Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chester Charter School for the Arts Posts Huge Improvement in Academic Results; Charter is Renewed for Five Years

Akosua Watts, Principal and
Chief Executive Officer at CCSA
November 14, 2014 – On Friday, November 7, the Pennsylvania Department of Education released its 2013-2014 school performance data for all Pennsylvania schools. Schools are ranked according to their School Performance Profile Academic score (SPP). 

Chester Charter School for the Arts (CCSA), a non-profit, arts-enriched, public charter school recorded an SPP score of 71.7 on a scale of 100. 

CCSA ranked number one for growth and academic achievement in the Chester Upland School District and achieved the 3rd largest year over year improvement among 800 peer schools in the five-county Philadelphia region. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Does Harrah's Philadelphia care more about them or us?

This may be the only legal
gambling in Delaware County soon
I can’t help but to notice all the local politicians recent urging that no new casino license is awarded in Philadelphia. 

Bidders have been working on their proposals for well over a year putting in a lot of time and money trying to convince the casino gods that they have a better gambling concept than the other guy. Aren’t they too far along in the process to consider stopping the casino license from going through? Where were our politicians when the bidding wars were first announced? Wouldn’t that have been a better time to protest?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New Report Promotes "Two Generation" Approach to Fight Poverty

HARRISBURG, Pa. - New research shows the best way to help lower-income families become stronger is to provide programs that focus on both children and their parents.

The new Annie E. Casey Foundation report called it a "two-generation" approach to fighting poverty. Patrice Cromwell, the foundation's director of strategic initiatives, explained the two-fold goal as "supporting parents in their ability to get and keep a job and be a strong parent, the same time as supporting kids to get a good start early in learning, as well as a good start in school."

Cromwell said programs designed to help children or parents have the best intentions, but often are too narrowly focused. She said a more family-centered approach just works better.

Mayor John Linder concerned about new Philadelphia casino

CHESTER, PA - Chester City Mayor John Linder expressed concern today about a pending Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) decision on a second Philadelphia casino speaking on the possible impacts to the city.  

Linder said the city has received $82 million from Harrah’s Philadelphia located in Chester since it opened. Revenue from the casino pays for essential services that benefit all residents and the casino provides good paying jobs. 

The mayor was speaking out because the PGCB is expected to approve a second casino soon and speculation is that it will be located near the Philadelphia sports stadiums. 

“New casinos in this market create greater competition for revenue, but that location in particular could potentially have an adverse affect on Chester’s allocation of those gaming revenues,” he said. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Charlie B’s Texas Bar-B-Que Grand Opening Friday

Finally, the wrapping paper will be removed
and Bar-B-Que will be served
CHESTER, Pa.— A new restaurant is coming to Chester that promises to bring something different to the city. 

Owner Carl Everett, a longtime Chester resident, will officially open Charlie B’s Texas Bar-B-Que Jazz and Blues Café with a special grand opening event on November 14 at 11 a.m. 


Chester property on leading haunted house list

Click HERE to see the others

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Anthony Davis breaks Widener football record

Wide receiver Anthony Davis from Chester High School became Widener University program leader in career receiving yards with 5,525. The undefeated Widener football team play in the Middle Atlantic Conference Championship next Saturday in what could be Davis's last home game at Widener U.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

Chester native featured on Tom Joyner Show

We Chester folk know Fredia Gibbs isn't a little known Black History Fact, but for those of you not current on our former Chester High School track and field phenom, she was featured on the Tom Joyner Morning Show this morning. 

Click HERE to get the latest on Fredia.


Wellness Open House in Upland


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Progress Stalls Connecting More Pennsylvania Children to Health Care

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A new report demonstrates efforts to connect more children to health care coverage seems to have stalled in Pennsylvania, as well as across the nation.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, is one of the authors of the study Children's Coverage at a Crossroads. While more and more children had been gaining health insurance coverage over the last several years, she says five million children across the U.S. remain uninsured. Alker says in many states - including Pennsylvania - progress appears to have stalled.

"The other interesting finding is children in working families living on the brink of poverty are those that have the highest rate of 'un-insurance,' compared to other income groups," says Alker.

Art Show and Dance November 14


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

SLOTS STILL OPEN FOR YOUTH BUILDING TRADES TRAINING PROGRAM

Media – The Community Action Agency of Delaware County, Inc.’s (CAADC) Building Trades Training Program still has slots open for its employment program for out-of-school youth.  CAADC is still accepting applications but eligible and interested youth from Delaware County should contact them immediately as all slots will be filled soon.  The Building Trades Training Program is designed to help out-of-school youth gain the skills for a rewarding career.  The program helps the youth develop skill sets including free training in plumbing basics, construction/drywall and electrical maintenance.  Participants receive industry recognized certifications in OSHA Construction, Lead Safety and Forklifting. 

There are a limited number of available slots though and applicants must meet the following requirements:
·         Be between the ages of 17 and 21
·         Currently reside in Delaware County
·         Not enrolled in High School


Income eligibility guidelines do apply.  Call today to see if you are eligible.  Contact Carla Gordy at CAADC’s Employment and Training Department at (610) 874-8451 x 1047.

Chester has a new magazine thanks to Widener students

Chester, Pa.—The inaugural issue of Chester magazine, an online and print publication about the city produced by Widener University students, will be released this month and celebrated on the university’s campus.

Members of the university community and residents of the city of Chester are invited to an informal reception to launch the magazine on the first floor of Freedom Hall at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20.

Stories in the magazine include a photo essay about the city, profiles of the Chester Children’s Chorus, the Laran Bronze Inc. foundry, a fertility doctor at the Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Phatso’s Bakery and other Chester eateries, and a story about the city’s plans for a cultural corridor.

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! [  https://www.nemnet.com/CF_JobSeekers.aspx ]  

• 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!

POSITIONS INCLUDE: 
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. 
REGISTER ONLINE TODAY! https://www.nemnet.com/CF_JobSeekers.aspx 

If you have any questions or require additional information, do not hesitate to call or visit us on-line at http://www.nemnet.com 

Lena Taylor | Assistant Director 
NEMNET Minority Recruitment  
P.O. Box 6142 West Orange, NJ 07052-6142 
888.919.1112 Phone/Fax 
E-Mail:  info@nemnet.com 
Website | http://www.nemnet.com  
Mobile iPhone APP | http://bit.ly/Rz3jgq  
Facebook | Facebook.com/nemnet  

Twitter | Twitter.com/nemnet

OCTOBER 30TH IS NATIONAL WEATHERIZATION DAY

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