NEW GARDEN: Toughkenamon workshop

It's a safe bet that everyone has an opinion on how the traffic situation in Toughkenamon could be improved. The New Garden Township supervisors are holding a public forum on Thursday, Sept. 19, to get a sense of residents' visions for the village.

"One-way streets? Sidewalks or on-street parking? Townhouses or apartments? Share your thoughts about the improvements you'd like to see in Toughkenamon!"

The workshop will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the community room at Harvest Ridge Winery, 1140 Newark Road.

KENNETT: A "plug" for Longwood Tire

John Ross, owner of Longwood Tire and Service, saved the day for me on Tuesday morning. One of my tires just wouldn't hold air, even with two plugs in it. With my neighbor's air compressor, I inflated the tire one final time and headed to my usual tire place, only to find that they were taking an extended Labor Day vacation.

What to do? I could practically hear the air hissing out of the wounded tire. I did a Google search and found Longwood Tire at 443 McFarlan Road, south of the Chatham Financial campus. I drove over there, gingerly, and John patched my tire right away.

As I was paying my bill ($34.93), he said he'd noticed my seat cushion, a souvenir from the inaugural Unionville vs. Kennett football game in October 2005. It turns out that he, too, was at that game, watching his sons following in his footsteps playing football for Unionville!

WEST GOSHEN: Visiting another Y

Every August the local YMCAs shut down for a week, on a staggered schedule, for cleaning and renovations. While the Jennersville Y was shut I took a few classes at the West Chester Y on Airport Road at Paoli Pike. (When I was a kid the dairy we called "the milk store" was at that corner.) Although my parents used to be regulars at that Y, it was my first visit. Everyone was friendly and helpful. I was envious of their shiny new dumbbells and the mini-lockers that don't require a key or a padlock; you set your own four-digit combination.

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Taxing matters

Should taxpayers' money go to fund the Stroud Water Research Center?

At the Sept. 3 township meeting, West Marlborough supervisor Bill Wylie expressed concerns over a fundraising solicitation the township received from the research center, located on Spencer Road.

Mr. Wylie said there was no doubt that the center does good work and is a well-known, first-class institution, but "I'm struggling a little" to justify using tax dollars to fund a private entity.

"Where does it end?" he asked rhetorically. "How many things can we fund?"

The supervisors agreed that the topic needed more discussion.

In another tax-related matter, Mr. Wylie said that the township's EMS Task Force has completed its research into how West Marlborough should fund the emergency services companies that serve the township. The money involved "won't be inconsequential in terms of taxes," he warned. The report will be presented to the public at the Oct. 1 township meeting.

KENNETT SQUARE: Another place to work

Each Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Presbyterian Church of Kennett Square, 211 S. Broad St., offers a work space that anyone is welcome to use, free of charge. I've spent a few hours there recently tackling a challenging proofreading project, and I always find the atmosphere welcoming, peaceful and conducive to concentration. There's a good Wi-Fi connection, good coffee is provided, the chairs are comfortable and every time I've stopped in there's been at least one other person working. Thanks to the church and the Rev. Andrew Smith for this useful service.

SUPERMARKET: Easier being green

Hooray for the Kennett and Jennersville Giants! The supermarkets have made room at the self-checkout stations for customers to place their reusable grocery bags. Formerly, those of us who bring our own bags had to try to squish them into the tiny spaces between the multiple plastic bag holders and then struggle to shoehorn in a large box of Cheerios, a half-gallon of milk or a BBQ chicken right side up without risking the computer system's disapproval.

It's a little thing, but it really makes the checkout process easier.

I asked the self-service clerk if she'd thank the manager for me (because, you know, my opinion matters!).

WEST MARLBOROUGH: A larger playground

If you see unusual truck and equipment traffic around London Grove Friends Meeting in the next few weeks, here's what's going on: the kindergarten is enlarging its playground. Ellen Marsden, clerk of the kindergarten committee, told the West Marlborough Township planning commission at its September 3 meeting that they plan to "reclaim" a half-acre of "scrubby woods" next to the current playground. Six trees will be removed, and they will be chipped and used for a nature trail. A climbing wall and small mounds (for the youngsters to roll down) will be installed. Construction of the project, designed by Green Roots Landscaping, will take four to six weeks, depending on the weather, and will start as soon as possible.

Mrs. Marsden said she would contact the township zoning officer to see if he needed to get involved in the project.

NEW GARDEN: A new fitness center

A Planet Fitness franchise is opening in the Ollie's/Big Lots shopping center on Scarlett Road. The gym is going to be open and staffed 24/7 and will offer cardio and strength equipment, along with locker rooms and showers. Planet Fitness says it operates more than 1,800 gyms nationwide; the closest ones to us are Parkesburg, West Chester, and Downingtown.

LABOR DAY: Over the rivers

Two members of the Tally-ho family spent the Labor Day weekend at music festivals, but they couldn't have been more different. Dearest Partner and I crossed the Delaware to attend the annual Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, and the Young Relative (and, he estimated, half the UHS senior class) crossed the Schuylkill to attend the Made in America fest on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The Y.R.'s high-decibel fest was skewed toward young people, who generally don't worry about protecting their hearing and getting home at a reasonable hour. A master of understatement, he suggested that the event was "a tad rowdier" than our fest. I concurred: a woman a few seats away from us fell sound asleep in her chair at about 7:30 p.m., and the emcee repeatedly warned attendees against loud talking in the concert area.

"People are here to listen to music," she said sternly. "Visit with your neighbors back at the campsite!"

I doubt that similar sentiments were expressed from the stage in Philadelphia.

I would venture to suggest that there were many more gospel songs performed at the bluegrass fest. The Y.R. said it was unlikely I would recognize any of the performers at Made in America (he was right), but then again he's probably never heard of John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Danny Paisley, Ricky Skaggs or Tuba Skinny. The latter was a New Orleans jazz band, quite a change of pace from the classic fiddle/banjo/mandolin/upright bass combos on the schedule. I thought they were terrific, but a few seconds into their set I overheard one woman say, "That's not bluegrass!" She walked off in a huff.

The Y.R. and I agreed on one commonality: both fests offered excellent people-watching opportunities.

Write to Tilda at Thanks!
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