Dragons Spotted in Pottstown!

Many people know that Dragon Boating exists in Pottstown, but did you know that Pottstown has one of only three indoor paddle pool Dragon Boat practice facilities in North America, and the only one open in the United States?

From outside, there is nothing about the Pottstown Athletic Club, located in the Armory at 263 King Street, to indicate the unique facility that is housed inside. In 2016, club owner Rob Matthews installed ergometers, exercise equipment which allows Dragon Boaters to practice during the winter, and then in 2017, added an indoor paddle pool to allow the athletes to have a full spectrum of indoor training for the sport. Pottstown Dragon Boater Laura Cousins trains at the facility because the ergometers (located in the upstairs “Erg Room”) allow her to increase her strength and power as she paddles, while the pool allows her to work on technique. She loves the card tracking system in the Erg Room that allows her to track her distance, speed, and total work-out time. Cousins is a member of the Pottstown Dragon Warriors, a competitive team that practices in both Pottstown Athletic Club, as well as on the Schuylkill, several times a week.

Laura Cousins

Pottstown Dragon Warriors team member Laura Cousins practicing in the Erg Room at Pottstown Athletic Club

Rob Matthews thinks the popularity of the sport will only grow. “We want to build Dragon Boating in the Pottstown area not just because it’s fun, but because it’s a physical skill set that anybody can adapt to. Dragon Boating is team work and timing, you must work together. You have to do that more than be a physical specimen.” Matthews is so excited about growing Dragon Boating that he encourages beginners to attend a free practice session, once indoors in the unique practice facility, as well as to join the more seasoned boaters for an outdoor practice on the river. Dragon Boating is great for kids, too. There are community members as young as 10 who practice in Pottstown.

The indoor practice facilities have been used by teams from all around the Philadelphia region, and are available to reserve at hourly rates. Matthews encourages families to come join in “Open Paddles” and organizations to book the facility for team building events. The amenities of the club are drawing visitors to Pottstown from all around the region, which have easy access thanks to Pottstown’s location at the junction of Routes 422 and 100.

Paddle Pool(1)

The paddle pool indoors at Pottstown Athletic Club, one of only three indoor paddle pools in North America

To find out more about Dragon Boating in Pottstown, go to http://pottstownathleticclub.com/index.php/pottstown-dragon-warriors-1, follow the Pottstown Dragon Warriors on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PottstownDragonWarriors, or email Rob Matthews directly at rob.1@pottstownkarate.com.

Mercury Mile takes off from Smith Plaza at noon!

The Mercury Mile is a fun, social way to get your daily exercise! See story here and below.

Walk around Pottstown’s business district for the Mercury Mile

This week’s Mercury Mile is returning to the business district of Pottstown.

Join community members in a quick afternoon mile walk noon Thursday.

Participants are to meet at the Smith Family Plaza located at 100 E. High Street in front of the Pottstown Borough Hall.

Walking with friends is a great way to spend a pleasant afternoon. Invite your coworkers, family and pets to join the Mercury Mile.

The mile is a lunchtime walk to promote walking as a free way to exercise.

The mile’s location changes every week so walkers can explore the multiple local routes and trails.

To find each week’s location, visit the Fit for Life websitewww.pottsmerc.com/Fitforlife and like the Facebook pagewww.facebook.com/Mercfit4life. Walkers can also be added to the Mercury Mile email list by contacting Michilea Patterson at mpatterson@pottsmerc.com. Send your name from the email you would like to use and the mile’s location will be sent to you each week.

Anytime there is inclement weather, the Mercury Mile will meet at the Pottstown YMCA indoor track. The Pottstown YMCA is located at 724 N. Adams St. Membership isn’t required to use the track at this time.

The Mercury is engaged in a year-long effort, Fit for Life, designed to promote healthy living. In addition to articles in the newspaper and on our website, Fit for Life features a blog with recipes, health tips, resources, tips on getting fit without breaking the bank, maps and other tools all available free online. Visit the website atwww.pottsmerc.com/Fitforlife, like us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/MercFit4Life and follow our efforts on Twitter@MercFit4Life.

Patterson is the Fit for Life reporter and is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation. You can follow Michilea Patterson on Twitter @MichileaP.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michilea PattersonMichilea Patterson is the Fit for Life reporter at The Mercury, partially funded by the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation. She is an Army brat and her father retired from the military while stationed in Missouri. She was the editor-in-chief of her college newspaper, the Lincoln Clarion, in Jefferson City, Mo. She graduated from Lincoln with her B.S. in journalism in 2013. Reach the author atmpatterson@pottsmerc.com or follow Michilea on Twitter: @MichileaP .

Hill School Girls’ Basketball Camp June 17-20

If you are looking for a fun, action-packed skill-building camp for your budding basketball player in grades 4-9, now is the time to sign up for the Skills on The Hill Girls’ Basketball Camp!!

In case you didn’t know, I am the varsity girls’ basketball coach at The Hill School in Pottstown, and I will be running the camp with my sister, Michele Repko Dunleavy. We both have played the game at the high school and college levels and have many coaching years between us. Michele was named PAC-10 Coach of the Year in 1996!

The camp will run from June 17-20, from 9 am – 3 pm. The cost of $235 includes lunch, a t-shirt, and supervised swim daily, in addition to guest speakers, skill-building, and games. Michele and I ran a summer camp at Princeton Day School for 5 years so we are a well-oiled machine! Your daughter will have tons of fun and learn — just what you want from a summer program.

If your son would like to go to hoops camp too, there is a boys’ camp running the same days/times. They will also be teaching younger players – boys and girls – from 1st-3rd grades, so check that out as well if it fits your family’s needs.

The brochure can be found here. It’s got all the info you’ll need to sign up. If you have any questions, feel free to email srepko@thehill.org.

Make-A-Wish Benefit Concert this Saturday

Featuring a night of fabulous Broadway sounds, dance, choral & instrumental

music from blues to rock. Professional musicians plus local performing

artists share their talents to raise funds for Make-A-Wish®.

A Celebration of Life

WINGS OF HOPE BENEFIT CONCERT

Saturday May 3, 2014 7:00 PM

St. Paul’s UCC • 1312 Old Swede Rd • Douglassville, PA

TICKETS TO BENEFIT MAKE A WISH®:

$25 in advance • $30 at the door

Buy your tickets in advance online at wingsofhope.ticketleap.com

RAFFLE TO BENEFIT FOR PETE’S SAKE:

Doors Open at 6:30 PM • Beautiful Baskets; Lots of Themes

FEATURING:

Broadway Stars Jennifer Hope Wills (Christine in Phantom of the Opera) and Dan Pacheco (Boq in Wicked)

iTunes recording artist: guitarist Adam Lacarino • Local celebrities: Ben Blakesley and the Hillbilly Haymakers

Directed/Produced by Patricia Keith

Also featuring some of our area’s most talented young people

Dance One Contemporary Ballet Theatre • Honor Choir • Jocelyn Shank • and more!

YOUR SUPPORT CAN & WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

WingsofHopeMD.com

 

8th Annual “Pottstown Celebrates Young Children” event TOMORROW!

The eighth annual Pottstown Celebrates Young Children event will be held on April 12, 2014 from 1:00-3:00 at the Pottstown YMCA (724 Adams Street – across from Pottstown High School). The event targets families with young children and is sponsored by PEAK, Pottstown’s school readiness initiative. The afternoon will include a petting farm, moon bounce, mascots and clowns. More than 40 community organizations will provide family activities and everything is free.

This year PEAK is partnering with Pottstown Memorial Medical Center as the main sponsor for the Month of the Young Child events. According to PEAK Coordinator, Mary Rieck, “We are very thankful for the partnership with Pottstown Memorial Medical Center. Pottstown Celebrates Young Children is great way to raise awareness for early education and services of the hospital, as well as an enjoyable afternoon for the whole family. We look forward to finding new ways to work with the hospital to help Pottstown’s children enter kindergarten ready to learn and achieve.” The Month of the Young Child is also supported by the Pottstown Rotary Club Community Endowment Fund which is providing funds to support the purchase and distribution of 400 copies of the featured book for the Pennsylvania One Book campaign.

PEAK has received donations to support the event from Wegman’s and Costco. PEAK (Pottstown Early Action for Kindergarten Readiness) is a partnership between Pottstown School District and community early learning programs and agencies seeking to prepare children and families for success in kindergarten. To learn more about PEAK or the April 12 event, visit http://www.peakonline.org, e-mail Ms. Rieck at mrieck@pottstownsd.org or call 610-970-6655. You can also follow PEAK on Twitter @PEAKPartners and on Facebook.

Pottstown Parks Director Eileen Schlegel Remembered

Eileen Schlegel, the Pottstown Parks and Recreation Director since 2008, passed away suddenly last Saturday. Those wishing to pay respects and honor her life may do so at a viewing from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at Warker-Troutman Funeral Home at  726 E. High St. The funeral will be at the funeral home on Saturday from 10 to 11 a.m.

According to Evan Brandt’s Mercury article, Eileen grew up on Queen Street and graduated from St. Pius X High School. She started working for the Parks Department in the early 1990s. I will always remember Eileen for being the go-to person for so many community activities and events. She oversaw a department that was responsible for all of the Borough’s parks, the spray park, Trilogy BMX park, Riverfront Park,  the Bark Park, and year-round recreational programming for all ages. She and her staff could be counted on to provide the chairs, sound equipment, power, games, hot dogs and hot chocolate at parades, 4th of July festivities, the Polar Bear Plunge, the Funky Santa 5K, the Volleyball Rumble and so much more.  Eileen Schlegel had a hand in all this, in the life of the community, and in the seasonal rituals that become traditions and make a town a home. She will be remembered for many years to come

Memorial contributions in her honor may be made to Helping Hands Inc., 415 Hoffmansville Road, Bechtelsville, PA 19505. For more than 30 years Helping Hands has been serving individuals with developmental delays and mental and physical challenges.

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.

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