Celebrating Earth Day 2009 today – How Can We Each Make a Difference?

Individually we may not be able to reduce global warming, end pollution or save an endangered species, but there are simple ways we can help protect the environment and save Planet Earth. As a citizen, we can make wise choices about how we live, and the amount of energy and natural resources we consume. It is important that our local government and its leaders continue to look for ways to improve and protect our environment. Each of us living in Tredyffrin Township can make some simple changes that can make a difference. As a Board of Supervisor candidate, I support protecting our local natural resources and preserving our open space. I would like to see a community recycle program put in to place and would encourage Tredyffrin’s participation in ‘Recycle Bank’, http://www.recyclebank.com/ This program would take local government support and participation but all the township residents would benefit through reward programs (as an additional incentive) to recycle. Here are some of my suggestions and ways that my husband and I have made simple changes in our home:
1. Drive less. By leaving our car at home we reduce air pollution, improve our health and save money. Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips, or try using public transportation more often.
2. Use reusable shopping bags. It takes a lot of natural resources to produce plastic bags and these bags end up as litter that clogs waterways, adds negatively to the landscape and may be harmful to marine mammals. Reusable bags are made of materials that don’t harm the environment, and do not need to be discarded after each use.
3. Change our light bulbs. We have found that compact florescent bulbs are more energy efficient and less expensive to use than the traditional bulbs. They are safer to operate and can reduce energy costs. The initial cost may be higher but the return on investment is quickly recovered.
4. Pay bills online. By paying our bills online, we can save time and money, lower the administrative costs of companies that you do business with and reduce global warming by saving trees. Online billing also cuts down on the amount of paper that gets delivered to the mailbox each day.

A Breakfast of Goodwill & Friendship!

What a lovely morning spent at the newly remodeled Embassy Suites in Chesterbrook! Our State Rep Paul Drucker held a breakfast reception this morning in honor of Local Government Week for all the township community leaders. Special guest of honor was retiring supervisor Bill DeHaven who attended with wife Pat and son Michael. How wonderful to have all of these volunteers share this special time together. I attended as a member of the township’s HARB (Historical Architectural Review Board) but there were planning commissioners, parks board members, school board and zoning board members, supervisors, etc.
Paul’s message to the audience was particularly meaningful to me. He spoke of joining the Board of Supervisors and his seat placement was at one end and Bill’s to the far opposite end. Although one represented the Democrat Party and the other the Republican Party, Paul explained that as their friendship developed, they discovered that their views were more similar than dissimilar. It is this bipartisan sentiment and thoughtful independent expression that brings people together rather than separate them. Over the 2 year period that Judy DiFilippo and I worked together as co-chairs for Tredyffrin 300, I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet and work with many members of our community. Committed to making this 300th anniversary a milestone to be remembered, we were excited by the community support and spirit, regardless of political affiliations or differences.

Sitting among the volunteers this morning, I reflected on how these people are giving back to others and are making a real difference in the township. Sharing is the keyword to describe the way in which volunteers approach their work. Volunteers in Tredyffrin are sharing their skills and talents, even their money. But above all, they share themselves. They know that this attitude is the true measure of success in life and that it makes this community strong and healthy. It is an action deeply rooted in the human spirit with a far-reaching social and cultural impact. Listening to, being concerned with, and responding to the needs of others provide evidence of the highest human motivation. Volunteering is not simply something that we do for others. Our own values and humanity are at stake: We are what we give. All these result from and give rise to participation, involvement, engagement, mutual trust, respect, support, commitment, all of which are absolutely vital for the strength and well-being of our community. I am grateful to live in a community that honors its volunteers.

I have always believed that I receive far greater rewards from my volunteer efforts than I could ever measure!

Economic Times Create Challenges for Local Business Community

As a member of both the residential and business communities of Tredyffrin, if elected to the Board of Supervisors I plan to build upon this balanced relationship and be a bridge between them. I fully understand the affect that our country’s current economic situation has cast on small businesses such as mine, the Great Valley House, a historic bed and breakfast. Having enjoyed an interesting way of life as an innkeeper and small business owner for 25 years, I have also witnessed first hand the downturn in our nation’s economy and its effect on my business. Back in the 1980’s, I did postgraduate work at London School of Economics, after completing a Master’s degree in Public Administration from CalState-Fullerton. My thesis work at LSE included a “Comparative Analysis of Job Satisfaction in the Workplace between the United States and Britain”. The British government was particularly interested in this analysis as the two nations were very comparable in their ‘double-digit’ unemployment rate and the resulting downsizing in the workplace. My work became ‘dated’ in its theories as the US began to turn around and regain a degree of healthiness. Britain on the other hand, was far slower in its recovery and as a result the similarities between the two countries lessened during the next decade.

Fast forward 25 years, and you find that 2008 ushered in a similar era of economic downturn, massive corporate layoffs and high unemployment rates which is effecting Tredyffrin Township as it is across Pennsylvania and the nation. It is interesting to view this situation through the eyes of a small business owner but likewise I understand the economic woes and downsizing challenges facing large corporations. My husband has been employed by Unisys for 30 years, a major township employer. Like so many other technology firms, Unisys has endured falling share prices, lowered profit margins and the impact of our nation’s economic crisis.

I would like to look at various ways our township government may be able to assist and encourage our local businesses. Perhaps a review of township contracts to utilize the services of our local business community whenever possible. By keeping the flow of business “in the neighborhood,” everyone can play a vital role in regenerating the economic growth of Tredyffrin. I would like to see our community come out of the “survival” and in to the “growth” mode, ready to focus on the future again. The ripple effect will benefit the township and beyond. Supporting the business community of Tredyffrin Township supports everyone! Serving as a board member of the Paoli Business & Professional Association allows me the opportunity to understand the ongoing need for revitalization and encouragement of our township business community.

Saving our Barn. Building our History.

The Capital Campaign committee of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust is excited to unveil the logo and slogan, Saving our Barn. Building our History! Our vision to rebuild the Jones Log Barn is about to become a reality. We have been raising funds for this rebuilding effort since the inception of the Trust nearly 9 years ago. We are now on the home stretch and are looking forward to getting the community involved through the capital campaign effort. The barn will find its new home at the DuPortail House, next to the Federal Barn. I would encourage people to visit DuPortail and look at the new home of the Jones Log Barn – it will be placed on the foundation of an earlier barn which burned down in the 1980s. If you want to help with the Jones Log Barn project, please give me a call at 610.644.6759.

Celebrate Spring – Jones Log Barn Capital Campaign Kicks Off!

The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust hit a milestone tonight — we kicked off the Capital Campaign to raise the remaining funds for the rebuilding of the Jones Log Barn. With a tag line, ‘Saving our Barn. Building our Future’ the fundraising campaign is organized and members are enthusiastic about this final stretch before construction begins. When rebuilt, the barn will be a ‘living history museum’ for the community to enjoy. The owners of Stonehouse Antiques & Design in Strafford (next to Paddock Resturant) graciously allowed the use of their shop for an after-hours fundraiser to Celebrate Spring. I was delighted by the turnout, and excited by the support from those who attended the event. We are all believers that the ‘raising of the barn’ can be a reality.

For nearly 9 years, members of the Trust have worked together to raise funds through Fall and Spring Lecture series, annual Historic House Tour and In the Mood event, etc. We hired Dale Frens of Frens & Frens Architects in West Chester who has designed the rebuilding of the barn. After much discussion and consideration, the relocation of the historic 18th century barn will be on the property of the DuPortail House in Chesterbrook. Although originally slated for Wilson Farm Park, the Trust Board determined that the DuPortail House property is a better location. Along with the 18th century house and the Federal Barn, the Jones Log Barn will help to create a historic enclave for the community and visitors to enjoy. The barn will be placed on the stone foundation of an earlier barn which burned in 1985. Members of the Trust and the DuPortail House Boards have formed a working agreement to facilitate the rebuilding.

As president of the Trust, I am excited to see this project really moving forward and the Trust able to meet its mission to preserve a special historic resource. It is special and fitting that the Jones Log Barn, which was originally located at British General Howe’s headquarters in Berwyn, will find its new home at French General DuPortail’s headquarters. For details, history and photos of the Jones Log Barn, and ways you can help, please visit the Trust website: http://www.tredyffrinhistory.org/

Historic Preservation Plan

The township’s Comprehensive Plan was recently approved. As a member of HARB (Historical Architectural Review Board) and president of Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust, I was part of the comp plan process, serving on the Historic Preservation Chapter component of the plan. Over the 2 year review process of the comp plan, there was an opportunity for much discussion between members of the HARB and Planning Commission. Discussion centered on the importance of preserving our historic structures yet at the same time allowing for development. The two sides were challenged to consider development opportunities but also to be mindful of the need to preserve historic resources. Although sometimes at ‘odds’, together we did reach consensus and were able to create a Historic Preservation Plan that should serve residents well in the years ahead.

Owning a 300-yr. old house here in Tredyffrin gives me an interesting perspective on development. Although I am committed to historic preservation, I do understand the need for development. What I suggest by ‘thoughtful’ development is more about consideration for the immediate neighborhood of the construction. Forward thinking about livable communities that have quality open space, a variety of uses — mixed zoning with sidewalks and the ability to walk to stores — and variety of building types — homes, apartments, stores, and other places to walk to or bicycle to. Historic preservation is smart business. Smart communities preserve their historic places as they develop. It makes strong business sense. Better models of development are economically profitable to a community. For example, tourism — much of it of the “heritage” variety — is Pennsylvania’s second largest industry. In 2001, tourists spent $20.5 billion Pennsylvaniawith a total economic impact of $37.2 billion in sales, supporting 618,000 jobs and $13.3 billion in compensation. Part of Valley Forge National Historical Park lies within Tredyffrin’s boundaries. We also have Philadelphia, Lancaster County and Brandywine all within a 30 min. drive that contribute to tourism dollars being spent in Tredyffrin. Preserving our history and our historic resources add to the character of our community and encourages people to want to live and work here and also to visit.