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Human Interest - Bristol Borough

Silver Lake Nature Center Events for May

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The following is provided by our friends at the Silver Lake Nature Center

May 2021 Events at Silver Lake Nature Center

Saturday Morning Bird Walks. Offered from March through May at 7:30am. Free. Meet outside of the SLNC Visitors’ Center at the Welcome Kiosk near the Parking Area.

Free Guided Walk on the SLNC Trails. Sunday, May 16 th , 2 – 3pm. Join us for this leisurely and informative walk covering seasonal topics. Meet outside of the SLNC Visitors’ Center at the kiosk near the Parking Area. Register by visiting www.SilverLakeNatureCenter.org or by calling 215-785-1177.

Day-off from School Camp. Tuesday, May 18th, 9am – 4pm. Why only have Camp in the summer when you can do it in all seasons?! Our School-year Camp Days are scheduled for days when most schools are off. Each Camp Day provides exciting seasonal adventures for your child (5 – 14 years old). Staff and Campers spend the day exploring the forest, swamps, and marsh in all weather. Prices: $60/child per day for Friends of SLNC Members; $75/child per day for Non-members. Full payment is required at time of registration. Register at www.SilverLakeNatureCenter.org.

Earthship Tours. Saturday, May 22 nd , 1 – 2:30pm. Free. The SLNC Earthship will be open to the public today! Stop by to visit and learn about these interesting, sustainable structures! Register by visiting www.SilverLakeNatureCenter.org or by calling 215-785-1177.

Introduction to Kayaking. Saturday, May 22 nd , 9am – 11am. Have you ever wanted to learn how to maneuver a kayak? Well here is your chance. This two-hour class, led by Kayaking Instructor, Cameron Calista, introduces you to the parts of a kayak, how to hold and move a kayak paddle, how to enter and exit a kayak, ways to keep your balance while kayaking and, of course, how to get around on the water in a kayak. The Introduction to Kayaking Class takes place right on the waters of Silver Lake (at Silver Lake Park). Fee: $35/person or $30/person for Friends of SLNC Members. Register by visiting www.SilverLakeNatureCenter.org or by calling
215-785-1177. (Space is limited. Early registration is recommended.)

Credit: Jeff Bohen, Lower Bucks Source

Moonlight Kayak Excursion. Saturday, May 22 nd , 6:30pm – 9:30pm. This excursion is for kayakers who have
kayaked at least once before & are at least 18 years of age. We will start at the edge of Silver Lake. Once on the water, we will travel up Silver Lake into Magnolia Lake. Along the way, we will dock for a Campfire and Marshmallow Roast. After all the marshmallows are gone, we will embark on our journey back, letting the moonlight guide our way. Each kayaker will be able to take in the lovely sights of Silver Lake bathed in moonlight. Fee: $40/person or $35/person for Friends of SLNC Members.  Register by visiting www.SilverLakeNatureCenter.org or by calling 215-785-1177. (Space is limited. Early registration is recommended.)

Volunteer Work Day. Saturday, June 5 th , 9am – 12pm. Help us maintain our grounds! Be prepared to get wet and dirty. Bring a refillable water bottle. This event is Rain or Shine. Meet at the SLNC Pavilion (near the SLNC Visitors’ Center). Register by visiting www.SilverLakeNatureCenter.org or by calling at 215-785-1177.

Firefly Camp; (Almost the) Summer Solstice Night Hike-Campfire. Friday, June 18 th , 6:30-8pm. Join us as we welcome summer by finding Fireflies along the Trails, followed by a campfire outside of the SLNC Earthship.
Fee: $12/person or $10/person for Friends of SLNC Members. Register by visiting www.SilverLakeNatureCenter.org or by calling 215-785-1177. (Space is limited. Early registration is recommended.)

The beautiful Trails at SLNC are open daily, from Sunrise to Sunset. It is free to come out and explore the
Trails on your own.

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Health - Bensalem Township

“Laughter is the Best Medicine” Says President of Ezra’s Hope

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Cindy Ritter, president of Ezra’s Hope was on her cell phone early Friday morning teaching herself an array of foreign languages. When she answered. which was not expected since it was just past 7 a.m., an approximately hour-long conversation ensued.

The conversation was about the dual sponsored – Laughs for Recovery and Raymour & Flanigan – afternoon sit-down comedy benefit coming up this Saturday, June 22, to support the nonprofit that assists families looking the pain of addiction square in the face.

What better way to raise funds  then with the antidote for pain, which is laughter, right?, she said.

No arguing with that sentiment.

Ezra’s Hope helps families that have been affected by addiction in a variety of ways, including food and clothing donations and financial assistance. In past efforts, the nonprofit has provided care packages and gift cards, food, clothing, furniture, and other necessities, and has helped families pay utility bills. “By helping families pick up the pieces from this terrible disease in a positive light, we hope to prevent the same behavior from continuing,” Ritter said.

According to the CDC, more than 110,000 people across the United States lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2023. Of that number, 4,823 were in Pennsylvania.

Ritter said that a lack of manpower and resources in recent years has prevented the nonprofit from hosting any fundraising events.

Ezra’s Hope is holding their first fundraiser since the pandemic. The small volunteer organization is teaming up with two well-known organizations, Laughs For Recovery and Raymour and Flanigan, to host a three-hour comedy show for charity. The nonprofit hopes the event will bring smiles and laughter to the community while also raising awareness to a topic, that’s no laughing matter, addiction.

“Help has been pretty hard to find. The last time Ezra’s Hope held a fundraiser was in September 2019 before Covid-19 shut the world down. Since then, we have been unable to organize any events to help raise the funds necessary to help families in need,” Ritter said.

 

The sit-down comedy show will take place from 2 p.m.to 5 p.m. pm at Raymour and Flannigan’s Oxford Valley location 9 Cabot Blvd East, Langhorne and will feature performances by a number of local comedians.

Several prominent businesses are also showing their support for Ezra’s Hope. The Iron Pigs. Crayola. Longwood Gardens and Chipotle have all made substantial donations to be used for raffles and giveaways during the event, giving some lucky guests a chance to go home with an unforgettable prize.

Master of Ceremonies and Laughs for Recovery founder Eric Todd of Levittown is hoping the surrounding community comes out in a big way, he said. Todd’s been putting on comedy shows for about three years now.

Laughs for Recovery Outdoor Festival 2023

 

Ezra’s Hope was founded in 2017 as an outlet to offer support and education to families that have experienced the loss of a loved one to addiction. The organization is dedicated to raising awareness through education about addiction and making a difference in the lives of those who have felt the impact of its devastating effects. There is Hope for the future!

Click here to purchase tickets for this event.

For more information about Ezra’s Hope, contact Cindy Ritter ezrashope@gmail.com

Submitted:

Laughs for Recovery Comic performing Summer of 2023
Credit: Lower Bucks Source

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

Neshaminy Mall Sold?

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The announcement came as a bit of surprise, but for months if not longer, there were varying reports Neshaminy Mall in Bensalem was for sale. As of last week, the mall now has a buyer.

A social media post by the Bensalem Economic Development Corporation read, “Hot off the presses! Neshaminy Mall has a buyer! Settlement will occur sometime in the next 30 days with Paramount Realty. We look forward to working with their team and hearing about the new opportunities this sale will bring to our community,” on June 14.

Brookfield Properties put the mall up for sale, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, in February.

The 1-million square foot mall sits at the crossroads of Lincoln Highway, Route 1 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Bensalem officials contacted earlier this week about the potential sale did not respond to requests for comment on what the future holds for the brick and mortar edifice.

A Philadelphia Journal Report earlier this year estimated Brookfield could get $25 million for the property.

In June of 2022, then Lower Bucks Source contributor Josh Thompson  visited the mall for a story he was working about its apparent “slow death.”

Opened in 1968, the Neshaminy Mall has hosted stores such as “Boscov’s” and “GameStop”, but over the years, the mall has started to decline in both visitors, and renters. Walking through the mall now is like walking through a ghost town. The AMC theater and Boscov’s are still there, but stores like Macy’s, Friendly’s, and even Rita’s water ice are all gone.

Then and now, it appears the food court is the most frequently visited area in the mall.

The ability to shop online, experts say, is the single biggest contributor to the demise of shopping malls in America.

Calls to Paramount Realty were not immediately returned as of Wednesday.

Editor’s Note: Bensalem’s Josh Thompson contributed to this report. He currently works for the Bensalem School District supporting the educational successes of students with challenges. 

 

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bensalem Township

Bensalem Twp Council To Vote On Volunteer Fire Company Consolidation Monday Night

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Just under two years ago at a Bristol Borough Council meeting, officials were getting an update on the then planned fire company consolidation effort by Steve Reeves,  president of the Bristol Borough Fire Association. At the time, talk of consolidating fire companies in the borough and Bristol Township was a hot topic.

During his presentation Reeves mentioned consolidation talks of the Bensalem fire company volunteer services were also in progress. At the time tidbit was not in the public domain.

Credit: Submitted

Now after two years of planning, the Bensalem Township Council will vote on a resolution to form The Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department at its next meeting Monday night.

If the resolution is passed, the six legacy fire companies, including Cornwells, Eddington, Newport, Nottingham, Trevose, and Union, will be consolidated into one volunteer fire department. This consolidation plan is necessary to ensure adequate fire/emergency response within the township because of reduced membership amongst the current companies, a press release announced late Friday afternoon.

Credit: Submitted

Reeves knew what he was talking about at the time. Lower Bucks Source in the following days reached out to area first responder sources, officials and Bensalem area volunteer firefighters. No one anywhere would go on or off the record. LBS was directed, by Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal Robert Sponheimer, to the Deputy Director of Public Safety Robert Race who politely declined to respond to a request for comment at the time.

Credit: Submitted

Late last year, according to a Lower Bucks Times report, Bensalem officials spoke rather openly about dwindling volunteer numbers.  This led William McVey, director of public safety, to ask for council approval to apply for a SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant through FEMA, which was subsequently approved in November by council.

This past February the township announced the hiring of Mark Antozzeski as the first career Fire Chief in Bensalem history. He is leading the volunteer fire services, as well as Bensalem Fire Rescue, career staff. McVey told Bensalem Patch.com the hiring was an important piece of the consolidation process.

 

Credit: Submitted

Earlier this month,  Nottingham Fire Department Chief Ron Harris was named the Bensalem Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief as part of the consolidation effort, according to published report. 

Credit: Submitted

Beginning Friday evening, shortly after receiving the Bensalem announcement on the expected consolidation vote, first responder sources Lower Bucks Source contacted said that back in 2022 when first contacted they declined to comment because the topic was sensitive in nature and a real possibility of backlash existed and concerns about “sabotaging” the process were also omnipresent. Those sources again declined to comment on the record.

Consolidation Efforts in Bristol Borough & Bristol Township

In February, Bristol Borough voted to consolidate their volunteer fire services. Prior to that step the borough approved applying for a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program Grant in the amount of $1.5 to build a new fire house at a yet to be determined location.

As far back as February of 2022, a smaller plan in size and scope was being discussed in Bristol Township involving Newportville Fire Company #1, Third District Fire Company with career fire personnel from the township which came off the heels of  a fire study completed in 2020.  That plan is no longer in play, fire officials say. Third District Fire Chief Howard McGoldrick said it’s a “complete mystery” why Newportville ultimately decided against the discussed move and merger.

” Volunteer fire services in Bucks County are changing right before our eyes” one first responder said last year.

Credit: Submitted

In each of the consolidation efforts, public safety, declining volunteer numbers and increasing costs have been cited repeatedly by officials publicly.

“It’s just not sustainable anymore financially for fire companies, the municipalities they serve, and taxpayers. It’s consolidate or die”, a high ranking first responder source said Friday.

Bensalem Council is expected to pass the resolution with its vote tonight.

Editor’s Note:  Each of the images in this story come from the volunteer fire companies serving Bensalem Township.

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