WPAZ is back!

Pottstown’s got its radio station back. After going silent more than a year ago, WPAZ at 1370 AM returned to the airwaves yesterday afternoon. Check out The Mercury’s coverage here.

After months of hard work and negotiations, the nonprofit WPAZ Preservation Association changed its name to Community Broadcasting Group and recently purchased the station from Four Rivers Broadcasting.

General Manager Rick Rodgers and Station Manager Ross Landy have planned a line-up of old and new shows and increased local sports coverage within a 24/7 interactive format. The tentative official “opening” will be January 8th; keep an ear out then for new and returning personalities and shows. In the meantime, they’ll be running music and promos.

The station’s website is wpazradio.com. And you can find them on Facebook here.

Congratulations to Rick, Ross and everyone involved – looking forward to the programming!

Polar Bear Plunge Poll

As some of you may know, I recently opened my big mouth and said I would jump in the Schuylkill River on January 1st during Pottstown’s Parks & Rec Polar Bear Plunge.

You can read all about the Plunge in the Mercury article here.

Weather.com is calling for a partly sunny day on Saturday, high around 47 degrees. Not too bad for January 1st… I guess. The thing is, I don’t really like swimming unless the air temp is, like, 97 degrees and the water is about 90 degrees. Right about now I’m getting cold feet just thinking about this Plunge. So, I’m looking for some feedback in the poll below. Please, don’t be cruel. Cut me some slack. Think about my overall health and wellness. Help me find a way out of this!

SCORE scholarship deadline: Dec. 28

There’s still time to fill out the quick-and-easy application form to be considered for a scholarship to the upcoming Small Business Workshop Series taught by the local chapter of SCORE.

SCORE is run by volunteers who have had successful careers in business; they pass their experience and knowledge on to entrepreneurs in workshops and through individual counseling sessions. Positively!Pottstown is offering two scholarships to Pottstown-based businesses for the next series, which begins on Jan. 10th at the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce at 152 E. High Street. The 4-workshops and business plan manual offered by SCORE have a $100 value.

For more info, click here.

The application can be downloaded below.

SCORE Scholarship Application (pdf)

SCORE Scholarship Application (Word doc)

You can either email it to positivelypottstown@gmail.com by midnight tomorrow, Dec. 28 or get it in the mail so that it’s postmarked by Dec. 28th. Mail it to Positively Pottstown Blog, P.O. Box 1509, Pottstown, PA 19464.

(I was originally going to announce the winners on the blog, but in the interest of discretion, winners will only be announced if they specifically agree!)

Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

I had a stomach bug for the better part of the past week and just started feeling better yesterday, which meant I got way behind in baking cookies. I’m catching up today, and the first batches were these melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies with a tiny dollop of jam in the center. For me, they mean “Christmas” because that’s the only time my mom makes them and so do I.  An added bonus this year was using the strawberry jam made by my sister-in-law – thanks, Megan! I also used a store-bought four-fruit preserve. Enjoy!

Thumbprint Cookies (yield: 120 cookies) 

1 lb. butter

1 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla

4 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

Measure flour and salt into large bowl. Cream butter & sugar well with mixer. Add egg yolks. Mix well. Add vanilla. Add flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well between additions.

Form into balls the size of a quarter. Place on slightly greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly with palm. Press in center with thumb or fingertip. Be careful not to crack the dough around the edges or the jam will run out the side. Fill with a berry, cherry or apricot jam.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until brown around edges. Reverse baking sheets once during baking. Keep an eye on the jam. If you keep these in too long, the jam evaporates too much and then the cookies look kind of sad.

 


 

Merry Christmas!

Here’s a humorous take – “A Simpson’s Christmas” – courtesy of the Pottstown Influential Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT) program and The Gallery School.


 

On a more serious note,

I wish all of you and your loved ones

the joy, warmth, love and hope that this day brings.

PEACE.

Last minute shopping on High Street

Last week I made a mad dash to The Gallery to do some holiday shopping and was once again astonished at the totally cool, handmade jewelry and fused glass that they offer at really reasonable prices. They had these cute magnets – perfect stocking stuffers – for just $5!

I got a couple of glass items and a pair of earrings with prices ranging from $15-$30. They were also offering some Christmas-themed glass (shown below) in the same price range.
 

This week you might get an even better deal. Today through Friday, 12/24 the Gallery is offering 25-40% off a wide selection of items. No coupons needed, just stop and shop. They have gift certificates valid for any item or for one of their many classes, so you can give the gift of art this Christmas!


The Gallery‘s hours are: Tuesday-Thursday 10am-4:30pm and Friday 10am-2pm. They are closed 12/25. They are located at 254 High Street. Phone number is 610-326-2506.

And if you need to add that special, finishing touch to your Christmas table or are looking for a lovely plant as a hostess gift, stop by the Pottstown Florist at 300 E. High Street in the Farmers’ Market building at High and Charlotte Streets. Or check out their website – www.pottstownflorist.com – and give a call to place your order (610- 323-0101).

Third article in series on childhood obesity

Note: This is the third article in a four-part series on Childhood Obesity presented by the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Corresponding Webisodes are available for viewing on www.missionhealthyliving.org.

CHILDHOOD OBESITY: WHAT ARE SCHOOLS DOING ON A

STATE AND LOCAL LEVEL TO FIGHT THE EPIDEMIC?

By: Dave Kraybill, Executive Director, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation

Back in 2004, The Child Nutrition and Women, Infants and Children Reauthorization Act required that all education agencies develop wellness policies to address childhood obesity by the start of the 2006-2007 school year. Districts nationwide had to create at least one goal to improve wellness in the following categories: nutrition education, physical activity, availability of nutrition guidelines to students, and other school-based activities to address student wellness.

“Pennsylvania was one of the few states that actually collected and analyzed plans to ensure they addressed this problem of childhood obesity,” said Elaine McDonnell, projects coordinator, Project PA. “If school districts [in Pennsylvania] sent goals that did not meet state standards, the schools had to rework those plans.” Project PA was a collaboration between Penn State University’s Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Food and Nutrition. The team partnered with schools and their communities to provide sound nutrition education and to promote children’s healthy eating behaviors.

Pennsylvania school districts set goals and improved snacks and a la carte offerings to meet this required federal legislation for reducing childhood obesity. The state’s multi-faceted approach included mandatory training sessions for all school food service directors and financial incentives to schools that adopted state-created nutrient standards for the a la carte food items offered at the school. Ultimately, nearly all school districts worked with the state to formulate plans that would target obesity in some way. While Pennsylvania schools addressed and improved the food available through vending machines and a la carte offerings, they still were missing opportunities for physical activity, which did not improve.

A recent White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Report to the President, Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation, released some startling information—childhood obesity has become an epidemic in America and it is now considered a national health crisis. The report presents a series of specific recommendations, two of which involve school involvement—providing healthy food in schools and getting children more physically active through physical education, recess and other after-school opportunities.

Currently, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has new legislation in draft form under Chapter 12 that, if passed, will require schools to establish and maintain wellness committees to assess, plan and implement, monitor district and school health and wellness policies and programs. This will include setting up goals and measuring success in the areas of nutrition and physical education at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

What Are Our Local Schools Doing?

The local school districts have been involved in addressing childhood obesity on a state level for many years. However, the local schools in Pottstown and those within a 10-mile radius have another advantage that most schools in Pennsylvania, even the nation, don’t have—grant funding available through a Foundation.

The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation provides grants, programs and educational resources to the Pottstown Area to enhance the health and wellness of area residents—but that did not include giving grants to schools in the very beginning.

“Initially, we weren’t sure if we should fund a public entity,” comments Sharon Weaver, Board President, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. “But, we soon realized that schools could be instrumental in furthering our vision.  All school districts, public and private, have initiated creative programs that continue to directly hit one of our target audiences—children.”

“We as a community have been very fortunate that our area school districts have embraced health and wellness, which includes addressing the problem of childhood obesity,” remarks Dave Kraybill, Executive Director, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. “The schools have consistently and creatively submitted grant requests for programs and projects that have been effective and well received by the students, teachers, parents and community. We thank them for their continued efforts and dedication to improving the health and wellness of our youth.”

There are many area schools using grants from the Foundation to improve the health and wellness of students. For more information about the programs offered for students and parents, please go to the school’s website.

School: Boyertown

Grants: Healthy Hearts and Minds, Revise Recess

For More Information: http://www.boyertownasd.org

School: Daniel Boone

Grants: Healthy for a Lifetime

For More Information: http://www.dboone.k12.pa.us

School: Owen J. Roberts

Grants: Fit for Life

For More Information: http://www.ojrsd.com

School: Perkiomen Valley

Grants: Creating Healthy Opportunities for Students, Comprehensive Adolescent Fitness Program

For More Information: http://www.pvsd.org

School: Pottsgrove

Grants: Wellness Center Project, Walk4Life, Dance Dance Revolution, SNAP, Five for Life Program, SNAP Academy

For More Information: http://www.pgsd.org

School: Pottstown

Grants: Safe Schools/Healthy Students, Healthy Snack Program, CATCH Kids Club

For More Information: http://www.pottstownschools.com

School: Spring-Ford Area

Grant: Healthy Choices Project

For More Information: http://www.pvsd.org

School: Blessed Theresa of Calcutta School, Schwenksville

Grant: Gymnasium Building Project for students K through 8

For More Information: http://www.blteresacalcutta.com

School: Coventry Christian School

Grant: Nutrition Curriculum Enhancement

For More Information: http://www.coventrychristian.com

School: Perkiomen Valley Academy

Grant: H.E.A.L. – Health & Emotional Alternatives for Life

For More Information: http://www.pvsd.org

School: Sacred Heart School, Royersford

Grant: Health and Wellness

For More Information: http://parish.sacredheartroyersford.org

School: St. Aloysius School

Grant: Fitness, One Step at a Time

For More Information: http://www.saintaloysius.net

School: West-Mont Christian Academy

Grant: Fitness Training Room, Healthy Snack Program, Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Program

For More Information: http://www.west-mont.org

About the Series – Childhood Obesity This four-part article series was developed by the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Corresponding Webisodes featuring local experts can be found on http://www.missionhealthyliving.org. The first article discusses how childhood obesity has become a national epidemic. The second article discusses the risks, warning signs and long-term effects of childhood obesity. The final article will focus on what parents and children can do to start to change their habits, lose weight and live healthier lives.

About the Foundation The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Visit www.pottstownfoundation.org for more information about the Foundation. Discover Pottstown area’s new online community at http://www.missionhealthyliving.org to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life!


Joint School Board & Borough Council Meeting this Monday

This Monday, Dec. 20th, there will be a joint School Board & Borough Council Meeting at 7:30pm at the Pottstown Middle School in the 2nd floor LGI room.

The agenda will include an update to the community on the PAID partnership, a presentation about a Community Land Trust for Pottstown, and tax assessments. I will be part of the group that is doing the Community Land Trust presentation.

A community land trust (CLT) is a nonprofit model that offers flexibility for engaging in housing, neighborhood stabilization and economic development activities that are appropriate for a particular area. A few notable features of CLTs are:

  • setting & implementing goals with community input
  • having CLT homeowners & other community reps. on its board
  • undertaking an active acquisition program
  • selling buildings at affordable prices while the CLT retains ownership of the land beneath the buildings
  • being stewards of the land and neighborhoods
  • increasing homeownership
  • preventing foreclosures

While most CLTs have as their main goal the creation of permanently affordable, owner-occupied housing in places where housing prices are high or escalating, a CLT for Pottstown would undertake a broader range of activities such as community gardens and economic development initiatives to help bring back market-rate activity.

With input from the community,  a CLT for Pottstown would undertake activities in a targeted way to slow the negative fiscal spiral and coax the market back. Many aspects of this approach have been recommended in study after study.

I’m certainly looking forward to carrying on this conversation & to hear questions and observations from the larger community about how this could work. Hope you can make it Monday night!

Added after original post:

Here’s a link to the Pottstown CLT website.

It’s at www.PottstownCLT.wordpress.com.

It’s a work-in-progress. A PowerPoint presentation will be posted there after the Monday meeting.

 

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