Vote NOW for Pottstown native & gospel-singing star Candace Benson

Photo Credit: Twitter
Photo Credit: Twitter

NOTE: Links in previous post may not have worked. These links should be good!

Online voting for Pottstown gospel-singing sensation Candace Benson will end tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 30 at noon. Go here to vote as many times as you can to give our hometown girl a chance to become the next Sunday Best winner!

Candace is one of two finalists. The winner will be announced on BET network this Sunday night, Aug. 31, at 8 pm. You can also call in up to 15 more votes during the show, but there is no limit to the number of online votes you can register.

So get on over to this web page – no registration required! – to click away for this amazing talent with a heaven-sent voice!

 

 

Pow Wow on Mantawny Creek Celebrates Pottstown’s Native American Heritage

This comes to us from ArtFusion 19464. For quite some time I have been curious about what we know about the Lenni-Lenape in Pottstown. This looks to be an informative, fun, and fascinating way to re-connect with the Native Americans who lived upon and walked this land before us. 

 

Native American Memorial
Native American Memorial

In 1859, workers clearing a mound in an area on the south side of the borough unearthed skeletal remains and artifacts of an ancestor of the Lenni-Lenape people.  Over the next twelve years many more remains and artifacts were unearthed in this area.  Many of the remains and items were initially exhibited locally, but over time they have been lost.

In 2000, then mayor Anne Jones headed up a campaign that resulted in the Memorial currently located at the intersection of South Franklin Street and Industrial Highway. The site sits on land generously donated by the family of Mr. Tim O’Conner, owner of Humphrey Flag Company.

The memorial, which was originally dedicated on May 5, 2000, is an acknowledgement and a recognition of the people whose spirits inhabit those grounds.  Unfortunately, in recent years, the memorial has been neglected. In an effort to bring new life and attention to this memorial, Ron Williams and Clanmother Star Harbach have organized a re-dedication of the memorial on May 3 and a pow wow on May 3 and 4. Williams says: “The Memorial is my primary objective.  The Pow Wow is a way of creating interest. I am hopeful that in time we can do more to make this memorial a local landmark that we can be proud of. It should be a place of cultural awareness.  Future plans will include warm weather monthly story-telling circles, new plants representing the indigenous  features of the pre-colonial period, a medicine wheel, lighting and a sculpture representing the culture of the Native Americans, for starters.”

The rededication ceremony will begin at 9am on Saturday, May 3 at the site, which is at the corner of Franklin St. and Industrial Highway near the river. Frankie and Johnnie’s has generously offered the use of their parking lot for those who want to attend. Afterwards the festivities will switch to Memorial Park.

The pow wow will take place from 10am-6pm on Saturday and from 10am-5pm on Sunday at the Veteran’s Memorial in Memorial Park. Visitors will be treated to dances from many different tribes. In between the dances, a storyteller will entertain and educate with traditional tales. Guests will be able to shop at different Native American vendors, who will be selling leather crafts, jewelry, beadwork, instruments, wood sculptures, herbal teas and more. Author Gretchen Hardy will be selling signed copies of her book. Buttons& Beads: Lenape Princess Wynonah and the Future President, an historical fiction book illustrated by Zoungy Kligge, takes what is known of these intrepid ancestors and weaves them into one Lenape woman, Wynonah, who becomes their collective voice. A portion of the sales of her book will be donated to the Memorial fundraiser.  There will also be an interactive education tent run by Laura and Ron Buckwalterwhere visitors can learn more about the Lenape people. Outside of the main pow wow site, other local groups including ArtFusion 19464 will be set up.

The event will begin with a Grand Entrance and opening ceremony at 12pm on Saturday. Following the opening ceremony, there will be a Veteran’s Dance, where military veterans and those currently serving are invited to participate to honor their service. The dancing will continue until 6pm. At 7pm, group Spirit Wing entertain the community with a free concert open to the public. The pow wow on Sunday will also begin with a Grand Entrance at 12pm. The events that day will end at 5pm.

Clanmother Star will MC the event and Joe Camaho will be whip man for the event, a ceremonial position responsible for lining up the dancers for the Grand Entrance. Medicine Horse Singers will drum for the dancers.

The entrance fee for the pow wow is $5, cash only. Children 6 and under are free. Visitors can park in the Memorial Park lot and at the lot by the Carousel building on King Street. There will be a free trolley running from the Carousel parking lot up to Pottsgrove Manor, where the annual May Day festivities will also be taking place on Saturday.

Please note that the back gate at the Veteran’s Memorial in the park will be closed to the public. All events will run rain or shine.

The organizers and dancers ask that visitors only take pictures when they are told it is allowed, as a matter of respect. Those who do not follow these rules will be escorted from the event. This is a pet friendly event. Well-behaved pets on a leash are welcome, and owners are asked to be courteous and clean up after their pets.

All funds raised during this weekend will go toward establishing an annual celebration and the maintenance and improvement of the monument. The site will be updated to make it a place of learning, with a regular schedule of storytelling and other events that will take place on site. The pow wow will be an annual event, in an effort to continue the recognition of what was lost.

In conjunction with this effort to create the awareness of the Native American contribution to the history of this nation, Representative Mark Painter will also be presenting a resolution in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on June 2, to recognize this year as the 90th anniversary since Native Americans were granted full United States citizenship.  Until 1924, Native Americans were not citizens of the United States, but on June 2, 1924 Congress granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S. under the Indian Citizenship Act.

Pottstown MLK Day observance at Hill School today at 4 pm

This comes from Rev. Vernon Ross, Jr., Pastor of Bethel AME Community Church.

You are invited to attend and to encourage your congregation, family, friends, and others to attend the Annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Celebration on Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 4:00 PM.

The Celebration will take place at The Hill School Center for the Arts, and the Pottstown Community Martin Luther King Choir will be singing.  Our special guest will be Mr. David Carlisle, Director of Music, Ms. Melanie R. Hill, Violinist, and Minister Adrien Gale, Soloist.

The proceeds of a free will offering will be given to the Pottstown School District to support their Math/STEM Programs.  This is a wonderful opportunity to help our youth in the Pottstown Community!   We hope to see you!

The Hill School Center for the Arts is located at 860 Beech Street, Pottstown, PA 19464.

Upcoming events for Legendary Locals of Pottstown

JOIN US FOR A BOOK TALK AND SIGNING!

There are a couple of book talks/signings coming up in the next week for the Legendary Locals of Pottstown book, co-authored by photographer Ed Berger and me. Come out to meet some Legendary Locals, learn more about the history of Pottstown through its legends, and how we put this book together. BOOKS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE ($21.99) Look forward to seeing you!

The first event is at the Pottstown Regional Public Library at 500 E. High Street this Sunday, from 1-3 pm. The library is opening just for us!

Then, next Wednesday, November 6th at 7 pm, there is a talk/signing at the Schuylkill River Greenway Association at 140 College Drive in Pottstown. This is a really cool former PECO substation that is used by the Greenway and owned by Montgomery County Community College, and they’ve got a fabulous permanent exhibit about the history of the Schuylkill River. You can learn about Pottstown’s people and the river all in one fell swoop.

Finally, thank you to Joe Zlomek of The Sanatoga Post and The Pottstown Post for publicizing the latter event!

Sue Repko

Pottstown CARES initiative to be underway shortly…

Pottstown CARES: Part Two

 The second part of the CARES project will be a clean-up day TODAY, Friday, October 25 in a targeted area of Pottstown, from High Street north to Beech Street, and Hanover Street east to Edgewood Street.  All 505 Hill School students as well as Hill faculty and staff; 50 Pottstown High School students and numerous faculty members; and many Borough workers and officials will be dispersed to weed, pick up trash, and complete other “spruce up” tasks in public spaces in the core downtown area during this day of service that precedes National Make a Difference Day (October 26).  A team of volunteers also will work to beautify Edgewood Cemetery.

The CARES organizers estimate that a total of 700 students and adults will be contributing to the clean-up during the morning of October 25.

Last summer Borough residents were encouraged through a Mercury article and the Borough website to shares suggestions and requests for specific homeowner projects that might be tackled by the volunteers, in addition to general street and sidewalk clean-up.

The massive volunteer crew will assemble under Hill’s former hockey rink roof at 8:30 a.m. to receive instructions. Pre-organized teams then will disperse to their designated project areas until about 12:30 p.m., when they will return to Hill for a picnic lunch prepared by Sodexo, Hill’s food service provider.  Sodexo is generously donating the meals for all school district and borough volunteers as well as Hill students and personnel.

 After lunch, a celebratory group photo of all participants will be taken on Hill’s campus. 

 In addition, as part of the October 25 clean-up day, the Pottstown School District is running a blood drive from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the high school. Individuals interested in making a donation at the Pottstown High School on October 25 may send an email to Pottstown faculty member Mark Agnew at magnew@pottstownsd.org or call him at 610-970-6707.

Hill’s fine woodworking class students are painting new planks for a park bench to donate for one of the MOSAIC community gardens. A team of volunteers is expected to help build new compost bins for the garden at 423 Chestnut Street. Also, Hill School art students and faculty will be canvassing neighbors to ask for input on the design of a public, downtown Pottstown mural they would like to create in partnership with Pottstown High School art students.

Numerous organizations have contributed funding, tools, supplies, or other support to the CARES project.  In addition to equipment being shared by each of the three entities involved – from rakes to a public address system – the United Way has generously donated $1,000 toward tool procurement in addition to loaning tools through their tool share program.  Home Depot made a greatly appreciated cash donation to the project as well. CARES project organizers wish to give special thanks to the Pottstown Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department for their support.

Individuals who would like to donate work gloves, trash or leaf bags, or tools for this and future projects may take their items to Borough Hall at 100 E. High Street.

 Borough Manager Mark Flanders emphasized that Pottstown CARES is not intended to be a once and done affair, but a starting point that builds momentum for additional efforts that increase residents’ pride in Pottstown.

“It is my hope that this is the beginning of something bigger, and that, as time goes on, Pottstown CARES is a way of life for the residents of Pottstown – rather than a scheduled event,” Flanders noted.

Hill Headmaster Zack Lehman arranged for all 505 Hill students as well as faculty and staff to participate in the October 25 clean-up day.  He said he is excited about the synergy occurring between Hill, the Pottstown School District, and the Borough – and he is passionate about Hill’s involvement in the community.

“Hill was happy to provide the space for the community education event and to serve as the rallying point for the clean-up project,” Lehman said. “I see these CARES initiatives as the first of many cooperative projects.  Hill contributes to Pottstown in many ways, from our existing, highly engaged student community service program, to enthusiastic support of local businesses. We are eager to demonstrate our commitment to the town that has been Hill’s home for 163 years, and very happy to do so with our CARES partners.”

“Pottstown CARES provides community stakeholders with the opportunity to send the clear and inspirational message that, when working together, we are more effective in our actions,” said Dr. Jeff Sparagana, Pottstown superintendent.

“Together, we are Pottstown,” Sparagana said.

Legendary Locals Launch Party Set for Tomorrow

The Legendary Locals book launch party will take place Sunday, October 20th from 1-4 pm at Grumpy’s Sandwiches (137 E. High Street, Pottstown, PA 19464).

Come on out, meet authors Sue Repko and Ed Berger, and get a copy of the book! Legendary Locals of Pottstown features the people who have contributed – and continue to contribute – to the life of our community in ways large and small.

Book talks and signings are also scheduled for:

Sunday, Nov. 3rd, 1-3 pm, Pottstown Regional Public Library, 500 E. High Street, Pottstown.

Wednesday, Nov. 6th, 7 pm, Schuylkill River Greenway Association, 140 College Drive, Pottstown.

The book costs $21.99 and is also available at these local retailers: Grumpy’s Sandwiches, Coles Tobacco, Pottstown Roller Mills, and Professional Pharmacy

Check out Legendary Locals of Pottstown on Facebook for updates.

CCF10152013_00001

Boro, School District, and Hill School team up for Pottstown CARES 10/19 & 10/25

POTTSTOWN CARES PRESS RELEASE – PART I

Borough, Pottstown School District, and The Hill School

Combine Resources and Volunteers for

Two Pottstown CARES Events

Residents invited to free community resource and activities fair on October 19; 700 volunteers to embark on Pottstown clean-up set for October 25

 

POTTSTOWN, PA –Volunteers from the Borough of Pottstown, The Hill School, and the Pottstown School District will combine forces to demonstrate their care for our hometown in several tangible ways in a two-part, two-day event, with separate components planned for Saturday, October 19 and Friday, October 25.

This joint CARES (Community, Awareness, Responsibility, Empowerment, and Sustainability) endeavor was conceived last spring during conversations between Borough Manager Mark Flanders, Pottstown School Superintendent Jeff Sparagana, and Hill School Headmaster Zachary Lehman.  The three leaders envisioned a collaborative project that would help to “spruce up” a designated area in the core of Pottstown while also boosting community pride and awareness about Pottstown resources.  A small committee of representatives from these three key Pottstown entities began meeting late last spring; they sought feedback at a community forum held at the Ricketts Center in late June; and they have been meeting regularly since that time to manage myriad details for the project.

The first part of the CARES project will be a community education and activities day on Saturday, October 19.  (Please read below about the second CARES event on Friday, October 25.)  This free information fair on October 19 will occur rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Hill School, under the former outdoor hockey rink located off Beech Street near Hill’s Center For The Arts.  Attendees may park in the Center For The Arts parking lot. The GPS address for this location is 860 Beech Street.

This October 19 community day will allow nonprofits and other Pottstown-focused, helpful organizations — ranging from arts and recreational organizations to the Bloodmobile, Reduxtech e-waste recyclers, and other service providers — to share free materials about their programs and talk with Pottstown residents.

A variety of free children’s activities will be available through the YMCA and other organizations, and the Masons will be doing child identification fingerprinting.   

Numerous local food vendors will be on hand selling various refreshments, from French fries to vegetarian foods.  Free, gently used office supplies also will be available at a “Get Organized Pottstown” station.

The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities will be accepting donations of food, clothing, and other essentials near the Center For The Arts parking lot in Hill’s old rink. Greatly needed items include: Canned soups and stews; canned prepared pasta; canned fruit; oatmeal; personal hygiene items; small bottles of  laundry detergent; cleaning supplies; socks; underwear; and coats.

In addition, the Chester County Pet Food Pantry will be accepting donations of pet foods, and Forgotten Cats will be represented.

An e-waste collector will be on hand to accept any old items that had electricity running through them.  The e-waste collection truck will be located in the Center For The Arts parking lot.

 The Miller-Keystone Blood Center Bloodmobile will take walk-in blood donations.  Registration for walk-in donations will be located in the lobby of Hill’s Center For The Arts.  People who would like to sign up in advance to donate blood on October 19 at The Hill may contact Jason Coady, a Hill teacher who is coordinating this effort, by emailing him at jcoady@thehill.org.  Also, CVS will provide a flu shot clinic from 12 to 2 p.m.; people interested in getting a flu shot should bring their insurance card if they have one.

A voter registration table will be set up and individuals will be there to help people with this process.

As part of the day’s activities, The Hill will provide two free screenings of an inspirational, multiple award-winning film about “the power of one” demonstrated by nine individuals on six continents, all of whom are working to make their communities a better place.  The film “Opening Our Eyes” (PG-13, www.openingoureyes.net) will be shown in The Hill School Center For The Arts at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Green Room, located off the CFTA lobby.

Also, The Hill invites individuals to take a free, self-guided “Art Walk” architectural tour of Hill’s historic campus.   Interested guests should look for the Art Walk registration table under the rink roof, where they will be provided with a brochure and map of the tour sites as well as an Art Walk visitor badge.  All tours must begin by 3 p.m.

Additional organizations that have registered so far (as of October 10) to participate in the CARES information-sharing event include: Community Connections; Community First Development Corp., Inc; Children and Youth Services; the Colebrookdale Railroad; Genesis Housing Corporation; the Greater Pottstown Tennis Association; Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County; the Montgomery County Health Department;  the Pottstown Borough, including the Codes Department; Pottstown Carousel; the Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority; the Pottstown Fourth of July Committee; the Pottstown High School Key Club; Pottsgrove Manor; Pottstown Memorial Medical Center; Pottstown MOSAIC; the Pottstown Office of Family Services of Montgomery County; Richard J. Ricketts Community Center/Olivet Boys and Girls Club; Sunnybrook Foundation; the United Way; the World War II Dance Committee; and the YMCA and YWCA.

Participating organizations are asked to complete registration and set up between 10 and 11 a.m. on October 19.    They should enter the site from the Center For The Arts parking lot off Beech Street.

Slavic Sacred Music at St. John’s this Friday evening

The Theoria Chamber Choir presents

Slavic Sacred Music
Hymns & Liturgical Songs of the Eastern Church

August 23rd, 2013
7:00 pm

Free Admission

(free will offerings will be accepted)

St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church
301 Cherry Street
Pottstown, Pennsylvania

News of this free event comes to us from the founder of Theoria Chamber Choir, Andrew Skitko, a Pottstown resident and Hill School grad.

Greek for contemplation, “theoria” refers to a stage of spiritual illumination in Eastern Christian theology. Theoria Chamber Choir seeks to lead others in spiritual contemplation through a cappella choral music.

Theoria was founded by Andrew Skitko in 2010. Having grown up in the Byzantine-Ruthenian Church, his passion for the Eastern-European choral repertoire inspired the formation of an ensemble that could explore this music with other professionally trained singers, and share the repertoire of the Slavic sacred choral tradition. Theoria Chamber Choir consists of students and alumni of Westminster Choir College.

In addition to concert performances, Theoria Chamber Choir serves as the primary liturgical choir at The Assumption of The Virgin Mary Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church in Trenton, New Jersey (www.avmbcc.org).

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