Friday, November 30, 2007

More Lovely Bones Set Shots

I got some more shots, AFTER they were done filming. Easier access. I'm going to try again to get more when I have better time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Trappe Borough Shenanigans again

Caught wind of this email, and was able to get a hold of it. Please read.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Trappe Borough Council Foists Fraudulent Process On Residents
Council conducts sham interviews as it prepares to appoint
twice defeated and current President Stewart Strauss to a Council vacancy

TRAPPE , PA – After a special meeting last night at which Trappe Borough Council reviewed the credentials of residents who expressed interest in a recent Council vacancy, one member of Council called the entire vetting process "fraudulent."

A consistent critic of Trappe Council’s majority faction, Councilman Matt Watson expressed his belief that the entire process was staged to give legitimacy to the appointment of current Council President Stewart Strauss by his Council allies to the remaining two years of a term left vacant by the recent resignation of Councilman Mark Carrig.

"The plan to appoint Strauss has been in the works for month. The entire community knows that," said Watson. "The entire process, from advertising the vacancy to conducting interviews is a sham designed to intentionally deceive Trappe voters and taxpayers,"

"Stu Strauss has been handed two decisive electoral defeats in the last six months. The voters of Trappe spoke loud and clear in the primary and general election and they don’t want Stu Strauss. Clearly, Stu can’t take the hint!"

Strauss was soundly defeated in the 2007 Primary by Fred Schuetz, Paul Edwards , and Lew DiPrete. After running a write-in campaign for a two-year term in the General Election, Strauss was again decisively defeated by Matt Watson, 513 to 193, or 73 percent to 27 percent.

As recently as last week, Strauss expressed ambivalence about the prospect of continuing to serve on Trappe Borough Council. A story in the November 21, 2007 edition of the Pottstown Mercury reported, "Strauss said Tuesday [November 20th] that he had not yet decided whether or not he will apply for the seat." The same story also noted Strauss remarked, "’I’m just not sure if it’s worthwhile or not.’"

"This has nothing to do with trying to make Trappe a better community, and everything to do with Strauss using every means – ethical or not – to hold on to his seat on Council," said Watson.

"For the last two years as Council President, Strauss has shown no regard for the sentiments and opinions of the community, so it’s no surprise that he doesn’t care that the voters have rejected him, not once, but twice in the last six months."

"The majority of this current Council," said Watson, "has either been defeated or chosen not to run for re-election. To make anything other than an interim appointment, and leave to the just overwhelmingly elected Council the ultimate responsibility to fill the vacancy demonstrates a complete lack of respect for this community and its residents. This intentionally deceitful process only compounds their reprehensible behavior and further insults the intelligence of Trappe residents."

Trappe Council will vote next Tuesday night, December 4th, to fill the vacancy. The council meeting begins at 7pm and will be held at Trappe Borough Hall, 525 W. Main Street .

Watson encourages all Trappe residents to attend to express their displeasure. "Stu Strauss and his Council allies need to hear Trappe residents say ‘We will not tolerate this. We will not permit you to foist this sham process on us.’"

From the Lovely Bones set

Just took some shots today on my way into work, driving through Royersford. It looks different now that they made some facade changes to some buildings. I will try to take more today on my way home. The main focus is on Main Street around 3rd Avenue. For anyone that know the area, the Reporter office was changed to the Fairfax County Register. An accounting office is now Wynn's Tavern and Game Room. The PT Gas & Go and Bus Depot Cafe are at the corner where an auto detail place is. Allen's old Variety Store, now called Open Door, still has Allen's on the front, but now has signs for fountain sodas. They also have some equipment in front of the Lebow's outlet store, they may be changing the front of that as well. Cunningham's Electronics got a new sign out front as well. I will try to get a shot of the 70's era Smokey the Bear billboard on the side of the Reporter building. ere are the shots:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Phase I Completed

As of last night's Trappe Council meeting, Mark Carrig has resigned.

Now on to Phase II, and the Death Star will be fully operational.

But, with the way that Strauss has set up the process for a replacement, it would look extremely silly for him to resign and then interview for Carrig's spot. So I guess we will have to see what is in the works now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sprawl and Development

Is this much, too much?

Do we have any more room for additional places to shop? It seems as though we need no more homes in our area, just places to buy more material things for our homes.

In Collegeville, the shopping center is under way across from Wyeth. Other than that, is there any room left?

In Trappe, there's no room for large store areas, unless the Wismer's close down the farm (hopefully never). The only spaces available are luckily being turned into trail areas or parks. Revitalizing the Main Street area would be the only spot for business growth.

In Limerick, of course, there's plenty of room, if not, they'll make some. When it comes to empty open areas, Limerick's full of them. Across from the brand new guessed it, another shopping center will be built. But it seems like there are already buildings there? Doesn't matter, that will be taken care of. I hear from the corner of Township Line Road to the former nursery will be taken out, though I'm not sure about Rental World.

In Linfield, there are hopes to use the old distillery property for an incinerator. Not the prettiest thing to look at, but at least we can get rid of all the boxes and packages from things we bought at the outlets.

In Spring City, revitalization of Main Street is about all the growth room they have left, and it's starting to look good down there.

In Royersford, plans are in the works for a Main Street revitalization starting next year. Which is good, because I remember when a new business moving onto Main Street, taking over space from the old faithfuls and nostalgia, wouldn't last 3 years. Hope things are starting to look better already. I read a story that mentioned a farm in Royersford. I didn't know Royersford had a farm left?

Revitalization of what we have is a great idea. Moving earth and slapping up buildings, well, let's say it's not my favorite alternative...

If anyone knows of any other empty spaces needing filled, please comment. I'm sure the developers would love to know where.

Limerick officials: Development key to keeping taxes down
By Michael Hays,

LIMERICK — As next year’s budget comes into focus, one thing remains constant: development fees and donations — not higher taxes — will pay for better services and capital improvements.

The Board of Supervisors met Thursday night to review a preliminary 2008 budget.

Total expenses are projected at $10,148,799. The general fund reserve account has grown by more than $1 million since January 2006, when it stood at $3.4 million.

Due to conservative projections on the revenue side, the board authorized the use of these reserves to offset a projected shortfall in funding, according to Township Manager Dan Kerr. But the reserve should not dip below its 2006 level of $3.4 million.

At a budget work session last month, the board agreed to hold spending and services at current levels, and not raise taxes. Departmental requests would be fulfilled only as new revenues come in to pay for them.

Limerick officials fully anticipate that new development — particularly of the commercial type — will continue to come into the area.

Kerr wrote in the budget summary, “The board continued to foster a spirit of corporate citizenship with the business and development community which resulted in donations of approximately $22,750 to the township volunteer fire companies, ambulance services, and Emergency Management Department.”

Development along the Route 422 corridor, spurred in part by the newly opened Philadelphia Premium Outlets, is expected to continue, according to Kerr. But growth generates increased demand for everything from police response to traffic signals.

“This growth will require significant services from all parts of the township operation. The township will realize additional short-term revenues from this growth, but absent proper planning, funding deficits may occur if recurrent revenues do not match operational expenses,” Kerr wrote.

With more commercial traffic comes the need for road improvements. An “aggressive road improvement program” is planned that includes reconstruction of Reifsnyder, Benner, Old Mill, and Kuglar roads, as well as the installation of a new traffic signal at the Ridge Pike and Sunset Road intersection.

Other major items for next year include:

A rewrite of the township’s Comprehensive Plan by a consultant for a cost of $100,000.

Changing Parks and Recreation Director Karen Hegedus’ work status from part-time to full-time.

Continuation of design work for Lewis Road improvements.

New in 2008 is a five-year planning component. It will assist in future planning and covers the following areas: capital funding for the construction of a new police facility and renovation of the administration and public works departments; additional recreation fields for the parks and recreation department; additional parking for Limerick Community Park; trail improvements for the Kurylo property; and additional personnel for the police, public works and parks departments.

The township purchased the 81-acre Kurylo Farm, at 231 N. Limerick Road, for $2.8 million in May. Grants from Montgomery County and PECO, combined with local donations, covered more than 40 percent of the cost. Remaining funds came from open space and general fund reserves.

Final 2008 budget adoption is expected next month.

TCE in our air

I am glad to hear that someone is taking the time to check up on our DEP and trying to make sure we are safe. This whole TCE thing keeps getting bounced back and forth from we are safe to we are in danger. I don't know what to believe anymore. Is there too much in our air? Is it within levels?

Does anyone know really what point we are at now? Are there any public meetings soon on the topic? If anyone has any information, please leave a comment. Anonymouse posters are welcome. Any information would be appreciated.

Article from Monday's Mercury

Local man sues over tests for TCE
By Evan Brandt,

On Halloween, the same day the state announced approval of a permit change that will allow Superior Tube to lower its emissions of a carcinogenic chemical, the specters of more off-site pollution and a federal lawsuit were raised by an activist who has been conducting independent air tests.

Jon Goodman, a founder of People for Clean Air and Water, announced Oct. 31 that tests of air in a neighborhood behind Superior Tube showed higher levels of TCE than were found at two other area sites during more than a year of testing by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The levels of trichloroethylene found in Goodman’s Oct. 15 samples, taken at Hildebidle and Collegeville roads, were .81 parts per billion by volume, more than three times the average found over the course of the DEP’s year of tests in Trappe.

Eight days later, Goodman took another sample at the football field at Perkiomen Valley High School and results showed the TCE level in the air there was .22 parts per billion, which is below the Trappe average but above the .14 parts per billion average from a year’s worth of samples at Evansburg State Park.

Goodman used the same Massachusetts lab to test the results as he did when he took samples outside Skippack Elementary School in September. The TCE levels in that sample were 17 times higher than the averages at the two state test sites.

The state responded in October by including Skippack Elementary School in its mobile testing program.

Goodman has filed a $300 million “citizen’s federal lawsuit” against the DEP, Superior Tube and Accellent, another narrow tube plant that emits TCE and is located in Trappe. In the suit, Goodman charges all three defendants with violating the Clean Air Act.

Because Montgomery County is in a “non-attainment area” for safe ozone standards, the Clean Air Act sets certain restrictions on the release of chemicals such as TCE and the family of chemicals to which it belongs, called volatile organic compounds. Both Superior and Accellent emit in excess of 70 tons of TCE into the air each year, and do so under DEP permits.

Goodman said he was informed by the Environmental Protection Agency that because of the county’s status as an “ozone transport region in a moderate non-attainment area,” a cap of 50 tons per year is imposed on emitters of TCE by the Clean Air Act.

Emissions from both plants and the DEP, which allows those emissions, are

in violation of the act, he argued.

“Why is the DEP allowed to supercede federal law?” he asked. “I don’t think that’s allowed.”

DEP spokeswoman Deborah Fries said the department would have no comment on the lawsuit other than to acknowledge that the agency had been notified of its existence.

Francine Carlini, who heads up the air quality program at the DEP’s Norristown office and who has overseen the agency’s air sampling program in the Collegeville area, did comment on Goodman’s sampling.

“Given the fact that he’s doing grab sampling, where he gets 60 seconds of air, and we’re doing 24-hour samples, it’s kind of comparing apples to oranges,” she said.

“When you do a 60-second sample, you may get a low, you may get a high, you may get nothing, depending on what is happening during that 60-second period of time,” Carlini explained. She said that is why the DEP uses samples taken over a 24-hour period.

Carlini conceded that Goodman’s results “are certainly not atypical from what we’ve been getting in our sampling.”

Goodman’s results are “on the same order of magnitude” as the DEP testing results, Carlini said.

She said the results of the mobile testing done in October are in and “we’ll have something to present to the public shortly. We’re analyzing the results now.”

The results of the change in Superior Tube’s permit, which will allow for an 8 percent reduction in emissions according to the company’s calculations, will not be immediately evident on test results in the area.

“They haven’t given us a date, but I think it will be fairly quick,” Carlini said of the change expected to eliminate 7.4 tons per year from the Lower Providence facility. “But they’ve been fairly anxious to get started.”

Had a public hearing not been delayed over concerns about its original July 3 date, those changes might have occurred sooner, Carlini said.

“Given that we had to wait for the public hearing, and then have it rescheduled, and then wait 30 days for the comment period to be over certainly added some time,” she said. “We worked on it as expeditiously as possible.”

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The 'Ole Switcheroo

This is not the first place that this statement has been made, but just remember, you heard it here.

After finding out the results of the Trappe Borough Council election this week, I can almost guarantee what is going to happen. Pay attention folks, and remember the council meeting has been rescheduled to Tuesday November 13th.

Strauss lost his write-in campaign attempt to take the 2 year term from Watson. His attempt failed by 310 votes. But that's not the end of the story, not by a long shot.

Wait and see.

By the end of this year Strauss and Carrig are BOTH going to resign at or around the same time, following that, Strauss will be appointed to fill Carrig's vacant spot, finishing out the last two years of his term. Which also means Watson and Strauss will have the same amount of term on Council.

Nice move, huh?

Watch the puppets at play, and see if you can spot the strings above their heads.