Thursday, May 9, 2019

Not Voting On May 21st? Here's Why You Should

And it has little to do with who's on the ballot. 

A large majority of Montco voters usually choose not to exercise their right to vote in odd-year elections. When the offices are so local that no one hears political ads on TV for the candidates, a lot of voters sometimes have no idea an election is even scheduled.

But this election will be different for Montgomery County residents. Here are 2 sample ballots (You can find your sample ballot at this link.):



If you've voted in the last 20 years, you might note how different these ballots look from what you've seen on the voting machine screens. They're portrait instead of landscape, for one thing. And the illustration shows a hand holding a pen. That's right, for the first time since probably World War II, Montgomery County voters will be handed a PAPER ballot.

You'll be directed to a privacy booth where you'll fill out the ballot manually with a pen. Then you'll take your ballot to a scanning machine and feed the ballot in. When you've cast your vote, the tally is added to a memory card. The paper ballot is saved in a bin under the machine where it can then be used for recounts, if necessary, after the election.

Before accepting your ballot, the machine checks that you've chosen at least one candidate for each office. If you haven't, for each office that you left blank or didn't choose enough candidates, it will ask if you meant to do that. If you didn't, you can get your ballot back, correct it and rescan.

If you've chosen MORE candidates for an office than allowed (say, if you filled 3 ovals under County Commissioner where it only asks for 2), the machine will catch that too, but it's not so easy to correct. You have to start over with a fresh ballot and your other will be voided by a poll worker. If you're in a hurry, you COULD chose to cast the rest of your votes anyway, but that one incorrect vote won't be counted.

See how much fun this is going to be? You don't want to miss this election (think of this year's elections as practice sessions -- you don't want to go through this for the first time next year during the presidential elections).

Here are some ways to help make this process go smoothly:

1. Make sure you're handed the correct ballot for your political party affiliation (only Democrats and Republicans can vote in the primary. Independents, Non-Partisans, and Green Party have to wait until November).

2. Don't tear anything off of your ballot.

3. Don't fold your ballot.

4. Read the entire candidate list for each office before making choices.

5. Fill in the oval beside your choice COMPLETELY. Don't mark with only an X or a check.

6. Only choose the number of candidates you're allowed to choose. You can choose less if you want. You can also write in names if you want.

7. You'll be handed a manila folder for privacy to carry your ballot in when walking to the privacy booth, then to the scanner. HAND the folder AND pen to the machine operator before leaving the building. Each poll location only gets a couple dozen pens. If voters walk out with the pens, they disenfranchise voters coming to vote after them.


So, come vote on May 21 (7 am-8 pm) and try out the new paper ballot system. Be patient with poll workers. This will be their first time with this system, too.

You'll note that candidates for County Commissioner are on this ballot. They're the ones who chose this system. Let them know what you think with your vote (but be careful to research your choices, you could be voting for someone much worse).






Friday, January 18, 2019

MLK Weekend Activities and More

Hopefully the coming storm won't put too much of a damper on the MLK Day of Service activities and other events.

Saturday, 2-3:30 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Board Room. Saturday Book Club. This month the book they'll be discussing is either The Innocent Man, by John Grisham or A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline (both are listed on the library calendar. Drop by the Front Desk or call 610-278-5100 x0 to find out which and register. Dr. Hal Halbert of Montgomery County Community College hosts.

Saturday, 7-11 pm, Five Saints Distilling (129 E Main). Jazz 180 will perform. No cover.


Monday, 9 am-1:30 pm, Montco OIC, 1101 Arch. Join the Norristown Project for our annual MLK Day of Service activity at Montgomery County OIC. Each year we select a classroom at our facility to be painted. On January 21st, we will paint our community classroom and after-school classroom. This activity is limited to 40 volunteers, please RSVP to sashe@montcooic.org with the number of volunteers you will bring. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Monday, 9 am-Noon, Norristown Recreation Center. Looking for a great opportunity to tackle litter and beautify the community? Consider joining Keep Norristown Beautiful and Elmwood Park Zoo for our MLK Day of Service Clean-up Event. Register using this link.

Monday 9 am-8 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Youth Services Department. MLK Day of Service-Valentines for Veterans. Stop in to make a valentine for a soldier in the veteran’s hospital in Philadelphia. For kids of all ages. Drop in. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. For info contact 610-278-5100 x205.

Wednesday, 1-3:30 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Board Room. Mary's Matinee. FREE movie. This showing: "The Children Act." Rated R, 1 hour 45 mins. Drop in. For info, contact Mary Motta, 610-278-5100 x111, mmotta@mclinc.org.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Slow Start to the Year in N-Town

The event list this week is depressingly short. Winter doldrums in Norristown. But, there are still daily events at the library. Check their website: http://mnl.mclinc.org/events/.

Saturday, last day to register for FREE suicide prevention training hosted in partnership with the Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Taskforce, to take place on January 20th, 11 am-1 pm at Christ Chruch, UCC (Marshall and Noble). People who can be trained as Gatekeepers include: parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, squad leaders, foremen, police officers, advisors, caseworkers, firefighters, and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide. While this event is FREE, please RSVP by calling Christ Church at 610-275-3092 or emailing church@uccchristchurch.org as space is limited. Light refreshments will be provided.

Monday, 6 pm, Coffee Talk (507 W Marshall). Community meeting hosted by Norristown Citizens in Action. For info, call 610-209-3769.

Monday, 6-7:45 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library. Cookbook Club. Join the Cookbook Club to sample recipes from a new cookbook the second Monday of each month. Prepare a recipe of your choice from the month’s selection and bring it to the club to share. Stop by the Front Desk to browse this month’s selection (Please to the Table: the Russian Cookbook). Make a free copy of the recipe you select and sign up for the club. We strongly encourage registration. Drop by the Front Desk, call, or email us to register. The library will provide paper plates, utensils and water. Be prepared to take home any food of yours that is left over after the meeting. You must bring one dish of food in order to participate. For info, call Asha Verma, 610-278-5100 x0, or averma@mclinc.org.

Tuesday, 6:30 pm, Municipal Hall. Council Workshop.

Wednesday, Noon-3 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Community Room. Montco Community Support hosts a FREE CSP Potluck Games Day. Unfortunately, that's the only info I was able to obtain. No idea what this is or who to contact for more info.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Holiday Music and Library Programs


Posting the Diary a day early because this is a busy season and I may not get a chance tomorrow. Happy Holidays to everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2-3 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Youth Services Department. For kids in grades K-6. Come and create some festive holiday treats to eat or take home. Registration required. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Contact 610-278-5100 x205.

Friday, 7-11 pm, Five Saints Distilling (Green and Main). UGLY Sweater Contest. Multiple categories Multiple awards-Spirits, Distillery Ware & Gear.

Saturday, 7-10 pm, Coffee Talk (507 W Marshall). Herman and Friends Holiday Show.

Saturday, 8-11 pm, Five Saints Distilling (Green and Main). Vanida Gailz performs. No cover.

Wednesday, 1-3 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Board Room. Mary's Matinee. Enjoy a free movie in our boardroom the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. This showing: "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again." Drop in. Info: Mary Motta 610-278-5100 x111, mmotta@mclinc.org.

Thursday, 2-3 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Youth Services Department. Penguin Palooza for kids 4 and up. Calling all penguin fans. Come explore the world of penguins with a craft and fun activities highlighting our black and white friends. Drop in. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Info: 610-278-5100 x205.

Next Friday, December 28, 11:30 am-12:30 pm. Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Youth Services Department. Noon Year's Eve Party. For kids 3 1/2 to 6 with caregiver. Come celebrate New Year’s Eve a little early. Crafts and books will enhance the countdown to 2019. Stay to play afterwards. Drop in. Info at 610-278-5100 x205.

Next Friday, Noon-5 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Community Room. Red Cross Blood Drive. One pint of blood can save three lives. Give blood, give life. Participants will receive a free long sleeve Red Cross t-shirt, while supplies last.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Color Purple and FREE Concerts

Norristown.org (the Municipality) redesigned their website, so that may explain why there aren't too many event listings on it yet. The new calendar takes a little getting used to.

Friday, December 14, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library. Registration begins for the Library's computer classes, which begin on January 8. For info, call 610-278-5100 x141.

Friday, 8 pm, Theatre Horizon (401 Dekalb). The Color Purple. The show will close on Dec 23 (which is already sold out) so this week is your last chance. Other shows this week: Saturday 3 pm,  Thursday 7:30 pm, next Friday at 8 pm and next Saturday at 3 pm. Tickets and complete schedule at this link. Info at 610-283-2230 or email ticket@theatrehorizon.org.

Saturday, 7-11 pm, Five Saints Distilling (Green and Main). Santucci Trio performs jazz. No cover.

Tuesday, 6:30 pm, Municipal Hall (235 E Airy). Council meeting.

Wednesday, 5-9 pm, Norristown Area High School, 1900 Eagle Drive. Norristown High Community Gift Wrapping Service & Free Concert. Enjoy the school's orchestral concert, enjoy the bake sale (during intermission), have your purchases wrapped in Christmas, Hanukkah, or Birthday paper, and purchase a ticket to win an amazing holiday baskets. Proceeds go to the NAHS Music Department.

Next Friday, December 21, 7-11 pm, Five Saints Distilling (Green and Main). UGLY Sweater Contest. Multiple categories Multiple awards-Spirits, Distillery Ware & Gear.

Next Saturday, 7-10 pm, Coffee Talk (507 W Marshall). Herman and Friends Holiday Show.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Pearl Harbor, Color Purple, Art Exhibit and more

Friday, December 7, 2 pm. Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library. A Different Look at Pearl Harbor. Learn through a visual presentation the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Michael Baron, professor at Temple University, also explores the commanders, tactics, intelligence, and blunders that precipitated America’s involvement in World War II. Contact Erin Corry, 610-278-5100 x0, erin.b.corry@gmail.com.

Friday, 8 pm, Theatre Horizon (401 Dekalb). The Color Purple. Other shows this week: Saturday 3 pm, Sunday 3 pm, Thursday, 7:30 pm. Tickets and complete schedule at this link. Info at 610-283-2230 or email ticket@theatrehorizon.org.

Saturday, 1-5 pm, Norristown Arts Building, 619 W Washington. Open Studio Tours & Reception for the Artists in the Annual Art Exhibition. Admission is FREE and Open to the Public.

Saturday, 8-11 pm, Five Saints Distilling (Green and Main). Jay and the Jury perform. No cover.

Monday, 6 pm, Municipal Hall, 235 E Airy. Municipal Council will hold a Special Meeting for the first reading of the proposed 2019 municipal budget/tax ordinance and will consider a motion to advertisement the proposed budget.

Monday, 6 pm, Timshel Coffee (104 E Main). Community Meeting hosted by Norristown Citizens in Action. Free food and drink. For more info, contact 610-209-3769. Or Facebook.com/norristowncitizensinaction.

Tuesday, 7 pm, Municipal Hall (235 E Airy). Planning Commission meeting.

Wednesday, 1-3:30 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Board Room. Mary's Matinee. Enjoy a free movie in our boardroom the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. This showing: "Three Identical Strangers." Drop in. For info, contact Mary Motta 610-278-5100 x111, mmotta@mclinc.org.

Thursday, 4-5 pm, Norristown Public Library. Teen Hot Chocolate Challenge. Teens can test flavors and vote for the best cocoa at this special event. Make and take your very own hot chocolate mix. Registration encouraged at the Front Desk.

Thursday, 6-8 pm, Municipal Hall (235 E Airy). Special Economic Development Meeting. Agenda: 1 West Main Project Update; 200 E Logan Land Development Proposal and Concept Plan; 410 Dekalb Land Development Proposal and Concept Plan; Riverfront Feasibility Planning Study Update; The How Group Concept plans for land development proposal.

Friday, November 30, 2018

The Color Purple and Holiday Crafts (both in 2 places) and More

Not much going on this week. Or, if there is, no one is publicizing their events in the usual places (Norristown.org, Nextdoor, Facebook, etc).

Friday, November 30, 8 pm, Theatre Horizon (401 Dekalb). The Color Purple. Other shows this week: Saturday at 3 pm and 8 pm, Thursday, 7:30 pm. Tickets and complete schedule at this link.  Info at 610-283-2230 or email ticket@theatrehorizon.org.

Sunday, 8 am-3 pm at Timshel Coffee (104 E Main). Holiday Card Crafting. All crafting materials supplied. Make your own card. $4. Timshel will even mail it for you.

Sunday, 6:30 pm, Coffee Talk (507 W Marshall). Purple, The Color of Love. Jam Session with the cast of Theatre Horizon's The Color Purple.

Tuesday, 2-3 pm, Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library Youth Services Department. For kids in grades K-6. Children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult. Snow Much Fun at the Library. Stop by the children's department and make a hanging snowman snow globe to take home. Norristown area schools early dismissal day activity. Contact 610-278-5100 x205.

Tuesday, 7:30 pm, Municipal Hall (235 E Airy). Council meeting.

Tuesday, 6:30-7:30 pm, Historical Society of Montgomery County, 1654 DeKalb. Introduction to Using DNA Testing in Genealogy, presented by Sydney F. Cruice Dixon, member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and has been actively researching family genealogies since 1995. Members $10; Nonmembers $20. For information or to reserve a seat: 610-272-0297. Contact Barry Rauhauser, 610-272-0297, contact@hsmcpa.org.

Next Friday, Dec 7, 2 pm. Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library. A Different Look at Pearl Harbor. Learn through a visual presentation the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Michael Baron, professor at Temple University, also explores the commanders, tactics, intelligence, and blunders that precipitated America’s involvement in World War II. Contact Erin Corry, 610-278-5100 x0, erin.b.corry@gmail.com.

Next Saturday, Dec 8, 1-5 pm, Norristown Arts Building, 619 W Washington. Open Studio Tours & Reception for the Artists in the Annual Art Exhibition. Admission is FREE and Open to the Public.

Next Saturday, 8-11 pm, Five Saints. Jay and the Jury perform. No cover.