Signed, sealed and NOT delivered.
Like stocked shelves and affordable gas, the Main Line can no longer take reliable mail delivery for granted.
Too many letters are taking too long to reach their destinations, or worse, are poached by thieves and never arrive at all.
Ongoing staff shortages often mean longer lines at post offices but blue boxes aren’t a safe answer, either.
Seems the new Postal Service Reform Act, just passed by the U.S. House and Senate, can’t become law soon enough – if it delivers as promised.
The problems stretch from the lower Main Line to Malvern and beyond.
“Sometimes I get my mail, sometimes I don’t,” reports Cathy Mozino, who lives on Berkley Road in Devon. “Sometimes I get my bills a day before they’re due. Sometimes I get my neighbors’ mail and A LOT of times they get mine. It’s insane.”
Trish McQuesten tells us service has been spotty in her Radnor neighborhood. “We don’t know when the mail will come. My email comes every day with the scanned mail that will arrive that day [via USPS Informed Delivery] but then it doesn’t get delivered.”
A resident of Valley Forge Towers was told by a mail carrier that the Towers would receive mail every other day due to personnel shortages.
Wayne panhandle resident Alexandra Hindle says simply, “We’ve missed tons of mail.”
A woman who lives near Archbishop Carroll in Radnor tells us her mail woes began in late January, worsened in February – when she didn’t get mail for five straight days – and are “very slowly” improving in March.
After the holiday mail surge and omicron-infected January caused sporadic delivery in Chesterbrook’s largest community, Springdell Village, “lingering issues” remain, says Sara Gladney, who’s on Springdell’s HOA board. New or substitute mail carriers are unfamiliar with the long, complicated route through several Chesterbrook neighborhoods and mail has been chronically late, she says.
In Paoli, Joyce Jeuell told us she was only getting mail five days a week – usually Friday is skipped. She says her mail carrier confirmed that staffing shortages have forced the postal service to reduce her delivery days.
Even more concerning, though, are brazen thefts from blue boxes at post offices and residents’ home mailboxes.
Easttown Police tell us the blue boxes outside the Devon Post office were hit more than once last fall. According to Detective Sgt. Andrew Tritz, thieves “wash” the checks, write in new payees and higher dollar amounts, then cash them in different banks. So far, Easttown residents are out $382,074.02, he says. (The original checks totaled just under $60,000.)
Thieves have also emptied the blue boxes at the Wayne Post Office.
“In the 23 years I’ve been an officer in Radnor, I don’t recall having mail tampered with or stolen like we’ve had recently,” Radnor Police Chief Chris Flanagan tells SAVVY.
About 20 US Mail blue boxes have been targeted in 2021-2022 and just under 15 residential boxes had been hit as of last week.
Between the post office and residential mail box thefts, “This year, we’re looking at $248,220 in possible fraudulent check loss.”
Thieves look for raised red flags on boxes in secluded neighborhoods like the North Wayne and South Wayne and Newtown sections of Radnor, Flanagan says.
“There’s less risk from cameras and dogs. Thieves just lean in to the mailbox from a car, so you can’t even get a description.”
They’re also hitting up unlocked mail rooms in apartment buildings. “I could drive up to apartments in Wayne and I guarantee I could walk out with a new pair of jeans or a watch and no one would know the difference,” says Flanagan.
The story’s just as bad, maybe worse, in Lower Merion.
“We’re getting killed with it,” says LMPD Investigation Commander Lt. Jim Baitinger, who reports 50 active investigations of mail theft in the township.”
His “conservative” estimate of losses to Lower Merion residents: $500,000 to $750,000.
In addition to thefts from residential boxes, Baitinger talks about thieves engaged in ”mail fishing” from blue boxes. NBC10’s Tracy Davidson reported a $7,000 check stolen and washed from a box at the Wynnewood post office. Most larger banks are reimbursing victims; smaller ones may not, police say.
“They have a bottle tethered to a string and they literally fish in the mail box and pull out all sorts of letters and grab the ones that have checks in them,” Baitinger says. “We had one victim have two different checks changed to the tune of $79,000.”
None of this is new, he says. “But it’s hot and heavy right now – not just here but in Lower Merion, Radnor and Tredyffrin. We’re getting close to identifying some of the players, but they’re probably lower-level people, not the ring leaders.”
Tredyffrin PD have arrested one player in connection with thefts at the Paoli Post Office,” reports TTPD Chief Mike Beatty.
“The subject(s) pulled up next to a blue box and used a key or tool to quickly unlock the box. He then took the entire bin into his vehicle and was pulling away when Officer Christopher DeCarlo attempted to stop him.”
After a chase and a crash, officers arrested Bruno Nyanue and recovered more than 600 stolen checks, gift cards and credit cards from 39 different jurisdictions.
Tredyffrin PD is working with other police departments and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to find Nyanue’s alleged accomplice, Zidane Gallimore, and bust up the ring. Among the victims, Vito Giannandrea, owner of Paoli’s San Nicola Restaurant. He would have been out $50k to $65K if his bank hadn’t frozen his account.
Potential consumer loss throughout the region is estimated at nearly $1 million.
We asked the USPS about Main Line mail theft and delivery issues. Paul Smith, Eastern USPS Corporate Communications Manager, assures us the USPS is working hard to improve service.
While he’s “not aware of any office shortages” (but promises to look into any we tell him about), USPS has scheduled 15 job fairs in March throughout the Philadelphia area. While there have been delays in ground and air transport due to weather and shipping snags, he said average time to deliver a mail piece was 2.7 days through February and referred us to this news release for details.
Regarding the spike in local mail theft: “The United States Postal Inspection oversees the security of the mail and investigates these matters,” Smith tells us.
He advises consumers to put outgoing mail in blue boxes “before the last collection time or take to your local post office.” He also encourages customers to sign up for USPS Informed Delivery service. “It basically enables you to receive an email in the morning with images of the mail pieces that you can expect to receive in your mailbox.” The sooner you know what’s missing or not cashed, the sooner you can identify and report theft, fraud or delivery issues.
Radnor, Tredyffrin, Easttown and Lower Merion Police had additional tips for residents:
- Don’t put the red flag up on your home mailbox when you put outgoing mail in it. Thieves target flagged boxes.
- Bring your outgoing mail inside post offices or personally hand it to your mail carrier.
- Don’t use ballpoint pens to write checks. They’re easy to scrub. Write with gel or felt pens instead.
- Check your accounts often to make sure checks were received and cashed properly.
- Set up autopay for recurring bills or use Venmo so you won’t have to mail checks.
- Barking dogs, Ring Doorbell cameras and sensor lights can all help prevent thefts of packages from front doors.
- Try to schedule package deliveries for days when you’re home.
- Enlist help from a “package buddy” in your neighborhood.
- Don’t drop packages in big bins. Wait in line so you can get a receipt and track your packages.
- Keep your eyes open. If you see something suspicious, say something. “People think they’re bothering us,” says LMPD’s Lt. Baitinger. “We’re working weekends and holidays, that’s our job. If you see someone lurking around, by all means, give us a shout.”
And as for that Postal Service Reform Act, U.S. Rep. and Devon resident Chrissy Houlahan believes it will go a long way to restore mail service.
“It’s simple. Pennsylvanians want their mail delivered on time,” Houlahan tells SAVVY. “This bill will help our postal workers do exactly that by modernizing USPS operations and lifting outdated financial requirements.”
Houlahan’s office is still getting complaints about spotty delivery, she says. “Right now, some members of our community are only getting mail every other day.”
She says complaints peaked just before Christmas with “many workers needing to take sick leave.”
She anticipates a second peak during tax season when “delays can be incredibly harmful to small businesses, self-employers and all Pennsylvanians trying to keep track of their tax returns.”
Houlahan supports the Act’s codifying “the longtime tradition of delivering mail and packages six days a week … We must give the postal service the tools it needs to deliver reliable service and rebuild Americans’ faith in this vital institution.”
Works for us.
Resident sues to oust school board over mask mandates; TESD’s attorney calls suit ‘an abuse of judicial process’
When we saw school board directors ousted in San Francisco, it was only a matter of time – given the brouhaha over masks in local schools – that we’d see something similar afoot here.
And right we were.
On Feb. 28, the same day that T/E schools went mask optional, a T/E taxpayer (with ten co-signers) filed a 22-page petition in Chester County Court seeking the removal of five school board directors for allegedly illegally forcing healthy students to wear masks, which the petition calls “unapproved experimental medical devices.”
The petition alleges masks are associated with a variety of physical illnesses, mental impairment, skin issues, “perceived fatigue and exhaustion” and “psychological” and “educational damage.”
The petition, which SAVVY has obtained, claims that Board members “created and implemented policies that violate Constitutional rights and as such cause irreparable harm.”
It alleges the Board “exhibited gross negligence in its duty” and claims that T/E’s Health and Safety Plan should not be mandatory for “children and visitors,” among other charges.
The petition seeks the removal of the five school board members President Roberta Hotinski, Past President Michele Burger, Todd Kantorcyzk, Stacy Stone and Sue Tiede. He excluded newly elected directors.
It was filed by Wayne resident Michael McTiernan. Ten more T/E residents signed on: Richard Gould, Dalia El-Sherif, Margaret Layden, Cathy Fizpatrick, Richard Cordes, Robin J. [last name unclear], Sarah Marvin, Rosanna Hagg, Jackie Tomaszewski and Julia Valdesalice.
McTiernan tells SAVVY he filed the petition on behalf of “30 to 50 of us looking to correct the actions of TESD and administration. I offered to lead this effort as most of our members are parents with kids in TESD schools who were afraid of repercussions against their children.” McTiernan cited a recent TESD board meeting “when a senior at Conestoga High School got up to speak about the recent mask walkout. The next day he was called down to the principal’s office to ask what was going on?” The board acted “so incompetently with regards to masking and bullied parents and students who questioned their decision that I felt compelled to help them out,” McTiernan says.
He tells us he filed the action – knowing masks had become optional in T/E – because the district might reinstate mask mandates in the future.
By the way, this isn’t only the school-board ouster petition in our area. Similar petitions have been filed in Great Valley, Downingtown and West Chester school districts.
“I characterize the various Petitions for Removal in the four districts as completely meritless,” TESD solictor Ken Roos tells SAVVY. “They go well beyond nuisance and constitute an abuse of the judicial process.”
When we asked McTiernan whether he had help drafting the petition from an organized group or entity outside TE, he admitted to getting “guidance from other people who are doing similar suits …as well as local community members” but denies receiving help from an “official organization.”
We asked this question for two reasons: because Roos says the petition’s language mirrors petitions in other districts and because it has been widely reported that outside groups have been helping individuals subvert U.S. school boards to score political points.
“All I want is for the school board to actually hear and listen to the public and stop their abusive, authoritarian behavior as well as the misleading information from the school administration,” McTiernan says.
What this suit will cost taxpayers is unknown. The school district’s attorney Ken Roos confirms that his law firm, Wisler Pearlstine, bills TESD by the hour. Roos will likely file preliminary objections in an attempt to get the petition dismissed, SAVVY’s legal advisor tells us.
While Roos won’t divulge his strategy, he did share a few of his arguments. Roos says McTiernan’s petition misapplies Section 3-218 of the PA School Code. The statute says school directors can only be removed if they fail to act – not if the action they take is found objectionable. According to Roos, the court doesn’t have the authority to remove directors for actions they take in performance of their duties, only for failure to perform a duty required by the PA School Code, like, say, failing to pass a budget. In other words, you can’t throw board members out because you disagree with what they’re doing.
Roos tells us further that he views “any attempt to remove a school board director simply for acting in accordance with CDC guidance as baseless.”
The district is dealing with two other court actions filed by McTiernan.
On Feb. 3, with assistance from Doug Anestad, who ran unsuccessfully for TESD school board as a Republican in 2017 and as an Independent in 2019 , McTiernan filed suit against the TESD School Board “For himself and All Residents and Taxpayers to the Tredyffrin Township School District.” (Why Easttown was omitted is unclear.)
The suit alleges the board violated the state’s Sunshine Act because it held a virtual meeting on Jan. 5 after Governor Wolf’s “disaster emergency declaration” allowing such meetings had expired. The board disbanded its in-person meeting after a parent refused to wear a mask at the podium and reconvened the meeting online two nights later.
The suit also alleges that McTiernan was denied his right to comment during the Jan. 5 virtual meeting. We won’t get into the weeds on this lawsuit. We will tell you that Roos, on behalf of the district, has filed a motion for dismissal with prejudice on various grounds and, at press time, was awaiting the court’s ruling.
And we just learned that on March 3, McTiernan filed a third suit, this one in small claims court. He tells us he’s seeking $12,000 (the limit), which he calls “a portion of my taxes since 2018.” He chose that year because that’s when TESD started paying Pacific Education Group to train staff in diversity, equity and inclusion. McTiernan calls this a “misuse of funds for buying CRT instruction for teachers so they can teach it to the kids instead of straight academic subjects.”
“This is not a valid legal claim as far as the district is concerned,” solicitor Roos tells SAVVY. TESD has maintained that it does not teach Critical Race Theory, an academic concept that believes racism is institutionalized in legal systems and policies. The debate over TESD’s curriculum regarding race erupted at school board meetings last year and shows no sign of abating.
But back to those masks. In case you haven’t been following, here’s the latest chapter in the protracted Mask Wars in T/E:
Some 50+ students made national news when they took off their masks and walked out of Conestoga High School around noontime on Friday, Feb. 11.
The school newspaper, The Spoke, reported that a much larger crowd of students gathered in the school’s new atrium and booed the protesters.
Leading the walkout and firing up the protesters was the son of Andrew McLellan, the father we caught on video speaking profanely to the TESD School Board at their August meeting. (The older McLellan, who lives in Great Valley, has since been banned from school board meetings. We are told he is not a T/E taxpayer and, as such, does not have standing to speak during TESD public comment periods. More recently, he was barred from all TESD properties for inciting his son’s wrestling team to shun masks after he’d entered their locker room in violation of school code.)
Notably, one parent, Sarah Marvin, cheered students as they walked out of school maskless and shot video of the walkout (see screenshot below) which she posted to the Facebook page of Pa. Conservative Women – which is what Conservative Women of the Main Line now call their group. Marvin is running to unseat Pa. Rep. Melissa Schusterman in the 157th District.
Friday’s mask walkout made for an ugly weekend, with so-called “pro-science” kids and anti-mask kids trading insults, threats and memes. One taunt involved a photo that SAVVY took at the anti-mask mandate protest outside the T/E school board meeting last August. Remember this one?
Mischief makers misappropriated our photo and photoshopped pro-LGBTQ signs in the hands of student athletes (below) then circulated the image on social media.
At least one threat sounded especially menacing and, in consultation with police, TESD switched Stoga to virtual classes that Monday. February 14 was the fourth anniversary of Parkland school shootings and the district wasn’t taking any chances. Tredyffrin police maintained a presence at the high school all week.
Students who walked out Feb. 11 did face disciplinary action for violating school rules including leaving the building without permission. They were given a Saturday detention and lost free period privileges for several weeks, according to a parent source.
A week and a half later, in response to new CDC masking guidelines, TESD dropped its mask mandate.
Radnor acts to prevent CBD Kratom store from opening at former Wayne Starbucks
When Starbucks left Wayne, folks figured another café or maybe a burger chain might move in.
CBD Kratom, a national chain that sells substances banned or restricted in 19 states, leased the iconic round building for its 50th location and all hell broke loose.
Without any required permits, the store opened for a hot minute in early February before the township closed it down.
Folks have been fired up ever since: outraged parents, taxpayers, Radnor commissioners, the principal of nearby St. Katharine’s School, the superintendent of Radnor schools, the pastor at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, among others. St. Katharine’s and Radnor Middle School are right down the street.A new group advocating for children’s safety, the bi-partisan Radnor Advancement Coalition, staged a Town Hall on March 5, during which a parade of physicians, pols, people directly affected by substance abuse, the attorney in a local wrongful death kratom case, and residents urged Radnor to take action.
They got their wish.
This week, commissioners introduced an ordinance prohibiting the sale or distribution of Kratom or Delta-8 at any location, dispensary or store within 1,000 ft. of a school, playground, or daycare and “providing regulations for such locations, dispensaries or stores.” The ordinance would also prohibit sales to anyone under 21. The township could have been challenged if it tried to outright ban the sale of kratom.
“No one has done anything like this before,” says Ward 3 Commissioner AnnaMarie Jones. “We’re hoping to set a precedent.”
Two weeks after it was closed down, CBD Kratom did file permitting paperwork with the township. In a statement, the company apologized for “the oversight.”
As of last week, the township was still processing CBD Kratom’s application. “We continue to be in communication with the store and building owners regarding the various code deficiencies,” Radnor township Manager Bill White tells SAVVY. “Working through these deficiencies will take time.”
SAVVY Main Line’s Lisa Kazanjian contributed to this report.
Pure Roots Provisions; fresh, varied and purely takeout
Tucked away in King of Prussia – in the giant Discovery Labs complex owned by Villanova developer Brian O’Neill – something rather revolutionary is taking place.
And we’re not talking about the scientists working on breakthrough gene therapies upstairs.
No, this potential game changer is on the lower level of the million-square-foot property: Pure Roots Provisions, aka seven restaurants in one.
It’s not a food hall; you can’t sit down here – at least, not yet – but you can get curbside takeout or delivery if you live or work within five miles.
Working out of the same sprawling kitchen, each branded “restaurant” has its own chef and tried-and-true recipes.
Fancy BBQ? Log onto www.eatpureroots.com and order from Sparq.
Or go lighter with sushi or poke from Hook’d or a salad from Wonderleaf.
There’s pasta – all of it homemade – from Grazia, Upstate burgers and wings, Breadbox sandwiches, wraps and casual entrees.
Something for everyone; all ordered from the same place.
Prices are fair, quality is topnotch and food is scratch-made.
All fish is ordered whole and filleted on site. Breads, pastas, pastry and ice creams are all made in house. Chicken is from Bell & Evans, raised humanely and without antibiotics, and Faroe Island salmon arrives at Pure Roots 48 hours after it leaves the water.
“I would feed my kids everything we buy,” co-owner Yohann Zinier tells SAVVY. “Our focus is on value and quality.”
Zinier started working on Pure Roots two-and-a-half years ago – before the pandemic’s takeout boom and after seeing similar ghost kitchen concepts operating elsewhere – notably ClusterTruck and Kitchen United MIX out west.
“I knew this was missing here,” he says. “I don’t want to feed my daughter Chick Fil A all the time. I wanted a healthier, more family-oriented option.”
Zinier and his partner, Drew Masciangelo tested Pure Roots’ state-of-the-art ordering system at nearby Savona, where they remain managing partners.
Open since late fall, Pure Roots chefs are constantly tweaking recipes. It took months to perfect a recipe for pasta that travels well.
Pure Roots Catering is also starting to take off, handling 17 parties two weeks ago.
“My goal is to be a one-stop shop,” says Zinier. “You can call me to have food delivered for your family or to cater for your company or your daughter’s wedding.”
It helps to have a captive – and hopefully, hungry – audience: the Discovery Labs folks who work upstairs. Right now, 150 people work in the labs. After renovations are complete, another 3,000 to 5,000 will be employed there.
As busy as they are, Zinier and Masciangelo tell us they’re just getting started. They plan to put down Pure Roots in two more Main Line-area towns, still TBA.
But they won’t rush things.
Zinier says restaurants fail for two reasons: lack of funding and not having everything ready when they open. “The Main Line wants everything to be perfect. We want everything at Pure Roots Provisions to be right the first time.”
Pure Roots Provisions and Catering, 411 Swedeland Rd., King of Prussia, 484-222-2288, is open Mon. to Sat. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. www.eatpureroots.com.
Hello from the other side? A meaningful encounter at Minella’s
Another Main Line sighting of film star Rupert Grint, aka Harry Potter’s Ron Weasley. This time, Grint was spotted having breakfast at Minella’s Diner in Wayne.
Accompanied by his partner, English actress Georgia Groome, and their daughter, Grint strolled in wearing a mask and a baseball cap “pulled down low” on Sunday, March 6, according to Theoni Tzortzatos, daughter of Minella’s co-owner Nick Dellaportas.
“There was no reason I should have known it was him but I had this gut feeling,” Tzortzatos tells SAVVY, adding that she doesn’t get Apple TV so she didn’t even know Grint was on “Servant,” the M. Night Shyamalan series that films locally.
Here’s where the plot thickens.
Tzortzatos’ sister, who lost her two-and-a-half year battle with ALS last November at age 40, was a huge Harry Potter fan, a devotion so fervid it was mentioned in her obituary. “Seeing Rupert Grint at Minella’s felt like a blessing from my sister who we are all still grieving.”
Tzortzatos had a server approach Grint’s table and ask, “Are you who I think you are? My boss is a huge Harry Potter fan and wants to know if you’ll take a picture with her when you’re done.”
“Absolutely,” the actor replied.
When they were finished eating, Grint and Tzortzatos went outside. “I told him about my sister and we took the picture. He and Georgia were both very nice.”
Grint, by the way, has also been spotted at Whole Foods in Wayne, and multiple spots in Philly.
Here to film the fourth and final season of “Servant,” we’re guessing he’ll take in the Harry Potter exhibition at the Franklin Institute, if he hasn’t already. Note to Grint: If you want to stay incognito, visit after hours. No Cloak of Invisibility here and clearly, the baseball-cap-with-mask-thing isn’t working for you.
Do Not Pass Go and miss a chance at Main Line MONOPOLY
We don’t have a boardwalk but, hey, we’re MONOPOLY-worthy!
An official Main Line edition of MONOPOLY is in the works and you can help design it.
The folks at Top Trumps (a Hasbro licensee with no known relation to You Know Who) want your suggestions for iconic streets, landmarks, schools, shops and restaurants for the game board, Chance and Community Chest cards.
Every place is fair game. [Insert winking-smiley emoji.]
Company rep Dennis Gavaghen is enlisting the public’s help to ensure the game is “an accurate portrayal of what Main Liners love about the Main Line.”
Naturally, folks like Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Ryan Rosenbaum is tickled, calling it a “great surprise” and a powerful way to highlight the area.
Send your suggestions to [email protected] no later than March 25.
Look for “Main Line Philadelphia Monopoly” on store shelves in early November.
OUR SPONSOR’S STORY:
When your first name is Haven and you’re hooked on homes – buying, renovating, designing and selling them, of course you go into real estate.
And of course, you call your real estate company, Main Line Haven (MLH).You’re a proud graduate of Radnor High School, after all, and the Main Line is your once and forever home.
Haven Duddy and her team focus exclusively on the Main Line because they know it intimately: the neighborhoods, the nuances of price swings from one street to the next, the A+ schools, the features that appeal to today’s buyers.
But that’s just the beginning of the Main Line Haven difference.
For starters, MLH offers complimentary staging to sellers.
The Haven team often starts months in advance, suggesting upgrades that offer the best ROI like new light fixtures and repainted kitchen cabinets or rooms. Interior designer Colleen Whalen and MLH Realtors “will walk through your home and stage it,” says Haven. “We know who the buyers might be. We want our properties to have a certain look and feel so we can get top dollar.”
MLH will spend a day at your house – rearranging furniture, clearing clutter and bringing in pillows, lamps, small decorative items. “We want to give it that younger fresher feel. You get a big bump for cuteness.”
The design team works with buyers, too, helping them make a new home their own, suggesting paint colors and furniture placement.
Another invaluable member of the Main Line Haven team: Patrick Duddy, general contractor and husband of Haven.
Patrick provides a free review of home inspection reports and explains “what’s a big deal and what isn’t and what it will cost to fix it,” his wife says. He’ll also estimate the price of your dream kitchen, a new fireplace or a powder-room renovation.
“He provides a lot of value to my clients,” says Haven. “Some clients hire him, some don’t. My husband is a true professional and he’s happy to help.”
Patrick and Haven also have a stable of trusted subcontractors on speed-dial – a huge help when reliable builders, painters and repair people can be hard to find.
Main Line Haven also employs a team of experts to market their listings and make the selling process as quick, efficient and painless as possible.
A professional writer creates compelling home descriptions.
A pro photographer/videographer shoots the home and makes a video tour which includes drone footage.
To assist buyers, MLH also creates floor plans. Haven recalls showing a $2 million home to a buyer during a limited time slot. “She was frantically measuring to see if the furniture fit. It’s not that difficult to provide floor plans in this day and age. It gives buyers all the info so they can feel good moving forward.”
For Haven, it’s all about adding value.
“As Realtors, we make a lot of money selling houses but we need to provide value, too. I work with my clients to get their house ready for the market. We don’t skip any steps. We do everything to get the best price for our clients.”
What’s in Haven’s residential real estate crystal ball?
A continuing seller’s market largely unaffected by rising mortgage rates. “I don’t see it cooling off because there are so many buyers. When a house goes on the market, everyone pounces. You get 40 showings, multiple offers and buyers waiving inspections – things they wouldn’t do normally.”
Many sellers have seen their homes appreciate in value since 2010, Haven says. Combine built-up equity with COVID-induced cabin fever, job relocations and the continuing excellence of Main Line schools and you get a swarm of buyers but, these days, not enough sellers.
“Low inventory causes low inventory,” Haven explains. “A lot of people want to move but can’t find the house they want to go to because inventory is so low.”
To stand out, Main Line Haven simply offers more.
“Obviously, real estate is our business but we brought design and construction into it because it’s in my wheelhouse, it creates value and it’s part of the process. We want to help people create the home they love.”
The headaches came like clockwork – at 11 a.m. every day, along with heavy brain fog and fatigue.
Dave Shollock was sick and tired – oh, so very tired – long after his bout with COVID 19.
And so, when his chiropractor, Danielle Gray at Restore Health & Longevity in Wayne, suggested her hyperbaric oxygen chamber for his long-haul COVID, he was all in.
Two sessions later, the Devon resident was a new man.
“All my symptoms were gone,” Shollock tells SAVVY. “I’m so glad I took Dr. Gray’s advice. I’ve felt like my old self ever since.”
And he’s hardly alone. Other Restore clients have had remarkable success with the pure-oxygen chamber that Gray installed the day after the lockdown started. She brought it in to speed injury healing, never imagining it would become a go-to therapy for coronavirus long haulers.
“We saw people really struggling who didn’t have much alternative other than living with it and hoping it goes away,” Gray says. An estimated 30% of COVID survivors struggle with long COVID, according to the American Academy of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.
Many Restore clients complain about the brain fog, chronic fatigue, and headaches experienced by Shollock. Some have breathing issues and joint pain. “It presents similar to Lyme Disease; it attacks weak areas,” says Gray.
Kerin Caban suffered from fatigue, brain fog, coughing and shortness of breath after a long bout with COVID last December. Restore’s “hyperbaric chamber gave me a shot of oxygen to my chest and after just 2 sessions, my cough and head congestion had finally cleared up. For the first time in over a month, I felt like I could breath again!”
The chamber is akin to flying or scuba diving – you’re in a highly pressurized space that’s pumped full of oxygen so you may need to clear your ears. “Because the body is under increased pressure, the oxygen can enter cells much more efficiently,” Gray explains.
As long as you’re not claustrophobic or don’t have inner ear issues, you won’t feel a thing. You can take a nap, watch a show, listen to music, talk on the phone, even move around and stretch a bit while you’re in there.
Two sessions and you should be able to kiss long-haul COVID good-bye, says Gray.
Other uses for Restore’s hyperbaric chamber: injury, wound and plastic-surgery healing.
One client was told he’d be sidelined for 12 weeks after elbow surgery. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy had him back on the court in five weeks.
Another client suffered a mild concussion a week before her son’s wedding and “couldn’t function at all,” Gray recalls. “We had her out on the dance floor a week later.”
Still other clients use the chamber to speed healing after plastic surgery. One woman who’d had a major face lift needed to be back to work in 10 days. She used the hyperbaric chamber every day for 10 days and was back on the job on schedule. “It was awesome,” Gray says. “You get in there and you’re able to get through the post-surgery healing process much more quickly.”
Another huge swath of Willistown – with a Rockefeller pedigree – is up for grabs
Causing another round of indigestion for open-space advocates: news that a second storied estate in Willistown could be carved up.
This one, Kirkwood Farm, is owned by Rockefeller heirs. Asking price for the 210 acres at 944 Providence Rd.: $29.9 million. (Yeah, yeah, we know: You’d have to be a Rockefeller to afford it.)
There’s no conservation easement and broker Lavinia Smerconish told the Philadelphia Business Journal that the farm’s owners haven’t said they’re against the property’s development.
Holding the deed are entities connected to M. Roy Jackson, owner of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, and Jackson’s kids. His grandfather was William Rockefeller and his great uncle was Standard Oil Co. founder John D. Rockefeller.
No farm animals roam the estate which includes five historic homes, four of which are rented, and three barns. Kirkwood Farm hasn’t changed hands in 90 years and according to Smerconish, both developers and individuals are sniffing around.
The property is about 35 acres smaller than Willistown’s Rock Hill Farm, which sold to an entity formed by developer Brian O’Neill for $25.48 million last year. An organized group of residents has been fighting the buyer’s plan to develop part of the estate.
Not sure who’s more fascinating: La Colombe co-founder, serial entrepreneur, inventor, globetrotting adventurer, TV personality, activist and author Todd Carmichael or his equally accomplished wife: iconic Philadelphia Flyers anthemist, singer-songwriter, recording artist, TV host, cancer survivor, community crusader and adoption advocate Lauren Hart. (Fun fact: they adopted four children from Ethiopia.)
The two will take the stage for “Better Together” in Villanova, a fundraiser for one of the area’s more unique nonprofits, Main Line School Night. If it’s not yet on your radar, MLSN offers affordable classes, workshops, lectures, trips and tours to thousands of locals each year. MLSN’s award-winning catalog shows up in Main Line mailboxes twice a year.
Joining Todd and Lauren on stage to moderate the Q and A will be yours truly – SAVVY editor and proud MLSN board member Caroline O’Halloran. Buckle up for a freewheeling chat and audience surprises!
Tickets are $45. Corporate and individual sponsorships, which include a VIP reception, are still available. Penn Medicine is the presenting sponsor.
Hope to see SAVVY readers at this star-studded event. Truly, after all we’ve been through these last two years, aren’t we all Better Together?!?
Better Together: An Evening with Todd Carmichael and Lauren Hart, Tuesday, April 19, The Inn at Villanova University, 601 County Line Rd., Radnor. VIP/Sponsors reception at 6 p.m. Program begins at 7:30. General admission tickets from $45.
We’re loving the triple-whammy face treatment at Body+Beauty Lab in Radnor, now discounted for SAVVY readers: dermaplaning to skim off dulling skin cells, then Hydra-Genesis (Hydrafacial plus Laser Genesis) to deep clean, hydrate, smooth fine lines and erase redness and dark spots. A one-stop shop near the Radnor Hotel, Body+Beauty Lab offers an armada of lasers, peels, microneedling, injectables, laser hair removal and body contouring to fend off Father Time. ($400 Hydra-Genesis treatment with SAVVY discount. Mention or use code “SAVVY’ for 20% off your first treatment.)
Now’s your chance to bat a thousand … eyelashes – and at a SAVVY discount. Get camera-ready for spring shindigs and summer swims with long-lasting, sweat- and swim-proof eyelash extensions from the Main Line’s premier lash stylist, Deneen Marcel Lashes. Call for a lash or brow-styling appointment at Deneen Marcel’s private Bryn Mawr studio, 267-386-6681. Say SAVVY sent you and score 20% off Hybrid Volume and Volume Lash styles.
Water views in Berwyn? Our ears perked up when we heard about this rare chance to own in Berwyn’s Leopard Lakes – a supercool community of single-family homes with its own 6-acre lake for swimming, boating and skating, a private beach, pickleball and tennis courts, a playground and walking trails. And this particular home at 1102 Signal Hill Lane is a stunner: two-story family room addition overlooking the lake, four-bedrooms, office/5th bedroom, billiard room and lots more. Offered at $2,150,000.
***SAVVY Picks are shoutouts & promos on behalf of our sponsors. To learn more about becoming a SAVVY Pick, email [email protected]
This and That
The shooting at the Wawa on Lancaster Avenue in Wayne Tuesday morning was a suicide, according to published reports. Police have recovered the gun and no one else was endangered.
Huge news for veterans. Looks like VA Medical Center in Coatesville may close. The Department of Veterans Affairs has released plans to close aging and underused medical centers and Coatesville and Philadelphia are on the list. Under the proposal, a new, state-of-the-art facility would open in King of Prussia. In all, 17 medical centers would close. The plan will be reviewed by an independent commission before it heads to Congress for approval.
The Main Line is pulling for Ukraine in ways large and small. Ten days ago Penn Valley businessman Gary Wasserson was told that he had seven cousins in Ukraine. He’s been a man on a mission ever since. According to NBC10, Wasserson hired a private driver to extract his relatives and flew to Poland to meet them. After a visit to the border, he’s extended his stay and has been working with humanitarian agencies to bring another 60 other refugee families to safety.
Two Ukranian sisters who teach orchestra at Radnor Middle School and Radnor High School are collecting donations to help an orphanage in Rivne, Ukraine, where one sister, Anna Ivanenko, volunteered one summer. Children at Riven’s “Bee House” were safely evacuated to the Karpatian mountains but three brave women stayed behind to feed and shelter people fleeing from Kyiv and other danger zones. The women are also delivering food to elderly, women and children and driving supplies into Poland for war refugees. To fund their valiant work, Venmo your donation to @Anna-Ivanenko-1.
And in T/E, Lisa Schreiber is selling ‘Sunflowers for Peace.’ “Sunflowers represent strength and beauty, and when planted, will remind us of the resiliency and will of the refugees,” she wrote on a Facebook page for T/E parents. She’s selling seed packets at TEMS Wednesday, March 16, and Friday, March 18. Pay by cash or Venmo (or Venmo a donation) to @Lisa-Schreiber-9. Last digits: 5096. Proceeds will benefit the International Rescue Committee’s work providing essential supplies to refugees, most of whom are women and children.
Say what? The Haverford School in … Bryn Mawr? The all-boys school is under agreement to purchase some primo property: the 43.5-acre historic Glencoe estate on S. Roberts Road, better known as home to the Presbyterian Children’s Village and, more recently, to Gemma Services. Haverford School isn’t leaving Haverford; its plans for the extra acreage are TBD. Radnor Commissioner Lisa Borowski says she’ll sit down with all stakeholders “with an eye to developing a collaborative relationship which considers the needs and concerns of all parties – just like good neighbors do.”
An owner of Gulph Mills’ Savona has leased The Old Mansion House on Old Elm Street in Conshy. Evan Lambert plans to add a big outdoor deck and turn the local watering hole into a higher-end Italian restaurant with brick-oven pizza.
Heartwarming home field advantage. For the 11th time since its founding 31 years ago, Challenger Day returns to Berwyn this spring. More than 30 Little League teams and 400 Challenger players will converge on the Field of Dreams May 14 for adaptive baseball games and festivities. Volunteers – including player “Buddies” – are needed to help Berwyn-Paoli Little League stage this seriously special day.
And while we’re at it, a tip of our baseball caps to the Parkers – Anne and her standup sons, Steve and Don – who just established the Wayne Parker Family Grant to pay Little League fees and equipment costs for families in need. (They run into the hundreds of dollars these days.) Wayne, who passed in 2020 and was a longtime coach in Devon Strafford Little League, enjoyed nothing more than cheering on his children and grandchildren when they played. “My dad loved our community and was willing to help whenever asked,” Don Parker tells SAVVY. Contact [email protected] if your child could use the confidential help.
An arrest in the November crash that killed beloved Lower Merion High School Principal Sean Hughes and injured his son. Azuka Ossai, 54, of Pine Hill, NJ, was charged with fourth-degree assault last week. After he blew through a stop sign, Ossai’s Mercedes SUV collided with the Hughes’ Ford SUV. The principal’s widow told Inquirer reporter Vinny Vella she’s grateful for the arrest. “Now, we can put a little bit of closure into this tragedy.”
The area’s first Amazon Go is looking more and more like a go. Thinking big as always, the monster e-tailer is seeking a zoning variance so it can put a larger-than-allowed sign at the old LA Fitness on West Chester Pike in Havertown, reports Havertown Patch. It’s also applied for a liquor license. There are 26 Amazon Go Stores in the U.S. and about a third sell beer. Instead of paying at checkout, Amazon Go grocery shoppers buy stuff with a free app.
What does a Conestoga coach do when she’s not coaching? Teach yoga in Berwyn, apparently. Regan Marscher, Head Field Hockey coach at her alma mater, just opened Tejas Yoga Collective near the high school. And Amy Orcutt, head coach of Stoga’s nationally ranked Girls Lacrosse team, also teaches at Teyjas.
Lights are on again at the old MLS Fitness studio near Haverford Square (below). Upscale coastal home décor purveyor Serena & Lily is now welcoming shoppers by appointment.
The Paperia lives. The invitation and stationery store left Suburban Square a few years ago but longtime employee Hennie Shore just launched operations out of her Wynnewood home. Visit thepaperia.com.
A flood of activity on stormwater in Tredyffrin. American Rescue Plan funds, state DEP grants, and township money are all funding projects. But the list of flood-prone roads and properties is long, according to the Tredyffrin Stormwater Task Force. Should the township impose an annual stormwater fee or hire full-time stormwater staff? Weigh in at public input sessions on April 4 and April 18, 7 to 9 p.m. in the township building.
Hard to believe it’s been 50 years since the underdog Mighty Macs of Immaculata shocked the world and won the national women’s hoops title. Immaculata President Barbara Liettere was a senior at the college during that wild ride back in ’72 and can’t forget it. A campus-wide 50th anniversary celebration – with players, legendary coach Cathy Rush, and the director of The Mighty Macs movie is set for Friday, March 18 at noon. Immaculata’s so jazzed, they’re devoting this whole week to championship events and displays.
Paoli’s Guy Ciarrocchi has tossed his hat in a different ring. Instead of running for governor, the Republican aims to take on U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan.
A Malvern mom who helped her young adult daughter through a gender transition wants to mentor other families at no charge. Susanna Day tells us she gained “essential knowledge that I would like to share, in person, with individuals, families and close allies.” Topics include getting started with research and therapist’s letters, resources like support organizations, endocrinologists and plastic surgeons, insurance, voice lessons, legal name and gender changes. She’s also willing to speak to interested groups. “My fee? A sandwich and a cup of tea!” Day says. Contact her at [email protected]
Mischief Night – in the morning – in Radnor. Some goofball(s) fired water-filled gel pellets to a class of kids outside Radnor Middle School last week. Three kids and one staffer were hit in the drive-by “shooting,” according to the school superintendent. No one was hurt and police are investigating.
Listing for years, the Ship Inn in Exton has capsized. The 18th century property remains open but is for sale for $2.5 million. Sadly, that big TV makeover on “Restaurant Impossible” couldn’t see the Inn’s current owner through the pandemic.
Are you a green fiend or do you know one? Lower Merion and Narberth environmental advisory and shade tree groups are accepting nominations for a Go-For-The-Green Award. Only local people and local entities are eligible. Send your application to [email protected] no later than Earth Day, April 22.
That long-wished-for train line between Philly and Reading might just happen. Montco and Chesco are planning public hearings about forming a Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority to get the project chug-chug-chugging along. Montco’s hearing is April 20 at 2 p.m. Chesco’s is April 27.
Foodies and friends are still reeling over the accidental death of Nectar chef and co-owner Patrick Feury, who fell in his Paoli home Feb. 12. Just 57, he leaves behind two teenage children and fiancée Lisa Cornacchio. Nectar has been a Berwyn destination – aka the Main Line’s own Buddakan – since 2004.
Radnor-based DMAX Foundation will address that hottest of topics: the mental health crisis on college campuses at its annual educational event/fundraiser on April 20. Register here for this virtual event.
A NEDA Walk to raise funds for eating disorders education, prevention and support is set for Saturday, April 23 in Radnor. Register here.
Wellness at the Willows, an all-day event Sunday, April 24 will feature 30-minute workouts, workshops and presentations. Free but you gotta register.
And finally, five reasons you should blow off work to watch Villanova face Delaware in the First Round of the Big Dance Friday afternoon:
- You loved “Mare of Easttown.” Martin Ingelsby – brother of Mare creator, Brad Ingelsby – coaches the Blue Hens. Will Brad root for his own alma mater, Villanova, or spurn Nova Nation and cheer for his brother’s team? (Martin chose Notre Dame over Nova. Hmmph.) And how about their dad, Tom Ingelsby, who led the Wildcats to the ’71 Championship game before turning pro? Who’s he with?
- You or your kid went to the Haverford School: You’ll see guard Jameer Nelson, Jr. play again. He led the Fords to that sweet, undefeated season and 2019 state championship and now plays for the Blue Hens.
- You or your kid went to St. Joe’s. You already know You-Know-Who will never die. Nor will your glory days on Hawk Hill when you spot your main man, Jameer Nelson (Sr.) cheering on his son in Round One.
- You’re a fashionista. You’re counting on GQ Jay to finally dust off a suit and polish a pair of shoes. I mean, how hard can that be?
- You’re a geeky Nova fan and full of questions: Was Wildcat-turned-Blue-Hen big man Dylan Painter wrong to leave Coach Wright and his not-so-tall squad? Will Slate do what Slate does and block him? Will Maino’s achy-breakey back hold up? Will JMo’s new red-tinged cornrows portend good luck again? Will Dancin’ Nova Hat Guy (Broomall’s inimitable John Ermilio) go dancin’ out in Pittsburgh?
Go get ’em, Cats. Our \\//s are UP!!!