How Did the Lieutenant Governor Straw Poll Go for Tredyffrin Resident Carol Aichele?

Yesterday in Harrisburg, the Republican Central Caucus held its first straw poll vote for GOP lieutenant governor candidates; 104 votes were taken. How did our local GOP candidate Carol Aichele do?

The downside for Commissioner Aichele was that she did not lead the vote count; businessman Chet Beiler (29 votes) from Penn Township narrowly edged out Dauphin County Commissioner Nick DiFrancesco (26 votes). However, the upside of the straw poll is that no candidate received even 30% of the central vote in this first of 6 straw polls across the commonwealth.  But remember the straw poll is not binding and it is probably too early to read too much into yesterday’s results.

Here’s the breakdown of the vote from yesterday’s straw poll:

  • Lancaster County businessman Chet Beiler: 29 votes
  • Dauphin County Commissioner: Nick DiFrancesco: 26 votes
  • Philadelphia-based political commentator Joe Watkins: 17 votes
  • Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley: 13 votes
  • York businessman Steve Johnson: 9 votes
  • Chester County Commissioner Carol Aichele: 5 votes
  • Former Lancaster County treasurer Greg Sahd: 1 vote
  • Erie’s Jean Craige Pepper: 1 vote
  • Lebanon County Reform activist Russ Diamond: 0 votes

The Year is 1951 . . . What Do Peacocks, Snow and the Berwyn Fire Company Have in Common?

The Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society has digitized copies of their Historical Quarterly available online for the public.  I read a cute article by Bob Goshorn (Anyone remember him?  Bob was a local history expert and president of  TEHS for many years).  Bob’s article was about peacocks and the Berwyn Fire Company — I thought with the Berwyn Fire Company in the news of late, that you might enjoy this story from 1951, as written in 1982 by Bob Goshorn.


Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives

Source: January 1982 Volume 20 Number 1, Pages 27–28

 When the Berwyn Fire Company Rescued Six Peacocks

Bob Goshorn

Page 27

Fire companies traditionally have been called upon to rescue cats or other animals from tree tops – but peacocks?

It happened some three decades ago, in early 1951. It was a cold, winter night, with more than a foot of snow on the ground. Six peacocks, owned by Clarence Johnson who lived on Pugh Road, near Valley Forge Road in Tredyffrin Township, had escaped from their pen and flown into a nearby tree. After alternately attempting to cajole and frighten them down from their perches, with equal lack of success, their anxious owner, realizing that the birds would freeze to death if left out overnight, called the fire company for help.

The volunteers soon arrived on the scene, in their ladder truck, a 1934 American LaFrance fire engine with 50-foot ladders. Placing a ladder against the branches of the tree, the firemen climbed up to rescue and recapture the birds. But just as they were about to reach them, the peacocks noisily flew off to another tree.

Another ladder was put up aside the second tree. It was the hope of the firemen that they would either reach the birds in their new roostor chase them back again to the first tree. Instead, as the firemen were once again just about to reach their quarry, the birds flew off, to a third tree!

Page 28

“It looked like the only way we could recapture them,” Frank Kelley, the assistant Fire Chief in charge of the operation, later recalled, “would be to cut down all the trees!” But then he had another idea. Checking to be sure that his plan would not harm the birds – and that blankets were available – he decided to try to “flush” them out.

At his suggestion, a booster line was hooked up to the fire truck and taken into a nearby tree. From there, using a fine spray, the firemen doused the peacocks with water. In the cold weather, after about a half hour or so the water froze on the peacocks feathers. The birds were thus virtually immobilized.

When the firemen again climbed their ladders to reach them, the frozen peacocks, unable to fly, succeeded only in toppling over and falling down into the soft snow below. There they were easily picked up, wrapped in blankets, put into baskets, and returned to their grateful owner.

Johnson then placed them next to the furnace in the basement. The ice on the peacocks melted and the birds were carefully thawed out and none the worse for wear, despite their experience – when the Berwyn Fire Company rescued six peacocks from their perches in a tree.

Rep. Jim Gerlach Will Seek Re-Election to the 6th District . . . Where Does the News Leave Steve Welch (R) and Doug Pike (D)?

I guess by now most of you have heard that Rep Jim Gerlach will seek a fifth House term for the 6th Congressional District– having made this decision a day after he dropped out of the race for Pennsylvania governor. Gerlach made the decision to forgo his gubernatorial bid and stand for reelection to the House. When he withdrew from the Governor’s race, Gerlach explained that he did not think that the $1 million that he had raised was not enough to compete in “today’s media-driven campaigns” for a statewide election.

Gerlach had announced his gubernatorial bid last July. This recent decision to seek a fifth term in the House would seem to create an unsettling effect on the competitive 6th Congressional District contest. The local GOP had recruited Steve Welch, a local businessman and entrepreneur and he has raised $600,000 for his campaign. Former Philadelphia Inquirer editorial writer Doug Pike is the Democrat opponent for the congressional race; Pike has collected in excess of $1.1 million for his campaign.

Gerlach cannot transfer the $1 million that he raised for the governor’s race into his congressional race. Talk about a campaign bookkeeping nightmare . . . he must return the governor’s race money to his donors and then ask these people to redirect their contributions to his reelection to the House campaign. It is reported that Gerlach had less than $35,000 in his congressional account as of September 30. I assumed that he could just take the $1 million and be set for the congressional race – I was wrong, so guess he is going to be quite busy trying to turn this ship around and redirect it.

This news had me wondering how the other 6th Congressional District candidates were feeling, in partuclar frontrunners Steve Welch (R) and Doug Pike (D). Welch’s campaign website attempts to show support for Gerlach’s 6th District reelection decision, however it was also very clear that he intends to stay the course with his own campaign and remain in the race. Gerlach’s decision to seek reelection however did cause two other GOP candidates to close down their campaigns. Scott Zelov, Lower Merion Township Commission and former 6th District GOP candidate is returning his campaign contributions and giving support to Gerlach. Likewise, former 6th District GOP candidate Howard Cohen has decided to close his campaign and has signed on to the Gerlach reelection campaign.

So how does frontrunner Democrat Doug Pike feel . . . a few days ago Pike was probably feeling rather confident, especially considering that he was handily out-fundraising opponent Steve Welch? However, now Pike finds himself opposing Jim Gerlach, an incumbent with 4 terms behind him. But hearing the Gerlach decision, Pike remains committed in his own bid for the 6th District seat and his campaign will continues. Pike will face Reading doctor Manan Trivedi and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon in the Democratic primary.

My guess is that it has not been a good couple of days for either Pike or Welch!

Looking Forward to Restaurant’s Opening

With restaurant closings rampant along the Main Line, there is some good news for local foodies.  The long-standing mainstay in Philadelphia, White Dog Cafe, is opening out our way — yes, the resturant is opening a second branch on Lancaster Avenue, across from Anthropologie in Wayne.  Although originally slated to open last spring 2009, it’s looking like the doors of White Dog Cafe #2 should be opening shortly.