Pattye Benson

Community Matters


100 Birthday Candles for Paoli Troop 1 . . . Public Invited to Celebrate with Paoli Boy Scouts on Saturday, June 18

One of the oldest Boy Scout troops in the country, Paoli Troop 1, is marking their first 100 years of service with a weekend of celebration.

On Saturday, June 18, the public is invited to join local Paoli Troop 1 Boy Scouts and alumni from the area and across the country at Paoli Troop 1 headquarters, a beautiful 20-acre wooded site at 1038 Radnor Road, Wayne.

Join the spectators in the bleachers, Saturday, 10 AM – 12 Noon for a spirited display of scout relays and competitions. Watch as the scouts test their skills from knot-tying and Morse Code signaling to tower building, camp building and fire starting. The Paoli Troop 1 scouts will compete in the Full Field Competition on the Troop’s parade field, an annual tradition dating to the earliest days of the troop.

Saturday marks the special celebration of Paoli Troop 1’s century of history . . . men ranging in age from 17 to 97 will rekindle memories of growing and serving with childhood friends in the scout patrols of Paoli Troop 1.

Congratulations Paoli Troop 1; and here’s to your second 100 years!

State Representative-Elect Warren Kampf Revisits His Campaign Promises

Warren Kampf confirmed his campaign platform of fiscal responsibility and promise to honor that commitment to the residents in a recent article in The Phoenix. Previously Kampf had publicly stated that he would not be taking the automatic cost-of-living (COLA) salary increase. However, we are now learning that Kampf plans to continue cost-cutting measures in various other ways. I was pleased to read that Kampf will not be taking the State’s allowed per diem but choosing instead to receive reimbursement for actual expenses. In my opinion, I cannot imagine reimbursing elected officials any other way!

( Last March, I wrote an article, “Pennsylvania Legislators can use Tax-Free Per Diem for Home Purchase . . . What about taxability issue or fraud possibilities?” To read the article, click here )

Kampf also states he will not be taking the state-assigned car and opting instead for actual mileage reimbursement. I am not sure how the cost differs between a state-assigned car vs. actual mileage expenses. On the surface, it would seem that turning in mileage expense would be cheaper but a source in Harrisburg suggested to me that it is actually cheaper for taxpayers if state representatives opt for use of a state car. Just an interesting aside, and I am not sure if the expense can be confirmed one way or the other.

As another form of fiscal responsibility, Kampf announced that he would not be taking the state’s defined-benefit pension plan and will work on the creation of a defined 401K-type plan for legislators and state employees. The state’s pension plan could certainly use reformdid you know that more than half the state’s municipal pension plans are less than 90 percent funded? Calculated as the ratio of assets to liabilities, 644 municipal pension plans are labeled as “distressed” by the state’s Public Employee Retirement Commission (PERC). Of those, 26 are less than 50 percent funded and branded as “severely distressed.”

In an effort to lead by example, Kampf is taking his cost-cutting campaign promises to Harrisburg. Elected officials struggle to understand the pain of their constituents (especially in such severe economic times) so I give Kampf credit for his personal cost-cutting decisions.

It is my understanding that Kampf will have a State Representative office in the Malvern Federal bank building in Paoli. With just days remaining before his Harrisburg swearing-in, he most assuredly has hired a chief of staff and other constituent service staff for his Paoli office. The broad scope of the 157 district will require experienced and knowledgeable staff; I am curious about his staff selection. The community will need contact information for constituent services – I will send him an email of inquiry on that subject and provide an update on Community Matters.

Nothing Says the Holidays Better than a Frozen Custard Pie From Jake’s!

The countdown to Christmas is underway. Stress is building to get the stockings hung, cards written, presents wrapped and all the cooking that is required for many of us.

If you are running short on time (and who isn’t) and looking for a special holiday dessert or hostess gift, I have the perfect answer! Go to Jake’s Frozen Custard in Paoli tomorrow and order a special frozen custard pie for the holidays. In the last week, I have tried 2 different custard pies – the Caramel Cashew and the Mint Oreo. The Caramel Cashew custard pie has a regular graham cracker crust and the Mint Oreo custard pie has a chocolate graham cracker crust. You can get 8-10 servings from each of the frozen custard pies; the price was very reasonable – I think $12.99.

For those that haven’t had the experience of frozen custard, you’ve really been missing out! Frozen custard is not ordinary ice cream and not soft-serve – just pure heaven. You can probably call (610.408.0145) in your order to the owner, Missy, and then stop by later and pick up your pie. Jake’s is located at 31 W. Lancaster Avenue, in front of Paoli Village Shoppes. Jake’s Frozen Custard has only been open 2-1/2 months and your purchase would be helping our local small business community.

And remember . . . nothing says the holidays better than a frozen custard pie from Jake’s!

It’s Official . . . Martini’s Italian Market Open!

It’s official . . . Martini’s Italian Market is now open in Paoli Village Shoppes.

Many of us have been watching over the last few months as Bill DiMartini created a slice of Italy in our own backyard. For those who have lived in the area for a long time (and have a good memory!) Bill’s folks owned Martini’s resturant on Lancaster Avenue in Devon . . . a local Italian neighborhood restuarant where neighbors met neighbors.

I recently visited Martiini’s and was surprised to find that Paoli’s newest offering is much more than ‘just an Italian market’. With a touch of DiMartini family magic, Bill has created a place to purchase your traditional Italian favorites . . . cannolis, cheese, fresh pastas, olive oils, vinegars, and of course a wide selection of Italian hoagies. Offering help with holiday gift-giving, Martini’s can create special gift baskets for your family and friends. In addition to the special food selections, Martini’s offers a wide selection of unique gift items, including a selection of imported Vietri pottery and glassware.

Although open for a few weeks, Martini’s official Grand Opening is Saturday, November 20. The day promises tastings, discounts on pottery, special promises and a place for neighbors to meet neighbors!

The hours at Martini’s Italian Market are Monday – Saturday, 9 AM – 7 PM and Sunday, 9 AM – 1 PM.

Best wishes for the long-anticipated Martini’s Italian Market . . . may the DiMartini’s enjoy another family success!

Jake’s Frozen Custard in Paoli . . . Not the Same as Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt!

Have you tried the recently opened Jake’s Frozen Custard in Paoli (located at the Paoli Village Shoppes)? I was invited to Jake’s a couple of weeks ago to a pre-opening by owner Missy Shaw. Not knowing the difference between frozen custard and ice cream my first question to Missy was,“What is frozen custard?”

Frozen custard is not the same as ice cream or frozen yogurt. For one thing, it’s creamier. It is also smoother and thicker. Served warmer than ice cream, frozen custard has a smooth, velvety texture. It contains very little air (10-20% verses 50-90% in ice cream) but an outrageously huge flavor. A true custard mix must contain a minimum of 10% butterfat and a minimum of 1.4% egg yolk (Pasteurized). High butterfat + egg yolk + low overrun = Wisconsin Style Frozen Custard.

The menu at Jake’s is more than just frozen custard. Missy has taken her mid-western childhood roots and transplanted an array of Wisconsin favorites for local residents to enjoy. Specialties include Grilled Bratwurst, Chili Cheese Dogs, Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Curds. Understanding the importance of offering children their favorites, Jake’s kids menu includes Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches!

Jake’s Frozen Custard respects its traditional Wisconsin roots. Owner Missy Shaw is clinging tenaciously to her commitment to quality and authentic preparation. At Jake’s a bit of yesterday is packed with love into every delightful dessert. And what a fun place to dine and to work! The bright colors pop from the walls in such a fun way . . . makes you happy, even on a gloomy rainy day! Missy is employing local high school students (Conestoga, Great Valley, Haverford, etc) after school and weekends; and adults are helping out during the lunch-time period.

What’s the saying, “baptism by fire?” After being open only days, Jake’s was front and center for Saturday’s 2nd Annual Blues Fest. With a location next to the main stage, outdoor seating at Jake’s was at a premium. The restaurant was busy inside and outside but the young employees met the challenge. When I stopped in for my frozen custard ‘fix’, I was impressed by the efficiency and calmness — surviving the Annual Blues Fest, Jake’s is ready for anything!

Outside Jake's at the Blues Fest

Support this new local business and stop by for lunch or dinner . . . you will not be disappointed! Begin a new tradition with your family at Jake’s in Paoli!

2nd Annual Paoli Sings the Blues, Saturday, October 2 — FREE

The countdown is on . . . just a few days remain until the annual blues festival in Paoli.

Yes, the 2nd Annual Paoli Sings the Blues is this Saturday. Along with Marie Thibault, I am co-chairing the blues festival which is setting itself up as a spectacular event . . . for Paoli, for the small business community and for the public! John Fattibene, our third partner (and financial genius) tells us that we are on target with the budget. Of course, he also reminds us that the Paoli Blues Fest is continuing to accept contributions and sponsorships right up to Saturday.

Along with hundreds of volunteers, vendors, musicians, etc. Paoli is the place to be on Saturday. The weather is also getting onboard – 68 degrees under sunny skies! Hope to see you there!

2nd Annual Paoli Sings the Blues
Saturday, October 2nd

Noon ’til 6:00 PM
Rain or Shine!

FREE CONCERTS! Street Fair, food, dancing, Beer Garden, Blues Fest t-shirts $15, kids’ stuff and lots of music – Paoli will be hummin’, singin’ and swayin’ to the Blues!

3 Stages!
Main Stage: Paoli Village Shoppes
2 Community Stages: Paoli Shopping Center and Malvern Federal Savings Bank

For Band Schedule for each Stage go to

The Paoli Blues Fest, Inc. is a registered 501(c) nonprofit organization and your contribution is tax-deductible as the law permits.

Notice: Expect Traffic Interruptions in Paoli, August 22 – 26

Expect traffic interruptions on Lancaster Avenue in Paoli for line painting on the road. The work is scheduled to be done starting Sunday night, August 22, though Thursday night, August 26, between the hours of 10 PM – 6 AM. The project is weather dependent — so if it rains prior to, or during the hours, the work may be halted. Last year the work was done during the day but due to the congestion, evening hours were proposed for this year.

You learn something everyday — I had no idea that line painting was done yearly. I’m guessing that it is only specific, well-used roads. Although I received this notice from the township, I am assuming that PennDOT is doing the work . . . since Route 30 is a state road. In other words, no ‘overtime’ hours out of the township budget.

SEPTA No Longer a Numbers Game . . . And We Lose Our ‘R’ . . . Effective Sunday, July 25!

In less than 24 hours, our regional rail numbers will disappear forever. Yes, starting Sunday, July 25, all regional rail lines will be renamed after their end destination. SEPTA will no longer be a numbers game so we lose our ‘R’ and our ‘5’. Our R5 will become the Paoli/Thorndale and Doylestown lines . . . R6 Norristown line will be renamed the Manayunk/Norristown line, etc. etc..

Philadelphia visitors, tourists and new riders claim that the regional rail ‘R’ system was confusing and people have been known to get on the train going the wrong direction but still . . . I’m going to miss our ‘R’ and our ‘5’.

The regional rail is also getting a color change. Trains will be designated by a blue/gray color, instead of their separate colors for each line. I thought it was easier to read the Center City transit maps by following the color-coding! But wait, there’s more change on the tracks.

They’re also making some schedule changes for regional rail including a makeover to the timetable schedules; presumably making them easier-to-read. The designations will be abbreviated with three letters and all schedules will have a name reference box.

To make it even easier to get on the right train, the display signs on the regional trains have also experienced a makeover to show the direction the train is traveling. Our ‘R5 Paoli’ display sign will have a ‘Center City to Paoli’ sign starting tomorrow. Conductors will change display signs to show the outbound destination of their trains when they enter Center City.

I’m not suggesting that SEPTA commuters should panic come Monday morning. In fact, officials from SEPTA are not expecting the changes will impact the regular rider because their commuting routine does not depend on the SEPTA signage. In fact, there will be customer service agents around to hand out new schedules and answer questions during the transition.

Say your goodbyes to the R5 today. . . starting tomorrow, it will be no more.

Main Line Suburban Life Helps get Word out about Paoli Sings the Blues Fundraiser

Thank you Tom Murray, Blair Meadowcroft and the Main Line Suburban Life for helping the Paoli Blues Fest committee get the word out about our upcoming Paoli Sings the Blues Fundraiser on July 30 – we much appreciated the press in this week’s paper. And thank you Main Line Suburban Life for your sponsorship of the 2nd Annual Paoli Blues Fest!

In addition to great blues music, food and drink . . . the night’s Silent Auction has some fabulous offerings, including Phillies tickets, Antoinette and MediSpa visits, Aronimink golf package with lunch & drinks, and much, much more!

It’s not too late to get your tickets. Visit the Paoli Blues Fest website, for further details and to purchase a ticket.

Paoli’s second Blues Fest to have advance fundraiser

By Blair Meadowcroft

After the success of the first Paoli Blues Fest held last summer, the event has been made an annual one. On Saturday, Oct. 2, Paoli will be taken over by blues musicians and music-lovers alike. From noon to 5 p.m., live music, a street fair, vendors of all varieties and activities for children will be in three areas. Stages will be set at the Paoli Shopping Center and Malvern Federal Bank and the main stage will be at Paoli Village Shoppes.

According to event co-chair Pattye Benson, the expected amount of attendees could be 10,000 people. “This was the largest blues festival in the Philadelphia region last year,” said Benson. “There was an excess of 5,000 in attendance.”

To prepare for this year’s Blues Fest, there will be a “Paoli Sings the Blues” fund-raiser Friday, July 30, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Royer-Greaves School, 118 S. Valley Road in Paoli. The purpose of the event, according to Benson, is twofold.

“We’re hoping this will be financially helpful for the Blues Fest, but we also hope to get people really energized for this year’s event,” said Benson. “We’re having shirts printed to sell at the fund-raiser. Hopefully people will wear them and get the word out about the event.”

The fund-raiser will consist of live music by PokerFace as well as guest Russ Lambert of the Dance Shaker Band. Alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks will be available, and the food, which is being provided by Bridgeport Ribhouse, will be Southern-style barbecue chicken and ribs.

In addition, guests can participate in a silent auction with items such as Phillies tickets and gift certificates to local shops and restaurants. Tickets are $45 and for sale at the Paoli Blues Fest Web site, All proceeds from the fund-raiser will benefit this year’s Blues Fest.

The Paoli Blues Fest was started after a recommendation from local blues musicians.
“A couple of musicians came to the Paoli Business Association and suggested it would be a great idea to have a blues festival as a means of trying to excite and inspire the Paoli community,” said Benson, a member of the Paoli Business Association. “We felt this could be a real feel-good community event that could spur local business sales.”

While last year’s event was held under the auspices of the Paoli Business Association, it was decided that it needed to be its own entity. According to Benson, the Paoli Blues Fest Inc. recently received 501c3 nonprofit designation, which makes donations tax-deductible as permitted by law. “We were so excited. This is a huge deal and an enormous validation for this event,” said Benson.

Many businesses as well as individuals are helping to make sure this year’s Blues Fest goes off without a hitch. With a budget of $40,000, a lot of work from many volunteers goes into securing the necessary finances. Among this year’s sponsors are Paoli Hospital, Malvern Federal Bank, Paoli Hardware, Main Line Today, Main Line Suburban Life and TD Bank.

“Every sponsor from last year is sponsoring this year and more,” said Benson. “And we’re hoping the fund-raiser will help financially as well.” Along with the sponsors, many of the same musicians from last year will be performing, along with some fresh faces. “Because of the success of the inaugural event, we started receiving musicians’ CDs from all over the country,” said Benson. “One came from as far as California.”

Benson went on to explain that at 4 p.m. on the day of the Blues Fest the two smaller stages will close and the main stage will host all performers for one final joint set. “They have a special song that they have all learned and will perform,” said Benson.

While it is a lot of work to make sure this event goes off as planned, Benson, along with co-chair Marie Thibault, said they do it for the community.

“This event is successful in bringing the community together, which is one of the things Marie and I do best,” said Benson. “People set aside differences to come together and work on this project, and it gets people from the community together.”

Wegmans Didn’t Disappoint — It’s All That and More!

Of course I was not going to miss Opening Day at Wegmans. I actually ended up going to the store twice today. The first time was around noon, but after spending 20 min. finding a parking space, I discovered that once inside there was no available space to move! The crowds were overwhelming (to be expected!) and in less than 10 min. I found myself back in my car headed home.

But around 7 PM, my husband and I set out again for Wegman’s; Jeff wanted to experience the Pub. The food, service and staff were amazing and so friendly. The beer selection lives up to Wegmans advertising; over 800 kinds including micro-brews and International brands. All beer is offered in 6-packs and most are available to try as singles. Wegmans Pub has a full-service bar so grocery-shopping may have just gotten more exciting!

As we were leaving Wegmans, we stopped by the Gelato Italian ice cream kiosk – fabulous! Today’s grand opening certainly didn’t disappoint . . . but I have a feeling it may be quiet at the Paoli Acme for a while.

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