• Updated
  • Comments

In the secular world, the calendar year is winding down and drawing to a close, with hopes for increased consumer spending and a good bottom line. In the church, we have already stepped into the new year with the season of Advent, a season of hoping and waiting for something of much greater significance than profits or spending — a season during which we are invited to lean into God’s future unafraid and dare to dream God’s dreams.

  • Comments

Holiday shopping season is in full swing, and for many shoppers, that means perusing small shops and boutiques in search of that perfect gift.

  • Comments

We all know it’s rude to comment on what people eat on the holidays. Right up there with asking when someone’s getting married, when they’re having babies, why they did lousy in school, why they lost their job, what they’re doing that’s meaningful with their lives, and why they don’t look so good.

  • Comments

POTTSTOWN -- As we approach the end of the 19th year of a new century and millennium, Pottstown has attained its 258th birthday. John Potts bought the land upon which Pottstown would be built in 1751, but construction of the town did not begin until November 1761.

  • Comments

The Social Security Administration has announced an 1.6 percent increase in benefits for 2020, which is less than the increase that Social Security beneficiaries received in 2019 by almost one-half. (https://www.elderlawanswers.com/the-2020-social-security-increase-will-be-smaller-than-2019s-17403). Increases are tied to the consumer price index; the modest uptick in inflation and gas prices means a smaller increase in Social Security benefits. In 2019, the increase in benefits was 2.8 percent; in 2018, the increase was 2 percent. The average monthly benefit for an individual will go up to $1,503 per month, which is an average of $24 per month or $288 per year. The cost-of-living change also will affect the maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax, from the current $132,700 up to $137,700.

Gary Hague of Hague’s Christmas Trees, Hatfield, received the National Grand Champion blue ribbon for his decorated wreath at the 2019 National Christmas Tree Association contest in Lackawanna County in August, and will present two matching wreaths in the winning design to Pennsylvania’s First Lady, Frances Wolf.

  • Comments

The Thanksgiving countdown’s on! First, we feast and then we hunt … for bargains. Beginning Black Friday, “shop small, save big” with some of the best food and wine deals around.

  • Comments

Dreaming of a Rockwellian or Insta-worthy Thanksgiving? We put out the Bat-Signal’s cooking equivalent, and some of the area’s kitchen heroes answered the call. Just follow their tips, tricks and recipes for a low-stress, high-praise feast - beginning with the bird.

  • Comments

Since we all know it’s the little things that make us crazy, yet at the same time it’s the little things that keep us sane, why not make an exchange. Because with the holidays coming, it’s the little things that will be both our demise and our salvation.

  • Comments

On January 23, 2013, the United States District Court of Vermont approved a settlement (Jimmo v. Sebelius) requiring the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to confirm that Medicare beneficiaries receiving care in a skilled care facility, home health, or outpatient services are to receive continued care based upon the need for skilled care, and not based upon the potential (or lack thereof) of improvement. In other words, a Medicare beneficiary who otherwise qualifies for care under their Medicare benefit cannot be denied continued coverage because they failed to improve or have “plateaued.” This applies to all Medicare beneficiaries across care settings, whether or not they have Original Medicare or an Advantage plan. The Center for Medicare Advocacy (the Center), the plaintiffs’ attorney in Jimmo, has published a recent article on their website detailing the disturbing lack of compliance with the terms of the settlement and how to file an expedited/fast track appeal. (www.medicareadvocacy.org).

  • Comments

What does the number 1,667 mean to you? Well, if you’re a writer participating in National Novel Writing Month, that figure represents the amount of words you are going to try to write each day throughout November.

  • Comments

It is open enrollment time again for Medicare beneficiaries (October 15 to December 7). This is the time of year to review your current Medicare plans such as Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription plans. Even if you or your loved one does not make any changes, it is worth the review.

  • Comments

SKIPPACK — In a 15th century medieval kingdom, the royal family is as dysfunctional as it gets. "Once Upon a Mattress" — the popular Tony Award nominated classic — is Playcrafters’ last installment for the 2019 season and ends on a high note with this delightful musical comedy.

  • Comments

Most people have heard the terms “Will” and “Trust,” but often are unfamiliar with their exact meaning. Frequently, I am asked whether it would be better to have a Trust than a Will. That depends upon the individual circumstances; however, in most instances, for Pennsylvania residents, a Will is the better answer.

Living with another person is about as easy as, well, living with yourself, although when it comes to yourself, at least the odd quirks and assorted annoyances of being you are to be expected.

  • Comments

Bubbling with field-trip excitement, a group of third graders entered Swarthmore Co-op eager for a tour. Passing bins of local apples, they peppered their guide with questions, wondering what makes a co-op a co-op?

  • Comments

UPPER MERION — In his 20 years of teaching at Upper Merion Area High School, Choir Director Brian Horoho has never taught a student as musically accomplished as Joe Galfi.

  • Comments

The year 2020 means different things to different people, such as a graduation year, wedding year, birth of a child, or celebration of leap year. But 2020 should be important to all of us for one overriding reason, the U.S. Census. Every 10 years, by mandate of the U.S. Constitution, a census must be conducted of all persons living in the United States, regardless of immigration status, color, age, income status and location within the U.S. The results of the census are vitally important to all of us, both to ensure adequate representation in Congress, and so that we can receive our share of the $883 billion in federal funds distributed each year to 55 large census-guided programs, per the George Washington University Institute of Public Policy. (See www.KeystoneCounts.org).

  • Comments

Chances are you have grown accustomed to robots and automation in your day-to-day life, from the googly-eyed bot roaming the aisles of local grocery stores to the automated answering service that greets you when you call your bank. For the sake of efficiency and convenience, most of us have automated more and more of our daily lives.