Club News

Dr. Maria McGrath, Professor, Bucks County Community College

Dr. Maria McGrath, Professor, Bucks County Community College joined our breakfast meeting this morning.

Dr. McGrath has a PhD. From Lehigh University and her areas of expertise is Post-WWII History, particularly the 1960s.  She has just finished a book entitled Food for Dissent.  She focused on one of the themes in the book, the rise of natural foods in our culture.  Andrew Weil, a Harvard educated physician with a specialty in botany, is considered by many to be one of the founders of the natural food movement. In the mid-sixties, Weil, Richard Alpert, and Timothy Leary were among the earliest researchers on the impact botanical and synthetic drugs had on the brain. All three wrote articles about how such drugs as pot and LSD were going to change the world.

In the case of Alpert and Leary, they were fired from Harvard labs for experimenting with such drugs. Weil escaped that fate and went on to publish a landmark study on the Clinical and Psychological Effect of Pot on Men.  Its key finding was that the mindset of the individual directly affected the body’s responses, both placebo and experimental (who used cannabis) groups in his study showed improvements.

Weil’s work was picked up by the print media, and he became an even stronger proponent of the mind/body correlation. In addition to his private practice, Weil branched out into related products as services for the mass market. In two other books in the 70s, The Marriage of the Sun and Moon and Chocolate to Morphine,  Weil tried to convince Americans that altered states of consciousness existed and could, indeed, have a positive impact on health.  Unfortunately, with our focus on a “war on drugs”, Weil did not immediately find support for his views. However, over time and in part due to his PBS series and high-profile clients, he developed a large following in the 80s to present day.  He was, and remains, one of the key leaders in the integrative health movement worldwide. 

Weil Lifestyle LLC, his parent company, is very successful. Weil continues to teach at the University of Arizona, make selected TV appearances (on Dr. OZ, for example), and give speeches on his latest findings. He started a restaurant chain, “True Food Kitchen", and continues to staunchly defend “natural remedies, self-diagnosis, and avoidance of traditional doctors”.  Dr. McGrath suggested that perhaps one of the reasons we have not seen a broad expansion of some of his dietary recommendations is that natural foods cost more—in time and preparation. While Weil’s intentions are great, there are many millions of families who simply can’t afford to implement his recommendations.

After receiving a rousing round of applause at the end of her presentation, Dr. McGrath fielded our questions. She is also teaching an “almost all retiree” American History course starting on August 21 on the 60's. You can still sign up for it next week and join Irv and Alan in attending it!

Alan Agree, Dr. Maria McGrath and Jeff Revak


The Grey Nun Academy’s Closing Helping Us Support the William Dick School

While the announcement that the K-8 Grey Nun Academy was closing permanetly and more than 50 years of providing a quality Catholic education to area children,

it did present an opportunity for the Club. 

Dick Newbert reached out to Mrs. Deborah Kost, the schools, head administrator inquiring if any of the school's equipment, books and other materials might be made available to our Club for onward distribution to the William Dick School.  After a favorable response, we were able to borrow a 40' box truck from Bobby Burns of the Integrity Auto Gorup in Langhorne.

This morning, six Club members, along with Bobby's son, max

(l to r)  Alan Agree, Jeffy Redington, Syd Baron, Fred Edelman, Max Burns, Irv Perlsteein and Steve Manas

and William Dick School principal Amy WIlliams and her daaughter Alexis packed the truck  

with 35 Toshiba Google chrome computers, 8 – 3 sided tables,  4 adjustable  tables for class presentations, ~ 60 chairs for classrooms and offices, 4 microscopes, 5 pan balances, numerous books, a Nikon Camera, assorted desk top pieces for paper etc.,a new printer, one large square table with adjustable height, many basic school supplies, colored pencils, a hanging pull-down map of the world, a world globe and other items … collectively worth many thousands of dollars.

These items are presently being stored in the garages of two Club members and will be delivered to the William Dick School  prior to the beginning of teh 2019-20 school year.

While we all feel a local loss when an institution like Grey Nun must close.  However, the school's generosity to help our Club help the William Dick School is yet another example of the moral compass which carried the academy throughsince  it opening 1963.  Therefore, we though a quick look back at the school was appropriate.

Sponsored by the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart and located on the grounds of the former Motherhouse in Yardley, PA, Grey Nun Academy proclaims a rich history and heritage dating back to 1963. From its humble enrollment of nine kindergarten students housed in the original Manor House on the Dietz estate in October of '63, the original school was called d'Youville Manor Academy in honor of our community foundress, Marguerite d'Youville. Plans were soon made to add an additional class each year.

As the Sisters became established and well known in the local community, the school name was changed to Grey Nun Academy. Fundraising became important to support annual expansion and renovations.

Kindergarten children enjoyed field trips by train to Philadelphia and first graders to the Liberty Bell Race Tract and to the World's Fair in 1965.

Since the beginning, parents have always been an active, integral part of the Grey Nun Academy community. By 1968, a Home and School Organization was initiated and challenged to live out the theme: "If we succeed in our goals, then children will experience the joy of learning and their continued pursuit of this joy will become their own goal."

By fall 1972, Sacred Heart Junior College was closed and remodeled. The Academy lower school then took up residence there. Subsequent building projects have provided a multipurpose gymnasium, connecting to the Moyle Gallery and Fine Arts Center.

Until recently, the school was a thriving part of the community it serves, proudly educating children to carry out the mission of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart and to be thoughtful, compassionate, contributing members of our society.




More Donations from Toll Gate Grammar School

Pennington's Toll Gate School again reached out to the Club as they had more books and other school supplies they were replaceing. 

Irv Perlstien made a trip to the school and loaded his car.

Late next month, prior to start of the new school year, these books and supplies will be donated and delivered to the William Dick School.

On behalf of the Club and William Dick School, our thanks once again for the Toll Gate's generrosity.

Providing Dinner to Patients at Hope Lodge

Club members again visitedd Hope Lodge

to provide dinner fo the some 30 guests staying ther during the weeks they are undergoing cancer treatments at Philadlephia area hospitals.

(l to r)  Jeff Revak (club repsident), Fred and Fran Edelman, Alan Agree (Hope Lodge program chair), Jerry Redington, Estelle and Syd Baron, Ira and Robin Sherman, Debbie Issadore, Irv PErlstein, Art Issadore, Ed Carne, Donna Fine and Dick Newbert. – Photgrapher Debbie Newbert (not shown)

Club members always make it a point to join the residents for the always delicious dinner from Amato's and members' homemade deserts 

After, the Club's hosted its always anticipated "jeopardy" quiz game where Ed and Dick ask questions with the first resident with a correct response being awarded at gold dollar coin.

While everyone was enjoying dinner, Mother Nature had a field day … drenching rains … which resulted in some of the roads we were using to get home closed due to flooding and others with deep puddles.

WBCB’s “Let’s Go Places” Hosts The Rotary Club of Shady Brook

At the invitation of Tom Mellon, host of WBCB's (AM-1490 in Levittown),

A community-focused show with all the latest information on what is going on in the world of local law enforcement, fire departments, first responders, other medical personnel and most recently local educators . The show aalso places great emphasis on the support of veterans and and organization dedicated to the support of veterans.

Dick Newbert was a featured guest

(l to r) Charlie Espisito, Host Tome Mellon, Dick Newbert and Chris Bonner, one of the shows permanent sponsors

to talk about Rotary, the Rotary Club of Shady Brook, a number of the programs and initiaitves the Club actively supports and it's upcoming joint participation with the 

A unique organization dedicated to represent all of our first responders and their family members.

first annual awards banquet scheduled for next January.  Proceeds from this event will be divided between the Rotary Club of Shady Brook and the

which takes groups of World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to Washington DC where they visit many war anssd service-related memorials.  To view more about an October 22018 Tour of Honor, paste the following link into your browser.

Gift Certificate for a Needy Veteran

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of Irv Perlstein, the Club was able to present a gift certificate redeemable at ShopRite to staff members of State Representative Frank Farry. 

(l to r) Dick Newbert, Andrew Tomlinson and Ashley Conaway of Representative Farry's office and Irv Perlstein.

Frank will be donating the gift certifiate to Jessse Soby American Legion Post 148's Comander, Robert Osterhous who, in turn will give it to an extremely needy veteran who haas fallen on both medical and financial hard times.

Unfortunately, the real needs of too many of our nation's veterans must often be met by the efforts of volunteer organizations and charitable donations.  Our Club is fortunate to be able to play a small part in helping a few of the area's often forgotten veterans.

Joe Donnelly – Deputy Executive Director for Communications for the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission

We were delighted to have Joe Donnelly from the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission ("DRJTBC") join us this morning

to provide an historical background of the Scudder Falls Bridge and the bridge replacement project which is underway with parts of the project nearing completion.

The Scudder Falls Bridge derives its name from Richard Betts Scudder, who according to the Long Island Genealogy Surname Database, died in 1754 at “Scudders Fallssss I nHunterdon County, NJ (portions of Mercer County were part of Hunterdon County until 1838). One of Richard Scudder's ancestors from Kent, England was named Henry Skudder. The “k” in the surname apparently became a “c” at some point in time, helping to give the falls and modern-day bridge its name. The "falls" (really just an area of rapids) are located about ½ mile north of the bridge,

Following the destruction of the Yardley-Wilburtha Bridge in the August flood of 1955, plans were made to build a new bridge about 1.3 miles north of the old site.

The DRJTBC was responsible for the construction of the bridge, while New Jersey and Pennsylvania built the approaches to each side.  Because the bridge was not originally part of the Interstate Highway System, the cost of construction was not 90% covered by the Federal government.  Instead, they covered 50% of the cost of the new span, while New Jersey and Pennsylvania paid the remaining 50% of the total bill, as with an ordinary U.S. Highway route.

In April 1958, the location of the future Scudder Falls Bridge was approved with little opposition. Construction, overseen by the DRJTBC, began in May of the same year and was completed in 1959.

The new bridge, which had cost $8.4 million, didn't open to traffic on June 22, 1961 as the entrance and exit ramps were not complete until 18 months after the completion of the bridge itself.

The man in the light suit cutting the ribbon is a "Scudder"

The Yardley-Wilburtha Bridge was rebuilt as a temporary crossing before the Scudder Falls Bridge began being built.  It was completely torn down in 1961 when the Scudder Falls Bridge opened.  The Scudder Falls Bridge originally carried I-95over the Delaware River. I n March 2018, I-95 was renumbered to I-295 across the bridge as part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike/Interstate I-95 Interchange Project that completed the gap in I-95 … which not runs from Maine to Miami with no gaps.

The entire project consisted of a 4.4 mile stretch from Bear Tavern Road in Ewing New Jersey to the Newtown Bypass (PA-332) in Lower Makefield.

Its major elements and milestones were summarized as

New Scudder Falls Bridge

Replace the current congestion-prone, functionally obsolete Scudder Falls Bridge with a dual-span structure carrying six thru-traffic lanes (three in each direction) and three auxiliary lanes (two Pennsylvania to New Jersey bound, one New Jersey to Pennsylvania bound) for traffic merging onto and off the bridge and shoulders for breakdown/emergency access.

Noise-Abatement Walls

Erect noise-abatement walls where warranted in Pennsylvania and New Jersey as part of the main construction contract beginning in 2017 until project completion in 2021. Advance noise wall construction in Pennsylvania was completed in June 2017.

I-95/I-295 Roadway Improvements

Widen the bridge’s Pennsylvania I-295 approach, increasing the roadway to three lanes in each direction. Improve drainage and approach-roadway exit/entry transitions in New Jersey; both project components to be completed in 2021.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Path

Construct a pedestrian/bicycle walkway on the new bridge’s upstream side with ramps and pathways to recreational canal towpaths in Pennsylvania and New Jersey; open for public use in 2021.

Interchange Improvements

Reconstruct the entire I-295/Route 29 Interchange (Exit 76) and its associated ramps and structures in Ewing, New Jersey; to be completed late 2020 or early 2021. Reconfigure the I-295/Taylorsville Road Interchange (Exit 10) in Lower Makefield, PA; to be completed in 2021.

All-Electronic Tolling System

Install an all-electronic tolling (AET) gantry and related infrastructure for highway-speed toll collection using E-ZPass tag readers and high-speed cameras for license-plate billing in 2019; tolls collected in the Pennsylvania bound direction only.

Joe's eassy-ging style eenhanced his presentation

as he shared information on the progress of the replaacement bridge

and answering a wide-ranging number of questions about the project's future timing.

Approximately 135,000 cubic feet of concrete will be needed to complete the upstream span’s road deck.  That works out to around 20 million pounds of concrete, or roughly 10,000 tons.  More than 500 concrete truck loads will be needed to carry out the entire process.

Steel pans and rebar were installed across the entire bridge deck late last year in preparation for the pouring of the concrete deck.  This was followed the placement of the bridge’s steel support girders earlier in the year.  The girders sit atop bearings that allow for expansion and contraction of the bridge deck as temperature rise and ebb annually with the seasons.  The bearings rest on piers and abutments that were constructed in late 2017 and the first half of 2018.

The bridge’s upstream span is the first of two, side-by-side bridge structures that will comprise the Scudder Falls Toll Bridge.  Each structure will have continuous-span decks, a design that reduces the number of deck joints that can contribute to decay or failure in a bridge structure.

By July 10th, the off and on ramps to and from NJ-29 should be open and the new span will begin to carry two-way traffic.  The tolling of traffic (westbound into Pennsyvania – only) will begin at 12:01 AM on July 15th

The current bridge will then be removed and aa new eastbound (PA to NJ) bridge constructed. 

On the north side of the southbound lanes, a pedestrian/bike bridge will be opened with access to the canal paths in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey

When the project is finally completed in 2021, the lane profile will look as follows:

Joe also made a pitch for people who do not already have EZ Pass to get signed-up as the sysssstem is pervasive from Virginia to Illinois to Maine (excepting Connecticut and Vermont where there are no toll roads)

And it is economical.  In just one trip a month across the westbound lane of the new Scudder Falls Bridge a person could save moree than the monthly cost of having an EZ Pass transponder!

Thanks from VFW Post 6393, Yardley, PA

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6393 in Yardley has been the recipient of many of the gift cards the Club has purchased with monies it has solicited outsside a number of area supermarkets. 

While the Club never seeks recognition or thanks, it was heartwarming to reccive the following letter from Russ Davidson, the post commander.