paoli, is having a meeting tomorrow night (Dec. 3rd).

From the email that was sent out to past Train meeting attendees:
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The economic down turn has affected the way we are going to look at the next phase of the study. The demand study will need to be funded through a government-sponsored program. We have identified the program from which we could secure dollars and would like to get the consensus of the group to move forward, as well as discuss the change in direction.

The meeting will occur December 3, 2008 on the 3rd floor of Molly Maguire's. The presentation will start around 7:00 PM. Same routine as last time... free buffet and cash bar.

The Citizens for the Train is a loosely confederated group of citizens seeking to improve the transportation options in the region. We will vote whether or not seek the funding for the next phase of the study.

Please come a little early so everyone can sign in and we will start promptly at 7PM.
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Please note, the location was changed today to Molly Maguire's. It had originally been scheduled to happen at the Columbia.

The meeting is open to the public. For those who cannot attend, I will be posting a follow up either tomorrow night or sometime Thursday.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Kelly Chevrolet Hosting Coat Drive

Kelly Chevrolet, 600 Nutt Rd, is once again holding a Coat Drive. This is the fifth year the drive has been held.

Donations of lightly used coats and jackets can be made at the dealership between now and January 31st. From there, Kelly takes the coats to First Presbyterian Church who distributes the coats among local shelters.

Last year, 500 coats were donated and with 200 donated this year through Thanksgiving, it appears they are on track to meet or exceed that number again this year!

For more information, see today's Phoenix.

Tis the Season

With the holidays rapidly approaching, I will be adding posts highlighting efforts by various community groups to give back to those less fortunate. I will be relying on The Phoenix and you, the readers, to bring these to my attention. If you know of a group that is doing something of this sort, please email me at tips@bridgeandmain.com with as much info as possible and I will be sure to post it asap.

Thanks.

Jim