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World of Beer prepares for Exton opening

Central Chester County is about to become home to a new craft beer tavern. World of Beer Franchising Inc. announced it is opening its first location in Pennsylvania in Main Street at Exton on the site of what had been a Wendell August wrought aluminum giftware shop that closed in January 2013. Beer isn’t in the title of the new business that plans to open in May for nothing. World of Beer franchise locations have over 500 bottles of the suds, 50 rotating taps, a cask engine and an infusion tower.

The franchise, which goes by the acronym of WOB, operates more than 75 taverns in 21 states. WOB-Exton will be located across Commerce Drive from the township building and employ about 75 people. “We feel this is a great beer market with a lot of craft beer consumers,” said Jason Asher, regional general manager. “Craft beer is exploding. Wines exploded about 20 years ago and now it’s beer’s turn. There are a lot of (beer lovers) out there who want to try new things.” That is one reason World of Beer sends new employees to a two-week school to educate them about beer.

“If we’re not introducing you to new beers we’re not doing our job,” Asher said. “If you sit down and order a Blue Moon, we’ll suggest other beers you might like as well. We try to give the best experience possible.” Asher said the Exton World of Beer location will partner with many local breweries, including: Victory Brewing of Dowingtown; Levante Brewing of West Chester; Sly Fox Brewery of Phoenixville; Tröegs Brewing of Hershey; Weyerbacher Brewing Company of Easton; Stoudts Brewing Adamstown; Lancaster Brewing of Lancaster; Conshohocken Brewing of Conshohocken; Tired Hands Brewing of Ardmore and Yards Brewing of Philadelphia.

In keeping with the craft beer culture, WOB rotates taps daily so guests will have a different choice on every visit. WOB pairs its craft brews with the franchise’s “Tavern Fare” menu. Items include the Giant Bavarian Pretzels, a Guinness “Brat” Slider and the Chimay Burger topped with melted Chimay cheese made at the brewery in Belgium. Asher said World of Beer has been working on renovating the building since November. The 3,885-square-foot tavern, with a 1,000-square-foot outdoor patio, will feature the franchise’s archetype design. They showcase the hundreds of bottled beers offered through the windows of the tavern’s signature beer cooler, and a long bar features rows of taps. “The state of Pennsylvania has a long-standing adoration for great beer paired with great food, which is why we picked this location to open a new WOB,” Brian Pugh, WOB-Exton owner, said in a statement. “Our tavern’s database includes beer in 68 styles from 47 states and 82 countries, guaranteeing an experience that guests can’t get anywhere else.”

The newest business fits in well with Main Street at Exton’s future plans, an executive with the management company said. “We are delighted that World of Beer selected the historic barn at Main Street at Exton for its first Pennsylvania location,” said Jennifer Houghton, director of leasing for Plymouth Meeting-based Wolfson Group Inc., which developed and manages Main Street at Exton. “As one of the region’s few open air lifestyle centers, Main Street at Exton offers World of Beer a perfect setting … and the landmark barn is a unique, authentic building that really resonated for them.” The exact opening date was not determined as of Wednesday. But Asher said WOB would hold a fundraiser around the opening date for pediatric cancer research with a goal of raising $10,000.

– WOB-Exton will be open from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit http://worldofbeer.com/Locations/Exton.

 

Brian McCullough

Fugett eighth graders compete to advance to ‘Shark Tank’

The eighth graders at Fugett Middle School were eager to pull any judges their way to take a look at all the hard work put into their ideas. All around the cafeteria were posterboards and excited students, but it wasn’t for a typical science fair. Instead, these computer science students had teamed up into groups to create, promote and “sell” something as part of the business they created.

“We sell it and teach it as them just coming together as a group to generate a concept, idea or project,” said Tracy Clark, a co-founder of the event and computer science teacher at Fugett. “It can be a remix of something you have already seen, but you think you can make it better, or it can be an original idea.”

On Thursday afternoon, the student teams displayed their finished projects, which varied from tutoring, an app for finding available parking spots, makeup and a date-rape drug detector in the form of a bracelet. Judges walked among the groups with a sheet to score the groups on their websites, videos and logos and scratching.

“Each individual student in the team of three is responsible for that task, whether it’s the website, scratch programming or video production,” Clark said. “From there, they do a project management kind of thing.”

But that’s not all that the students did. Some groups went above and beyond, having sweatshirts made, having lipsticks to show off and even bracelets. “Some are doing extras, like building an app, T-shirts and logos,” said Bobby Swier, co-founder and another computer science teacher at Fugett. “It’s as much as a real-life business company as you can get in eighth grade. Anyone can go and make a website without actually adding to it. Some people have different features, where there are links to their Facebook and Twitter, and they have an account where you can buy specific items on there.”

Funded by a grant from the West Chester Area Education Foundation, the top two or three groups from the day will move on to the Shark Tank and go against two or three teams who advance from the fourth marking period, which will go through the same process.

Thursday’s event was more of a preliminary, as Clark called it.

The Shark Tank is based off of the reality television show on ABC and, just like the show, the groups will face a panel of judges – the sharks – who will grill the students on their business.

“The kids really get involved and take it another level,” Swier said. “It’s nice when you have people from the business world actually give feedback to the students and some of them are projects where you look at them and they could actually be sold and we could buy it today. They’re that good. It’s really impressive for eighth graders.”

Just like the three girls who came up with the date-rape detecting pill, who were eager to share this potentially life-saving idea.

One of the girls admitted the idea stemmed from a relative of hers who went through the experience of a date-rape drug.

These girls invented a fashionable bracelet with a dangle charm. Pretty normal looking to anyone. Except the dangle charm holds a pill in it that can be put into a drink and test to see if it has been contaminated with a drug. The pill will fizzle if it detects something in the drink and if it’s fine, it will just quickly evaporate.

“The projects that move forward are those that are real,” Clark said. “Last year, we had a website where I thought I was actually designing my own cell phone case. I get to the checkout and I couldn’t (buy it) and I worked backwards and saw it was one of our projects. It’s that real, authentic, genuine kind of whatever-it-is and that’s what pushes them forward.”

The students only have from the beginning of the marking period to start coming up with their ideas and come out with the completed concept, which has only been since the end of January.

“Some kids crunch it out at the last minute, but it is overwhelming to see eighth graders come up with the designs and the concepts that they do,” Swier said.

For the Shark Tank, which will happen later in the school year, the finalists will present not only in front of the judges, but the entire eighth grade. The winners will receive a big prize, which is kept under wraps so as to not ruin the surprise. However, it is something they will all enjoy. “These are eighth graders engaging in something they like, but it’s also pretty high-level academically, too,” Clark said.

 

By Candice Monhollan, cmonhollan@ 21st-centurymedia.com

PennDOT to replace Birmingham Road bridge in Birmingham

Construction is scheduled to begin the week of April 11 to replace the Birmingham Road bridge over Radley Run in Birmingham, Chester County, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) said.

The Birmingham Road bridge has been closed to motorists since Sept. 22, 2015 due to severe structural damage. The bridge is located between the intersections of Lambourne Road and Stoney Run Drive.

During the bridge closure, Birmingham Road through traffic is detoured over Route 52 (Lenape Road), Creek Road and Route 926 (Street Road). Local access is maintained up to the construction zone. Motorists are advised to allow extra time when traveling through the area.

PennDOT will remove the old bridge and construct a new, cast-in-place concrete bridge. The new one-span structure will be 18 feet long and 24 feet wide. It will carry one travel lane in each direction.

The existing one-span, steel-beam bridge was built in 1938. It is 15 feet long and 26 feet wide. The structure was posted with a 18-ton weight limit and carried an average of 3,553 vehicles a day when it closed.

Loftus Construction, Inc., of Cinnaminson, N.J., is the general contractor on the $500,000 project that is funded with 100 state funds.

Motorists can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 770 traffic cameras.

511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

West Chester Microtel Inn Robbery

Authorities in West Goshen Township are asking for the public’s help in their search for two armed robbery suspects. The men walked into the Microtel Inn along Willowbrook Lane in West Chester Monday 09/14/2015 morning, armed with guns.

They got away with an undetermined amount of cash. No one was injured in the incident.

Anyone with information on the identities and/or whereabouts of the suspects is urged to contact police.