Roots of Revitalization

Social Change Through Action In Pottstown PA

Springtime Student Open House at Tri-Pac Performing Arts Center of Pottstown, PA March 11, 2012


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The Mission statement of  Village Productions located at 245 E. High Street
Pottstown, PA 19464 (ph. 610.970.1199) is to “seek and strengthen community, inspire creative exploration, educate, and entertain, through the presentation of quality performing arts events and educational opportunities geared toward a diverse audience.” This local theater did just that Sunday, March 11th, 2012 offering free acting workshops for area children during their Springtime Student Open House.

The acting workshops were divided into grade aged groups K-4th, 5th-7th, and 8th-12th grade, and the classes involved theatrical games similar to charades and simple improv scenarios. Mr. Tony Girozzi taught the acting classes, and some of those in attendance were Hannah Paczkowzki, Sebastian Coates, Ben Williams, Erin Miller, and Dane Jensen-Sellers.

Tony G. has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Univesity of The Arts in Philadelphia, PA and has been involved with Tri-Pac since 2008. Tony G has filled many roles at the theater from acting to set and costume design to directing. You may have seen Tony G. perform in “Honk”, “The Frog Prince”, and Peter Pan” which are all past Tri-Pac shows. At 1 pm the community and open house guests were treated to a student performed “Hansel and Gretel”.

Beyond acting classes the Tri-Pac Performing arts center also offers monologue coaching, voice, flute, trumpet, piano, and guitar musical lessons. Acting classes range in prices from $95-$185 for a two month duration, where students have classes weekly. Contact the Tri-Pac for an entire list of class offerings, and financial aid tuition may be available for acting students who qualify.

Please contact Marta Kiesling at Village Productions if you wish to support Tri-Pac through volunteering, monetary donations, and or supplies.


Connor Kurtz: Ambitious and Involved Teenager! December 12, 2011

Filed under: Kool Kids,Reflections of Youth — roots of revitalization @ 3:04 am
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Connor Kirtz: High School Senior and School Board Member!

Age? Grade? Hometown?

I turned 18 on September 8th, I am in twelfth grade at Daniel Boone Area High School, and I am from Douglassville, PA.

Your family is from Pottstown and your mom is a teacher in the local schools correct?

My family is from Pottstown. We lived in the East End on Cherry Street until we moved to Amity Township in the mid-90s. Both of my sets of grandparents still live in Pottstown. My grandfather, Ron Downie, previously served as a 5th Ward Councillor and a Pottstown School Board member. He is currently Chairman of the Pottstown Water and Sewer Authority. My mother is a second grade teacher in the Pottstown School District.

Kurtz Family

Connor Kurtz and his family.

When did you become interested in  government?

I became interested in government in late 2006. My interest in local government really only began about two years ago.

Can you explain your political leanings?

I am a registered Republican–both fiscally and socially conservative. I believe that liberty is maximized only when government is limited. The principle of limited government is particularly important now. In these tough economic times, families are forced to cut back–I believe that our elected officials need to do the same. Society cannot afford to keep spending the way our government (at all levels–from school board to Congress) continues to spend.

Do you have a mentor? Whom and why?

When it comes to politics, I consider my Grandfather Downie a mentor. While we may disagree on some issues, he is a wealth of information when it comes to everything political. He truly is a Pottstown legend and his experiences have taught me a lot about public service. (Mr. Ronald Downie,

When did you decide to run for school board and why? Which school board?

I decided to run for the Daniel Boone School Board in March of 2011. At that time, I had been attending school board meetings for months and I was not happy with the way that some members of the board approached spending. Additionally, I believed that my status as a student would provide the board with unique insight. As someone who had attended Daniel Boone schools since kindergarten, I knew that I would bring a fresh, new perspective to the school board. My message of reduced spending and accountability resonated with a large number of Amity Township residents: last May, both Republicans and Democrats nominated me for a seat on the school board in a four-way primary with over 44% of the vote. In November, I formally won a seat on the Daniel Boone School Board. I was sworn-in last Thursday as one of the youngest school directors in Pennsylvania history.


PDIDA: Working With Students To Better Pottstown! July 10, 2011

Filed under: Kool Kids,Student Art Work — roots of revitalization @ 4:18 pm
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     The Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA), has

several new internship programs underway with local teen students according

to Sheila Dugan the Chairman of The Board.

Sheila Dugan Chairman of PDIDA

Lindsay Hayver, a junior at Pottstown High

School is responsible for a clean-up crew

that meets every other weekend to gather litter in

the borough. Havyer manages the work schedule and

recruits fellow students to help.  She will be working with

PDIDA as her senior project for the

next two years. Perhaps you  have seen these kids

wearing their yellow PDIDA shirts while they are tidying up

town? The clean up crews range in size from four to

ten people all dedicated to making Pottstown a  more environmental place.

Havyer is also working with local businesses and church volunteer groups to

help PDIDA meet one of their main objectives “keeping the downtown clean,

safe and well managed”. Dugan commented on Havyer, “Lindsay is taking her

own initiative in a  responsible manner that is rare in teenagers today. She is

truly giving back to her community!”

Lindsay Havre Clean Up Crew Managing Intern for PDIDA!

Some of the PDIDA Volunteer Litter Patrol!

The second aspect of the mentoring program utilizes young artists such as

Jaira Kurtz who is a senior at Pottstown High School. Kurtz will be working with

local businesses and designing murals as advertisements as a way to market

downtown Pottstown. One of her first murals will be doing her own version of

the Grumpy’s logo at the sandwich shop located within the Pottstown Farmers


Jaira Kurtz Artistic Advertising Intern For PDIDA!

Kurtz commented on her senior project intership, “I

lovePottstown and I feel like local students and citizens

don’t get enough credit. We always get the short end of

the stick when it comes to  everything and I  would just

like to bring more positivity to the town so others can

see what good things can come from Pottstown and the

people who inhabit it. I’m also the

drum major of PHS band and spoke at the past board

meeting about just making this town a better and happier place. It kills

me to see how some of the borough and board members are cutting and taking

away the things that affect this town in positive ways.”

Dugan further discussed how much talent she has seen from young people in

Pottstown, and that past students were responsible for both of the outdoor

murals at the Farmers Market and MCCC’s Riverfront Center.


Kool Kid: Virginia Lee Dugan! June 30, 2011

 By TJS       

    Some of you local Pottstownians may know the Dugan family, who have been renovating a historic home on North Hanover Street for the last few years!

Mother, Sheila Dugan is active with Historic Pottstown Neighborhood Association and also the Chairman of The Board at Pottstown Downtown Improvement District Authority (PDIDA). 

     Father, Gene Dugan is the chef and owner of  Grumpy’s Hand Carved Sandwiches  located in the Pottstown Farmers Market at 300 E, High Street.   

     There oldest daughter of five children, Virginia Lee Dugan, is ROR’s first “KOOL KID” to be interviewed and featured on our blog. The reason we chose VL , is because she achieved high honor roll her entire Freshman year, and is a big help to her family in that she works at the family’s sandwich shop.

Name: Virginia-Lee Dugan

 Nickname: VL or Vee

 Grade Level: I will be going into 10th.

 School: Pottstown High

 Favorite Subject and Why?: English and History because they come very easily to me.

 Favorite Color: Pink!

 Favorite TV Show: Pretty Little Liars!

 Favorite Movie: Freedom Writers!

Favorite Music: Hip-Hop and Rap!

 Favorite Quote: “A best friend knows everything about you and loves you anyways.”

 Favorite place that you have travelled to: Raystown Resort.

First thing that you ever wanted to be when you grew up: I wanted to be a teacher.

What do you want to be now? I want to be a lawyer.

 Hobbies: I love reading.

 What do you expect to be doing in ten years? I hope to just be graduating law school from Pittsburg University.

 Advice that you would give to your fellow students: Study and pay attention, it helps a lot.

 Something unique about yourself? My personality, I swear I’m bipolar. I’ll be happy one minute then the next I’ll be really mad for something stupid.

 Do you have a hero, if so who and why? Yes, my Mom. She has been through a lot in her life and I don’t think that I could ever handled it as well as she has.




Pottstown Planning Commission Helps Local Boy Scout Earn Merit Badge June 27, 2011

Filed under: Kool Kids — roots of revitalization @ 7:12 am
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 By, Chris Huff

Pottstown Planning Commission: Andrew Keefer, Deb Penrod, Dan Weand, (Boy Scout-Matt Larive)  and Christopher Huff. Not pictured: Stephen Toroney.


Be prepard! A key value in the Boy Scout motto that means always

                              read, willing and able for any situation!    



      Matt Larive, a scout with Boy Scout Troop 597 in nearby Douglassville, lived up to 

that duty when he attended June 26th’s Pottstown Planning Commission meeting.

Matt, accompanied by his mom, came out to fulfill a requirement in pursuit of his

Communications Merit Badge. One of the 9 requirements in achieving the badge is

“attending a public meeting where several points of view are given on a single topic and

present an objective report that includes all points of view.”


      Matt intended to sit in the audience and take some notes but Planning Commission

Chairman. Dan Weand proposed a better offer, “Come join us at the table for the

meeting.” Commission member and Council President Steve Toroney was out of town, so

Matt filled in and took his seat– ready, willing and able. Matt took notes on the

discussions of several planned projects that were part of the agenda. With each vote

being unanimous, there was little debate to stir Matt’s pen.


      That wouldn’t last long, however, as a topic with many points of view soon came to

the table under the Pottstown Metropolitan Regional  Planning Committee report. The

previous night at the monthly meeting of the PMRPC, a presentation was given to an

audience of municipal officials regarding tolling Rt. 422. As County Planner Darlene

Wynne outlined some highlights of the presentation, the Planning Commission members

weighed in with widely varying points of view. Matt quickly and easily filled his notepad

with plenty of material to write his report.


     When asked after the meeting what he thought about tolls on Rt.422, Matt said,

“think they would help get roads fixed but I don’t know that my parents will like having

to pay them.” Matt was thanked for his attendance at the meeting and given words of

encouragement  in the pursuit of his badge. Other requirements to achieve a

Communications Merit Badge include writing to the editor of a local newspaper to

express an opinion, writing a five-minute speech, interviewing someone you respect and

organizing a troop honor program.


Good luck, Matt!