Roosevelt Elementary students ‘Love Reading’

 

Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School celebrated reading all day on February 28th in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Students came to school dressed as book characters and Clifford the Big Red Dog visited in the morning. There was a “We Love Reading” assembly in the afternoon, which featured student performances – poems, songs, and Dr. Seuss trivia. Photos by Kelly Maroney.

 

PHOTO CAPS: 1. Ella Kuebler, Raymond Vereen, and Gabriella Pearson with Clifford the Big Red Dog.

2. Rosemarie Reeves gives Clifford a big hug!

3. Jacob Berry gets comfortable with a book.

4. Avery Whittle has a lifelong friend!

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CEC’s own ‘Westminster Abby’ accepted into Westminster Choir College

It was when her mother handed her the sheet music to a song from “The Phantom of the Opera” that Abigail Merk from Morrisville discovered her love for “this strange music.”

The Conwell-Egan Catholic senior has had a fondness for music since she began taking singing lessons at Holy Trinity (Morrisville) in the second grade. Her mother (and piano teacher), holding a trio of degrees in Organ Performance, Music Therapy, and Music Education, is credited for fostering that love.

“When it comes down it, my mom is the reason I love music. She’s always exposed me to new things, whether I liked it or not, and that’s what opened my eyes in the first place,” Abby said. “We have such a connection; we’re kind of like a team. If I’m really frustrated or not getting something right, I can go to her and she’ll reassure me that I don’t have to be perfect and that I will continue learning. I do the same for her.”

Abby was recently accepted into the prestigious Westminster Choir College of Rider University, one of the world’s leading schools in music. Westminster is a four-year music college and graduate school that prepares men and women for careers as performers and as music leaders in schools, universities, churches and professional and community organizations.

Students from Westminster perform with some of the greatest orchestras and conductors of our time, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic, and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Westminster’s choirs have been featured on more than 180 commercial recordings.

Abby was a four-time All-Catholic Chorus selection at Conwell-Egan Catholic, as well as a choir member of the Capitol Singers of Trenton & Trenton Community Singers. She has also been a longtime member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, an organization that fosters the art of musical liturgy. The members of NPM serve the Catholic Church in the United States as musicians, clergy, liturgists, and other leaders of prayer.

Abby received her letter of acceptance the day of the annual CEC Christmas Concert. She will be attending Westminster in the fall, studying to receive her Bachelor of Arts in the Voice Performance program.

PHOTO CAP: Abby Merk

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Seniors complete unique jigsaw puzzle of Morrisville’s Presbyterian Tower

 

by June Portnoy

Bill Buch, a Morrisville Presbyterian Tower resident, recently presented a unique gift to six of his neighbors at the assisted living apartment building for seniors.

Bill, an avid catalogue shopper, came across a Great Britain company that takes satellite photos of your residence and neighborhood, then converts the photos into 500-piece jigsaw puzzles.

Knowing that residents Ruth Gillmore, Darlene Peterson, Richard Hansel, Linda Swiss, Jean Smith and Bob Foster assemble two to three puzzles a week, Bill thought that this personalized puzzle would be the ideal present for his friends, all between the ages of 65 and 90.

The puzzle arrived in early January, and the gift recipients immediately got to work, assembling it using a high power magnifying glass to help them manipulate the small pieces.

The puzzle piece on which the Presbyterian Towers was photographed was the largest piece and also the starting point, placed in the middle of the puzzle. From that point, the group added the rest of the pieces.

The puzzle includes photos of sites up to a four-mile radius around Presbyterian Tower.  “On the east side, you can actually see as far as Trenton’s Capital Dome,” says Bill. The puzzle also includes such local landmarks as the Delaware Canal, Morrisville High School and the playing fields of Williamson Park.

Bill adds that if you look at the puzzle under a microscope, you’ll see magnolias and blooming trees, indicating the photo was taken sometime during the spring.

Bob Foster, a Morrisville resident all his life, could look at the puzzle and pinpoint specific houses and streets, and as he did so, he gave the other five group members a trip down memory lane.

“My incentive for giving this group the puzzle was to bring like-minded people who all enjoy assembling puzzles together,” says Bill.  “Plus, it’s a great activity to sharpen one’s mind and eyesight.”

It took the group a little over a week of devoting most of their time to complete the puzzle. Bill plans to mount the completed puzzle on a board and then display it in the Presbyterian Tower community room for all to see and admire.

PHOTO CAPS: The Jigsaw Puzzle group, from top left, clockwise, John Grier, Bill Buch, Betty Ennis, Cathy Jablonski, Lorraine Tonan, and Terry Halpin. Photo by George Price.

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Morrisville third graders experience a lesson in giving back

 

The third grade classes in the Morrisville School District are studying about and discussing communities as part of their Social Studies curriculum. They were inspired to help out and wanted to give back to their own community of Morrisville. As part of their 100th Day of School Celebration on February 7th, they concluded a service project to collect canned food items for local organizations. One hundred cans for 100 days!

The teachers, Laura Dyer, Erica Poland, and staff member Marissa Cylinder were thrilled with the success of the collection. The entire third grade collected over 200 non-perishable food items!

Through the coordination of the Morrisville School District 21st Century Community Learning Centers Volunteer Coordinator Elizabeth Sullivan, the donated food items were split between two local organizations. At Holy Trinity Church, Easter food baskets are donated to those in need in Morrisville Borough. The Food Center at Morrisville Presbyterian Church provides supplemental food assistance to hungry families in Lower Bucks and the greater Trenton, NJ area.

The third grade students experienced a lesson in giving back to their neighbors and would like to encourage others to donate to their communities frequently.

PHOTO CAP: Third graders, standing from left, Alyssa Barrett, Aleighia Guadron-Soto, Cole Parada, Eleanor Quince, Jazmine Harris, Abigail Larkin, and Zachary Rinkevich; seated in front is Jose Gutierrez.

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Design contract for approach roadway improvements at two Trenton/Morrisville bridges approved

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission recently announced that it has approved a professional services contract for a future project that will involve approach-roadway resurfacing and other improvements in the vicinity of the Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1) Toll Bridge and the Lower Trenton (“Trenton Makes”) Toll-Supported Bridge.

The contract for project scope development, preliminary engineering, and final-design and post-design services was awarded to Cherry, Weber & Associates, P.C. of Bethlehem, PA for an amount not to exceed $426,451.02.

The engineering consulting firm ultimately will design and stage the various elements of a project that the Commission expects to carry out in the vicinity of the two bridges later this year. The primary project focus involves the rehabilitation of the roadways in Trenton and Morrisville that carry traffic to and from the Route 1 toll bridge and the nearby Lower Trenton.

Anticipated construction activities include: milling and resurfacing of designated areas of the approach roadway, cleaning and sealing roadway concrete joints, concrete bridge deck cleaning and sealing, sidewalk and curbing replacements, installation of ADA standard sidewalk ramps, and restriping of the rights of way.

The facilities that make up the project were identified as having various deficiencies in the Commission’s 2013 Annual Inspection Report and through follow-up field inspections performed by Commission engineering and Capital Program Management Consultant staff.

Work in the vicinity of the Trenton-Morrisville Toll Bridge will involve the Route 1 interchanges at Pennsylvania Avenue in Morrisville and Route 29 in Trenton as well as 10 ramps and approach bridges. Work in the vicinity of the Lower-Trenton Bridge project encompasses Bridge Street intersections at Delmorr, Central and Park Avenues in Morrisville and Bridge Street, Warren Street and the Route 1 exit ramp near the Justice Complex Driveway in Trenton.

The contract with Cherry, Weber & Associates was unanimously approved at the Commission’s meeting on Monday, February 24th. The project is part of the agency’s Capital Improvement Program, which is ultimately paid for through tolls collected at the Commission seven toll bridges.

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Morrisville Riverfront Preserve needs volunteers

In 2010, Morrisville Borough created the Morrisville Riverfront Preserve by preserving and undertaking restoration of 8.8 acres of land along the Delaware River. This waterfront spot will be maintained as a natural preserve to maximize ecological assets and provide public passive recreation. It is a wonderful place to walk, fish, bird watch or wile away some time.

The first two years were devoted to developing a management plan, treating the site with herbicides, and seeding with native plants and grasses. Since then we have planted 269 trees, 50 shrubs, 105 perennials, removed large amounts of dumped material, improved the southern entryway, started a milkweed patch for monarch butterflies, done preliminary trail work, and installed informational signage. 

For 2014, funding has been secured for additional tree plantings, and access improvements are planned.  There is still much to be done.

The Morrisville Environmental Advisory Council is seeking volunteers to help with projects at the Preserve:

  • Clean ups;
  • Regular trail clearing and maintenance;
  • Monthly weed patrol and spot eradication of invasive plants;
  • Miscellaneous projects to enhance and encourage use of the Preserve.
  • Writers, financial specialists, artists, naturalists, fishermen, educators, photographers, outreach coordinators, historians, and others – your help can be used. 

Many hands make light work, much can get done when everyone pitches in. Morrisville is fortunate to have such an accessible and appealing riverfront. This is a great opportunity for residents to connect to the river, as well as help the environment and our Borough. Having some muscle will help with some projects, but all levels of ability are needed. Help continue the important progress made at the Morrisville Riverfront Preserve.

For more detailed information about the Preserve or to volunteer, contact Debby Colgan at 609-954-5360 or debbycolgan@verizon.net.

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Learning life’s lessons, one box at a time

submitted by Melinda Myer, Troop leader #2401, #2421, Girl Scouts of Eastern PA, Sandy Run Service Unit

Another year of cookie booths, cookie rallies, and cookie order forms come around as we muster up the enthusiasm to spread words of encouragement to our troops. What makes this year different? If you live in the Northeast, you know the answer to this question. Freezing. Icy. Numbing. Bitter cold. These circumstances set the stage for a few of life’s lessons to be learned.

First, the kindness of others has never been so keenly felt as we set up our booth under light snowfall with temperatures hovering around 10 degrees. Bundled under several layers, we set up our boxes and put on our best smiles. Our hope was that the customers were not going to run for cover and skip over our colorful table of cookies and homemade signs. We were overjoyed when they stopped to talk and buy a few boxes of cookies. Upon hearing the stories of our generous customers, their kindness warmed our hearts and souls. It was the officer who stopped to buy a few boxes for his squad. It was the grandfather that was expecting his grandkids over for Sunday brunch. It was the young man who praised us on our perseverance and dedication. In many instances, it was the former Girl Scout leader, or Scout, or grandmother that had to buy a box to support us for being out in the cold.  

The second lesson we learned was teamwork. It was the first time my daughter, Kathryn, and I shared a cookie booth. We were like a well-oiled machine. She took out the boxes, while I set up the signs and money. She spoke to the customers, while I pointed to the boxes. She took off her gloves to make change, while I refilled our stock. As the snow got heavy, we took turns brushing it off the table. Just as the snow was beating us, our cookie mom arrived with her daughter, Anna. We moved to the trunk of the minivan while Kathryn took cover in the trunk to thaw and act as cashier. Anna’s energy served as beacon to our newly made cookie headquarters. It was that unsaid feeling of teamwork and camaraderie that shouted, “We are doing a great job! We just might make it through!”

In the end, when our shift was over, we felt proud, uplifted and warm inside. We may have started the day with only hope of selling a lot of boxes, but we left with so much more.

PHOTO CAP: Kathryn Myer (left) and Anna Flook on cookie duty. The girls have been Scouts since kindergarten.

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Morrisville resident pens book on legendary Trenton music club

 

by Mimi Rowland

Do you remember City Gardens, the alternative music club in Trenton? Amy Yates Wuelfing does, and she has written a book about its long and storied history.

Amy, a lifelong resident of Morrisville, frequented City Gardens while it existed from 1980 to 1994. She and co-author Steven Lodovico spent more than a decade researching the club, the bands that played there, its patrons, and those who made it all work. They conducted over 100 interviews to create this book, entitled “No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens.” They spoke with people such as Jon Stewart of The Daily Show who once bartended at the club, “Gentleman” (and comedian) Jim Norton who worked there as a bouncer, Black Flag frontman and onetime Trenton resident Henry Rollins, and many others who came together to create a haven for underground music and the outsiders and misfits who loved it.

Back in the days before the Internet, fans found new music by listening to college radio stations and searching through record stores like Third Street Jazz where Amy once worked. Clubs like City Gardens gave new bands a place to play and audiences a way to see them. There was also a weekly dance night where, for only 90 cents, kids could dance the night away to new wave music. Those who felt that they were different from everyone else found others like themselves and were accepted for who they were. After the club closed, people were so sentimental about it that there were even reunions held from time to time.

While researching for the book, the new owners of the building let Amy go in to look around. She was surprised by what bad shape it was in. “Chunks of the roof are missing and you can see daylight and rain coming in.”

City Gardens was an anomaly. Not in New York, not in Philadelphia, it popped up in a blighted urban area and promoter Randy Now managed to book some rather well-known acts such as Iggy Pop and Ween. Amy notes that The Ramones used to play there on a very regular basis, to the point where audiences took them for granted and expected that they would always be there. Now they are an iconic band of their time period. Randy’s promoting skills earned City Gardens a permanent place in the history of underground music.

Amy is now working on a book about record stores across the country. She wants to document a time period before people could download music at home, when there was more personal interaction around music. She has remained friends with City Gardens promoter Randy Now, who owns The Man Cave in Bordentown, NJ where people can still buy albums, CDs, and even videotapes. She has also traveled to Cleveland to interview one of the founders of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who also happened to be one of the creators of the Philadelphia Record Exchange. She is interested in documenting Americana and things that are “unique to our culture.”

Just across the bridge from Morrisville at 1701 Calhoun Street, City Gardens was a musical Mecca in an unlikely place. Amy says her book is the story of a time and a place that will never come again and it just needed to be captured.

Amy will be signing her new book, “No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens” at Randy Now’s Man Cave in Bordentown, NJ on Saturday and Sunday, March 8th and 9th, and at Siren Records in Doylestown on Friday, March 14th. You can also find her at the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market on Sunday, March 30th, and in Philadelphia at Serrano/Tin Angel on Thursday, April 3rd. Just remember, there is no slam dancing at these signing events!

PHOTO CAP: Randy Now (left) and Amy Wuelfing

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Scouts hone skills at Klondike Derby

While the adults in Bucks County were stocking up on milk and bread in anticipation of yet another snowstorm, over 200 Boy Scouts and Webelos hit the snow covered hills and trails of Tyler State Park in Newtown on February 1st for the annual Playwicki Klondike Derby.  The all-day event tests the knowledge, leadership, cooperation and patrol spirit of each sled team in a range of activities from traditional Scouting skills like knot-tying, wildlife identification and first aid, to more novel pursuits like hatchet tossing and launching an ancient hunting tool called an atlatl.

“It is a perfect day for Klondike,” said Playwicki District Chairman Bill Pitts. “We even have snow.”

Dave Clark and George Worth, who organized the event, led a team of adult volunteers into the park at daybreak to set up the course and stations for the competition. Each of the 18 units that participated in the derby hosted a station on the trail.

Troop 153, which is chartered by Assumption B.V.M. Catholic Church in Feasterville, took first place in both the “13 and Under” category with the Emerald Dragons Patrol, and the “14 and Up” division with the White Tiger Kingdom Patrol. The Stallions from the First Presbyterian Church of Morrisville’s Troop 3 took first place in the Mixed Age Division. The Hawks from Troop 5, which meets at North and Southampton Reformed Church in Churchville, won the Sled Race.

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Scouts hold Eagle Recognition Breakfast

The Bucks County Council of the Boy Scouts of America held their 24th Annual Eagle Scout Recognition Breakfast on December 17th. The event, which was hosted and underwritten by Lockheed Martin in Newtown, honored the 2013 Col. Howard “Chip” Eissler Eagle Scout Class.

It is said that for every 100 boys who enter Scouting, only two will earn the rank of Eagle Scout. According to Magne Gundersen, Scout Executive/Chief Executive Officer of the Bucks County Council, Scouts in the council achieve the rank of Eagle at about five percent. At 156 members, the 2013 class was almost 25% larger than the previous year.

The trail to Eagle is not an easy one; each of the young men who completed the trail were required to demonstrate leadership, earn a minimum of 21 merit badges and complete a leadership service project. As is always the case, each project reflects the interests and personality of the Scout who leads it.

David Heller of Troop 187 assembled a 60-person team who made 100 Disaster Relief buckets for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Timothy Rihl of Troop 240 collected care packages for Marines in Afghanistan.

Troop 5’s Christopher Babenko oversaw trail clearing, sign work and painting at Tamanend Park. John Rymer of Troop 30 created a fire pit for Yardley United Methodist Church’s Youth Group.

U.S. Representative Mike Fitzpatrick, who became an Eagle Scout with Troop 124 in Levittown and who served two terms as president of the Bucks County Council, was the keynote speaker. He spoke to the class and their families about the need for more Scouts, especially Eagle Scouts, to take up leadership roles in America.

Col. Eissler is Commander, 111th Fighter Wing, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, located at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station in Horsham. He spoke to the group about how becoming an Eagle Scout gave him the skills to succeed at the United States Air Force Academy and in his career.

“As an Eagle Scout,” Eissler said, “doors will be open for you and you will be prepared to walk through them.”

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