Spring memoir writing class for seniors offered by Sue Repko at The Gallery School

This spring I’ll be teaching a couple of writing classes at The Gallery School of Pottstown. A memoir class for seniors is highlighted below.

You may or may not know that I just finished a master’s program in which I focused on memoir and essay writing. It should come as no surprise that most of my writing at this point in my writing life involves some aspect of growing up in Pottstown and my experiences re-discovering my hometown as an adult.

My philosophy as a writer and teacher of this kind of material is that looking back and making sense of our lives is a basic human instinct. Everyone has many stories inside them. Sometimes it takes a while to peel away the layers of an experience, get to the heart of it, and express what it means so that it not only makes sense to ourselves but also to others.  When we give shape to a memory, when we put it into context – when it is more than just “this happened, then that happened” – we are creating art. Everyone’s got their own voice; there’s no right or wrong way to tell any of these stories. 

Just one more note about the book we’ll use…  I had a workshop with Abigail Thomas a few years ago. She’s an amazing teacher, and her book is the next best thing to having her in the class!  I hope there are some older adults out there who want to join in!



This class is for older adults who want to capture memories on paper and re-discover where they’ve been, who they’ve known, and what they’ve done. Life’s joys and hardships can often be found in the smallest moments. We will use “Thinking About Memoir” by Abigail Thomas to get ideas and write very short essays or scenes. Students may get their own copy or copies will be provided for a small additional fee. An optional public reading at the end of the class will give writers a chance to share their work with family and friends. Minimum 4, maximum 10 students. WINTER/SPRING SESSION Begins April 4. Class runs Wednesdays from 6-8pm. 8 weeks. $125 (member), $135 (non-member).


Positively Pottstown joins “Fill the Media Lab” food drive

The Mercury’s Community Media Lab, Town Square bloggers, and other local newspapers are teaming up for a food drive to help stock the shelves of area food pantries.  With the tight job market, high unemployment, and sky-high gas, heating oil, and healthcare costs, more and more area residents are finding themselves relying on food pantries for the first time ever. 

Here’s how the food drive will work:

The Mercury, Post newspapers, including The Sanatoga Post, and various bloggers are announcing their participation in the food drive to collect at least 20,000 food items by April 7th. See The Mercury article here and The Sanatoga Post article here.  The bloggers can team up with their local pantry and feature them in recurring blog posts. They can also team up with various businesses who want to serve as collection sites.

While the food drive will run until April 7th, we will not be holding onto all the food collected until then because that would mean it’s not on the shelves of the food pantries, getting used up by those who need it now. So… as the food is collected, it will periodically be delivered to the pantry of choice by the blogger or business. Pantries in towns throughout the region will benefit: Pottstown, North Coventry, Boyertown, Royersford, Spring City, Phoenixville, Collegeville, and the Upper Perkiomen Valley. But first we’ll take a picture of what’s collected and send it to The Mercury, where it can be pinned onto an image of the Media Lab. In this way, we will virtually “fill the Media Lab” while filling up local food pantries in reality.

 Positively Pottstown is on board! We’re going to be directing the results of our collection efforts to the Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities, commonly known as The Cluster.  The first Pottstown business we’re teaming up with is Grumpy’s, the homemade sandwich and soup shop in The Farmers’ Market. Grumpy’s has generously offered not only to be a collection site, but to match every single food donation that comes in. That’s two for the price of one, all going to The Cluster. 

Positively Pottstown would like to team up with other locations in Pottstown. Let me know if you want to be a collection site, and I will get the word out to readers and Facebook friends.

I should note here that food items are not the only things in demand. We’re also putting a special focus on laundry detergent – it’s expensive and it’s something that tends to drop in priority when children are hungry… but kids want to go to school in fresh-smelling clothes. So please consider picking up an extra bottle of detergent the next time you’re shopping. We’re hoping to collect 1,000 bottles of detergent before all is said and done.

Now, it’s up to you. Positively Pottstown has many readers and Facebook friends outside of Pottstown. Whatever community you live in, please consider finding the food pantry, bloggers, and businesses that are taking part in our Fill the Media Lab initiative and make a donation soon. Or, since this campaign is running through Lent, consider a weekly donation. There’s a tradition of giving things up for Lent and then there’s plain, old-fashioned giving. We all thank you in advance for your support.

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities
57 N. Franklin Street, Pottstown, PA 19464
The Cluster welcomes all cash, food, and clothing donations between the hours of 8:30am-12:00 Monday through Friday. Please come to the back door off the alley.

Grumpy’s Handcarved Sandwiches
300 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464 (in the Farmers’ Market)
Open Tuesday-Saturday
Tuesday-Wednesday: 11am-6 pm
Thursday-Saturday: 8:30 am-6 pm

Women’s Power Networking Lunch set for March 9th


 Women’s Power Networking – PA Power Lunch

Friday, March 9, 2012 from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM



Presented by TONI LAW


Join us for a great meal, great networking and an awesome speaker!

Registration closes Midnight, Sunday March 4th


The Copperfield Inn at Lakeside

594 West Ridge Pike

Limerick, PA 19468-1440

A little about Toni:

 Toni Law is a Sales Coach & Associate with The Training Center for Sales & Business Development/Sandler Training ® (TTC/Sandler Training ®). She is considered to be the leading expert in sales and sales training for the small business owner and entrepreneur. In 2007 she was introduced to Sandler Training ® and completed several management and sales training courses. Toni recognizes the ‘pain’ her prospects and clients feel and redirects their efforts to increase referrals, sales, and revenue. Most importantly, she teaches them how to build and maintain better business relationships. Toni received her BA degree at West Chester University and enjoys spending time with her family.

Tickets are $25 for this event and include salad, entrée, rolls & butter, beverage, and desert! As we must give the venue a headcount and meal selections we apologize that we can’t accommodate walk-in’s or issue refunds!

REGISTER AT:  http://womenspowernetworkingpa.eventbrite.com

Entrée Choices:

Penne Pasta w/Asparagus or Pecan & Panko Crusted Chicken.  For special dietary needs, contact Pat Hahn, 610-495-0605

 We are also accepting monetary donations for Door Prizes, you and your business will be listed in our event program!  If you are interested in donating please contact Dorothy Ruehle by phone at 484-624-4994 or by email at ruehlebookkeeping@comcast.net

Community Garden info. session this Saturday at Victory Christian

This is just a reminder that an information session will be held this Saturday afternoon from 2-3 pm at Victory Christian Life Center at 28 N. Washington Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.

Come out to get an application and learn all about the community garden being built by MOSAIC Community Land Trust at 423 Chestnut Street!

To read about our last info session, check out this article written by Joe Zlomek of The Sanatoga Post. And here is another link to a post about the garden at the PEAK blog. Thanks for the coverage, Joe and Mary!

Hill School CFO appointed to Health & Wellness Foundation Board

The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation recently appointed Donald Silverson, of Pottstown, to its board of directors. Mr. Silverson is the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of The Hill School since 2007.

“Don brings specific talents to our board,” comments David Kraybill, Executive Director of the Foundation. “His financial and investment knowledge, and familiarity with the building and construction process, will benefit the Foundation Board.  His willingness to serve the Foundation and the Pottstown community is to be commended. We value his opinions and expertise, and appreciate his time commitment in assisting us with moving the dial as we continue to improve health and wellness in our community.”  Mr. Silverson will serve on the Foundation’s Finance and Facilities committees.

A graduate of University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, Silverson received his Masters in Community Planning and Public Administration, and his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Brown University, Providence, RI. He serves as Treasurer of the Pottstown Area Industrial Development Corporation (PAID).

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 online community at www.missionhealthyliving.org to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life. You can also follow Mission Healthy Living on Facebook and Twitter.

Hill School winter musical opens tonight and it’s FREE!

The Hill School will present “Once Upon a Mattress” as this year’s winter musical theatre production. The play is based on the popular fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.” 
The performance, which is free and open to the public, will take place tonight, Thursday, Feb. 23 through Saturday, Feb. 25, at 7:30 p.m. in The Hill School’s Center For The Arts(Use 860 Beech Street, Pottstown, PA 19464 for GPS or website mapping systems.)

Underwater Robotics Company Plans Relocation to Pottstown

Editor’s note: Below is a press release and photo recently received from Steve Bamford, Executive Director of PAID, Inc. – that’s Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. – the economic development leader in Pottstown. I will echo Council President Toroney’s statement: VideoRay is exactly the type of employer we want to attract to our community, and a huge high-five goes out to Jason, Steve, Borough staff, the Zoning Hearing Board, and Borough Council for helping make this happen. Stay tuned as we report on more good economic development news coming out of Borough Hall and PAID…

VideoRay, LLC and Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. (PAID) have announced plans for the relocation of VideoRay’s headquarters to Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

VideoRay, the global leader in observation Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) technology, is working on plans to acquire and renovate the former Levitz building at 212 E. High Street.

Photo by Henning Klepp Christensen

The building would initially be occupied by 35 VideoRay employees working in management, corporate administration, marketing, engineering, assembly, and repair functions. The rapidly growing manufacturer of very small underwater ROVs expects to increase the size of its workforce over the next several years.

 “I am very excited about what we can do when we relocate to downtown Pottstown,” said Scott Bentley, President and majority owner of VideoRay LLC. “There are a lot of reasons why we will be better off in Pottstown than where we are now. We were recruited by PAID and I have found Borough Manager Jason Bobst and the Borough staff to be very helpful in addressing some zoning and parking issues. It has been great working with PAID and the Borough.”

“VideoRay is exactly the type of employer we want to attract to our community,” said Stephen M. Toroney, Borough Council President. “A global high tech company with tremendous growth potential will soon call Pottstown home and we are pleased to welcome them.”

PAID and the Borough have been working with VideoRay since November to help determine the feasibility of relocating and alleviating concerns about moving from a rural to urban environment. The company has outgrown its current location in East Pikeland, Chester County.

“We presented the many benefits of establishing operations in Pottstown,” said Steve Bamford, Executive Director of PAID. “The idea of locating in a classic, walkable downtown was appealing to the company. Proximity to restaurants, the Tri County Performing Arts Center, public transportation, and convenient parking factored into their decision, as did plans for expansion of the Schuylkill River Trail and the continued growth of Montgomery County Community College in the borough.”

VideoRay is also exploring establishing a robotics campus in the building by leasing space to independent companies that provide some of the accessories and software used by VideoRay and its customers. “The prospect of additional technology companies moving to Pottstown is tremendously exciting and we are here to be of assistance,” said Bamford.

About VideoRay
With more than 1,950 Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) in service around the world, VideoRay is the global leader in observation ROV technology. The VideoRay ROV is an extremely versatile, portable, affordable, and reliable solution for underwater operations including surveys, offshore inspections, search & recovery, homeland & port security, science & research, fish farming, and other unique applications in underwater environments. More information about VideoRay can be found at www.videoray.com.

About PAID, Inc.
Pottstown Area Industrial Development, Inc. (PAID) is the non-profit corporation designated by a partnership of the Borough of Pottstown, Pottstown School District, and the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority to coordinate and lead economic development efforts within the Borough of Pottstown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Info sessions on Pottstown’s first Community Garden to be held tonight and Saturday

MOSAIC Community Land Trust is holding another information session tonight about the community garden being built this spring at 423 Chestnut Street. (See the concept plan below.) All Pottstown residents, business owners, community organizations, and youth groups are encouraged to attend.

Have you ever wanted your own garden, but didn’t have enough room in your yard? Would you like your children to learn how to grow their own fresh vegetables? Would you like to grow fresh herbs for your restaurant?

Thanks to a grant from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, MOSAIC Community Garden will give individuals, families, and community groups the chance to  work side-by-side on their own garden plots. 

Information sessions will be held tonight and this coming Saturday:

February 21 from 7-8 pm, MOSAIC’s office, 10 S. Hanover St.

February 25 from 2-3 pm at Victory Christian Life Center, 28 N. Washington St.

Applications will be available at the meetings or on our website: www.mosaiccommunitylandtrust.org. They can be dropped off at any of the above locations or mailed to MOSAIC Community Land Trust, 10 S. Hanover St., Pottstown, PA 19464 by March 1.

For more information, contact Sue Repko, MOSAIC Executive Director, at 609-658-9043 or srepko@mosaiccommunitylandtrust.org.

In the event that there are more applications than garden plots, a public lottery will be held at MOSAIC’s offices on Sunday, March 11 at 2 pm.

Garden Concept Plan

Pottstown SCORE offering social media workshops

Below is information for business owners and entrepreneurs from the Pottstown chapter of SCORE. SCORE is made up of current and retired professionals with years of experience and success in business. They understand the challenges you’re facing, and their workshops and counseling services are geared to give you real-life insights, advice, and education. Check out all they have to offer at their website. And definitely check out their upcoming social media series on March 5, 12, 19, 26 to find out how to get people talking and texting and tweeting about YOUR business.

Using Social Media
to make your Business GROW 

This Workshop Series will be held at the
Tri-County Chamber of Commerce
Conference Center
152 E. High St., Suite 360
Pottstown, PA
Have you engaged your customers in a conversation?

Are your customers telling others about you?

Social Media is about engaging your customers so that they promote your business. Here’s an opportunity to learn what this is all about and how you can apply it to GROW your business. This workshop series is taught by practitioners recognized as experts in the use of Marketing and the Social Media technologies. 

Workshop Session Topics: 

I.   The Secrets of Effective Internet Marketing

This session focuses on what you need to do to get ready for a marketing program using the Internet.

  • The importance of planning.
  • The keys to getting great results from your marketing program.
  • How to create a compelling message.
  • How the Marketplace has changed.
  • How to implement your marketing through technology to get the results you want.

II.   The Power of Social Media

This session focuses on what you need to know before you get started, how to build an effective Social Media campaign for your business and how to build your online social network .

  • What Social Media Networking sites you need to be on, how they work and how to set up an account.
  • The Power of Blogging including: what is it, how will it help your business and WordPress.com, the blog site you need to be on and how to use it.
  • Why you should think about Video Blogging.
  • How Social Media will save you money while making you money.

III. Mobile Marketing

Your Customers are using Mobile … There’s an App For That and More!

  • Why you and your business app-solutely need to have a Mobile Strategy.
  • Learn how to leverage a Cross Channel Mobile Marketing Strategy.
  • Learn how to leverage a Cross Channel Mobile Marketing Strategy.
  • Why you should be building a list of your customers.
  • Identifying the best marketing channels for your message.
  • How to build a laser targeting list of customers using Mobile Marketing.
  • How and Why you should build a Mobile App for your Business.

IV. eMail and Social Media—are they married yet?

This session focuses on how to use eMail marketing to engage your customers.

  • Why eMail should be a part of your Marketing Strategy.
  • How you can get into Social Media for free today—and here is the instruction book.
  • What you should measure and what you should do about it.

Schedules and Fees: 
Each session costs $40. A special price of $100 is offered for all 4 sessions as a package. Additionally there is 50% off the course fees for each additional person. All fees are non-refundable .

You can register by submitting an Online Registration Request . The registration fee will be due the first night of the workshop.

You can also register by mail by downloading and mailing this Registration form along with the workshop fee.

Make checks payable to SCORE and mail to: Pottstown SCORE, Chapter 594, 244 High Street, Suite 102 Pottstown, PA  19464.

Click here for the workshop Brochure.

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