Reading Gets State Designation As Keystone Community

Picture 533Editor’s note:  We are very pleased to see that the leadership is trying to move Reading forward and improve the city.

Led by two dozen chanting cheerleaders from Reading High School, a procession of city and state officials this morning marched down Penn Street to a Penn Square news conference to excitedly announce the city has gotten what it began seeking a year ago:

That’s state designation as a Keystone Community, which approves its inclusion in the Main Street program and its right to seek state economic development help and millions in potential grants.

“You’re taking the challenges you face head on . . . you’re thinking strategically,” C. Alan Walker, secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development, told the crowd as he announced the designation.

“One of the best things we can do to preserve our downtowns.  They’re worth preserving,” he said.

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said it’s always good to see something come to fruition.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=502542

Reading Teen Lied About Fight Details, Police Say

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

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

A 17-year-old Reading boy who told police he was attacked by a crowd of youths and nearly hit with a hammer during an after-school melee last week lied about the incident, according to city detectives.

The youth was at least truthful about one part of his story: He was surrounded in City Park by a large group of youths, some of whom carried wooden boards. A video that someone posted to YouTube, however, clearly showed that the crowd was actually cheering on him and another youth as they squared off and then fought, said Sgt. John M. Solecki of the criminal investigations division.

The boy had told officers who arrived and found him bloodied on the ground with an injured left shoulder that he entered the crowd to find his cousin, only to be pulled down, punched and kicked.

“As city police investigated, video footage was found that showed he and another youth were the initial combatants in a mutually agreed-upon fistfight, and during the fistfight he injured his shoulder,” Solecki said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=465325

Reading Police Still Probing After-School Melees

A wooden table leg, a baseball bat, a hammer and a two-by-four.

Those were just a few of the weapons wielded during after-school brawls among 75 to 100 teenagers, city police Sgt. John M. Solecki said Thursday.

City detectives were still sorting through video from surveillance cameras and from bystanders, who posted footage of the fighting Wednesday on Facebook.

And the fact that city schools started spring break Thursday wasn’t helping, police.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=464280

After-School Melees Leave Boy Bloodied In Reading City Park

A string of after-school fights broke out Wednesday in Reading, leaving a boy bloodied in City Park and police without any explanation for two melees.

Sgt. John M. Solecki said fights occasionally happen after dismissal, but the violence Wednesday was unusual because various objects were used as weapons.

About 4 p.m., police converged on City Park, where between 75 and 100 teens were fighting at the basketball courts, some of them wielding 2-by-4s and baseball bats.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=464058

Violence Prevention Program Targets Reading’s Northeast

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A joint effort to reduce youth violence is targeting the northeast section of the city, an area where most Reading kids will end up attending school.

For members of the Reading Youth Violence Prevention Project, who recently met at Albright College to discuss goals for 2013, the logic was simple.

Northeast Reading is home to Reading High and the Citadel intermediate high school.  There’s also Northeast Middle School, CHOR Day Academy, I-LEAD Charter School and four elementary schools.

“The northeast sector is not considered the neediest per se, but there are perhaps more assets to build upon,” said Laura M. Welliver, project coordinator at St. Joseph Medical Center.  “There are more opportunities to stabilize, using the schools as anchors.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=451722