Zoning Change Approved, Finally, For Franklin Mint Site

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP, PA –  A decade after the Franklin Mint closed, its round museum building still sits vacant along busy Baltimore Pike in Delaware County.

Development of the prominent property has been plagued by opposition from residents, a slow economy, and – most recently – a legal battle among the developers.

But the plan took a step forward this week when a revised zoning ordinance won approval from the Middletown Township Council. The site, with more than 170 acres, could now have 350 townhouses, offices, retail space, and a hotel.

Its completion could take years. By that time, the site could become just one piece in a transformation of the heavily traveled Route 1 through Middletown.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140301_Zoning_change_approved__finally__for_Franklin_Mint_site.html#61TJpi4ej4yS7q3Z.99

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Bolaris: Snow Amounts Climbing A Bit

Snow has been falling at rates of 1-2 inches per hour, with some places, such as northern Chester County counting 7 inches as of 11 a.m., and Horsham and Worcester in Montgomery County and West Rockhill Township in Bucks County, counting 6 inches.

Some places in Lehigh Valley are reporting 6 inches, as well.

Closer to the City of Philadelphia, Brookhaven in Delaware County, near the airport, was reporting 3.5 inches as of 10:30 a.m.

Just across the river, as of 11:15 a.m., the rain-snow line has halted, and actually in Haddonfield has changed back to some rain and sleet as that line oscillates around 10 miles south and east of the city.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Bolaris_Snow_amounts_looking_like_4-8_inches.html#4O5Kac2dYdbyZwqk.99

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Widener Student Critical But Stable After Shooting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The lockdown has been lifted at Widener University, where a gunman last night shot a student who was sitting in a car near the Chester campus’  athletic facility.

The injured student remains in critical but stable condition at Crozer-Chester Medical Center this morning, university spokesman Dan Hanson said. Hanson declined to release further information about the student or his injuries today, saying the family asked for privacy.

The student was ambushed about 8:40 p.m. as he sat in a car near the Schwartz Athletic Center, prompting campus officials to urge students to “seek shelter and remain indoors.” That alert ended and classes continued as scheduled this morning.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/delco/Widener-student-critical-but-stable-after-shooting.html#9uEGvwv25YsmgAaQ.99

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Snow Expected to Make For A Messy Tuesday Morning

Snow beginning overnight could make driving hazardous throughout the morning Tuesday morning in the Philadelphia region, according to the National Weather Service.

Accumulations of two to four inches are possible north and west of the city, including in outlying parts of Chester, Montgomery and Bucks Counties.

The city of Philadelphia, Delaware County and southern and central Chester County, should see an inch or two before rain mixes in or takes over in the afternoon.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Snow_expected_to_make_for_a_messy_Tuesday_morning.html#xq7HsvVfGB2o0xgr.99

Marcus Hook Mayor Convicted Of Charges Related To Drunken Encounter

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MARCUS HOOK Mayor James “Jay” Schiliro won’t be lighting up a victory cigar anytime soon.

Schiliro, 39, was convicted in Delaware County Common Pleas Court yesterday on five charges in connection with a bizarre encounter that unfolded in his house Feb. 21.

A 20-year-old man, who had long known Schiliro and described him as a father figure, said he was summoned to the mayor’s house late that night for a chat.

Schiliro allegedly plied the man with wine and offered to perform oral sex on him, the Daily News reported earlier this year.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20131117_Marcus_Hook_mayor_convicted_of_charges_related_to_drunken_encounter.html#XVsuZCrjqETR6sXT.99

Study: Deep Poverty On The Rise In Delaware And Camden Counties

English: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poor...

English: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the United States. Camden suffers from unemployment, urban decay, poverty, and many other social issues. Much of the city of Camden, New Jersey suffers from urban decay. 日本語: ニュージャージー州カムデンのスラム. Svenska: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the United States. Kiswahili: Camden, New Jersey ni moja ya mataifa maskini zaidi katika miji ya Marekani. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Deep poverty appears to be accelerating in Delaware and Camden Counties, as the poorest of the poor scramble for rent, heat, and food.

In the city of Chester, Donald Grover, 47, and his wife, Melissa Zirilli, 43, can’t do their jobs – he because the home-remodeling firm he works for cut his time from 60 hours a week to nearly nothing, she because debilitating seizures keep her from being a nurse’s aide.

In the city of Camden, Mark Woodall, 49, once a construction worker and a trained cook, now makes $10 an hour in a soup kitchen as he and his out-of-work fiancee are forced to live on a street he says is thronged with armed teenagers “without morals.”

“Lack of work is really, really hurting us,” said Zirilli, who lives with her husband and three children on about $6,000 a year.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131025_Study__Deep_poverty_on_the_rise_in_Delaware_and_Camden_Counties.html#GSyaLqbobqbX9VUX.99

Delta-Owned Trainer Refinery Posts Profit

Delta Air Lines's flagship, the Boeing 777-200LR.

Delta Air Lines’s flagship, the Boeing 777-200LR. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Delta Air Lines said Tuesday its refinery in Trainer, Delaware County, posted a $3 million profit for the three months ended Sept. 30.

It was the first quarterly profit since Delta bought the former ConocoPhillips refinery last year to keep supplied with jet fuel.

“We have a tremendous opportunity with the Trainer refinery,” Delta CEO Richard Anderson told investors on a conference call discussing third-quarter financial results. “Importantly, the refinery’s production has proven to be effective in keeping jet cracks in check, particularly in the New York harbor,” he said.

The “crack spread” is the difference between the cost of crude oil and the selling price of jet fuel – it’s the price paid to refiners.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20131023_Delta-owned_Trainer_refinery_posts_profit.html#7zFHTHAbykYR1tAY.99

First Nonprofit Supermarket Opens In Chester

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CHESTER, PA. — In Chester, a city where hard times often plow under shiny promises, a hunger-relief agency’s pledge to build America’s first nonprofit supermarket was greeted skeptically at first.

But Philabundance may be confounding local doubters. Its Fare & Square grocery store, seven years in the making, is ready to open its doors this morning, a rare oasis in what has been called a food desert.

“No one believed this was coming,” said Denina Hood, a Chester native and an employee of the store that will become the first supermarket in town since 2001. “But this store isn’t going anywhere.”

Usually in the business of distributing donated food to pantries in the Delaware Valley, Philabundance, a nonprofit, has augmented its mission and become a store owner, charging prices 8 percent to 10 percent lower than small urban grocers.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/first-nonprofit-supermarket-opens-in-struggling-pa-city-705230/#ixzz2gCesc07x

Chester Rite Aid Manager Shot And Killed, Patrons Hear Loud Bang

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Patrons fled after a store manager hoping to get out in time to watch the Eagles-Chiefs game was shot and killed inside a Chester City Rite Aid late last night. Police are seeking a man and woman in connection with the homicide.

Chester police say they were dispatched shortly before 10 p.m. to the Rite Aid on the 2000 block of West 9th Street, near Highland Avenue. Upon arrival, they found the store manager suffering from a fatal gunshot wound to the head. He was pronounced at the scene, according a police department press release.

The release said that, just prior to closing, patrons and employees heard a loud bang and rushed outside.

Police are seeking a white or light skinned woman in her mid to late twenties, wearing a red hooded jacket with white stripes down the sleeves, blue jeans and grey sneakers.  She was accompanied by a black male in his late twenties to mid thirties wearing a white tee shirt over a black long sleeve top, rolled up blue jeans and black boots.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Chester_Rite_Aid_employee_shot_and_killed.html#7O1tzfQFoBDHZAWS.99

SEPTA Ridership At All-Time High

SEPTA logo

SEPTA logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SEPTA commuter trains had more passengers than ever in the year that ended June 30, carrying just over 36 million riders, SEPTA officials said Monday.

The trend was mirrored nationwide, as public transit in general and trains in particular have been gaining riders in recent years.

High gas prices, congested highways, relatively low fares, and a growing preference among young people for transit have all contributed to the rising number of passengers, transportation officials said Monday.

SEPTA Regional Rail trains carried 36.0 million riders, up from 35.3 million in fiscal 2012 and above the previous record of 35.5 million in 2008.  As recently as 1993, SEPTA carried just 19.2 million riders.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20130723_SEPTA_ridership_at_all-time_high.html#IwbTqaSRLXv0KHyh.99

Heat Wave Forecast To End Saturday Night

The National Weather Service is again calling for an excessively hot day today, with temperatures for the Pottstown area expected to reach 96 but feel like 108 thanks to the high humidity.  There is a 40 percent chance of scattered showers or thunderstorms this afternoon with more rain expected tonight.

An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for the area through 8 p.m. tonight.  Montgomery and Chester counties have issued Code Red hot weather advisories each day of this week through Saturday from noon until 8 p.m., the hottest parts of the day.  Area residents who are without air conditioning should seek shelter in a cool place and pets and children should not be left in hot cars, the weather service and counties advised.

“A cold front from the Northwest is expected to arrive on Saturday night and it should bring an end to the heat wave,” the weather service wrote in its latest advisory.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130719/NEWS01/130719219/heat-wave-forecast-to-end-saturday-night-(live-blog)#full_story

‘Code Orange’ Issued As Air Quality Expected To Be Poor Today

The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast an orange air quality action day for ozone on Thursday, July 18, for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130718/NEWS01/130719364/-code-orange-issued-as-air-quality-expected-to-be-poor-today#full_story

Study Confirms Poverty Hits The Suburbs, Too

Say poverty in the Philadelphia area, and it conjures images of North Philadelphia or Kensington, not the suburbs.

But the suburbs on both sides of the Delaware River are becoming steadily poorer, part of a national trend that confounds long-held beliefs that life is always better in greener pastures beyond urban limits.

“People have this cliched notion of poverty being based in the inner city,” said Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition, which has offices in Trenton and North Jersey.  “But it’s been moving into suburbia for some time.

“No one wants to think that their neighbors are becoming poor.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20130520_Study_confirms_poverty_hits_the_suburbs__too.html#jtGAhiCISV3muuo1.99

Radnor Panel Rejects Villanova Expansion

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Radnor Township Planning Commission has rejected Villanova University‘s request for a zoning change that would allow a major expansion of the Lancaster Avenue campus with new dormitories, a parking garage, a performing arts center, and stores.

The $200 million plan has upset residents, who say it would transform a quiet neighborhood into a noisy extension of the 10,600-student Wildcat campus.

The university was seeking a conditional use to allow denser development than allowed, Planning Commission Chairwoman Julia Hurle said.

The commission was concerned was that the zoning change would not be restricted to the university, she said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/suburban_pa/20130509_Radnor_panel_rejects_Villanova_expansion.html#ocW7DQUa1jGWuMYC.99

Chester Mayor Shakes Up Police Department

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This will never happen in Pottstown, sigh…..

In something of a leadership shake-up, Chester Mayor John Linder has replaced three of his highest level police officers with three formerly lower-ranking lawmen.

In addition, the mayor announced Tuesday that he has created a police narcotics task force and beefed up highway patrol.

Linder, who also is the city’s public safety director, said the personnel moves are part of the changes and on-going assessment he vowed when he took office last year.

“I saw some areas I wanted to change, and the only way to change things was to move (personnel) around,” Linder said Tuesday.

Read more:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130402_Chester_mayor_shakes_up_police_department.html

Marcus Hook Mayor Arraigned On Corruption, Booze, Gun Charges

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marcus Hook Mayor James D. Schiliro was arraigned Thursday on charges he allegedly had a police officer bring a 20-year-old friend to his home, where he gave the minor alcohol and fired a gun in his house while drunk.

Judge David R. Griffin set bail at $50,000 unsecured for Schiliro, 38, on charges of recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, furnishing alcohol to a minor and official oppression.

“We intend to fight these charges,” said Michael Malloy, Schiliro’s attorney.  Schiliro did not comment.

Schiliro has been asked by the borough council to resign, which he has said he would not do.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20130321_Marcus_Hook_mayor_arraigned_on_corruption__booze__gun_charges.html

Property Taxes To Rise Across Philadelphia Suburbs

English: Pennsylvania county map

English: Pennsylvania county map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hundreds of thousands of property owners in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties are getting something they probably don’t want in the new year – higher real estate taxes.

Countywide increases, approved in December, affect the owners of all 382,304 real estate parcels in Chester and Delaware Counties.  Some people are taking a double hit, as at least 27 towns in those counties also have increased taxes.

Bucks and Montgomery Counties kept their rates the same, but at least 28 municipalities raised real estate levies.

While the reasons vary, officials say the overarching reason is basic: Revenue is down; costs aren’t.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/suburban_pa/20130128_Property_taxes_to_rise_across_Philadelphia_suburbs.html

Area Counties Share Marcellus Shale Impact Fees

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS re...

English: Cropped portion of image from USGS report showing extent of Marcellus Formation shale (in gray shading). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Staff and wire reports Chester County will receive the lowest amount of money among suburban Philadelphia counties from the state as part of the Marcellus Shale Impact fee distribution announced recently by the Corbett administration.

The county is in line to receive $423,255.23 from the state, far less than the $1.29 million that Philadelphia will receive. The highest amount of the four Philadelphia suburbs is the $678,613.66 that Montgomery County will receive.

Berks County will receive $349,067, Bucks County will receive $530,461.69 and Delaware County will receive $474.238.17.  Distribution for the southeastern Pennsylvania counties is based on population.

State law restricts how the money can be spent, allowing for such uses as fixing roads and building or repairing water and sewer infrastructure.  County officials could not answer Wednesday where the funds here would go, but said they would be in line with the state’s restrictions.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121017/NEWS01/121019427/area-counties-share-marcellus-shale-impact-fees

Arts In Philadelphia Economy: A Pretty Picture

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Arts and cultural organizations have a multibillion-dollar impact on the Philadelphia region’s economy, and are among the nation’s most productive in creation of jobs and stirring up economic activity.  Only those in the Washington area generate more per-capita expenditures, and in terms of jobs, no region comes close to Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Cultural activity generates nearly $170 million in state and local taxes annually and supports 44,000 jobs within the city and its four suburban Pennsylvania counties, according to a study set for release Monday by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

The economic-impact study, based on data collected from 345 arts and cultural organizations and more than 2,000 audience members, reports that the sector triggers a total of $3.3 billion in direct and indirect expenditures every year.

In the area of employment, culture in the first-ranked Philadelphia region supports 43,700 jobs; Greater Houston, number two, generates 29,100, and Washington, number three, 29,000.