NEWLIN: A milestone

A very happy 100th birthday to the remarkable Ruth Thompson of Newlin Township. In addition to raising a family, Mrs. Thompson served as the township tax collector for 30 years and held other positions in the township government as well. The Newlin Historical Society interviewed her recently, and here is one of the stories she shared:

"The farmers around here met on the store property in Unionville that belonged to the Crossmans. It was a store and now it’s an apartment house. It is across the street from the corner store/Catherine’s Restaurant. They met on the front porch, or inside when it was cold. When they met, they used to call it “Congress.” They would meet after work or on lunch breaks, and they would share information. The group included the Thompsons, Burnett Wilson, and some of the other farmers -- Sutherlands, Murphys, Chambers, Wickershams, Barnards -- all the locals. They would know everything that was going on in the neighborhoods."

CENSUS: Are you curious?

The Census Bureau is looking for people to ask personal questions as part of the upcoming 2020 Census. They promise not only "great pay" but "flexible hours." Anyone interested is asked to apply online at

CHATHAM: The latest plans

There were lots of maps on display, and plenty of opinions voiced, at the June 11 open house to introduce PennDOT's proposals for the Route 41 and Route 841 intersection in the village of Chatham. There is now a blinking light there, and "islands" have been installed north and south of the village in an attempt to slow traffic on the very busy Route 41.

PennDOT's latest designs call for either installing a roundabout at or just north of the current intersection, or relocating Route 841 so that it crosses Route 41 north of the village. Each plan had its advantages and disadvantages in terms of traffic flow, environmental impact and the number of properties affected. For instance, in one proposal the gas station would be razed; in another, part of a farmer's field would need to be obtained.

The purpose of the meeting was to get residents' comments about the options. You can view the maps online ( and send your comments to the transportation department.

JENNERSVILLE: The plans God has for you

Due to a significant increase in worshippers, the Willowdale Chapel's Jennersville campus is planning to enlarge its worship center on Route 796 south of the Jennersville crossroads. According to an information sheet distributed about the project, the church is often filled to capacity; plans call for increasing the sanctuary seating by 50% to accommodate about 300 people per service. The church leadership is also proposing to update the audiovisual and lighting systems, install a baptistery, renovate the lobby and bathrooms, and relocate the café and offices.

Fundraising is underway and construction is expected to start this fall.

GAP: The last breakfast

The Gap Diner, once the home of old-fashioned hearty eating, is out of business. A hand-written, sun-faded piece of paper on the door tells loyal guests that it's just closed for remodeling, but weeds are growing around the building, parts of the diner sign are missing and there's a prominent for-sale sign in the parking lot. Asking price for the 2,656-square-foot restaurant and its 3.6-acre lot is $995,750. It's located at the busy crossroads of Route 41 and 30, just over the Lancaster County line.

In the 1980s business took me to Mount Joy once a week or so, and I always enjoyed stopping at the diner at lunchtime for a grilled-cheese-and-bacon sandwich and a slice of cherry pie. It was the kind of place with lots of regulars, cheerful waitresses and strong coffee, and there were certainly no calorie counts listed on the menus.

KENNETT SQUARE: Cats and more cats

On Saturday we spent a delightful half-hour at the Treetops Kitty Cafe in the shopping center at 305 West State Street in downtown Kennett.

We weren't sure exactly what a kitty café was but quickly found out. You pay an admission fee (it's a nonprofit, so all the fees go to cover expenses), sign a waiver in case a cat scratches you, de-germ your hands and then you are admitted to a comfortably furnished living room occupied by at least a dozen completely adorable cats and kittens. One big white cat snoozed peacefully behind me on the chair, while the sweet little guys ran around, explored their cat habitats, tussled in cat tunnels and batted at cat toys.

One dear kitten truly tugged at my heartstrings: as I was cuddling him he purred with contentment, but I had to remind myself -- repeatedly! -- that for now two "mature" cats keep me busy enough.

Sitting out on a table was a book of information about the cats who are up for adoption and an album of cats who have already been adopted. Talk about heartwarming! A fellow visitor said she is a regular at the kitty café because she loves felines but can't have them at her home.

Treetops hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

UNIONVILLE: New hours at Hood's

Hood's BBQ in Unionville will have new hours starting June 30. They'll be closed Monday and Tuesday. Hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The management is also recommending calling ahead for takeout orders.

Write to Tilda at Thanks!
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