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Geese chasing dog

Geese chasing dog

​Each day, Lisa Backe, "Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator" of the Goose Squad, LLC travels 100 miles and opens the door to her car at 28 different sites to allow her dog to chase away unwanted Canada geese. Your correspondent ran into Lisa and her small, friendly, rescue dog, Rita, on their second trip that day to the Morris Arboretum in Northwest Philadelphia, zipping around in a small car to the geese hotspots. It's a matter of harnessing the dog's natural instincts to chase the birds, Backe says. Goose Squad owner Joe Rocco estimates that seventy percent of the geese in our area reside here year round. Grazing on plentiful open grassy, areas each bird can leave a pound and a half or more of droppings a day. "We get the flock out of here" is the company's motto. Alas for your correspondent on this particular afternoon, the flock had already gotten out of there so there are no action shots in the video. Watch video interview here.

Goose Squad


Mail Carrier wears tank top to beat heat

Mail carrier beats heat in tank top

Kalam Shaheen a new United States Postal Service mail carrier hasn't yet received an official uniform allowance so when a guy came around the Post Office [in the hot weather] offering workers tank tops emblazoned with the Postal Service logo, she bought one out of pocket. Now she believes she is starting a style trend among "the girls."  Your correspondent recalled seeing her making deliveries Sunday, the day before. Shaheen says that substitutes are required to work Sundays, delivering Amazon packages. She knows she has a lot of hard work ahead of her the next couple years but as someone who hasn't attended college. she is hoping to turn this job into a career as it offers benefits and a pension. Watch video here.


Meet these local soapmakers

They make soap and more

Watch video here.

Tim Minor and Theresa Peoples who originally were in IT fields started a bath and body business 14 years ago because they wanted soap where good ingredients like shea butter, coconut and olive oils were the primary constituents. Theresa concocts the soaps and Tim builds the molds to hold them. They experiment with new products: pureed cucumbers work just fine for their "cool cucumber" but not all fruits are amenable to the hot, lye using process. The couple also runs a mobile spa, giving massages and applying their fragrant essences. They were outside of Weavers Way Coop, one location where they market their locally produced products, as part of "meet the makers day."


She helps people find work

Helps people find work

Sandy Ellis-Johnson, an interviewer at the Pa Career Link in Germantown (Philadelphia) office for helping people get jobs is the first staffer a person meets.  According to Ellis-Johnson, employees laid off from jobs may find they do not have up to date skills necessary for re-entering the job market. Like the now unemployed baker who has been doing the same job for 30 years. The busy center holds workshops throughout the week on topics such as how to use the job gateway website to find jobs, resume writing and do's and dont's of interviewing. Clients may also be assigned a workforce advisor for one-on-one help in landing a job. From a list, Ellis-Johnson reads off the "hot" jobs these days - merchandisers, auto mechanics, CNAs, registered nurses, forklift drivers, administrative assistants, cooks. She enjoys meeting people from all walks of life, she relates. "We're all basically the same. We all have to find a means of income and we're all looking to just do better." Watch video interview here.

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick play music for public

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick

If you've ever had a butterfly collection, "Sad Patrick" says, you know the butterflies didn't die naturally- they were either stuffed in a jar and suffocated or stabbed with a pin. The realization gave Patrick the idea to title a love song, "Jar and Pin." He accompanies vocalist partner Bethlehem on the guitar at an impromptu concert on Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, one recent summer Saturday afternoon. Watch music video here. The duo cover "You are So Beautiful" here.

Bethlehem and Sad Patrick


Uber Pool confuses riders

Úber Pool confuses riders

I was the first of three riders and we were all a little confused about how many potential riders there could be, how far out of our way we'd be going, who would be dropped off first and how the fare would be split if we're all starting and ending at different locations. We did conclude that we saved some money, lost some time and our driver had to work harder with all the intermediate pickups and drop offs. Watch video interview here.


Felling a diseased tree

Park service fells diseased tree

Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation project coordinator Curt Helm oversaw the felling and removal of three large diseased trees at the Allens Lane Art Center. The trees were in danger of falling onto the playing fields or the other way over power lines and onto McCallum Street which bears significant vehicular traffic. Helm, with direct experience in the field, complimented the adroitness of the park's subcontractors. As the final chainsaw cuts were made to the diseased oak tree, it began to tumble. A truck with a rope attached to the tree began to pull it forward in the direction the contractors wanted the tree to fall. A couple seconds later the top branches hit the ground with a resounding crash.  The two other trees to be taken down that day were ashes. Sadly, Helm reports, all the park's ash trees will eventually succumb to the emerald ash borer and, for safety reasons, will be taken down within the next five to ten years. Watch video here


Striking Verizon workers picket

Verizon workers picket

Unionized Verizon telephone company workers (Communication Workers of America - CWA) conducting an informational picket outside the Chestnut Hill Philadelphia central station, which houses thirty to forty thousand landline connections, explain why they are on strike. They object to high executive pay and unwillingness to sign a contract without concessions from workers giving the company the right to reassign them to locations 50 or even a couple hundred miles away, freeze their pensions at 30 years of service and outsource their jobs to workers in the Philippines or Mexico. Watch video interview here.


Makes custom pewter gifts

Forges pewter giftware

Kyle Gerckin, head of the caster department at Wendell August: American Made Gifts in Grove City, PA shows how to pour pewter into a custom-made mold to create an ornament.  Next to its flagship store featuring hand-hammered metal gift items, the forge, in operation since 1923, is open to the public and offers tours. According to Gerckin, the pewter mixture Wendell August buys as ingots and melts down is composed of 90 percent tin, bismuth for its bonding properties, copper and a little bit of silver. The advantage of pewter, Gerckin says, is that it looks like silver but is less expensive and easy to work with.

Wendell August forge tours