Thursday, October 30, 2014

The greatness of Coach Fred Pickett

It's hard to think about the passing of Coach Fred Pickett and not get a little chocked up. 

His overwhelming success as the boys basketball coach at Chester High School is the legacy he's left behind but his impact on our community goes so much further than wins and loses on the court. 

Is there ever a time you've seen Fred without a smile on his face? In the midst of the most stressful, intense, competitive, and unfair situations on the court, Fred's gentlemanly demeanor was totally counter to other coaches you see perform in similar situations (including his assistant coaches).

They say players win games and coaches lose them and guys like me as spectators and fans took our shots at Fred from the stands for some of the decisions he made, but he just kept smiling and winning. 

Even these past couple years as Fred became increasingly gaunt and distressed, he still came out to games to show support, greeted his friends and acquaintances warmly, and kept smiling. 

I realized how much I missed Fred during the last Chester High football game I attended this year. It just wasn't the same not hearing his voice over the PA system from the press box. I had a few words with him as he sat in the car watching the football game besides the bleachers near the end zone. With all his buddies standing around the car yucking it up as usual, none of us imagined a time when Fred wouldn't be around to enjoy some good high school competition with us.

Along with all the State Championship banners, 1000 point scorers, retired jerseys, Harlem Globe Trotters and NBA player photos that hang on the walls of the 'Clip-Joint', I can't wait to see the tribute we bestow for the greatest of Fred Pickett.

Guys like him come along once in a lifetime. 

ELECTION 2014: Is party loyalty wrong?

People are less judgmental about different lifestyles, but they are more judgmental about policy labels.

More people are building their communal and social identities around political labels. Your political label becomes the prerequisite for membership in your social set.

Those who are not members of the right party are deemed to lack basic compassion, or basic loyalty to country.

Click HERE for entire article

Boys & Girls Club of Chester Focused on Career Development with $1.4 Million Grant

October 28, 2014 (Chester, Pa) – The Boys & Girls Club of Chester recently received a $1.4 million Face-Forward 2 sub-grant from Connection Training Services of Philadelphia. This three year Department of Labor grant creates the opportunity for a new program to be developed in Chester that is focused on addressing the employment barriers of court-involved young people between the ages of 14-24, while helping these young people to develop the employment skills needed to obtain lucrative employment.  

With a goal of more than 200 young people to receive this impactful level of assistance, the Boys & Girls Club realizes that this must be a local and County-wide integrated partnership to ensure future success for the young people and the community. 

CHA Staff team with community children, Urban Tree Connection and Swarthmore students at Community Garden

The Chester Housing Authority’s community garden underwent major preparation for next year’s harvest over the weekend.

Children from the community joined with CHA staff, the Urban Tree Connection and students from Swarthmore College’s Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility to build the final of 50 raised planting beds in the community garden at Ruth L. Bennett Homes. 

Helpers included very young residents of Bennett Homes.

“Aside from not needing to stoop when planting, caring for and harvesting, the beds will allow us to get a head start on the planting season because in the spring the elevated soil heats up sooner than the ground,” said CHA Executive Director Steven Fischer.  “We have moved gradually over the past five years with our garden but we think building and seeding additional beds is going to take us to a new higher level in the spring and summer.”

This is all part of a long-term plan to teach children how to garden, produce food right here in the community, and to market.   

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Photos from Unity Center Banquet

Cocktail Hour

Cory Long rockin' the mic as usual

Della Beaver striking a pose

The Gifts

The ubiquitous Kenny Covert and Dr. Dexter Davis 

My first cheerleader in Biddy League.
Look, we still wear the same uniform - crazy. Kim LeCato.

A unique yet beautiful space for a banquet. Neumann University

Dray Clark and I agreeing that he'll do the talking while I'll do the writing

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chester's Unity Center celebrates with banquet

Unity Center Inc. at 9th and Kerlin/Butler Streets, has been serving the Chester community since 1987 beginning with transitional housing and now focused on youth and community development. They celebrated last night at Neumann University with a grand banquet honoring supporters and featuring Dray Clark as keynote speaker. 

Dray Clark put it down as usual. If you want to see his entire speech, request it in a comment below. 
Gene Foehl, Unity Center head.
Cheryl Stevens

Amber Stevens

Nancy M. Foehl Service Award recipient, Janet Jones

Nieshaia Williamson and son Nazir Williamson

Monday, October 27, 2014

Diversity Career Fair For EDUCATORS

Click to Enlarge
Each year Nemnet sponsors regional Diversity Career Fairs that provide minority Students and Alumni an opportunity to meet and interview with over 300 Public & Private Schools [k-12]This year, Nemnet will hold fairs in the following states; MA, NJ, DC, GA and PA

If your students are looking for employment in EDUCATION as a TEACHER, SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR or COACH, 
tell them to register online today! [ ]  

• This Service and Admission is FREE
• Access to Over 1000 Jobs nationwide
• On-Site Interviews
• BA Degree Required [all majors welcomed]
• Prior Experience is helpful but not required
• Resume Posting
• Career Consultation, Advice and more!

Teachers [all subjects /all grades]• Coaches • Admissions Reps • Business Managers • Counselors • Dean of Students • Diversity & Technology Coordinators • and more! 

This is a Free Event for Job Seekers. 

If you have any questions or require additional information, do not hesitate to call or visit us on-line at 

Lena Taylor | Assistant Director 
NEMNET Minority Recruitment  
P.O. Box 6142 West Orange, NJ 07052-6142 
888.919.1112 Phone/Fax 
Website |  
Mobile iPhone APP |  
Facebook |  

Twitter |


MEDIA- October 30th is National Weatherization Day.  Weatherization provides a cost-effective permanent solution for reducing the heavy energy burden on low-income Americans.  As the cold weather approaches, most families across the country are turning up their thermostats to combat dropping temperatures.  For low-income families, however, cranking up the heat is not always an option.  These families pay 14.4% or more of their annual incomes for energy compared with only 3.3% for other non low-income families. The Weatherization Program is available to help make low-income households more energy efficient.   

The Weatherization Assistance Program in Delaware County is administered by the Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc. (CAADC).  The program provides quality energy education and home conservation modifications.  On average, the program reduces heating bills by 20-30%.  All services are free of charge.

Edward T. Coleman, Chief Executive Officer of CAADC, urged, “This program can make a real tangible difference immediately to those already on a strained budget and continue to help them in the future.  This is an excellent time to call and get fast service before winter arrives and the program gets very busy.” 

Annual income guidelines currently are:
Family of 1: $23,340
Family of 2: $31,460
Family of 3: $39,580
Family of 4: $47,700
Family of 5: $55,820
Add $8,120 for each additional family member.

Funding for this program is provided by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.  To apply for the Weatherization Program or for additional information, residents can contact CAADC at (610) 521-8770. 

The entire article: Is Chester Housing Authority the city's best landlord?

Donnie Evans, an itinerant handyman in 
the city of Chester, Pa., 
desperately needed somewhere to stay.
A former dockworker who had struggled to get by since the city’s shipyards closed in 1989, Evans, 51, was in a fight with his girlfriend. The one thing they agreed on was that it would be best for him to move out of the apartment they shared — and fast. The situation felt urgent; he had no leads on apartments he could afford, and the waiting lists for the Chester Housing Authority’s Section 8 vouchers and project-based housing were closed. When a landlord Evans knew offered him a place, he did not refuse.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Is Chester Housing Authority the city's best landlord?

This property on Rt. 291 is fast
becoming the symbol of Chester's
desperate times. Photo: Paul Gargagliano. 
Jake Blumgart wrote a chilling story of a Chester resident and his struggles obtaining decent housing in Chester. The story can be found on the Next City website. Below are a few excerpts from the long article. If I get enough comments requesting the entire article, I'll print it. 

  • Chester is what is known, in real estate industry jargon, as a “weak market city.” The phrase means what it sounds like. The city is poor and its economy stagnant. The median home sale price in Chester in 2012 was $20,000, compared to $69,350 in nearby Wilmington and $98,000 in Philadelphia. Fewer than half of Chester’s working-age adults are employed, and a third of the population is living at or below the poverty line. In a city where median rent is $790, 51.5 percent of households pay 35 percent or more of their income to their landlords.

  • In 2012, there were 667 home sales in the city, but only 33 were purchased with a mortgage. (Investors generally finance their purchases through other means, so comparing mortgages to total sales is a reliable way to measure owner-occupancy.) Nationally about half of home sales are completed without a mortgage, but in Chester the proportion is nearer to one mortgage for every 20 sales. 

  • “In Chester, [the term] slumlord has to be used very selectively to maintain the value of the word,”...

  • Many of the landlords he comes into contact with aren’t bad people, he says, they are simply unprepared to provide housing for an incredibly high-need population. 

  • With very little property tax revenue coming in to City Hall, the single city inspector charged with making sure properties meet code regulations is stretched thin.

  • Everything changes for those low-income renters who manage to make it on the Chester Housing Authority rolls. The CHA serves 2,366 families, about 8,000 people. More than half of these households — 1,566 families — receive Section 8 vouchers, which don’t have to be used within city limits but often are.

  • In an age when innovation and entrepreneurship are the buzzwords that get cities’ attention, it’s easy to overlook the power of well-run legacy public agencies like housing authorities. Yet in Chester, no one developer has done as much to improve the city as the CHA has. Higher-profile projects such as PPL Park, the soccer stadium for the Philadelphia Union (supported by $77 million in public subsidies), that was supposed to “change the face of Chester forever,” in the words of then-governor Ed Rendell, have done far less for the city’s residents.

  • Cities like Chester are, after all, the reason government got involved in the housing market in the first place. “In most cities at most times, public housing provides a better alternative than private-sector housing in poor neighborhoods,” writes Edward Goetz in New Deal Ruins: Race, Economic Justice, and Public Policy. But federal the government long ago abandoned the idea of building more project-based public housing, and today even its cheaper alternatives, like Section 8 vouchers and low-income housing tax credits, are stunted by Congress.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Film Festival for Fathers

"Every Father is a Story"
Getting men together to talk about their experiences being a father doesn’t draw a big crowd but it sure is rewarding. Men openly talk about man stuff but rarely talk about fathering and rarely share experiences about their own father in conversations with other men. Women don’t have this problem. The joys and perils of motherhood is a favorite topic among them.

Butch Slaughter introducing the festival format
The Faces of our Fathers Film Festival (FFFF) is taking the father issue head on by showing short films dedicated to daddy conundrums. FFFF pioneer Butch Slaughter is definitely not catering to an eager audience clamoring for this daddy focused entertainment, but he still sees value in using the film festival approach to build an audience to focus on daddy issues.

L-R: Steve Fischer, Rod Powell, Jon Whitington representing
father support group 'Father's are Talking'.
Not shown, Stefan Roots because he was taking the
photo. And no, these guys really aren't sleeping

Friday, October 24, 2014

Kerlin Street Classic 2014

Oops. Actual date was October 18.

Kenny Covert honored by Minaret Court #154

Minaret Court #154 honored Kenny Covert for his work with Chester city youth on Saturday, October18. 
L-R:, Jennie McCartthy, Kathy Jackson, Vivian Covert, Kenny Covert, Cory Long

Kenny Covert gets advice and support from Noble John Goss, P.P., Imperial Deputy for the Desert of Pennsylvania

Kenny Covert makes a point to thank his supporters

VIDEO: Lipstick Lineup Event empowers women on the move

Panelist from the October 12 Lipstick Lineup on Atlanta

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Governor Tom Corbett's "Revictimization" Law Stirs Controversy due to Mumia Abu-Jamal connection

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Days after convicted murderer Mumia Abu-Jamal delivered a taped address at his alma mater at Godard College in Vermont, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed the state's Revictimization Relief Act into law near the site of the 1981 slaying of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner - the crime Abu-Jamal was found guilty of.

Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence in the murder, and did so again in his recorded remarks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Widener University Art Gallery Hosts Third Annual CareLink Art Exhibition

Chester, Pa. – The Widener University Art Gallery will host the Third Annual CareLink Art Exhibition, highlighting the many gifted artists involved with CareLink programs, from October 25 to November 26.

Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns to Speak at Widener University Nov 10

Chester, Pa.—Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, renowned for his landmark public television series Baseball and The Civil War, will speak at Widener University at 1 p.m. Monday, November 10 in Kapelski Learning Center Lecture Hall #1. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. To reserve seating, call610-499-4112 or e-mail

When did teens stop working at the mall?

While making the point that entry-level retail jobs at the mall are for teens, I was presented with the fact that there aren’t many teens working at the mall. I had to eat my own words. When I quickly considered my last few visits to the mall, I had to agree that there aren’t many teens working at the mall.

Faces of our Fathers Film Festival at Neumann University Friday

Click to Enlarge

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chester Housing Authority Recognized for Managing Safe Properties

Chester Housing Authority Executive Director Steven A. Fischer 
and Director of Housing Operations Norman D. Wise 
proudly display HAI Group awards for safe properties. 
(Chester, PA-October 10, 2014)- There was a time when the Chester Housing Authority (CHA) faced constant lawsuits related to ‘slips & falls.’ But like so many of the legacy issues that once plagued CHA, the non-stop lawsuits have now slowed to a trickle.

HAI Group, an organization that serves the public and affordable housing community with niche insurance programs and other value-added products and services, has presented CHA with its Low Loss Achievement Award; an honor recognizing the relatively small number of personal injuries that occur on CHA property. The award marks the second consecutive three-year period for which CHA was recognized. 

“The safety of our residents is always our top concern,” said CHA Executive Director Steven A. Fischer. “Being safe means protecting our communities from crime but it also means maintaining our properties in a manner that makes accidents less likely.  I want to give special recognition to Director of Housing Operations Norman Wise and the maintenance staff for their diligence in improving site conditions.”

The award covers a three-year period and takes into account the number of claims and how much the claims were settled for. 

“We look at the costs of claims the housing authority received compared to the premiums they paid to arrive at a loss ratio,” said Elizabeth Owens, Director of Risk Control and Consulting at HAI Group. 

HAI Group is a member-owned company, so housing authorities that do a good job of preventing losses earn a dividend, calculated once a year. In effect, this means lower insurance costs for CHA, allowing the agency to use more of its resources for housing. 

“The better CHA performs, the lower the costs they’re going to have on their insurance. The numbers show CHA is taking that responsibility to heart,” Owens said. “Residents should feel reassured that they live at a property where chances are lower they will be injured in an accident.”

Liability insurance covers residents, visitors and vendors injured on CHA sites. (Employee injuries are handled through workers compensation.)

“When you consider all the snow and ice we encountered last winter and our speed in clearing common areas and sidewalks, you get a sense of our priority for keeping people safe – and keeping our insurance costs down,” Fischer said. “The recognition from HAI Group validates our resolve.”  

Rotary Club of Chester Brings Smiles to the Community

Chester Rotarians gathered in front of Chester City Hall
to plant flowers and add some fall colors to the
base of the Chester Rotary Clock.
Pictured left to right are, Warren Sell,
La Tanya Burno, Louise Vitiello Burroughs
and Joe Saunders.
(October 16, 2014) (Chester, Pa) — The Rotary Club of Chester has active and compassionate members that routinely get involved in community service projects that help Chester and other local communities. Each month the Rotarians schedule a service project for the 3rd week of the month that creates an opportunity for the business leaders and community advocates to interact with students of all ages, local business owners, community leaders and/or seniors who could use a helping hand. During September, the Rotarians increased their service events to include three separate outreach activities as smiles were shared from a member’s house to elementary school classrooms to an event in front of Chester’s City Hall.

Eleven members of the Rotary Club of Chester
recently gathered at Francy Cross’s home
to label and organize books for local 3
grade classrooms.
Pictured left to right are,
Warren Sell, Bill Atlee, Aubrey Proud,
Faith Holefelder, Michael Cantland,
Joe Saunders, Art Sybrandy,
Kimberly Koterba, La Tanya Burno and
Louise Vitiello Burroughs.
Not pictured, Francy Cross.

Annual Food Drive and Toy Drive at Crozer-Keystone

October 17, 2014 (Springfield, Pa) – Crozer-Keystone Health System employees have a long-standing tradition of helping their neighbors in need through numerous community outreach efforts, including the health system’s annual food drive and toy drive. This year’s food drive is scheduled from Oct. 27 to Nov. 24, with the toy drive immediately following from Nov. 24 to Dec. 19. The Community Action Agency of Delaware County (CAADC) is the primary beneficiary for both the food drive and toy drive, and Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Prospect Park is the beneficiary of the food drive at Taylor Hospital. 

Kent Cook Scholarship deadline Nov 4

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program is an undergraduate scholarship program available to high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend and graduate from the nation's best four-year colleges and universities. 

Selected from a nationwide pool of applicants, up to 40 students will become Jack Kent Cooke Scholars and have access to funding for up to four years for undergraduate studies.

Click HERE to apply

Help for High Schoolers - College Common Application

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Villanova University is hosting a hands-on workshop for high school seniors to work on and complete their college Common Application on Tuesday, November 4th (Election Day) on Villanova's campus from 1 pm - 3 pm. Computer access for each student will be available. A representative from Villanova's University Admissions Office will be on hand to answer questions.

Please RSVP by October 28th if you plan to attend. Space is limited. RSVP to or call 610.519.4074.

Villanova is easily accessible via Septa. The following routes all have stops on Villanova's campus:
Regional Rail - Paoli/Thorndale Line
Norristown High Speed trolley from 69th street terminal
Route 105 Bus from 69th St. terminal

Chester Community Charter School To Premiere Art and Music Programs with Grand Opening Exhibit

Chester, PA, October 20, 2014 – On Tuesday, October 21, more than 1,000 students, parents and community members of Chester Community Charter School (CCCS), the largest K-8 charter school in Pennsylvania, are expected to attend, on CCCS’ East campus, the school’s first-ever “Night of the Arts,” a red carpet event wherein students and their families participate in a newly created, interactive art and music program. The event will also be presented on Tuesday, October 28 on CCCS’ West campus, and Tuesday, November 4, on the school’s Upland campus. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Jimai Springfield inducted to Cheyney University Athletic Hall of Fame

Jimai receives Hall of Fame induction photo for his excellence as a Cheyney University basketball player in the 1990s.

Jimai with his backcourt mate and fellow inductee Anthony Carr 
NBC4 Washington D.C. anchor Jim Vance as Master of Ceremonies

Cheyney University Acting President Dr. Phyliss Worthy-Dawkins

Miss Cheyney 2014-15 Ms. Kristan Justice

VIDEO: Young black lady creates huge Apple App

Thursday, October 16, 2014

REVIEW: Please Stop Helping Us by Jason L. Riley

When I first tried to get my paws on this book it was on backorder. That gave me a clue that it was more popular than I imagined. The little I heard about it was interesting, but after reading it, I totally underestimated its significance.

This is the book all blacks should read and the book most blacks will hate.

The book reminds me of a saying my first boss liked to use. “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I’ve made up my mind.” Other sayings that apply are, “Figures lie and liars figure”, “You are entitled to your opinions, but not your facts”, and “You can’t handle the truth.”

In a nutshell, what ‘Please Stop Helping Us’ describes are many of the practices and policies that keep black people behind. Some of them are obvious like single parent households and inner city schools. But when Riley goes in on affirmative action, black politics, criminal justice, war on poverty, Booker T. Washington versus W.E.B. Dubois, civil rights, and acting white, he brings a perspective rarely articulated with plenty of supporting documentation. As Arsenio Hall says, it’s full of  ‘Things that make you say, hummm!”

One of my current challenges is understanding why so many young adult blacks with much potential have so little ambition. I have gained a valuable awaking to what is causing much of this condition from reading this book.

If you’re looking for an engaging read that will stir your emotions, read ‘Please Stop Helping Us.’

Widener University Hosts Screening of Documentary “1971” about Burglary of Media, Pa. FBI Office

Chester, Pa.—In 1971, Media, Pa. became the focus of an intense FBI manhunt to discover who broke into the bureau’s office there and stole all of the files, leaving only questions that remained unanswered for more than 40 years. Earlier this year, former Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger answered many of the questions in her book “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.” Now, the story is also being told in the documentary film “1971” which debuted at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.

Widener University will host a screening of “1971” followed by a discussion including Medsger and Chester, Pa. Mayor John Linder at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in Founders Hall Room 109. Copies of Medsger’s book will be available for purchase at the event, and she will hold a book signing following the panel discussion. Sponsored by Widener University, the Widener Black Student Union and the Widener Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the event is free and open to the public.

A group calling themselves the “Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI” took responsibility for the burglary and mailed copies of the stolen files to members of the news media, including Medsger, and to the organizations being investigated by the FBI. Among the documents stolen from the FBI office was a file on the bureau’s investigation of the Black Student Union at Widener, then known as PMC Colleges. Linder, a 1976 graduate of Widener, was a member of the Black Student Union at the time of the burglary.

Screening followed by panel discussion with “The Burglary” author Betty Medsger and Chester Mayor John Linder

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Avery Sunshine nominated for Soul Train Award

This year’s Soul Train Awards will air on Sunday, November 30 on BET. Chester’s Avery Sunshine is nominated for her first big award in the Centric Certified Award category reserved for music’s next superstars. 

She shares the category with Kelis, Leela James, Luke James, Robert Glasper, and Shaliek. This diverse collection of nominees makes it tough to compare one to the other unlike those in the normal categories which all share the same musical style, i.e. Hip Hop, R&B, Gospel, etc.