WILLOWDALE:

Secret to a long life?

At the Willowdale produce stand, the woman in front of me handed over a giant tomato to the clerk, who weighed it and told her it would cost three dollars. At first the customer balked at paying three bucks for one tomato; then she reconsidered, saying that, after all, her 98-year-old mother loved nothing better than a tomato sandwich. She told me she planned to take the pricey tomato to her mother's nursing home, along with bread and mayonnaise.

WEST MARLBOROUGH:

OK for a garage

Phil Sacks can add a garage onto his Richard Wilson Drive house, the West Marlborough Township Zoning Hearing Board ruled on July 18, even though it will be closer to his neighbor's property line than the zoning code permits.

Mr. Sacks told the zoning board that the proposed garage will be large enough to house two cars plus various equipment. It will be enclosed on only two sides and will abut the house, allowing him to get into his car without going outside. No major trees will need to be removed. He plans to replace the macadam driveway with a porous surface to improve drainage.

Mr. Sacks's next-door neighbor, Robert Nutting, told the board that he had no concerns about the garage; in fact, he said, "I welcome the addition" and believes it will improve property values in the neighborhood. He said he has long admired Mr. Sacks's creative projects, like the fish ponds, bridges and pathways he has installed.

"I wish all neighbors got along the way you do," quipped zoning board member Tom Best.

The board reminded Mr. Sacks that he will need to obtain a building permit and will have to comply with all township regulations.

Zoning board chairman Clayton Bright opened the hearing with a moment of silence in memory of longtime board member Elizabeth "Baz" Powell, who died in January.

WEST CHESTER:

Not a beer in sight

Young people from across Pennsylvania descended on West Chester University this past weekend for a recovery convention. They are an enthusiastic and energetic lot, and they're committed to showing by example how it's possible to have fun in sobriety. Not only were there round-the-clock 12-step meetings (literally, on the hour, all night long), but also on the program were video game tournaments, a midnight Madden competition, Jeopardy!, a scavenger hunt, karaoke, yoga and a drum circle, a masquerade with a DJ, a comedy show, and an "aquaholic" beach party.

The beer-free weekend must have been an interesting change of pace for the campus police.

WHITE CLAY:

Thief at work

A thief has been breaking into locked cars parked at the White Clay Creek Preserve over the past few weeks, according to a press release I received from the Pennsylvania State Police. Police are asking hikers and anyone else using the park to leave their valuables at home or to keep them out of sight. They are also increasing patrols through the lots in the park.

LOWDOWN:

The show didn't go on

The summer concerts at Anson B. Nixon Park go on rain or shine, but when a thunderstorm erupted 15 minutes into the Lowdown Brass Band's performance on July 17, the organizers called off the show. The decision was a no-brainer: lightning strikes were visible, the trees were swaying and two big branches came down.

We retreated to a pavilion, keeping our fingers crossed that the storm would blow through and the band would resume … up until the point that we saw them breaking down their equipment and loading it into their van.

We were really enjoying the band, but on the plus side, the storm did cool things off nicely.

WINTERTHUR:

Unearthed

A friend who works as a gardener at the Winterthur estate said she was pruning forsythia the other day and found a dirt-filled but intact quart glass bottle from the old Winterthur dairy. She's found pieces before, but never a whole bottle, and even days later she was still brimming with excitement. The bottle reads "One Quart Liquid" and "Winterthur Farms, Winterthur, Del." She did some research and learned that the dairy stopped making the embossed bottles in 1932/33, switching to bottles with paper labels, which means her bottle is from 1933 or earlier.

EAST MARLBOROUGH:

Next spring

May seems like a very long time off, but the Willowdale Steeplechase organizers just put out a press release saying they've changed the date of the popular race: it's now going to be the day before Mother's Day rather than Mother's Day itself. The release quoted chairman W. B. Dixon Stroud Jr. as saying that the move was made so that families "will no longer have to choose between a Sunday celebration with Mom or a day at the races." The 2020 date will be Saturday, May 9.

WEST GROVE:

Over exposure?

Dearest Partner is a big fan of what he calls "filler" news items, quirky tidbits about the world. The other day he was chuckling over a trend in China for men (and not just young, slim ones) to roll their shirts up all the way to their armpits, completely exposing their belly and chest. The Chinese government found this unseemly and was trying to discourage it.

The trend may already be catching on here in Chester County. Imagine my surprise the other afternoon when I saw a fellow with a rolled-up shirt chatting with two friends in downtown West Grove. Perhaps we'll see more of this in the coming heat wave.

Write to Tilda at uvilleblogger@gmail.com. Thanks!

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