A five-acre lake tucked away in Newtown Square is going down the drain.
Unless something changes pronto, the lake’s dam will be breached within weeks. And waters will flow downstream toward Radnor homes, through oft-soggy Saw Mill Park and into the flood-prone Darby Creek watershed.
Fish and fowl will lose their habitats, a few neighbors will lose their views, and a piece of Main Line history will be washed up forever.
No one knows for sure what will remain after the planned partial dam breach but some predict a small body of standing water surrounded by sediment. Hello, mosquitos.
The breach plan includes neither a plan for remediation of the drained area nor an environmental assessment. Nor does it include an engineered study to measure impacts on homes downstream. The Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection, inexplicably and against its usual practice, is not requiring any of these things, claiming such details are not needed for partial breaches.
But the DEP is requiring the dam breach and wants it done by the end of October.
Why so soon? Because the dam is failing and has been for years. Categorized a “High Hazard” dam by the state, Earle’s Lake dam, if it fails, would likely cause catastrophic floods and damage to downstream homes.
How things got so dire is a tale as twisted as Darby Creek. Sadly, it pits neighbor against neighbor, community against community.
We’ll give you the abridged version but first, a quick backstory – thanks to a 2016 article in Aronimink and Greene Countrie Living by Doug Hume.
The lake was created 110 years ago as a community swimming and skating pond by the wealthy Earle family, which once owned 450-acres around it – their summer playground. George Earle III was the 30th Governor of Pa. This historical marker is posted near the lake:
But what started as a scenic retreat – and an unofficial catch basin for stormwater surges – eventually turned into a family headache. By the late 1950s, teens were trespassing on the lake. In 1963, the main mansion and an adjacent home were destroyed by fire. The former governor stopped staying there and vandals raided his mansion.
By 1967, the family had had enough and sold to developers. Over the years, single homes, townhomes and condos have sprung up around the lake. Most notably, they include Green Countrie Village (below), a community of 212 condos on the western portion that includes almost all of Earle’s Lake.
People who live in GCV’s condos can’t see or use the lake. It was fenced off in the early 70s after two drownings.
But as owners of the lake, it has been GCV’s job to maintain the dam, which was damaged in Hurricane Irene in 2012 and nicked in subsequent storms.
The Pa. DEP, which inspects all dams for safety, has repeatedly ordered GCV to either repair the dam or breach it. Both options cost a bundle – estimates range from 800K to well over $1 million. And so, the matter kept getting kicked down the road.
At one point in 2015, GCV’s Homeowners Association thought it had lucked into a nifty solution. A group of developers was offering to buy the lake from GCV, drain it and build townhomes. For many, building homes on a former lakebed sounded, well, fishy and shaky, and that curious deal collapsed.
Another condo community figures into the story. The Village of Earle’s Lakes Condo Association (VELCA), which represents an upscale townhome community across the lake.
GCV sold some of its land to the developers of these condos, striking a deal wherein the new condo owners would pay for 30 percent of the lake’s maintenance in perpetuity – even though residents don’t own a drop of the lake and almost no one can see it from their homes.
Other characters in this sorry tale: The Wilson family, who bought their home in 2016 for its lake views, the neighborhood’s only true lakefront home.
“The whole reason we moved here is to teach our girls respect for nature and wildlife,” says Ashley Wilson, who’s a vegan and is married to former NHL hockey player Kyle Wilson. “Bald eagles nest here every spring. Osprey are here most of the year. We have blue heron, Canadian geese, foxes, deer and all different species of turtles. When the leaves fall, bird-watching groups come from all over.” She calls the impending loss of the lake “heart-breaking.”
The Wilsons had heard about the dam’s issues when they bought the place, but both the seller and realtor dismissed rumors that the dam was failing and the lake might be drained – even when the Wilsons asked pointed questions.
When the developers talked about draining the lake for townhomes, Ashley Wilson fought like hell. She organized petitions, contacted officials and presented a detailed plan to turn the lake into a non-profit, which she says GCV never seriously considered.
Wilson’s worries extend beyond wildlife. She fears for property owners downstream. “We have 10-year storms every year and 100-year storms every five years,” she says. “All this water is bringing sediment and debris and the shoreline is eroding. The dam breach is not just a Radnor Township issue. It’s a Bryn Mawr issue. It’s a Bala Cynwyd issue.”
The story’s other major players are the Wilson’s next-door neighbors, retired teacher Nadine Hensley and her husband, Harvey, a retired scientist. The couple keep an inches-thick stack of papers on the dam that goes back years.
The Hensley property includes the dam’s emergency spillway and a rapidly eroding creek that sits close to their home – so close that Radnor Township evacuated them during Hurricane Irene.
“We’ve come to grips with the fact that the breach is going to happen,” says Dr. Hensley, who holds a PhD in physics and fears that waters from a dam failure could engulf their yard and home at any time. The Hensleys are convinced that the current partial breach plan is dangerously short on details.
In 2017, after receiving multiple dam-safety violation notices from the DEP, GCV homeowners voted to breach the dam rather than repair it, a cheaper option for the long haul. An engineer hired by GCV has since submitted plans for a partial breach, which costs less than a full breach.
In 2019, the Wilsons and the Hensleys got a shocker from the DEP. An unspecified “recent property survey” showed the they own part of the dam, the DEP wrote, and so the two families have to share the breach costs with “primary operator” GCV. They were dumbfounded.
Things went from bad to worse this summer when GCV Homeowners Association sued the Wilsons, the Hensleys and the Village of Earle’s Lake Condo Association (VELCA), an effort to force them to pay for a substantial portion of the dam breach and, retroactively, for “historical” dam repair costs.
“This situation is the result of neglected maintenance of the damn by the Green Countrie Village HOA,” says Dr. Hensley. “Over the years, we tried to get involved but were pushed back and told the HOA was solely responsible for the damn, financially and otherwise. Then, when they’re facing a large expense, they turn around and insist we pay 100 times what they’re asking from each of their residents, while still giving us no input or information regarding the breach.”
The Hensleys’ understanding is that VELCA would pay 30 percent, the Hensleys would pay 33 percent (the suit claims they own 33% of the dam), a smaller share would be paid by the Wilsons, and the rest would be borne by GCV homeowners. (As of July 1, the GCV HOA had collected $261,000 from homeowners, according to an HOA board e-mail to residents obtained by SAVVY.)
Radnor Township has jumped into the fray, too.
“The breach is out of the township’s hands but I am concerned about impacts on residents and their property as well as on township infrastructure (the culvert and the road),” Ward Commissioner Lisa Borowski tells SAVVY. “The dam is owned by Green Countrie Village. This has been their responsibility to address and they appear to be doing so only under order from the DEP.”
The township is pushing for engineered studies of downstream impacts and a detailed post-breach remediation plan. But “DEP responded that they are good with the plans as ordered,” says Radnor Township Manager Bill White.
According to township officials and neighbors, GCV HOA is refusing to pay for impact studies because DEP isn’t requiring them.
Radnor’s solicitor is also looking into whether it can hold GCV liable for any detrimental impacts of the breach, officials tell SAVVY. Because GCV is in Newtown Township, Radnor has reached out to Newtown officials, pleading with them to be good neighbors and require GVC to do impact studies. No answer yet but Newtown has opted to steer clear of dam issues over the years, calling them a private matter.
We reached out to a GCV HOA board member, to their HOA’s attorney, Marcus & Hoffman, and to VELCA’s board president and its attorneys for clarification and comment. All refused, citing ongoing litigation.
Wilsons and the Hensleys and some downstream homeowners have hired attorneys and intend to fight the suit.
Meanwhile, the breach looks imminent. In the last month, a turtle salvage operation required by the state captured 114 of the lake’s turtles, included 14 endangered red-bellied turtles, for resettlement.
The local sewer authority has sent inspectors to check sewers and manholes in anticipation of the breach. The DEP’s October 31 deadline looms large.
At the end of the day, all parties agree on one thing: the faulty dam needs to be fixed or breached ASAP.
But how that will happen, what its short-and long-range impacts will be, and who foots the bill – answers to those key questions remain as murky as the lake itself.
And that’s a dam shame.
Raring to go, Radnor speeds up in-person schooling
Radnor parents are doing a happy dance this week – or at least many of them are.
After 1,400 signed a petition, 700 joined a Facebook group, various professionals submitted letters to the school board, and lawn signs started dotting the landscape, the school board has spoken: kids will start returning to classrooms next Tuesday, Sept. 29.
At a special meeting Tuesday night, the Radnor School Board voted to speed up its transition to the district’s Phase 2: Hybrid plan.
“Radnor has the most aggressive reopening plan in the region other than Pennridge and Wissahickon,” says parent activist Anna Moreland, who co-chairs the Reopen Radnor Core Committee. Parents were “lucky to have a superintendent and several board members who were open and responsive” to her group’s concerns, Moreland tells SAVVY.
“I feel that parents’ voices have been heard,” adds her Reopen Radnor co-chair Kim Kent. “Radnor is a small district that has a great hybrid plan that allows students to be quickly returned to the classroom.”
It’s a “quick stagger” hybrid plan with grades K, 1, 2, 6, 9, and 12 returning Sept. 29 for either morning or afternoon sessions, grades 3 to 5 going back Oct. 1, and everyone else returning to buildings Oct. 2. (All-virtual learning remains available, too.)
Reopen Radnor’s work is far from finished, organizers say. The group wants fall sports reinstated – a board vote is set for next week – and the hybrid model suspended as soon as it’s safe to do so. Health officials should focus on children’s overall health and well-being, not just on preventing Covid transmissions, the two co-chairs say.
“No student in Radnor will be able to return to full in-person education, for example, if the guidelines don’t change from 6 to 4 feet of social distance,” Moreland says. “If Radnor students are forced to learn through the hybrid model for the 2020-2021 academic year, the losses will be incalculable, and unfortunately, only recognized in the rearview mirror.”
Dapper duds heading to Suburban Square: Boyds and Commonwealth Proper
Two Center City retailers are going suburban.
The “gentlemen rebels” behind Philly-owned Commonwealth Proper bring their sharply tailored, 100% USA-made menswear to a new showroom near Free People, set to open October 1.
And a Center City mainstay for 83 years, Boyds will open a satellite popup in Suburban Square a week later.
After his family-owned department store was looted and vandalized in June, owner Kent Gushner contemplated leaving the city for good, but decided to stay put after talking to city officials.
We can only imagine Gushner’s anguish as he watched the June 1 destruction unfold in real time from his Bryn Mawr home, via the store’s security cameras.
Refurbished and restocked, Boyds Philadelphia reopened Sept. 16 with a bigger selection of casualwear and plans to beef up its in-home sales, both nods to the new work-from-home normal.
Gushner considered a popup at the KOP Mall but settled on Ardmore as a test run for a permanent location in the burbs. He also figured folks would be more comfortable in an open-air shopping center like the Square this fall.
And so Boyds new home for the holidays – from October through December – will be the old Urban Outfitters building across from Trader Joe’s.
No doubt Suburban Square owner Kimco Realty is thrilled to have a paying tenant in vacant space. Eventually, that Urban building will be demolished to make room for a 150-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail.
Gushner is, well, gushing, too. “We look forward to premiering our first ever pop-up concept” on the Main Line, he says.
His satellite store will be way smaller than the flagship on Chestnut Street – 8,400 vs. 70,000 square feet. But good things come in small packages, right?
[wpanchor id=”sugaree”]Wayne welcomes Sugaree, a sweet new spot in the old Suburban Building
Hard to say who’s loving Sugaree more: sweet-toothed kids or their nostalgic parents. Half ice cream parlour, half old-time candy store, Sugaree arrives in downtown Wayne with pitch-perfect timing.
’Cause nothing eases the pain of a pandemic like a little sucralose.
And Sugaree serves it in spades – Philly style.
At the counter: Bassett’s hand-dipped ice cream, special sundaes, shakes and malts, Marrone’s water ice and Hank’s Root Beer floats.
On the opposite wall: Shelves of novelties and old-school sweets like wax lips, whistle pops, Necco wafers and candy buttons.
The shop’s name’s a classic, too, an homage to the Grateful Dead’s 1971 track, “Sugaree.” Shake it, shake it, Sugaree.
Of course, there’s new-fangled stuff here, too, like pink plastic ice cream spoons that turn blue in the cold, gluten-free cones, Tofutti dairy-free frozen goodies and no-sugar-added Moose Tracks ice cream.
Sugaree’s second location, the Wayne shop debuted to Labor Day weekend crowds as big as those at the four-year-old Sugaree in Newtown Square, says Lori Bascome, who co-owns Sugaree with her brother, Alan Tanenbaum. “The kids that come in our store actually gasp with happiness,” Bascome tells SAVVY. “They’re used to standing in line outside or going to a big-box store for candy.”
As kids growing up in Broomall, Bascome and Tanenbaum loved visiting a similar shop, Bessy Parker’s.
Bringing that concept to a town like Wayne “was always my dream,” Bascome says. She and her husband, Robert, lived around the corner on Walnut Ave. as newlyweds.
She hopes her new shop offers more than a sugar rush. During difficult times, she says the community’s warm embrace of Sugaree shows “there’s hope for new businesses, growth and success.”
Sugaree, 134 N. Wayne Ave. (lower level of the Suburban building), is open Tues. – Thurs. 3 to 9, Fridays 3 to 10, Saturdays 1 to 10 and Sundays 1 to 9.
Warding off COVID, balancing hormones & staying vital: A SAVVY house call with Dr. Lynn Feinman, naturopath
Masks and handwashing only go so far. To fight off COVID-19, we need to clean from within. So says pre-eminent board-certified Doctor of Naturopathy Lynn Feinman (above) who’s been successfully guiding Main Line clients toward optimum health for 12 years.
“With COVID, a lot of people realize they better get their act together,” she says.
SAVVY sat down with Dr. Lynn to discuss her top tips for disease prevention and better health.
What are signs of a weakened immune system?
Allergies, asthma, frequent colds and viruses, Lyme disease, fatigue, auto-immune and thyroid problems – those are the big ones that show things are starting to break down.
How do you help clients boost their immune systems?
It’s more about helping the immune system regulate itself. Food is the foundation: micronutrient antioxidant support, a plant-based diet, not a lot of sugar or alcohol, making sure you get restorative sleep, getting an optimal level of Vitamin D (which can be tested). If I’m going to be stranded somewhere, Vitamin D is the one vitamin I’m going to take.
What can you do if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19?
If I were starting to show symptoms, I would take Vitamin D and Vitamin C every few hours. There’s no harm in taking extra, especially compared to the unknown dangers of the virus, particularly if you’re immuno-compromised. Natural anti-inflammatories like flavonoids and curcumin can be helpful, too. I have a list I’ll be keeping on hand for my family this winter.
Who stands the best chance of surviving the virus?
Clearly, the healthier you are, the better. Why do some people get really sick with Lyme or HPV and others clear it from their bodies? I help clients find their personal best health quotient. It’s making sure you’re getting good sleep, balanced exercise and that you do get natural sun. In addition to vitamins, I think superfoods such as greens, nuts and seeds are a great benefit to overall inflammatory status. Ultimately, it is about naturopathically supporting health rather than only seeking to kill the germ.
Why might a naturopathic doctor be an especially wise investment during a pandemic?
Prevention is the name of the game. You want to stay out of the hospital during this pandemic. You don’t want to have anything else go wrong. The naturopathic model is about improving vitality. The more vital you are, the less disease. And in general, medications are suppressive. Naturopathy teaches you what your body needs. You don’t want to take a million things. You just want to take the thing you need. It’s about outrunning the bus. When you get run over, you have to go to the hospital. But beforehand, you try to outrun the bus. The modern naturopath uses food, nutrition, diet, herbs, homeopathy and lifestyle. It considers the whole person.
What’s the Number One thing people don’t understand about their health?
That we can deeply influence our health status and overall well-being. We can impact and improve any disease state, but especially our immune health, digestion, hormonal health and emotional balance. Our health is our responsibility.
What’s the most common mistake women make when faced with symptoms of menopause?
Not recognizing our hormonal cycles represent underlying imbalances and damage and that hormonal health is linked to immune health and seeking to “fix” it with hormone-replacement therapy (HRT). We do an in-office assessment and saliva testing for perimenopausal imbalances, then create a customized plan. Diet, supplements and sleep support are key. In 95 percent of cases, we can bring hormones into balance without HRT – there are other ways to cool off the hot flashes.
Does everyone need a detoxifying cleanse – even people with no symptoms?
Yes. Allowing the body short periods of digestive rest and nutrient dense foods to flush the system can benefit everyone. There is so much we are exposed to in foods and the environment.
Can diet really affect our mental health?
Yes! There’s a deep connection between our microbiome (your digestive ecosystem) and mood. We are what we eat. Take care of your microbiome – more prebiotics instead of probiotics – and you’re taking care of your brain and mental health.
What drew you to practice naturopathy?
I’ve always been interested in nutrition and battled to be thin in college – I tried every diet. The turning point for me was when I was diagnosed with Lyme and Hashimoto’s disease and then when I had my own children, there were way too many antibiotics being thrown at me, especially for my son’s ear chronic infections. I pursued homeopathic and naturopathy for them and myself. I went back to school 17 years ago. I thought, ‘I’m going to make myself and my family healthier and if I can do that, I’ll help other people.’
What ever happened with your son’s ear infections?
He was cured in a very short time with homeopathy. He’s a musician today – thank goodness, he didn’t end up losing his hearing.
***SAVVY readers receive a free copy of Lynn Feinman’s 10 Principles of Cooking for Optimal Health for Women. E-mail [email protected].***
Dr. Lynn Feinman, Doctor of Naturopathy, 53 Darby Rd., Paoli, 610-608-1430, specializes in women’s health, building natural immunity, emotional balance and healthy digestion. Telemedicine or in-personal appts. Free introductory phone consultations. Dr. Lynn’s latest book, Hormonal Healing, will be out later this fall.
Italian rebrand near Wayne Train Station
After a six-year run, Wayne BYOB Ardé Osteria has re-decked its halls and re-opened as chef-driven Alessandro’s Wood Fired Italian & Bar.
But leave the bottle at home. Alessandro’s new bar pours eight signature cocktails and stocks an impressive list of wines.
Chef/operator is Sicilian American Alessandro (“Alex”) Fiorello whose father owns Fiorella’s Café in West Chester. House specialties: Wood-fired branzino, flatbreads and pizzas – pretty much anything you can toast, bake or roast in that big brick oven.
Alessandro’s is running two sweet reopening deals for dine-in guests: two free desserts per table with purchase of two entrées and select half-price bottles on Wine Wednesdays.
Alessandro’s Wood Fired Italian & Bar, 133 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, (484) 580-6786, is open nightly from 4:30. Closed Mondays.
[wpanchor id=”gale”]Why we sued embattled Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale
It wasn’t personal and it wasn’t partisan. But when Commissioner Joe Gale blocked SAVVY’s access to his social media accounts, we simply weren’t going to roll over. To gather news, we need to monitor politicians’ statements, wherever they make them.
At issue was Gale’s infamous June 1 statement in which he called Black Lives Matter a “radical left-wing hate group” on letterhead bearing the official county seal and distributed via his social channels.
When we read his statement on Twitter, we politely asked Gale, via tweet, “to please do your homework on Black Lives Matter” before posting such statements. (As we reported at the time, Gale’s statement caused a firestorm: protests at his home and the courthouse and calls for his resignation in Harrisburg.)
Gale deleted our tweet and blocked SAVVY – as he was apparently doing with every follower who questioned or criticized his posts.
So eight of us – seven of his constituents whose politics run the gamut and SAVVY – got together and filed a federal lawsuit on First Amendment grounds. Gale’s constituents were being censored and our news reporting was being stymied. As a group, we sought only to be unblocked from his accounts and to have our legal fees covered.
In late August, Gale agreed to settle. He immediately restored our access to his social media accounts and pledged not to delete or edit comments and to pay our $600 legal bill.
In Trumpian fashion – he proudly calls himself the first PA politician to endorse Trump – Gale came out swinging: “I have every right to ban, block, and delete as I see fit. However, after watching President Trump get screwed by federal courts on this very same issue, I had no doubt I too would be the victim of a bad ruling,” he told the Pottstown Mercury. He found a silver lining in the suit, though, claiming ‘leftwing agitators” and the “Marxist mob” who “troll and dog pile” his social accounts will, because of Facebook algorithms, help him get even more followers and grow his base.”
Regardless of where you fall politically, our gang of eight and our capable attorneys (Philip Press of Norristown, Walsh Pancio of Lansdale, and Mudrick & Zucker of Blue Bell) believe this is a victory for free speech. Public reaction cannot be censored and officials are duty-bound to hear our opinions, whether they like them or not.
Malvern mompreneur gets students back on track with Back to Basics
Frustrated by virtual learning? Fear your child is falling behind?
Stop the bleeding with Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, a multi-faceted education company that’s lightyears ahead of the Covid curve.
Owned by Malvern mom/serial entrepreneur Juli Bennett, Back to Basics has two safe and effective solutions for struggling families and – surprise! – they’re both less pricey than private school.
The first option is to hire a virtual learning tutor to check in with your child once a day, once every other day, or once a week – you choose.
Bennett says her B2B tutors step in so parents don’t have to. “They’ll say, ‘OK. You had this virtual learning but did you understand it? Let’s go over it. Are you organized? Are you getting your homework assignments done?’”
B2B tutors have at least five years experience and undergo rigorous background checks. “We don’t hire college kids that have perfect SAT scores,” Bennett says. “We don’t believe that just because someone’s smart that they know how to teach.”
And B2B’s Education Coordinator, Angie Carbine, has been the company’s matchmaker for 16 years.
“Angie’s the guru who matches the tutor to the parents and the child and she does an amazing job,” says Bennett.
Virtual learning tutors serve all ages, including college kids, who are struggling “like never before,” she says. “A lot of colleges are self-learning. Watch this thing or read 80 pages and we’re gonna have a test. We’re getting a lot of calls, especially for math and science classes. We have reading specialists, adjunct professors, executive functioning specialists.” (B2B employs 89 teachers and tutors and another 80 contract employees for its thriving translation/interpretation business).
Virtual learning assistance can take place virtually, in person in your home, or at Back to Basics’ HQ in Wilmington, about a 45-minute drive from the Main Line.
And the price is right – about $55 an hour. Bennet say the average tutor in PA charges $80/hour and SAT tutors can charge up to $200/hour.
“We like to tout ourselves as the company that does it right,” she says. “We want to give everyone a chance to have tutoring – not just the wealthy.”
Back to Basics’ second option – for kids in grades 6 to 12 who are struggling in virtual, hybrid or in-person school and need a more radical solution – is Augustine Hills School.
Owned and operated by B2B in Wilmington, Augustine Hills is an in-person, one-on-one school completely customized to your child’s needs.
Students typically attend for three or four hours a day in private classrooms – no Covid concerns here. Teachers are all certified and again are handpicked by Angie Carbine who creates a tailored course of study.
And yes, it’s strictly back to basics. Only academic subjects are taught. Bennett says Augustine Hills students get their socialization, exercise and extra-curriculars elsewhere – at church or a sports league, perhaps.
Augustine Hills was started for kids for whom traditional school and classroom settings are no longer an option – due to anxiety, depression, rehab, concussions or bullying. Many are part of the growing wave of school refusals. “Most of the parents who come to us want their kids to have a reason to get up and get dressed every day,” says Bennett
Agusutine Hills School meets kids where they are – even if that means they show up in pajamas. “it can be a slow process for some kids but they all do come around, especially if the parents are committed.”
Students might attend for year – or even less – and then return to more traditional schools.
Tuition is $20,000 to $25,000 a year – “more along the level of a parochial school,” Bennett says – and it can be paid month to month. “Because if it’s not working for their child, we’re not going to hold them to a whole year. We want what’s best for the child.”
Sesami off to a sizzling start in Ardmore
Arguably Ardmore’s hottest eatery doesn’t call itself “Five Guys” but it could.
Started by five Chinese Christian Church buddies who pooled their talents and tastes, Sesami has been killing it in the former Lavi corner since late June.
“We’re all foodies,” says Sonny Wu, a computer engineer whose father was a chef in Hong Kong for 40 years. “We all grew up exposed to some kind of food, like Korean street food, night markets in Asia, high-end Chinese,”
“We defy description; you can’t put us in a box,” adds Davis Lau, a culinary school grad who took the lead on food R&D. (Other partners had expertise in real estate, renovation and restaurant operations.)
On the menu:
- “Munchies” – led by sinfully good Sesami tater tots, updated with edamame, veggies, beans and sirachi aioli ($5.50).
- Six tasty “Signature Bowls” ($8.98 to $11.98), many made with mom’s special recipe BBQ chicken, signature green sauce or fried tofu, or “Create Your Own Bowl ($8.98).
- Jasmine or Oolong Cold Brew Small Batch Tea ($2.75)
It’s strictly takeout for now – although you can plop down on a few outdoor tables.
Sesami has been so busy, owners had to label pickup stations by the first initial of last name. “We’d have so many bags out, customers were taking home the wrong orders.”
Nice problem to have.
Sesami got off to a rocky start – actually, a non-start. The owners spent months renovating the space and planned a mid-March opening. Covid, naturally, had other plans. “We were bleeding money for three months” recalls Wu. The five retooled to takeout only and opened June 27.
Why Sesami? Its first name was The Mixing Bowl. But during a pre-soft opening for 40 church friends, someone suggested “Sesami” and it stuck
Sesami Food and Tea, 1531 Wynnewood Rd., Ardmore is open Sun. to Thurs. 11:30 to 7:30 and Fri. and Sat. 11:30 to 8. Order online or call (484) 243-0321 for takeout.
Remembering John “Jump” Dautrich
The Main Line lost a lion this week. Jump Dautrich slipped away peacefully on Monday.
Taken by complications of ALS, he was but 68.
A devoted family man and proud lifer at Episcopal Academy and a Penn alum, Jump left his happy, helpful handprints everywhere: on TE Youth Soccer, where he coached countless kids; on Wayne Presbyterian Church, where he was a Deacon and Elder; and perhaps most indelibly, on Tredyffrin & Easttown Care, the neighbors-helping-neighbors charity where he served on the board almost since its founding and as board chair for the last five years.
“He had a heart bigger than life,” a grief-stricken Sandi Gorman, president and founder of T & E Care, tells SAVVY. “He was the most genuinely kind and caring person you could ever meet. When he said you were important to him, those were not just words.”
His Phi Kappa Sigma brother Dave Tritton says Jump was probably “one of the ten nicest people on the planet” who was “courageous and optimistic as he battled the relentless ALS.”
A giver in every way, Jump was known for his surprise gifts. He’d come across a little something – maybe at a flea market – that reminded him of you, buy it and find a time to joyfully present it to you. He once gave Sandi Gorman a wind-up Energizer Bunny “because he said I had so much energy,” she says. The gifts were often offbeat but “they showed he was always thinking of others as he ventured through each day.”
T&E Care honored Dautrich at its Fall Fest gala last November, his family beaming, the packed ballroom brimming with affection for this kindest of men. Our Instagram post from that memorable night:
Less than a year later, we lost him.
The public may participate in the celebration of Jump’s life on Friday, Oct. 2 in one of three ways: by making a drive-by visit with the family at the Dautrichs’ Paoli home, by logging on to the livestream of the family’s service, or by joining a rain-or-shine backyard gathering after the service, with masks on, at the home of Susie Lastowski, Jump’s sister. Details and the livestream link at www.allevafuneralhome.com.
This and That
Fun times ahead at Suburban Square. Lola’s Garden is coming to town. FCM Hospitality, the masterminds of Philly’s adult playgrounds Morgan’s Pier and Harper’s Garden, is taking 3,300 square feet across from Ann Taylor, dubbing the new venue, Lola’s Garden. Delicious details in our next issue including whether Lola was inspired by a certain showgirl at the Copa, Copa Cabana.
Don’t go naked. If you want your vote to count, be sure to cover up those ballots. The PA Supreme Court last week ordered officials to throw out “naked” mail ballots – those that don’t arrive enclosed in “secrecy envelopes.”
So be sure to put your marked ballot in the unmarked inner envelope that arrives with your mail-in ballot, then put that envelope in the outer mailing envelope (that you have to sign). According to this week’s the Inky, tens of thousands of mail-in ballots in Philly might be thrown out, throwing PA into “chaos” that could cost Joe Biden the election.
And if the U.S. Mail has you worried, drive your ballot to a secure drop-off box. In addition to county offices/courthouses, Chesco folks can drop off their ballots at Easttown Library in Berwyn (but not until Oct. 13); Montco folks can use Ludington Library in Bryn Mawr. At press time, Delco was still figuring out its box locations, but about 50 are planned countywide.
Gorgeous as it is, Venezuela’s a dicey destination in the best of times. A safer way to soak in the country: the new Autana Authentic Venezuelan Food at the Ardmore Station Café. Run by a local Venezuelan family, Autana serves the real deal – we hear the tequenos and empanadas are to die for – and portions are generous. Order online for takeout, curbside pickup or delivery. Open Thursdays through Sundays, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Ugly stuff has surfaced at Friends Central. A new lawsuit claims the school knew a PreK teacher was abusive but let her stay in the classroom only to abuse another child during that same school year (2018-2019). According to a story about the suit in the Inquirer, the parents of a then- 5-year-old boy are suing both the teacher, Laurie Lubking and FCS for unspecified damages. The boy told his family his teacher repeatedly berated him in front of his classmates, putting her hands on his head and jerking it back and forth. No longer the “sweet, kind, helpful boy” he once was, the suit alleges, he now needs therapy for his PTSD and has threatened to hurt himself. Lubking left Friends Central after the parents informed school officials but no reason was given and parents were told to keep the matter quiet, according to the lawsuit. High-octane attorney Matt Casey, younger brother of Senator Bob Casey is representing the family. Casey regularly wins eight-figure recoveries for his “catastrophic injury” clients.
The Wayne Picnic Grove – the giant tent on N. Wayne Ave – will stay up through October. So mosey on over for Eagles games on a big-screen TV, live music on weekends from 8 to 10, late-night concerts hosted by 118 North, Wayne Trick or Treat on Oct. 29 (details TBA), or just for a daytime coffee date.
Have a preteen or teen who loves to kick up her heels? Sign her up for Radnor Township’s first-ever Community Dance team. No cuts, all experience levels welcome and practices are safely outside at Bo Connor Park. Register here.
And finally, China on your mind? Or maybe you’re thinking about writing a book? Come pick the brains of two brainy Main Line brothers and authors, the Langfitts. Join yours truly as moderator at what promises to be fascinating “Authors in the Afternoon” virtual event presented by Main Line School Night next Thursday, Oct. 8 at 1 p.m.
Beaming in from the UK will be NPR London correspondent Frank Langfitt who, as an intrepid reporter in Shanghai, drove a no-charge taxi around the country, adventures chronicled in his new book, The Shanghai Free Taxi. Closer to home, his brother David Langfitt, a powerhouse litigator from Bryn Mawr, will share insights from writing his first novel, the international legal thriller, Winnabow. Click here for deets and to register.