Monday, December 17, 2012

Winter Travel Tips

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation asks area drivers to keep travel conditions in mind during winter weather. PennDOT offered the following winter travel tips to area drivers.

Photo by MetroCreativeConnection

  • If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roadways, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Last winter, there were 176 crashes resulting in five fatalities and 113 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors in the crash.
  • During heavier storms, motorists may find deeper accumulations on less-traveled routes and should adjust their driving for those conditions. 
  • Motorists should carry an emergency kit including items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket and small snow shovel. However, motorists should tailor their kits to any specific need they or their families may have. Consider adding such items as baby supplies, extra medication, pet supplies, or even children's games. 

Motorists can check road conditions on more than 2,900 miles of state roads by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, average traffic speeds on urban interstates and access to more than 670 traffic cameras. 511PA also provides easy-to-use, color-coded winter road conditions for all interstates and other routes covered in the 511 reporting network. Access to 511PA is also available by calling 511.
For more information on PennDOT's winter preparations and additional winter-driving resources for motorists, visit the department's "Ready for Winter" website at

It is important to know how to drive when weather conditions are dangerous. It is also wise to outfit a vehicle to reduce its risk of slipping and sliding on icy, snowy roads. Here are some tips to follow:
  • Limit time spent driving in the snow. Avoid driving during snowstorms or directly after whenever possible. Snow not only makes roads slick, but falling flakes can impair a driver’s visibility and reduce his or her response time. Try to wait until snow-clearing teams have salted, plowed and sanded roads before venturing out. 
  • Be sure you can see clearly. Clear off the snow from the windshield, side mirrors and windows so it does not compromise your view. Also, top off the windshield fluid so you will be able to clear snow and salt kick-up from your windshield. Look for a washer fluid that has an antifreeze component, otherwise, your washer jets and wiper blades could be rendered useless. 
  • Drive slowly. Reduce your speed when driving in inclement weather. It can be more difficult to stop or maneuver around a potential obstacle when conditions are less than ideal. Traveling at a high speed will increase the risk of accidents. 
  • Leave enough room between you and other motorists. Tailgating is responsible for many accidents, even when there is no snow on the ground. In inclement weather, it can take longer to slow or stop the car after pressing on the brakes. Having an additional space between your car and the one in front of you helps you avoid a collision.
  • Be aware of black ice. Black ice gets its name from its veritable invisibility. It is so thin and hard to spot, it just looks like the black asphalt of the road. Black ice tends to form in areas that have had snow or ice melt, which then refreezes at night when temperatures drop. Be extra cautious on turns and on highway exit and entrance ramps, where black ice frequently forms.
  • Steer your car into the skid. Remain calm and do not panic and jam on the brakes if your car starts to skid. Slamming on the brakes will only exacerbate the skid. Rather, take your foot off the accelerator, allowing the car to naturally slow down as you turn your wheels into the direction the car is skidding. This should help right the car and get you back on track. 
  • Invest in snow tires. Those who live in especially snowy climates and do a lot of driving would be wise to purchase snow tires. Snow tires, also called winter tires, have special tread patterns that offer better traction in snow and ice. They also are made from softer rubber compounds than regular tires that retain their flexibility in cold weather, allowing the tire to conform to the surface of the road. Although many vehicles come with technology to prevent accidents, they cannot do their jobs if tires are not maintaining their grip on the road. All-season tires are not a replacement for snow tires. All-season tires are designed to work in all sorts of conditions, from rainy weather to dry roads. Therefore, it is better to invest in a set of snow tires that will offer you better protection. When putting snow tires on a car or truck, be sure to do so on all the wheels, not just the driving wheels. Otherwise you may still risk spin outs or uneven gripping of the road.
(Tips from MetroCreativeConnection)

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pipeline plans for Warwick Township

Commonwealth Pipeline LLC is considering constructing a natural gas pipeline that would travel through  Warwick Township, Chester County. The pipeline's construction is contingent upon end users, or natural gas drillers, signing on to have their Marcellus Shale gas use the system. The Commonwealth Pipeline is also expected to connect with UGI Energy Service’s natural gas liquefaction, vaporization, and storage facility near Temple, Berks County, and to run near or connect with multiple natural gas distribution systems in southeastern Pennsylvania. The maps below show the north-south path the pipeline would run (Map No. 1) and the route the pipeline could take through Chester County (Map No. 2). The exact route has not yet been determined.

Click on each map to view it larger.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Make your Christmas tree last

Local Christmas tree sellers offer up these tips to keep your tree live through the holiday.

Take a fresh cut off the bottom: Ask the tree seller to take off a quarter-inch from the trunk to open the pores of the tree, so it will take up water better.

Get it wet fast: "We suggest you get it into water within the hour and keep checking the water level every day," said Janet Hague, who with her husband owns Hague's Christmas Trees in Hatfield.

Shelter it: Once the tree is trimmed on bottom and top, keep it in a cool place indoors. Keep it out of direct sunlight and wind, which can dry it out faster.

Stay away from preservatives: "Some preservatives can shorten the life of a tree," said Jay Bustard of Bustard's Christmas Trees.

Fill up the tree stand: Tree stands should contain 1 to 2 gallons of water and never go below that.

Buy fresh: The fresher the tree, the longer it will last. A tree sitting out for a while will naturally be drier and die faster.

Replanting? Area tree sellers recommend buying a balled tree a week or week and a half before Christmas. If you keep it inside longer, it will not take when you plant it outside. Make sure you have a hole dug in your yard for the tree, as well, making it easier to plant after Christmas. Make sure the ground is soft enough when you plant the tree so it can survive and draw in water.

Don't let it get wet feet: Care should be taken with balled trees so their roots don't become rotten from over watering in their pots.

Keep it from heat: Cut trees dry out faster if placed near a heating source.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

U.S. Made products

Following are lists by brand,  product type and businesses that sell U.S. made goods, and websites that sell U.S. made.
Want to buy a brand or product that's not on this list but not sure where it is made? Check out, which maps out the chain of manufacturing and sale for different products.



Envi room heaters

Sub-Zero refrigerators

Art and Craft Supplies:

 Awl for All

Crayola crayons: regular-sized crayons are made in the U.S., including the 8-count up to the 120-count crayon boxes, Model Magic, Air Dry Clay and Silly Putty are U.S. made along with most markers and paints, and the Color Wonder and Color Explosion product lines.
EZArt Products


Aerostich motorcycle gear
Jeep Wrangler
Lyons Performance LLC, parts for automobile restoration and repair.


Thymes fragrances and candles


Thymes fragrances and candles


Boyer Candy Co. (Pa. made)
Gertrude Hawk chocolates

Just Born (Pa. made)
Lindt chocolates (New Hampshire)
Shop Sucre candies
Wilbur chocolate (Pa. made)


All American clothing co.

Bill's Khakis men's clothing (made in Pa.)
Campbellsville Apparel Co.
Carhartt clothing co.
City Threads children’s clothing co.
Darn Tough socks
Finlay shirts

Jiji Fashion (made in Pottstown)
La Isla swimsuits
Lifewear: T-shirts, sweatshirts, turtlenecks and more. All U.S. parts assembled in Pottstown, Pa.
Penbrooke Swimsuits (Pa. made)
Race Ready running apparel
School House school uniform company
Smashing golf and tennis apparel
Spanx control undergarments
Union House
Vera Wang (some clothing lines and most of her wedding gowns are U.S. made)
Wickers underwear
Winter Water clothing co.



Carriage House cheeses, biscuits and cookies
Old Dutch pretzels and chips
Tastykake snack foods (Pa. made)
Turkey Hill foods
Utz potato chips and pretzels
Zapps potato chips


Alegacy furniture (Pa. made)

Fifth Room (Pa. made)


Evolution Gun Works Inc.
Smith & Wesson

Handbags, bags and Luggage:

Cinda B. handbags and totes
Holly Aiken handbags
Jesse B. Collection purses and bags
J.W. Hulme bags and luggage
Little Packrats backpacks for kids
Portabrace luggage
Stephanie Dawn backpacks and bags


Alex and Ani jewelry

Donald Huber jewelry
Lori Bonn watches and jewelry
Magnabilities: magnetic, interchangeable jewelry
Moissanite and Co. jewelry (the gems are from the U.S. as well)
Two Sisters jewelry


Cutco paring knives
Lodge Co. cast iron frying pan at Target
Kitchenaid mixers
Roundabout cupcake sleeves
Tervis Tumblers, personalized coffee mugs, cups, etc.

Leather Goods:

Bazooka leather and arts
Erda leather goods
Sundance leather shoes and hats

Musical instruments

Outdoors Gear:

Leatherman pocket and wilderness tools

MagLite flashlights

Park Tool bicycle tools

Penn Reels (not all is made in America, but items that are are labeled)


Sundance leather shoes and hats



Double H
Footskins shoes
Klogs women's shoes (not all shoes made in U.S. Icons on site indicate which ones are.)
MH Mining
Mukluks moccasins
New Balance athletic shoes

Okabashi flip flops and sandals
Sundance leather shoes and hats



Equine Exchange, equestrian gear
Lacrosse pinnies for sports teams
Race Ready running apparel
Smashing golf and tennis apparel


La Isla swimsuits
Penbrooke Swimsuits (Pa. made)
Ujena bathing suits


Ariens snowblowers
Channellock Inc. (made in Pa.)
Craftsman (some lines are still made in the U.S. Many hand tools and power tools are not.)
Danaher tools (some made in the U.S.)
Estwing (sold in Home Depot and Ace Hardware)
John Deere Farm equipment
Hardcore Hammers
Northern Lites snowshoes
ProTool Industries: hunting knives and tools
Snap-On Tools: Most are made in the U.S.


Crayola crayons: regular-sized crayons are made in the U.S., including the 8-count up to the 120-count crayon boxes, Model Magic, Air Dry Clay and Silly Putty are U.S. made along with most markers and paints, and the Color Wonder and Color Explosion product lines.
Step2 children’s toys

Wedding Dresses:

Reem Acra
Alix and Kelly
Oscar de la Renta
Elizabeth Fillmore
Caroline Herrera
Jim Hjelm and Alvina Valenta
Tara Keely
Monique Lhuillier
Amy Michelson
Nicole Miller
Badgley Mischka (most made in the U.S.)
Claire Pettibone
Kenneth Pool
Lela Rose (made in Manhattan)
Angel Sanchez
Carmela Sutera
Judd Waddell
Vera Wang (most made in the U.S.)

Local Businesses:

Alegacy furniture (Pa. made)
All Things Primitive, Main Street, Phoenixville
ArtFusion19464: Locally produced art and gifts
Corner Shoppe, East Philadelphia Avenue, Gilbertsville
Dancing Tree Creations, South Ironstone Drive, Boyertown (site for home-based businesses such as crafters, artists, clothiers, woodworkers, jewelers, etc. to sell their goods)
Frecon Farms, Boyertown
Frogtowne Artisan Creations, Ridge Road, Pottstown
Glasslight Studios, St. Peters
Home Sweet Home Shoppe, Hollenbach Home Center, Route 100, Boyertown
Patsy’s Potpourri of Gifts, Boyertown
Silver Shoppe, East High Street, Lower Pottsgrove
Sly Fox Brewing Co., Pottstown
Spirit Sisters, St. Peters Village
Taylor Backes glass studio, Boyertown

Make your own gifts at these local businesses:

The Spirited Artist: Group painting classes
Painting with a Twist: Group painting classes

Websites where you can find more American made goods:

Pa. General Store (all Pa. made gifts)