West Chester Weekly News Roundup

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Just how safe is High Street? The Borough wants to find out.

With so much going on around town. Catch up on what you may have missed.  

It’s Friday, June 14. School’s out for summer. For all you childless individuals that relish the time between college graduation and summer vacation when the town is all yours, that time is now up. On the bright side no more getting stuck behind a bus in the morning. Plus, the Borough commits to stopping mosquitoes, the district bids farewell to a lot of educators and how safe is High Street? Let’s find out.

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Pure inspiration. West Chester Public Arts and Kildare’s have commissioned a mural to show us all a path forward during construction. Photo: Downtown West Chester Instagram.

“It’s very labor intensive. It’s done one brick at a time.”

-BID executive director Malcolm Johnstone on rebuilding the crosswalks on Gay Street

The return of Gay Street. Slowly but surely, construction on Gay Street is coming to an end. First, PECO left, now Aqua’s repair work is mostly complete. The road has been repaved, and all that is left is for the Borough to replace the bricks at crosswalks and intersections. Estimates are that work will be complete by the end of the summer. Then we just have to wait out the 44 West development project.

Staying downtown for a minute…  

Grant to study the safety of High Street. West Chester Borough Council is applying for a Vision Partnership Grant to perform a safety study of the High Street Corridor from Rosedale Avenue up to Miner Street. If the proposal is accepted and the grant awarded, the cost to the Borough will be 30% of the $30,000 grant or $9,000. In a letter drafted to the Chester County Planning Commission, the Borough also states it is committed to establishing a Project Task Force to guide the process. The task force is to include a combination of elected officials, borough staff, local residents and business owners.

It’s time to get going. The West Chester Area School District began their feasibility study on moving start times for high school and secondary students to later in the morning with a survey to parents. Originally just distributed to parents of high and middle school students it was quickly expanded to parents of students at all levels. Parents have until the end of the day today (6/14) to submit their responses. Classes currently begin at 7:30 a.m. for all high school and Fugett Middle School students; 8:05 for Pierce and Stetson Middle Schools.

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Mind your pansies. Mosquitoes can breed in any standing water, even that caught in the in the drip trays of flowers.

The campaign to stop mosquitoes. According to reports from Borough Council and the Don’t Spray Me team, West Chester Public Works Department has been embracing their larviciding responsibilities. The Department has even fashioned a new distribution system from Dollar Store supplies to make sure the chemicals are applied appropriately to hard to reach areas. They are also working to clean up clogged and broken storm drains so water flows freely. Using larvicides is the recommended strategy for getting rid of mosquitoes safely–without spraying. Hopefully, this will lead to a pest-free summer.

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It’s summmmmerrrrr!!!!

School’s out for summer! Around noon today West Chester Area Schools will let out for the last time of the 2018-2019 school year. The end of the school year is also bringing with it a series of goodbyes. Several long-serving educators (48 years, Ms. Green?!), administrators and staff have announced their retirements. Thank you for all you do. (Years of service in parenthesis.)   

District retirements. East: Karl Sivek, Science Teacher, (26); Tracy Heim, Social Studies Teacher, (35); Jackie Longnecker, Intervention Specialist, (30); Lee Boyer, Sr., Custodian, (29); Henderson: Lisa Pappo, Math Teacher, (21); Lynn Moose, Instructional Assistant, (18); Virginia Manley, Special Education Teacher, (16); Eva Marshall, Secretary to Assistant Principal, (17); Dr. Deborah Sahijwani, Gifted Teacher, (21); Rustin: Rita Baldino, Social Studies Teacher, (20); Jill Dunscomb, Science Teacher, (15); Shirley LeClerc, Librarian, (16); Peirce: Patricia Erbe, Social Studies Teacher, (20); Lori Fratinardo, Instructional Assistant, (11); John Kosic, Health & Physical Education Teacher, (34); Denise Daniels, Science Teacher/Computer Science Teacher, (15); Patricia Green, Mathematics Teacher, (48); Barbara Marks, Family Consumer Science Teacher, (24); Joanne D’Antonio, Secretary to the Assistant Principal, (19); East Goshen: Penny Gerrard, Instructional Assistant, (13); Exton: Secretary to the Principal, (23); Fern Hill: Helen Pellak, Secretary to Principal, (22); Claire Pettigrew, Music Teacher, (35). Hillsdale: Julianne Pecorella, Principal, (10); Patricia Fox, Instructional Assistant, (10); Penn Wood: Jeffrey Pearsall, Guidance Counselor, (34); Starkweather: John McConnell, Health & Physical Education Teacher, (30)

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YMCA and other area locations are hiring. Proofing skills a plus.

Summer jobs. Besides the school district, several other area establishments are looking for summer workers. Levante is looking for a part-time member to join its brewery team; the Borough is looking for a Fleet Manager, the YMCA is hiring and the Giant is holding a job fair on Saturday. Share among those still looking for work.

New parking space for Mostellar park. The Parking Committee is considering adding another dedicated parking space for users of Mostellar Park. The space would be on Joseph Alley.

In other park news, Friends of Everhart Park is awaiting Borough approval to erect a dry laid stone wall at the children’s entrance off of Union Street. The new retaining wall would help guard the area against erosion. The group also plans to add a new pollinator garden.

The area is currently being cordoned off by yellow caution tape.

Art project update. The West Chester Public Arts Commission confirmed via email ten winners were selected for the architectural banner competition. They will be displayed on East Gay Street. “There was a setback with one banner that needed a revision, so we’re not totally sure of display date, but it should be soon,” the email said. You can get a sneak peak at the banners in this month’s County Lines Magazine, pages 42 and 43.

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West Chester Police need your help finding this man. Contact WCPD with any info.

The warnings. Lock your cars. West Chester Police Department is looking for a male subject, a potential suspect in a couple recent vehicle theft incidents. If you’re going to crash the party, don’t draw attention to yourself. Rodrigo Fuentes-Gomez or “Ervin Yovany Cruz,” of West Chester is being sent to prison then back to Mexico for entering the country illegally. This is the fourth time the Mexican native has been deported and not the first time he’s had a run in with the cops. The Daily Local reports, he’s been previously charged for driving under the influence, forgery and public intoxication. Don’t be a bully. No one likes a bully.

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Congratulations to West Chester East softball on a fabulous run. Image WC East Softball Instagram.

The accolades. Kudos to West Chester University music professor Robert Maggio on the release of his innovative new choral-theatre work, Aniara. The performance, which premieres June 20 in Philadelphia, combines theater and composed music and is being touted as a “must-see/must-hear event” by critics.  

And a round of applause to West Chester East girls softball team. They ended their record breaking season run one game shy of a state championship. While a hard loss, the girls should still be proud of their efforts including earning the first District championship in program history.

A shout out to Rustin Assistant Principal Dr. Chris Lunardi who was recently recognized at Citizen’s Bank Park for his efforts to combat domestic violence. And finally…

Since we revealed a couple of weeks ago they were the best in the country, this may be a bit anticlimactic, but West Chester high schools are among the best in the Philly Metro Area as well. The rankings released recently by U.S. News have East, Rustin and Henderson at 26, 28 and 31 respectively. See all area schools in the Patch write up.

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Mercato. Downtown West Chester.

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We have to make a quick trip up North on Saturday then I’m hoping the weather holds out for a good ol’ Father’s Day barbecue on Sunday. I was also thinking of checking out FatherFest at the Helicopter Museum. Anyone been? It sounds like it could be fun.

Mark your calendar:

  • Last day of school, WCASD, June 14
  • The Music of Billy Joel, Uptown, June 14
  • Fatherfest, Helicopter Museum, June 16
  • Father’s Day Express, West Chester Railroad, June 16 – Father’s ride for $5!
  • Yappy Hour (happy hour with your dog), the Social Lounge, June 18
  • Build-a-Board, cheese and charcuterie board workshop, Carlino’s, June 20
  • West Chester Craft Beer Fest, Melton Center, Saturday June 22
  • History on the Terrace, Chester County Historical Society, June 25
  • International Brotherhood of Magicians: Ring 6 (Magic show!), Uptown, June 26

That’s it. Hope everyone has a great week! Looking for more ideas of things to do? This month’s issue of the WC Press has a very comprehensive list or I have some ideas for some less scheduled options (like my vote for the best place in the Borough to have a picnic.) Plus last week’s Update for those who missed it and Father’s Day options that let you drink beer. See you next week!

(Reminder, follow the blog or on social to get all the updates.)

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