Bucks County Faces Bear Epidemic

A young black bear — estimated weight between 175-200 pounds — triggered a major police presence in Bensalem for about an hour Friday morning, marking the third black bear sighting reported this month in Lower Bucks County,” the Bucks County Courier-Times reports.

Apparently, it’s not unusual to see bears in the area this time of year, the paper reports, but it’s really not unusual this year. Nonetheless, authorities are vigilant.

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PA Marriage Equality Update: Two Different Counties, Two Different Stories

Gay Cake Toppers

Despite Tuesday’s landmark decision to overturn Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage, Montgomery County gay couples essentially can be denied marriage licenses based on one simple factor: where they live.

Last year, the county’s Register of Wills, Bruce Hanes, issued dozens of same-sex couples marriage licenses–that is, until he was given an order to cease the issuing of the licenses.  The problem is that the order is still in place, despite the ruling on Tuesday.  In order for Montgomery County to issue same-sex marriage licenses, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would need to take action; so far, they have not done so.  Gay couples who live in the county and wish to be married are being sent elsewhere by government offices.

Meanwhile, in Bucks County, officials claimed that more than 20 gay couples received marriage licenses on the first full day after the ruling; the Register of Wills office had rainbow cookies and other refreshments to celebrate.  This is quite a stark difference given the proximity of the two counties!

We will keep you updated as more information develops.

Illg’s Meats Is Closing

Illg’s Meats in Chalfont is closing up shop. The processing plant and retail shop’s meats show up on local menus at the like of Frankford Hall among others.

A note on Illg’s web site reads:

We are saddened to announce that after more than 50 years of serving the Bucks County community, Illg’s Meats will be closing it’s doors.  We will be open through the week of July 5th(closed on the 4th).  There will be two days of clearance sales on July 8th and 9th.  We ask that you place your orders with as much prior notification as possible to ensure it’s fullfillment. Thank you for the many years of faithful patronage, you will be greatly missed.

Ernst A. Illg Meats has been located in Bucks County since 1964, before that it was located at 29th and Master Streets in Philadelphia’s Brewerytown neighborhood.

Illg Meats [Official]

Rita’s Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Giveaways, Politicians

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Let’s get this out of the way first: It’s wooder ice.

No matter what Rita’s brands it — Italian ice, with an “Ice, Custard, Happiness” slogan — it’s called water ice, and it’s pronounced wooder. That’s the point a representative for Bucks County State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo made at Tuesday’s celebration of Rita’s 30th anniversary: It may be Italian ice around the country and world, but in Bensalem, Pennsylvania — where the Philly accents are even thicker than they are in the city — it’s “wooder ice.”

Rita’s was founded on May 4, 1984, a wonderful time before anyone made “May the 4th be with you” jokes. It started in the Andalusia section of Bensalem on the side of a house on Bristol Pike (Route 13), right across from the Woodhaven Mall. The mall is now a shopping center; Rita’s now has over 600 locations.

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George Nakashima’s Bucks County Woodworker Complex Gets National Landmark Designation

chair1 George Nakashima left an internment camp in Idaho and came to Bucks County. There, he created iconic, influential wood furniture — including the straight-backed chair, a modern take on the classic Windsor chair. The U.S. Department of the Interior on Wednesday named Nakashima’s woodworking complex in New Hope a national landmark.

Born in 1909 in Spokane, Washington, Nakashima — who died in 1990 — traveled around the world after earning a masters in architecture from MIT. When World War II began, he returned to the U.S. and married. In 1942 he was sent to an internment camp, the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho. With the sponsorship of Antonin Raymond, a Czech architect who had worked with Nakashima in Japan and India, Nakashima was freed from the camp and settled on Raymond’s farm in Bucks County. He subsequently settled on a farm on Aquetong Road in New Hope and built his studio there.

At his Bucks  studio, Nakashima produced furniture for Widdicomb-Mueller and Knoll — which has re-introduced his straight chair — and became a father of the post-war American craft movement. He received numerous awards for his work, including the Third Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor and Government of Japan in 1983. His foundation is attempting to accomplish his dream of installing “Altars of Peace” — carved from an enormous black walnut tree — on all the continents.

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New Hope’s Exquisite Gateshead Farm Is an $8 Million BucksCo Fantasy

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Workaday life is full of other people: crowded elevators and lines at Wawa and traffic jams and SEPTA buses. So it’s perfectly normal to dream of strolling over a bridge on rolling green hills, passing by friendly horses, stopping at a springhouse, and turning rocks over in a sunlit stream. All of which is possible for the owner of New Hope’s Gateshead Farm.

First, the main residence. The 19th century stone farmhouse offers more than 8,000 square feet for six bedrooms and six full bathrooms. The updated interior manages to blend cozy details like stone walls, fireplaces and exposed beams with modern amenities and finishes. The home evokes the sense that you could take a nap on a window bench and wake up convinced you were at Pemberley.

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Chester, Montgomery Counties Are Hotbeds for Texting and Driving

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The above chart comes from The Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a “legislative agency” of the Pennsylvania General Assembly that produces publications and reports for lawmakers. It recently published this map of texting-while-driving citations in 2013, showing that the 8th and 10th counties with the most texting-while-driving citations in Pennsylvania are Chester and Montgomery, respectively.

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Remarkable Erwinna Estate Once Owned by Famed Humorist S.J. Perelman

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It is hard to pick out a single remarkable detail from this home. In addition to the stunning 83-acre lot and the solarium with a living wall of ivy, the estate was once owned by noted humorist and writer, S.J. Perelman. Sidney Joseph Perelman, of course, was the co-writer for Marx Brothers screenplays including Monkey Business and Horse Feathers. He also co-wrote Around the World in Eighty Days, for which he earned an Oscar. His surrealist writing in The New Yorker made him a household name in the 1930s and 1940s.

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Weekend Open Houses: Counties Edition

1320 Lafayette Road, Gladwyne, PA.

1320 Lafayette Road, Gladwyne, PA.

This weekend we decided to spotlight homes from each of the four counties surrounding Philadelphia. For Delco, we chose a recently renovated house that has a fireplace with a raised hearth and a cute wood stove insert. And with warmer days soon to come, we thought its salt water swimming pool was worth a mention too.

Our Chester County choice might seem familiar, and that’s because it is. We featured Strawberry Hollow Farm a little over a week ago, but now you can go see the farmhouse’s cathedral ceilings in person. The brick Colonial in Montco has a cherry-paneled den, vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors, and in the family room there’s a wood stove insert. Outside, a swimming pool.

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