Conference Generates Ideas For Tackling Poverty In Reading

, U.S. Congressman (R-Pennsylvania, 1997-present)

, U.S. Congressman (R-Pennsylvania, 1997-present) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fatherless families, a lack of jobs and school dropout rates contribute to poverty and local economic conditions, U.S. Rep. Joseph R. Pitts said Monday.

“Families with fathers and mothers are the best anti-poverty program,” said the Chester County Republican, whose district includes Reading. “Saying these simple things can land you in all kinds of trouble.”

He was speaking at a conference on economic inequality that he organized at Reading Area Community College.

In an interview afterward, Pitts listed some points raised during the four-hour event that he will pursue.

“We will come up with some projects,” Pitts said.

While some of the 75 political, business and nonprofit leaders who participated agreed with Pitts’ points, several made their own arguments for improving the economy in Reading, where the 2012 poverty rate of 40.5 percent made it the second most impoverished city in the country behind Detroit.

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Reading Crime Summit’s Initial Plans Move Forward

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

As promised, Berks County Commissioner Chairman Christian Y. Leinbach issued a report Friday detailing progress made since a Jan. 18 summit on crime in Reading and Berks.

After the summit, Leinbach had pledged that he, District Attorney John T. Adams and Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer would distribute a public update in five areas:

City-county cooperation: A meeting between city and county officials has been set for March 11 at 1 p.m. in City Council chambers.

The meeting will be open to the public to observe, but will not be a forum for public comment, Leinbach said.

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‘We Have To Do Better’

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City statistics showing that the once-declining number of violent crimes in Reading began to edge up in 2012 drew a variety of reactions Thursday from city, county and community leaders.

Most agreed the trend means it is even more pressing to work on the follow-up ideas coming from last week’s crime summit.

Released Wednesday, the statistics also show crime is less than it was a decade ago.

But that brought a warning: Don’t accept the situation as the city’s new normal.

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