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Leader Lottery Winner: Robert Bartholomai

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are getting weaker every day. He is so smart and obert Bartholomai, of Catherine Court in Levsuch a good kid. I love him so much.” ittown, was the latest winner of our Leader ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Lottery game, in which readers can win money Leader Lottery is the way to win money for yourfor themselves and for their favorite charity or self and the community cause that’s closest to your community cause in every issue of The Levittown Leader (see page 2). heart. This year alone, Leader Lottery has benefitRobert, shown at left, was our winner for Issue ted Silver Lake Nature Center, the Huntingdon’s #20, November 15. He picked up his copy of The Disease Society, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Levittown Leader at Hospital, the Bucks Bailey’s Bar & Grille, County Emergency Hoping to help a 10 year old 6922 Bristol-Emilie Homeless Shelter, the nephew in a wheelchair. Road. He saw that his Pennsbury Arts Founlucky number was C94 dation, Friends of the and found a matching Levittown Library, St. number in the “Cash For Houses” ad. He sent in Michael the Archangel School in Levittown, the his lottery ticket and it was drawn at random from Emergency Relief Association of Lower Bucks, a pool of 18 finalists. the Healing Consciousness Foundation, the Bucks Leader Lottery winners win $100 for themCounty Rescue Squad, Oxford Valley Chapel, selves; they also get to choose a charity or commuthe Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation, the ALS nity cause that has special meaning for them, to Association, the American Diabetes Association, which The Levittown Leader donates an additionthe Heather M. Safee Memorial Fund, and the al $100. Robert Bartholomai chose the Muscular Wounded Warrior Project. Dystrophy Association. “My ten year old nephew It’s free, it’s easy, and all you need is the paper was born with MD,” he said. “He used to love you’re holding in your hand. You’ll help our complaying tag and running around the house, but now munity just by playing. Do you have the lucky he is in a wheelchair and can’t walk. His muscles number? See page 2 to find out! ■

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Letters to the Editor

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I have lived in Levittown for some fifty years. Originally I was from Philadelphia, then Trevose. In the old days of Levittown things seemed so different. Come Friday night the hustle and bustle would begin. The old New Falls Road was two lanes, and let me tell you it was busy. Folks were heading to Mill Street for linens, curtains and furniture. The Levittown Shopping Center was a thriving hub of stores, the gem of shopping centers for miles around. There was no doubt about it, if you needed a tuxedo or a prom dress, Adams Clothes and Pomeroy’s was the place to go, Levittowner or not. Saturday was a food shopping day and a “pick up beer” day. Talk about your endless lines at checkout. Kane’s Shop & Bag was flourishing in those early days of Levittown, even with the ACME next to it. My father-in-law wouldn’t shop anywhere else, he wanted to chat with “old man” Kane. It seems that Levittowners liked the independent grocers. The intimate feeling they had talking with the owners, “How’s the wife, husband, kids doing?” could be heard in the daily chatter. Then it was on to the to the beer store, Penn Thrift, to pick up the week’s supply of beer. In the day, a cold case had a 25 cents surcharge on it. My father-inlaw refused to pay it, stating, “that’s why I bought a refrigerator!” Sunday came, and it was Sunday. A calm came over the neighborhood. In the morning, families were filling the sedan to go to church. Upon returning a family meal was in the works, and dinner would be at 1 or 2 o’clock, then a movie, or bowling in the p.m. These people pioneered our communities, and now must rebuild their own lives. Fast Forward to the Levittown seniors of 2014: These seniors are now empty nesters on fixed incomes, with meager social security increases in the past years. Their homes are now being sold at an alarming rate, because of their inability to pay property taxes. They are now on their way to live with children, or at various Senior Living Facilities. When Gov. Rendell passed casino gambling, it looked like there was a light at the end of the tunnel for property tax relief. “As much as half,” they said. This was good news, especially for seniors. They may be able to stay in the home they grew old in. What happened to that tax relief? A two hundred dollar credit is not going to keep a senior in his home. This is a far cry from half. We went from property tax reduction to impact fees from PARX Casino. Impact fees, can you believe it! How can PARX Casino impact anyone other than Bensalem? Neshaminy Mall on some days has as many cars as PARX. Do they have an impact fee? After the county collects the impact money, the wish lists starts coming in from the impacted townships, and it›s never ending. These wish lists contain every special project imaginable, except for the original promise of a “sizeable property tax reduction.” That promise has long been forgotten! The real "impact" is the loss of

homes to property taxes. I ran into yet another senior today in my neighborhood. She's one of many I've met over the summer that can›t pay the taxman. She's got to move out. How sad. —Chuck B./ Quincy Hollow •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

I found your article about predicting winter weather very interesting. [Issue #20] I grew up near the Canadian border, and I’m familiar with the old folklore about how wooly worms and busy squirrels can indicate a long cold winter. Now I live in Langhorne. Last fall, from late September to mid November, the oak trees on my property (I have two) dropped unusually large acorns. They were like bombs coming down! I happened to mention this to a neighbor and he said he was experiencing the same thing. He insisted that it was a sign of an unusually bad winter coming. It turns out he was right about the winter, but I wonder if it was just coincidence. I would be curious to know if any of your neighbors throughout the other towns also had unusually heavy acorns dropping last autumn. —Stan V.G. / Langhorne I grew up in Fairless Hills but my grandmother, who lived with us for a while, grew up on a farm in Ohio. She used to say that you could predict what kind of winter was coming by examining the corn husks. Thick layers surrounding the cob meant a cold winter; thin layers meant a mild one. —Chris Paulie / Levittown Last fall we had a problem with spiders getting into the house. It seemed like we saw a few every day. They normally don’t show much interest in coming indoors. I’m convinced they knew what kind of winter was coming! —Lana Gormley / Bristol ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Send letters to Editor@LevLeader.com

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Bristol Boro Christmas Parade

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housands of spectators lined the main thoroughfares of Bristol on Saturday November 29 for the annual Borough Christmas Parade. Children darted along the curbs picking up candy and goodies tossed from the passing floats and fire trucks. The parade featured Truman High School’s Marching Band along with strutting Mummers, superheroes and Disney characters, local firefighters on gleaming trucks with horns blaring, and military veterans in formation firing their guns. A life-sized Tigger, Frosty the Snowman and Winnie the Pooh mingled with the children, posing for pictures. But the highlight of the day for the multitudes of kids, many of whom wore their pajamas to the parade, was the arrival of Santa Claus, traveling by horse and carriage. Santa and Mrs. Claus, accompanied by a North Pole elf, waved and smiled to all as they rolled through town. A company of elves went on ahead collecting letters for Santa. Local organizations including the Loyal Order of Moose 1169 collected non-perishable food donations for the local food bank. “The Bristol Borough Christmas Parade,” claims the official website of the event, “is a tradition in our small and humble town. The parade is born of pride, family and community strength.” On November 29, the strength and spirit of the Bristol community was on full view. ■

—All photos by Alan J. Micklin

The Levittown Leader

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PHS Tradition of Helping

n November, Pennsbury High School continued a 25-year tradition of providing a Thanksgiving feast to Pennsbury families in need. PHS staff and students combined their efforts to assemble baskets for 22 high school families this year. Students in the Bible Fellowship Club, led by teacher Robin Skogen (third from right in photo), along with other student and adult volunteers, organized and packed the Thanksgiving baskets the day before the holiday. Each family received a turkey and roasting ingredients for side dishes, a pie, tableware, and a centerpiece. In addition to this effort, the PHS Student Council staged a Thanksgiving food drive and collected more than 1,455 items for area families. As the winter holidays approach, PHS students, PTO families, and staff members are busy fulfilling the holiday wishes of 200 local children in a partnership agreement with the Salvation Army. ■

Walter Miller Elem. Students Help Families In Need

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s part of a service learning project, each second-grade class at Walter Miller Elementary School in Levittown has “adopted” an anonymous family in need, and is not only raising money to purchase holiday gifts for these families but will travel to a local Target store to buy the items in person.

To raise the money, each child in the three second-grade classes received a “Random Act of Kindness” book which contained coupons family and friends could purchase in exchange for various chores. Other Random Acts of Kindness could be rewarded even if they were not listed in the coupon book. That money will fund the purchases

of the items. At 10 a.m. on Friday December 12, the students boarded buses and traveled to the Target store at 2231 East Lincoln Highway in Langhorne to choose and purchase items for their adopted families. Teachers and parent chaperones assisted with the effort. ■

Library Offers Health Care Help

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Attorneys Partner With BTSD Schools

he Bucks County Bar Foundation is partnering with Bristol Township School District and visited fifth grade classrooms in nine elementary schools on Dec. 9 and Dec. 11 for a program called, “Learning with Lawyers.” The attorneys worked with students to read and understand the book, “If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution,” by Elizabeth Levy. The book was chosen to help students understand the events that transpired as the U.S. Constitution was written. “If You Were There When They Signed The Constitution” takes readers into the locked rooms of the Philadelphia State House at the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. “The Bucks County Bar Foundation should be commended for their efforts to work with the next generation of lawyers, leaders, judges and politicians to further their understanding of our nation›s most important document,” said Superintendent Samuel Lee, Ed.D. The mission of the Bucks County Bar Foundation is to provide support for charitable, law related programs within the community. “Learning with Lawyers” is designed to assist school districts in expanding the civics curriculum for school-aged children by providing members as resources to help introduce and reinforce students› interest in civics and government in a non-partisan way. The goal is to foster a love of reading and government among fifth grade participants. ■

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pen enrollment for coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace is November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. To aid in finding insurance, certified ACA Navigators from Lower Bucks Hospital will continue to assist persons one-on-one and answer individual healthcare coverage questions from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library, 680 Radcliffe Street, on Tuesdays through February, 10, 2015. Persons interested in purchasing healthcare coverage with the aid of an ACA Navigator need to bring their state issued identification as well as their 2013 federal tax return or three recent pay stubs. Individuals will be assisted on a first-come, first served basis. For further information, contact the Library at 215.788.7891 ext. 5. or ext. 6. ■

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Local Fire Houses Reach Out During Holidays

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anta Claus believes in Bucks County’s volunteer fire departments —so much so that the very busy elf is taking time away from sleigh-packing to eat breakfast or have his photo taken with kids and their families at local departments. The special meals and photo ops help departments raise much-needed revenue, while allowing Santa (and eavesdropping parents!) one last chance to learn what nice boys and girls hope to find under the tree. Speaking of Christmas trees, some volunteer departments are boosting holiday cheer by providing a fine selection of holiday trees for sale, again with all proceeds going to help the departments help their communities. Still other fire department-sponsored events don’t raise money for firefighting, but provide another opportunity for firefighters and area residents to care for their neighbors: Food, clothing and toy drives. And some events are just for fun. Santa will hop aboard fire trucks in many communities to ride around in a “Santa Run” and say hello to his fans. “It’s not too late to earn points toward my Nice list, and supporting these local volunteer fire department events will get you many points, and also teach your children about helping others,” Claus said in a telephone interview from the North Pole. “Buying a beauti-

ful tree, eating breakfast or having your picture taken with me, or participating in a drive will also create a happy holiday memory for your whole family.” A list of upcoming and ongoing events and drives at local fire departments follows. Google your local fire department for more events and information. For those wanting to rival Santa in the gift-giving department this holiday season, the Bucks County Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association suggests one of the greatest gifts anyone can give to their family and entire community: Volunteer with your local fire department. “The very best way to help your local fire department is to join them,” said Jerry Barton, who co-chairs the Bucks County Fire Chiefs and Firefighters Association’s Recruitment and Retention Committee. Committee Co-Chair Rob Kay stressed that fire departments need all kinds of volunteers, not just firefighters. “Our departments need people with many skills to function well,” he said. For more information on volunteering, see the Association’s website at www.BucksFire.org. Here’s a list of Bucks County fire departments’ holiday fundraisers and other events: Levittown Fire Company Christmas Tree Sale.

Weekends from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekdays from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m., through December 24. The sale is located at 6 County Way, near Five Points and the Levittown Library. Sat. Dec. 20 — Feasterville Fire Company Santa Run. Santa’s trip through town starts at 10 am. Through Dec. 31— Trevose Fire Company is collecting new/gently used coats, hats, gloves and mittens and new, unwrapped toys for local kids in need. Please drop these items off at the Company’s main station, 4900 Street Road, any Monday through Thursday between 6 and 11 p.m. ■ —Press Release

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Rotary Club Scholarship Grants The Levittown-Fairless Hills Rotary Club, in conjunction with the Gundaker Foundation of Rotary District 7450, announces the availability of several Undergraduate Grant Awards for study in the junior or senior year of college or university during the 2015-2016 academic year. Grants range from $1,000 to $6,000. Applicants must be full time students who will be enrolled in junior or senior year of an undergraduate program in any college or university in Rotary District 7450, or be residents of Rotary District 7450. The District includes all of Philadelphia County, much of Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties, and part of lower Bucks County. Applicants must have outstanding academic records and have records of leadership in their schools, communities, and/or other settings. Applicants must be sponsored by the District 7450 Rotary Club in which they reside or where their local college or university is located. Graduate Grant Awards are also available. Application forms and additional information may be obtained from Steve Sabel of Levittown-Fairless Hills Rotary Club, 215-806-2785. â–

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Two Brothers & A Family Craft

ndaker am Gibilisco, Sr. operated a shoe repair shop in percent women’s and 40 percent men’s, ral East Trenton NJ for eighteen years before closaccording to the shop’s owner. That was ollege ing. Both his sons, Sam Jr. and Joe, worked in their a surprise for me; I somehow thought the $1,000 dad’s shop and learned the trade while growing up. opposite from my own gendered point of Sam got a young start at the age of eight. view. r or se- It was also this skill that Joe later settled into after a As long as I can remember, Joe’s Rotary number of job lay-offs as a young man. “I fell back Shoe Repairs was on Woerner Avenue at ludes on the skills I learned as a boy and I haven’t been Five Points. I’m an Indian Creek kid, all ry laid off since”, 76 year-old Joe says with a smile. grown up and still living in the area but I Brother Sam once operated his shop with Joe on hadn’t remembered the shop’s earlier inds of Emilie Road in Levittown, from 1959 until 1975. carnation on Emilie Road. Gone are some ants When Joe had an opportunity to buy his own propbusinesses on Woerner (Tag’s Pizza, Burger Chef de or erty rather than pay rent, he moved across the street and The Towne Still repairing shoes the oldPharmacy ddi- to Woerner Avenue where school way: with pride. among them) but irless Joe’s Shoe Repairs has remained for the last 44 not Joe’s. He’s still there— years. Sam moved to Morrisville and opened Sam’s all these years later listening to his customer’s stoPlaza Shoe Repair. ries. Joe’s is a face from my younger days and I love According to Joe, his profession does well in citthat he’s still there lending a kind word while serving ies where there are more people who walk. “That’s the community and finding time to sing Gospel with where most of the shoe repair shops are”, he says. his wife. Nice isn’t it? Although Levittown’s not exactly a walking around Even if you weren’t aware that these two men kind of town, industry in our area does supply Joe’s were brothers, you’d get that sense from the layout shop with work-shoe repair. “We used to repair a of their shops. Both places have similar layouts. It’s lot of workboots but when the steel mill and Strick not surprising that they duplicated what they had toTrailer closed years ago, ten thousand people lost gether in their first location. The trimmers/polishers their jobs.” Naturally, Joe saw a decline in business. were both on the right as you entered the store and The shop still survives. Work comes from expandthe workbenches were configured in the same spot ing into other areas; adjusting shoes for orthopedics, behind the front counter. Incredibly, Sam’s has a few repairing handbags, sewing light canvas, replacing heavy jacket zippers, leather repair and dye matching women’s shoes. Of course, Top photo, Joe Gibilisco fine tunes the fit of a newly replaced sole; bottom right, Sam (seated) with his son; below center, they still repair shoes and boots and replace customers’ orders ready for pickup. —Photos by Alice Deeny soles. Over in Morrisville, Sam Jr. (who is now the senior Sam) and his son, another Sam, run their busy enterprise. “Owning our own shop works well,” Sam says. “It was the best way to go for us. I used to come in at 6 a.m. but I’m slowing down. I’m in at 7 now. We work 12 hour days and keep busy.” Sam reflects on the shops that don’t care about their work. Sam’s shop often fixes what another place failed to. He muses that in some weird way “other shops are working for us.” When I asked Sam what he repaired the most he said, “Boots. It’s all about boots right now because they’re expensive.” When I looked around, there were indeed boots, boots and more boots. Motorcycle boots, cowboys boots, women’s boots and —oh yeah— those favorite pairs of old shoes the customer can no longer buy anywhere. (I have more than a few pairs of my own that I dread giving up to the trash bin!) The gender split for repairing shoes is 60

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The Levittown Leader

125 year old sewing machines, powered by foot pedals, that the shop still uses. I’m thinking they might have belonged to the original Sam, Sr. Family businesses—makes me wonder what dad’s shop looked like. ■ —Alice Deeny Joe’s Shoe Repair, 4149 Woerner Ave., Levittown PA 19057 • (215) 943-3323 Sam’s Plaza Shoe Repair, 833 W. Trenton Ave. (GIANT Plaza), Morrisville PA 19067 • (215) 295-9328

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Levittown Real Estate: By the Numbers E

very now and then I like to check the trends in our community. I did so recently, and it seems that the real estate business is pretty active in Levittown. I looked at the real estate data for 2013, in which there were 826 real estate transactions recorded in Bucks County that involved Levitt built properties in Levittown. Of these, there were 268 that involved dollar amounts less than $100, which are typically assumed to be transfers that occur within a family —and thus the actual market value of the property is not known. The remaining 558 properties sold for a total dollar amount of nearly $109M. Real estate sales of course don’t occur in a vacuum. There are a lot of associated costs and secondary business activities that also take place as a result of the sales. Agent fees, local and state taxes, mortgage interest costs and the inevitable trips to Home Depot, Lowes, Target, Home Goods, IKEA and others would bring the total to nearly $200M for the year. This is a sizable piece of the local economy. This sales information indicates that the average Levittown house value in 2013 was $195,000. If we extrapolate to the entire community as a rough indicator, the present (2013) value of the 17,311 units of Levitt housing is $3.4B. This is an impressive total but, in actuality, there are 6 different house models that Levitt built, each with a potentially different value based on their design features. Additionally, these houses are located in 4 different municipalities that may have different tax policies, school districts or other contrasting conditions that may drive the demand for real estate up or down as the case may be. It is not unusual to see the same Levitt house model sell for a different average price than the same model in a neighboring municipality. To get some sense of these differences, I dug a little deeper. Levittown is divided into 41 sections, which were the development blocks when this housing was built in the 1950s. Each “section” became a uniquely named neighborhood. In most cases, the neighborhood resided entirely within one of the four municipalities, but for a handful, the municipal boundaries pass through the neighborhood. You can find examples of neighbors living across the street from each other but residing in different municipalities, and whose children may attend different schools. To begin to make sense of these divisions. Real estate sales records include the street address of the property. This is the same information published in the newspapers. Thus it is relatively straightforward to summarize the sales data by

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Home buying, selling and remodeling is a large driver for the local economy. street name and then by neighborhood if you are aware of Levitt’s naming conventions: • All interior street names begin with the same letter of the alphabet as the name of the neighborhood (i.e., all street names in Junewood begin with the letter “J”). Some letters of the alphabet are used twice because there are so many neighborhoods. • For planning purposes, Levitt drew a dividing line through Levittown that designates an east and west side. A letter of the alphabet used in the neighborhood name was only used once on each side. (For example, Junewood is located on the east side and Juniper Hill is located on the west side • Interior street names on the west side are “roads” and on the east side are “lanes” (with some limited exceptions). Therefore, if you have an address for, let’s say, Gentle Road, you know firstly that it is located on the west side of Levittown because the address name is a road. Secondly, you know that it is located in the “G” section, which can only be Goldenridge. I was told by my parents that most early Levittowners came to know these rules by heart since many of our houses looked the same, regardless of the neighborhood or municipality, and you could wander for some time trying to find a friend’s house. A copy of the Levitt street map was always around the house and every bank and real estate office had a stack of these maps on the counter for

their customers. Once the records are sorted using the above rules, you can evaluate the information several ways. You can summarize the number of houses sold by neighborhood, calculate the percentage of sales, calculate the average sale price by neighborhood, and so on. I’m sure you get the point that there are a lot of ways one can look at the information, far more than we can discuss here. I chose, for this discussion, to look at the number of houses sold and total sales dollars by neighborhood. The highest number of neighborhood sales (31) occurred in Cobalt Ridge, followed by Goldenridge at 29 sales. Neighborhood sales in Cobalt Ridge also accounted for the highest sales dollars at $6,835,949. The neighborhood with the next highest sales amount was North Park at $5,909,800. Although the above analysis informs us about real estate by neighborhood, we don’t really know much about specific house models. There were 6 basic house models and 4 to 5 variations of each. Levitt mixed the house models in some of the neighborhoods, and we can’t draw conclusions about each of the 6 house models without more information. In some cases it is relatively easy to determine the model of the house from the street address in the sales record; in other cases, not so much. As an example, in the “Gates” sections (Forsythia Gate, Red Rose Gate and Snowball Gate), only Country Clubber models were built by Levitt, so it is safe to assume that any street address in these sections equates to a Country Clubber model. But in other neighborhoods, such as in Indian Creek, the housing models are mixed. Indian Creek has 3 different types (Jubilee, Levittowner, Rancher). A few sections (Deep Dale East and Twin Oaks) also contain multiple sales models. Unfortunately, there is no master list of house models by street address that was left behind in Levitt’s records – at least that I have been able to find. So to satisfy my curiosity, further footwork was required. With the help of my sister and daughter, all of us lifelong residents of Levittown, and armed with cups of coffee, a Levitt street map, and a pack of colored pencils, we canvassed many of the 603 named interior streets of Levittown’s 41 sections. Although in my 50+ years living in Levittown I had travelled through all of the neighborhoods and over many of the streets, I was surprised to find a few house model groupings in places I didn’t expect —such as one street of Jubilee model houses in Red Cedar Hill, which is otherwise dominated by Rancher models. I’d driven past these houses

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countless times and never noticed the contrast. Eventually, we were able to construct a database of Levitt house models by street address and with that information we were able to sort the sales information by house model. So what did we find? The model with the highest sales volume (190) is the Levittowner, which also had the lowest average sale price of $176,940. At total sales of $33,617,920, sales of Levittowners represented almost 31% of the total real estate sales dollars in Levittown (Levitt built homes). The Jubilee, with the second highest number of sales (177) captured the highest total sales dollar category at $34,938,460 representing 32% of total sales. The Country Clubber model had the highest average sales value at $276,710. For contrast, it is noteworthy that the estimated value for a home in Pennsylvania according to the most recent (2008 – 2012) estimates made in the American Community Survey (ACS) by the Census Bureau is $164,900. In Bucks County, the average (median) estimated house value is reported to be $315,600 and for Levittown (CDP) it is reported to be $233,900. Note that the average value in the

done here.

The Levittowner model is a brisk seller, just as it was in 1952. ACS ($233,900) exceeds the estimate for the 2013 sales data ($195,000). The ACS does not exclusively consider only Levitt built homes as I have

Levittown (Levitt built) housing has retained value over the years that presently exceeds the average value for a house in Pennsylvania. The Levittowner, a single story ranch style house originally built with around 1,000’ of floor space, has the highest sales volume, as we already noted, among the 6 Levitt house models. These sales data suggest Levittown housing and the Levittowner in particular, continue to provide a reasonably affordable entry point into home ownership in Bucks County. With annual (2013) real estate sales of $109M and associated activity (tax revenue, mortgages, furnishings, remodeling) estimated to be on the scale of $100M +/-, the continued resale of Levitt built housing is a large driver for the local economy. ■ —Kevin Deeny Kevin Deeny is an Environmental Engineer and Sustainable Building Advisor living in Levittown, PA. He has been working to develop a Green Levittown Initiative to help make Levittown housing more sustainable for the future. He can be reached at kdeeny@comcast.net

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The Levittown Leader

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COMMUNITY BULLETIN BOARD

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Middletown Township Parks & Recreation offers discounted tickets for movie theaters and ski areas, available at the Cashier’s Window in the lobby of the Middletown Municipal Center. Movie tickets are valid at Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters and Edwards Theaters. Tickets have no expiration date and are $8 each; tickets may be purchased with cash, check, or credit/debit cards between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM. If you have questions, please call the Parks & Recreation Office at 215-750-3890. The Middletown Municipal Center is located at 3 Municipal Way, Langhorne. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Falls Township Fire Company Santa Runs will take place on the following dates and locations: December 13 – Trenton Road, Avenroe Ct, Pennsylvania Ave, Vermillion Hills and Pennsbury Woods; December 19 –Penns Place, Penns Grant, and Pennsbury Heights; December 20— Hedgerow Woods and Makefield Road Village. Rain dates will be December 14 and December 21. For more information, please contact FTFC secretary Clark Martin at fallsfireryan@comcast.net. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Residents and small businesses in Bristol Township may now drop off small electronics for recycling FREE at the outdoor electronics

collection site at the Bristol Township Municipal Building. Due to a state law, the Township’s trash collector is no longer able to accept computers (desktops and laptops), computer peripherals (such as keyboards or printers), monitors, and televisions. The drop off site is open weekdays from 9 AM to 4:00 PM (unless the Township is closed due to a holiday). No appointments are necessary. Anyone dropping off electronics MUST first stop at the Municipal Building Administrative Office and show a valid ID or a copy of a utility bill identifying that they are a business in the Township or resident of Bristol Township. Electronics may NOT be left outside at the Municipal Building or collection site when the facility is closed. Please note that the collection site is monitored 24 hours a day by the Bristol Township Police Department to prevent dumping or theft of materials. The Bristol Township Building is located at 2501 Bath Road in Bristol. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Historic Fallsington will host Special Guided Christmas Tours on Wednesday and Fridays throughout the holiday season, thru December 23, from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM. Special guidedtours are offered through Historic Fallsington’s beautifully decorated historic buildings. Cost is $7 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. To reserve your tour, call 215-295-6567.

••••••••••••••••••••••• A Christmas Dinner will be provided on Christmas Day, free of charge, for anyone who may be homeless, has nowhere to go, or does not have the means to provide dinner. The meal will be from 3:00-4:30pm at 125 Lincoln Avenue in Penndel (across from Paulie’s Bar). The menu will include items from most American tables, with an “Italian accent.” . ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The Silver Lake Nature Center will a Winter Solstice Celebration on December 20, from 7 PM to 8:30 PM. Enjoy light refreshments, music by The West Chester University Harp Ensemble, a presentation on local history from our own Clarence King, a candlelit stroll through the woods to a roaring campfire, all to honor Winter. Cost is $10 for members, $15 for non-members; please pre-register. For more information, call 215-7851177 or check the website at www. silverlakenaturecenter.org. The Silver Lake Nature Center is located at 1306 Bath Road in Bristol. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The Bensalem Presbyterian Church will host an All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast on Saturday, December 13 from 8:30 AM to 11 AM. Menu includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, orange juice, coffee, and tea. Cost is $6 for adults (12 and older), $3 children (11 and

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under), and free for children under 3 free. Santa will attend from 9 to 11 AM; bring your children and have their picture taken with him for $3. Proceeds benefit the Sons of Peace. For more information, call 215-7577800. The Bensalem Presbyterian Church is located at 2826 Bristol Road in Bensalem. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Come visit the Holiday Gift & Craft Shoppe at Historic Summerseat in Morrisville, December 4 thru December 14. Weekday hours are 10 AM to 7 PM; weekends, 10 AM to 4 PM. The fabulous craft & gift shoppe will feature more than 40 local artisans displaying items in a beautiful historic homesite in a boutique style setting. Special events include: Summerseat Carol Sing on December 10, 7 PM to 9 PM; and Summerseat Remembers on December 13, 10 AM to 3 PM. For more information, email lizzie4@ gmail.com or visit www.historicsummerseat.org. Historic Summerseat is located at Hillcrest and Legion Avenues in Morrisville. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• The Levittown Library presents the Gotta Sing! Film Series on Wednesdays this December, from 1 PM to 3 PM. (library is closed December 24 and 31). Join us as we celebrate musicals old, new, and in between in the Large Meeting Room. For more information, call 215-949-2324 or visit http://buckslib.org/ . The Levittown Library is located at 7311 New Falls Road in Levittown. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Visit Bucks County, the official tourism promotion agency, welcomes the holiday season with the 9th Annual Bucks County Holiday TreeFest at the Bucks County Visitor Center in Bensalem. This event is FREE and open to the public. PECO is proud to sponsor the 9th Annual Bucks County Holiday TreeFest. Twenty-five uniquely-themed trees will be on display through January 6, 2015 as the main gallery of the Bucks County Visitor Center is transformed into a wintry wonderland. Each tree is decorated by a local business or organization. Sundays with Santa, musical talent and a special day dedicated to pet photos with Santa are a few of the highlights in the packed schedule of events and entertainment, which can be viewed at VisitBucksCounty.com/ TreeFest. TreeFest will be on display seven days a week at the Bucks County Visitor Center in Bensalem from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Visitor Center will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. On Sunday December 14, Santa will take photos with children from 1-3 p.m. and will stay until 4 p.m. to take pictures with pets. Be sure to bring your own camera! Visitors are encouraged to share their favorite tree photos and comments on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #BucksTreeFest. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Washington Crossing Postcard Collectors Club will hold its next meeting in Union Fire Hall Ballroom, in Titusville, NJ on January 12, 2015 at 8 PM. “College Girls” on postcards

will be presented by George Wagner, followed by an auction. Doors open at 6:30 PM to let the collectors and dealers buy and sell or just examine. All are welcome. For more information, call 215-598-7534 or 609-737-3555 or visit www.wc4postcards.org. Union Fire Hall Ballroom is located at 1396 River Road (Route 29), Titusville, NJ. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• About our Community Bulletin Board

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The Leader welcomes announcements and event postings, and we do not charge for items that appear on our Community Bulletin Board. Here are a few things to keep in mind when submitting an item: • Please email a brief paragraph (or two at most) about your event to Events@LevLeader.com, writing it out exactly as you would like it to appear • Please do NOT send a flyer, either by email or regular mail, because the info contained in it will have to be retyped by our staff. We often do not have time to do so. It’s okay to send a flyer as long as you also provide the text separately. • Please note that we cannot guarantee that an item we receive will be included, since we receive more than we can fit. While we applaud charity events sponsored by or hosted at local businesses, we give priority to nonprofit organizations as well as true community and township events. Events@LevLeader.com

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The Levittown Leader

Page 13 of 2014, #22


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23 SOLDIERS

am voting this morning. It is an extremely easy thing to do. It requires me to wake from my peaceful sleep, rise from my comfortable bed, cleanse in my warm shower, eat a nourishing and tasty breakfast, hop in my truck and drive to the school parking lot. It is the fourth day of my long weekend and I am feeling good. I caught up on my chores, replaced a faulty doorknob, initiated the leaf raking, brought a couple of truckloads of branches to the mulching yard and spent some quality time with the family. Yesterday I took my reluctant 13 year old son for a destination-less ride up River Road, along the Delaware. We had just finished lunch at MilLee’s in Yardley and my truck was parked facing north on Main Street, so that’s where I headed. He was assuming we would be heading south back to the house, the basement, and the X-box. But since I had him I thought I would just drive aimlessly on this beautiful November Monday. “Where are we going?” he asked, glancing up from his I phone. “A little past Washington Crossing, not quite into New Hope,” I said, as an idea blossomed in my head. “There’s a little cemetery I have been meaning to visit for some time, I think you’ll appreciate it.” “Oh,” he said, thumbs texting rapidly. “You’re kidnapping me” “Yep.” ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Making a right on Aquetong Road, we drove into the Thompson-Neely preserve in Washington Crossing Park and parked at the furthest point toward the graves. We walked south along the canal about 200 yards, veering left across a field into a fort-like structure of tiny walls. There stood the 23 white headstones, lined up in a neat row backing to the river, atop a bluff overlooking the Delaware. The bones of 22 unknown soldiers and a Captain James Moore of New York lay under our feet. “BURIED AT THIS SPOT CHRISTMAS DAY 1776,” the inscription read. These were soldiers that passed away before the glorious battles of Trenton and Princeton, which were the pivotal points in the birth of this ongoing great experiment of freedom and democracy that is America. Here lay 23 souls that came from the colonies to fight with Washington and his continental army, some for money, some drawn by a need to shake off the clutches of oppression. These winter soldiers became the crucial spokes in the

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soldiers. They sacrificed everything. Enlightenment had grasped the collective mind of humanity and was dragging it out of the dark ages, bringing it to the cusp of realizing free will and choice. It was here, in the latter days of 1776 on this cold patch of earth, that the nadir of the lives of these unknown heroes, and the barely beating heart of the continental army, would somehow spark the flames that led to the birth of a nation. Through the tremendous hardships and the darkness of their final tumultuous year came the light of freedom we are bathed in today. My son was relieved to get back in the car and head south, listening to his tunes and scrolling through his messages. Perhaps the proof of a truly free society is the total ignorance of it. Apathy can be our worst enemy, and I’m sure I was the same when I was his age, but hopefully yesterday I planted a seed. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• It’s a typically beautiful fall day on the banks of the Delaware. The sky is blue, the trees mostly full of their changing leaves, sun shining on this glorious tableau. I walk past the group of Republicans handing out instructional info. We exchange pleasantries. I walk past the Democrats handing out their info, and we also exchange pleasantries.

© Steven M. Richman wheel that spent a year rolling backward from New York in retreat from the greatest army of the most powerful kingdom that may have ever existed to that point. But the wheel did not fall or collapse, because of the strength of these mighty spokes. These men (boys most likely) were simple farmers and teachers and smithies that left their beloved families back in small farming towns near and far to fight for their future, their rights, their freedom and prosperity. Buried here by fellow soldiers barely surviving the same conditions, these nearly two dozen anonymous souls endured the hardships of battle: the sight of slaughtered comrades, shoeless feet wrapped in rags that fell from their shirts, some with no trousers, a loin cloth to protect them. The army was broke. There was little food and no medical supplies. Perhaps these men died of typhoid from the water contaminated by the unsanitary living quarters of thousands of men crammed into tents in a small area. Maybe they starved, or froze, or succumbed to wounds suffered in Brooklyn or Fort Washington or Fort Lee. It was an extremely hard year for these winter

Thanking nameless men, buried on Christmas Day over two centuries ago. In the auditorium I meet a nice lady who finds my name in the big book and asks me to sign. I am directed to a booth where I press the 4 buttons for my candidates and as I press the green confirmation button I realize just how easy it is. It is remarkable through the wide scope of human history that mankind has come to this point: where each individual can express his will, his wishes, and his thoughts in a 5 minute activity called a vote. I leave the booth and thank the ladies and gentlemen for volunteering their time. I thank the Democrats and thank the Republicans. I find my car and sit and ponder. Finally I think about the 23 soldiers that endured ungodly hardships and the ultimate sacrifice, here on the banks of the Delaware, and I thank them. ■ —Thomas O’Hanlon Thomas O’Hanlon is a writer and resident of Yardley, PA. Copyright photo courtesy of Steven M. Richman.

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Tips from Leader Readers If you’re tired of struggling with wrapping smaller gifts this Christmas (like perfume bottles, socks, or similar items), wrap the items in tissue paper or bubble wrap and then slide them into an empty paper towel roll. Give your gift extra holiday flair by covering the roll in your favorite paper and twist the paper at the ends so it looks like a piece of candy. —Joan W. /Levittown Left-behind globs of toothpaste in the sink used to be a pet peeve of mine until I learned of this alternate use. Instead of simply just wiping it up, get a soft cloth and rub the toothpaste into the surface of your sink. Mild abrasives in the toothpaste leave a clean shine behind, plus, once you rinse it, odors in the drain will be removed as well. It works on the faucets and car wheels too (and chrome fixtures of any kind), but be sure to use it on these surfaces infrequently, as the abrasives in the paste can wear down the finish over time. —R.L.B./Bristol Christmas is a time of giving, but after all the presents are opened, we’re left with mountains of wrapping paper that just end up wadded up and stuffed into trash bags. Instead of just throwing it all away, your wrapping paper can be a gift that keeps on giving year round. Make decorative packing material by storing the best and worst of your wrapping paper (folded flat), shredding as needed to use as colorful packing material; you can also use shredded paper to make bows. —Laura. B. /Langhorne Always test Christmas lights before adding them to the tree. Nothing is more disappointing (and frustrating) than spending an afternoon carefully wrapping the tree with lights only to plug them in and discover that they don’t work.—Margie T. / Fairless Hills If you receive an email supposedly from FedEx or UPS notifying you that they were unable to deliver a package for you, beware! The email instructs you to print out a receipt so that you can pick up your package at their nearest office. Hitting the “Print” button launches a virus that will infect your computer and give the hackers access to your private data. This is a scam that is especially effective around the holidays, when so many people are sending and receiving packages. —R.K.

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Page 15 of 2014, #22


Annual Bird Count Seeks Volunteers

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etween December 14, 2014 and January 5, 2015, hawk-eyed volunteers across the country will brave various weather conditions to count birds during the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). On Saturday, December 20th, birders and nature enthusiasts in Bucks County will take part in this tradition, many rising before dawn to participate in the longest running wildlife census on the planet. Each year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count mobilizes over 70,000 volunteer bird counters in more than 2,400 locations across the Western Hemisphere. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count utilizes the power of volunteers to track the health of bird populations at a scale that professional scientists could never accomplish alone. Data compiled in Bucks County will record every individual bird and bird species seen in a specified area, contributing to a vast citizen science network that continues a tradition stretching back more than 100 years. The count in the southern portion of Bucks County started in 1947. The area, centered on the Langhorne Post Office, includes the area in Bucks County south of Washington Crossing, Richboro, and Trevose. To be accurate and to avoid duplication, teams of volunteers census specific areas within the circle and report their findings to area compiler, Robert Mercer. Volunteers wishing to join a team must contact Robert Mercer by email at ramercer@ co.bucks.pa.us or by calling 215-785-1177. He will direct

available online in Spanish. For more information and to interested volunteers to areas that need extra help. find a count near you visit, http://birds.audubon.org/get“With sixty-six years of collecting records, the data is involved-christmas-bird-count-find-count-near-you. now rich enough to see very local trends in bird populaNow in its second century, Audubon connects people tions,” said Mr. Mercer, who is Director of the Silver Lake with birds, nature and the environment that supports us Nature Center. “Gathering this wealth of data could not be all. Our national network of community-based nature possible without volunteer involvement. People of all ages centers, chapters, scientific, education, and advocacy proand skill levels are encouraged to get involved. It is also a grams engages millions of people from all walks of life great excuse to spend a day locally looking at the birds.” in conservation action to protect and restore the natural Last year, counts took place in all 50 states, all world. Visit Audubon online at www.audubon.org and Canadian provinces, and over 100 count circles in Latin follow @audubonsociety America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. A total of The Silver Lake Nature Center, where learning comes 2,408 counts and 71,659 observers tallied over 66 million naturally, is a 235-acre nature preserve located in Bristol birds of 2,403 different species. Township, Bucks County. It is a facility of the Bucks “This is not just about counting birds,” says Gary Langham, Audubon’s chief scientist. “Data from the County Department of Parks & Recreation with additional Audubon Christmas Bird Count are at the heart of funding and staffing provided by the Friends of Silver hundreds peer-reviewed scientific studies and inform Lake Nature Center. The Center is home to 20 plant and decisions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the animal species listed as rare, threatened, or endangered in Department of the Pennsylvania. ParticipaInterior, and the The Bird Count began in 1900, with volunteers who tion in programs helps EPA. Because birds protect these species wanted to look at birds rather than shoot them. are early indicators and their habitats. The of environmental Center does not disthreats to habitats criminate on the basis we share, this is a vital survey of North America and, of disability in its programs, activities, or facilities. People increasingly, the Western Hemisphere.” with special needs are asked to give advance notice. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 For information about this and the other programs ofwhen Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore (which fered at the Silver Lake Nature Center, call 215-785-1177 evolved into Audubon magazine) suggested an alternative or check the website at www.silverlakenaturecenter.org ■ to the holiday “side hunt,” where teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds. While the ultimate goal of participating on a count is tallying a representative sample of the birds on a count day, the natural competitive spirit of birders is what drives them to do the most thorough job possible. CBC has become a treasured holiday tradition, a reunion with birding friends and a way to play a small part in a big conservation picture. The growing combined pool of contributed sightings helps researchers understand how birds are faring in a way that Frank M. Chapman could never have conceived of back in 1900. The annual Christmas Bird Count is a Citizen Science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate and the annual published report, American Birds, is available online. Audubon A rare Northern Lapwing, rarely seen in the U.S. but sometimes Christmas Bird Count information is also spotted after major storms.

It Pays to Advertise in The Levittown Leader! Your future customers are right here in the neighborhood. Let them see you in their hometown paper, The Levittown Leader. We offer the best advertising rates around. And every ad in our print issue now appears in our online issue as well, at www.LevittownLeader.com

Call 215-499-5535 or email Ads@LevLeader.com

Page 16 of 2014, #22

Cash for You, Cash for Your Cause

Leader Lottery is the way to win money for yourself and the community cause that’s closest to your heart. It’s free, it’s easy, and all you need is the paper you’re holding in your hand. You’ll help our community just by playing. Do you have the lucky number? See page 2 to find out! www.LevittownLeader.com


Dear Jenna

The Tarot Queen Takes your Questions It is a joy for me to help provide people with clarity around their burning questions. The Tarot is like a forecast, a spiritual weatherman that acts as a probability calculator, giving us an insight into most likely outcomes and events. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• I have been single forever (I’m 33!) and have only met a few men I truly connect with but this hasn’t resulted in serious relationships. Is there a real love coming for this pisces lady?! I feel very ready for my match! —Lauren Dear Lauren, I thought of your question and pulled these cards for your question: 3 of Swords reversed, Ace of Pentacles reversed, and 4 of Pentacles. 3 of Swords reversed does indeed tell me that you have largely gotten over any past relationship issues and are indeed ready, but the Ace reversed tells me that in the next 3 months it is not going to happen for you. The likely reason is that with the holidays coming up then the craziness of January you will not have much time to be out and about and dating, that is the 4 of pentacles. I feel that you could change this outcome if you started putting more time into making a new relationship. It feels like you are almost there. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Dear Jenna, I’ve been blowing off romance after ending a 2 year long relationship last year. I feel ready to start dating again, but I’m not sure how to get back into it. Is there any indication of successful romance in my near future? —Anna

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Dear Anna, I pulled 3 cards for you and they were: 7 of Cups (reversed), 5 of Swords, and Page of Pentacles. I feel that the cards in this case answered your first question, “how do I get back into it?” rather than your second question, “future romance”. When this happens it usually means that the important question here is how you move into single and looking space sans baggage. 5 of Swords indicates that you still have some lingering effects from the last relationship and that you might be going into new relationships with reservations or fear, also the 7 of cups indicates that you are not exactly sure what it is that you want yet. Once you begin to work on these blocks to your success then it does look like someone, the Page of Pentacles could appear in your life. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• If you have a question you would like me to answer here in this column, please email me at: jenna@queenofwandstarot.net. Column submissions will be first name only (or anonymous, if you prefer) and only those that are used in the paper will be contacted regarding their submission.

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Jenna Matlin’s new book Have Tarot Will Travel: A Comprehensive Guide to Reading at Festivals as a Tarot Professional is available at Amazon.com (Kindle Only).

The Levittown Leader

Page 17 of 2014, #22


Slices of Life From Around Town A recent Monday turned out to be more of a Black Monday, one that I probably should have spent quietly at home. The day started out in an ordinary way, with a routine doctor's appointment, but it was all downhill from there. I decided to drop some items off at a friend's house and managed to trip on the front steps. Luckily I only scraped my shin but I surely went down with a bang, especially with my cane. Since I had broken my hip in three places (Levittown, Bristol, and Fairless Hills....yes, that is my favorite joke) several years ago, it was very frightening. I got back in my car and drove a short distance to a traffic light at a Tyburn Road intersection. I waited for the green light and a clear path to make a left hand turn, but mistakenly cut it too short and managed to take down a traffic sign. As soon as I could pull off the road, alas, I discovered a flat tire and damaged front headlight. Now I was really frightened. Traffic was whizzing by on the busy road. I got out my cell phone and various cards, then called AAA. I couldn't stop shaking. Several minutes and many cars passed by when a car pulled

Good Samaritans brighten up a horrible day. up behind me and two gentlemen came over to me and asked if they could help. I thanked them but told them a tow truck was on its way to change the tire. They kindly persisted, saying that it might take quite a while for the truck to come so I reluctantly agreed. They helped me move some items out of my trunk to reach the spare “donut” tire, gathered some tools and got right to work. I felt so out of

place and helpless. When I asked their names, they replied together, “We're the Moretti Brothers, Bob and Jim.” They grew up in Elderberry but currently live in Vermilion Hills. It was not an easy job removing the flat tire but they worked hard at it. One of them stood up to get an electric tool from their car and yelled with pain. Apparently he had his second hip replacement less than two weeks ago and should not have knelt down on the ground. I felt so badly as I knew how painful it must be for him. This was starting to turn into a nightmare. Just as they were finished, the AAA truck arrived. The driver kindly filled the tire with air. I still could hardly believe what had happened and continued to shake. I thanked the Good Samaritans, Bob and Jim, profusely for their good deed. It's nice to know there are such thoughtful people in our wonderful community. ■ —Marilyn Lummis Marilyn Lummis is a writer and Levittown resident.

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Bucks 65+ Senior Softball League seeks players for the 2015 Season! Join us next Spring for an enjoyable experience in an age 65 plus softball league in Fairless Hills, Pa. Games will be played Tuesday and Thursday mornings at Von Hoffman Field in Fairless Hills, from April thru September. We will also be having indoor workouts starting in January at the NAC (Newtown Athletic Club) field house. Come and relive your youth! For more information, call Jim Mahoney (609-239-4141) or email campyhits@aol.com or Bob Johnson (267-294-3951) or email bobbyjohn66@comcast.net.

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CLUES ACROSS 1. Leopold's partner in crime 5. Black furs 11. Truman's hometown 14. Dean residence 15. Chief Polish port 18. Grin 19. Complied with 21. Explosive 23. Perennial woody plant 24. Expression 28. Small Japanese deer 29. Denotes past 30. Bullfighting maneuver 32. Deaf signing language 33. Assistance 35. What part of (abbr.) 36. Parts per thousand (abbr.) 39. Two-toed sloth 41. Exclamation of surprise 42. Extinct European ox 44. Moving in a circle 46. College army 47. Radioactivity unit

49. Give a quick reply 52. Spanish appetizers 56. Environment 58. Gold, quartz or iron 60. Fellowes' Masterpiece series 62. Old style recording 63. Questions CLUES DOWN 1. Box top 2. Small integers 3. Mild yellow Dutch cheese 4. Bolivian savanna 5. Open air performing for love 6. No matter what or which 7. Religious degree 8. Lower limb 9. Prefix meaning inside 10. Crust covering a wound 12. Assail repeatedly 13. Samoyedic (alt. sp.) 16. Damascus is the capital

17. Peeps (Scot.) 20. Transaction 22. Touchdown 25. Associated press 26. An opening between things 27. Increasing 29. Cologne 31. Ethiopia (abbr.) 34. A 24-hour period 36. Kitty sound 37. Prefatory discourse 38. -frutti 40. Biblical Sumerian city 43. Criticize harshly 45. 25th state 48. Comedian Carvey 50. A wild disturbance 51. Pueblo American Indians 53. 9-banded armadillo 54. Arbitrageurs 55. Thai language of Khammouane 57. Atomic #105 58. 1st weekday (abbr.) 59. Fleur-de-___ 61. The 7th tone

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The Levittown Leader

Page 19 of 2014, #22


D

New Book of Stories from a Native Son

onovan liked the water, some preferred to dig a hole. He didn’t like to mess up his hands digging and liked the peaceful rocking of the canoe in the lake. The canoe moved smoothly across the water to the middle of the lake. He wrapped the chain around the lower limbs and threaded it through the two cinder blocks, securing it with two plastic ties. Donovan eased the carcass into the water, watched it float for a few minutes, recited an Our Father and then threw the blocks into the lake.

that is what gives these stories their momentum and emotional punch. G. Emil Reutter, an accomplished poet and author who was born and raised in Levittown, is diplomatic when asked if any of the sketchy characters in the book are based on people he knew from the neighborhood. “There are shady people in everyone’s life,” he told The Leader. “Most people don’t notice them and many pretend not to notice. I tend to notice. These characters are fictional but composites of many “There are shady people in everyone’s life.” who have passed The passage above through my life.” is the conclusion Mr. Reutter (photo right), a product of the of a very short story called “Donovan;” the entire Neshaminy school system, credits some of his story is only three paragraphs long. It is typical early teachers for setting him on a writer’s path. of many of the stories in G. Emil Reutter’s newly “Mrs. Trusky and Alice Jenkins at Carl Sandburg published collection entitled Thugs, Con-Men, Middle School, Gay Wells and Mrs. DeShields at Pigs & More. Neshaminy High School. It wasn’t easy for them, The reader knows that something shady is going as I could be a bit rowdy from time to time. I will on but is never entirely sure what it is. always be grateful.” There are few neatly wrapped endings in Mr. Reutter did not sit quietly down with Thugs. The reader meets men and women who pen and paper when his school years were done. are, for the most part, living lives of quiet desperaInstead, he spent decades working in the factories, tion; some seem perfectly at home in the depths steel mills and railroads of the Mid-Atlantic states. while others are trying to claw their way out. A Along the way and across the years, he met a wide lazy reader accustomed to knowing which are the spectrum of both upright citizens and lost souls, “good guys” and which are the bad will likely be observing with a compassionate eye. These are the frustrated. Every character is a little of each—and

Local Holiday Light Shows

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evittown residents Milt and Jennifer Warrell are once again hosting a spectacular display of holiday lights and music this year outside their home at 257 Elderberry Drive. The display is free and all are welcome. A donation box will be available at the end of the driveway, and all funds raised will go to the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life as well as the Bucks County Hero Scholarship Fund, which benefits the children of fallen Bucks County police, firefighters and EMS personnel. ■

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Fairless Hills, Pa.—The forth annual animated holiday light show is up and running bigger then before. Come out and listen to some of your favorite holiday music and watch the fascinating light show all from the comfort of your own car, and in the safety of our parking lot. The light show is located at 225 Lincoln Highway Fairless Hills, Pa. and runs nightly in December starting at 5:00pm. The show runs continuously until midnight from now until 1/5/13. The show is free for all to attend. There is, however a voluntary collection box located by the flagpole for those who enjoy the show and wish to donate. 100% of all money collected will go once again to the Salvation Army. ■ Page 20 of 2014, #22

people who move through Thugs, Con-Men, Pigs & More. “Violence and heartbreak are just around the corner,” says Thaddeus Rutkowski in his review of the book, “and most of these stories end with a twist—perhaps the twist of a knife. As you keep reading, though, you find the humanity, community and even love in each difficult situation.” ■ Thugs, Con-Men, Pigs & More, by G. Emil Reutter, is available on Amazon and can be ordered at some local bookstores. The author’s website is www.gereutter.wordpress.com

YWCA Holiday Hearts Program

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uring the holiday season, YWCA Bucks County’s Holiday Hearts program reaches out to the many families it serves during the year and buys necessities and small gifts for the children. This year they will be providing gifts to over 300 underserved and at-risk children in Bucks County who participate in the YWCA’s after-school educational enrichment programs. These programs include YWCA Homework Zones, YWCA Kids’ Korner, YWCA Saturday Camp and YW Teen Groups and provide young people with homework assistance, life skills training and prevention education. Those interested in making the holidays happier for disadvantaged kids can make a monetary donation to YWCA Holiday Hearts by contacting the YWCA at 215-953-7793, ext. 104, or by e-mailing bsmith@ywcabucks.org. Contributions can also be mailed to YWCA Bucks County, 2425 Trevose Road, Trevose, PA 19053. All donations, sponsorships and tickets are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. The official registration and financial information of YWCA of Bucks County may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration in the above state does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation of YWCA of Bucks County by the state. The YWCA Bucks County tax ID is #23-1429832. ■

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Local News roundup from LEVITTOWN Now.com T

Local Flag Football Team To Finals

he Lower Bucks Flag Football Association’s 14 and under tournament team (LBFFA), which recently won a regional tournament in New Jersey, will now head off to Arizona to play for the flag football title the week of Super Bowl XLIX. Team officials are now in fund raising mode as the team of 7 boys needs to raise funds to pay for the trip. These hard working young men have worked tirelessly to make it this far. The local boys and their families are raising money for the trip to Arizona, said Debbie Karantinali, who runs the Levittown-based league. League officials have started a Go Fund Me Page as a way of dealing with the costs associated with making the trip to Arizona as one way of raising funds. The 14 and under elite team took on and beat teams from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Massachusetts in the regional tournament recently, earning the right to play in the national tournament which is sponsored by the NFL. The team and their families are putting their heads together now to brainstorm other ways of raising money, officials said. One certain way of helping a bunch of local kids live out Super Bowl dreams is to help them get to Arizona. Photo, Front Row: Jake McDonnell of Levittown, Zachary Prout of Levittown, Nick Muro of Newtown, Jake Chipper of Yardley.
Back Row: John Kelley of Levittown, Coach Tim DeJoseph of Levittown, Vincent Rossi of Levittown, Thomas Falkowski of Levittown, Coach John Rossi of Levittown.
■ —Jeff Bohen

Firefighters Use Lessons Learned

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he fire that broke out on the evening of December 3 at Foxwood Manor Apartments in Middletown’s Levittown section could have ended up a lot worse. Thanks to a plan put in place after the massive multialarm at nearby Racquet Club Apartments (photo right), the quick action of firefighters and a group of hero teenagers, the blaze was not able to destroy an entire apartment building like during last year’s fire. Middletown Fire Marshal Jim McGuire said last year’s July blaze that destroyed 43 first- and secondfloor apartment units in the B building at Racquet Club caused local fire officials to examine their plans and response. “The fire service did not make any mistakes during the Racquet Club fire, but there were a lot of things we didn’t know because we never dealt with them,” he said. The fire marshal said his office along with local fire chiefs met last year and devised a list of recommendations for owners of nearby apartment complexes. Some

Old McDonalds Closes

The Levittown Leader

of the recommendations included adding breakaway fencing around pools (to allow access to the community pool’s water) and calling additional responding trucks. One issue firefighters ran into was low water pressure in some fire hydrants. In response to the issue, firefighters marked which hydrants had better pressure and made sure responding crews would have enough hose to reach all of the buildings along the section of Veterans Highway (Route 413) that encompass Racquet Club and Foxwood Manor. The fire marshal also credited the management of Foxwood Manor for donating several pieces of special equipment that will help firefighters deal with large residential fires in the future. Last week’s accidental fire, which started when an artificial Christmas tree left too close to a heat source combusted, was stopped quickly and resulted in no serious injuries. “We put our plan into place,” McGuire said. “It worked.” ■ —Tom Sofield

A bit of local restaurant history was made recently. The McDonald’s eatery on Veterans Highway (Route 413) in Bristol Township has closed. The restaurant was one of the first of the iconic McDonald’s to open in Bucks County. The location opened in 1958 and served many thousands, if not millions, of customers. A new McDonald’s is set to open just down the

street at the corner of Bath Road and Veterans Highway in the coming weeks. The new McDonald’s comes as the company is in the middle of a billion dollar effort to redesign almost all of the chain’s 14,000 locations in the next few years. No plans for the old McDonald’s site have been announced. ■ —Tom Sofield

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Loving Homes Wanted: Local Animals in Need Carlisle is a 3 year old orange and white tabby boy who was abandoned in the city. He has been in a cage at the clinic way too long. He’s such a sweet, sweet boy. He is neutered, tested and littertrained and adorable. He’s tired of the cage and it’s not right for him tolive in one for this long. Can you help this poor soul. He would make a wonderful companion. He is good with other cats too. He would love to be home for the Holidays! Carlisle is available by contacting Susans Cats and Kittens 215 357 4946 or susanscatsndkitten.petfinder.com. Thank you for adopting the Teen and Senior cats!

Meet Ellie! Ellie is about a year old and seems shy at first, but warms up quickly. She is very sweet and has an adorable face. This girl is an all-around great cat! Ellie is available through Trenton Cats at TASCats@gmail.com

Beautiful Gemma was rescued as a pregnant stray in Philadelphia. She had 5 kittens which have all been adopted. Gemma is only about a year old herself and is a sweet, friendly girl. She has been spayed, tested negative for feline leukemia/AIDS, vaccinated for FVRCP & rabies and dewormed. Let’s give Gemma a home for the holdays! Gemma is available for adoption through Four the Paws in Yardley, PA. If you are interested in adopting her please contact Carreen at 215-962-3499 or emeow04@msn.com Meow, my name is Donald. I am a grey and white male cat who loves to play. I like to be petted and I am very affectionate. I’m extremely handsome too. Even though I love to play, I have a very mild nature so I get along great with other catsI’m not into being picked up just yet and it may take a little while to feel comfortable in a new home, but once I do, we’ll have lots of fun playing and sitting together. I would like a family who wants a gentle, well-mannered cat who understands that I need to get used to new surroundings. I know you’ll love me the way all the volunteers at the shelter do!!! Contact Cats Bridge to Rescue at 215-987-8961 for details.

Hello, I’m Bob! I am a one year old male. I am very affectionate and enjoy being petted, especially belly rubs. I get lonely easily so I am looking for a home full of people or animals. I am house trained, neutered and myvaccinations are current. Make an appointment to meet me and some other wonderful cats! Contact Bingo’s Foundation at 215-781-0378 or go online at www.bingosfoundation.org

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Dec. 17 is Chicken Cheese Steak Day

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at Slack’s Hoagie Shack! $4 a steak, all day! (See ad page 7)

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Holiday Pet Food Drive at Local Dog Club The Lower Bucks Dog Training Club is holding its Sixth Annual Holiday Pet Food Drive Saturday, December 13 at the club’s headquarters at 8746 New Falls Road, Levittown, PA (in the Leepers Shopping Center.) Unopened and unexpired cases, bags and cans of dog and cat food will be a welcome sight for families who need support in keeping their pets fed and comfortable during the winter months. All donations are distributed to local food

pantries. Without this help, many of the families involved might have to consider giving up their pets. This year the contributions will be divided between the ERA (Emergence Food Relief Association) and the Salvation Army. Lower Bucks Dog Training Club, an American Kennel Club sanctioned club, was founded in 1976 by area dog enthusiasts. Our goal is to promote good neighborly behavior in dogs through puppy classes, Good Canine Citizen classes, obedience,

rally and other advanced training taught using positive methods. All classes are open to the public. LBDTC is a non-profit organization with additional activities including charity events, education programs, and social events for humans as well as dogs. For further information the club phone number is 215-493-1201 or visit the LBDTC website at www.lbdtc.org ■

Dog Calendar Benefits Scholarship Fund

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he 2015 “Every Dog Has Its Day” calendar is now available for holiday gift-giving for all of the dog lovers on your list. Featuring collages of 77 beautiful dogs from in and around Langhorne, including the twelve TOP DOG contest winners, this calendar is sure to make you smile every day of the year. The dogs’ birthdays or adoption days are printed in the calendar as proof that every dog does indeed have its day! This large, colorful calendar can be purchased for $15 from Judy’s Corner Frame Shop, 127 S. Bellevue Avenue, and also online at www.langhornearts.org. Proceeds benefit the Langhorne Council for the Arts Student Scholarship Fund. For more info, call 215-752-0854. ■ Do you have tips, jokes or questions for fellow pet lovers?

Send them to Editor@LevLeader.com

The Levittown Leader

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