With so much going on around town. Catch up on what you may have missed.
It’s Friday, February 7. We get our first look at the school redistricting plan. In all over 1000 West Chester Area School District students will be affected. Plus, West Chester’s path to 100 percent renewable energy and the list of West Chester priests “credibly accused” of sexual assault. You may want to sit down for this one.
“We are experiencing unprecedented and unexpected enrollment growth.”
-James Scanlon, Superintendent West Chester Area School District.
A little to the left… So this was the moment parents and students of West Chester had all been waiting for, redistricting maps were revealed. We had been briefed on the “unprecedented growth.” We knew that to accommodate the growth, get fair and equitable distribution to our elementary schools, and fill the now-underway Greystone elementary, some kids were going to have to change schools. Now we know which kids and which schools.
In all the redistricting effort as proposed will impact 863 current students (1049 in total) mainly in the northern parts of the district where the bulk of the development is taking place. You can view the details for yourself here, but in the meantime, here’s the quick takeaway.
3 schools facing the most change:
- Fern Hill Elementary. Under the new plan Fern Hill will lose 454 current students, mainly to Greystone, while receiving 250 new students from Exton and Glen Acres.
- Exton Elementary. Exton will lose 277 students primarily to Fern Hill and East Goshen and gain 60 new from Mary C. House.
- Mary C. House. MCH will lose 152 students to Exton and Greystone and gain 26 students from East Bradford Elementary.
By comparison the other elementary schools will see mild impacts, Hillsdale where we go to school, will lose 14 students, and some schools especially to the southern part of the district will see no change at all. In addition to the elementary reshuffling, 89 Pierce students will be attending Fugett and 100 Henderson students will be moving to East. All redistricting changes will take effect before the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
If you have questions related to the redistricting effort, send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I see an electric light at the end of the tunnel. Last week the members of the West Chester Area Council of Governments (comprised of East Bradford, East Goshen, West Goshen, Westtown, West Whiteland and West Chester Borough and abbreviated to WCACOG) met to review the results of the West Chester Area Renewable Energy Study.
What’s the West Chester Area Renewable Energy Study, you say? Good question.
In 2017 West Chester signed a pledge to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035, and 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. There was a lot of applause and handshakes but no one had a clue how to get there. There also wasn’t a lot of budget set aside by Borough Council to make this happen ($0). So the team leading the effort in West Chester figured, better together, and worked to pull together the WCACOG.
At the beginning of 2019, the WCACOG agreed to pool their money and hire the Cadmus Group, a strategic consulting firm, to complete a study on how to make these transition goals happen – and the feasibility and financial impact associated with those strategies. Now we have our first look at that report.
The report is 40+ slides so we won’t get into all the detail here but here’s the quick takeaway. The Cadmus Group identifies four specific areas they believe important to advancing the WCACOG’s energy transition:
- Local enabling (Think – solar ready guidelines and public charging stations for electric vehicles)
- Community engagement (Education campaigns and group purchasing programs)
- Municipal supply mix (Purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs) to offset energy usage, transition municipal fleets to electric)
- State-Level (Changes to state-policy)
Next steps – the WCACOG should receive the full written report this week. Then the municipalities of the WCACOG will formally “accept” the plan, meaning acknowledge the deliverables have been received. Then the project’s Advisory Group (consisting of local energy advocates and municipal employees) will get to work on creating a list of 2020 actions steps for municipalities, as well as less concrete midterm and long term goals.
Just let it sink in for a minute. ProPublica has completed an exhaustive review of the database of Catholic clergy who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse, and have identified seven priests with ties to West Chester. Including Hugh Campbell who served the West Chester community from 1968 through 2012 holding positions at St. Agnes, West Chester University and St. Maximilian Kolbe and Mark Haynes who served as the parochial vicar at SS. Simon and Jude in West Chester less than six years ago. Here’s the full list of those accused who have served the West Chester community.
If you have any information concerning child sexual abuse and the Dioceses you can report it to the Attorney General’s office directly through the clergy abuse hotline at 888-538-8541.
This is going to bubble over. Wednesday morning firefighting foam was reported pouring out of the National Foam building located at 350 East Union Street. The Borough of West Chester shared a small amount of runoff from the facility entered nearby storm drains. The Department of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Fish and Boat Commission and The West Chester Borough Waste Water Treatment Facility were all contacted about the incident. Several residents have raised concerns over the toxicity of the runoff but, the Borough stresses there is no threat to the public water system. However, should that change – they will contact you.
“Raw shrimp was observed thawing in standing water in the food prep sink, and the standing water was 50F.”
-Chester County Health Department
I’ll just bring my lunch. Chester County Health Department food safety reports are in for January, and all in all it was a good month for local food establishments. Only two restaurants ended the month out of compliance. Poke Bros, which led the pack with eight violations including one for using luke warm water to defrost shrimp, and Dawn’s Baked Goods on West Chester Pike. Also, back under the watchful eye of the Health Inspector, was the ACAC Cafe and Fitness Center. The Cafe was once again caught with expired product on their shelves. They were back in the Health Department’s good graces by the end of the month, however, I would still suggest you double-check the expiration date before shelling out for that protein juice.
The warnings. Do not put your recyclables in a plastic bag. Instead just dump them directly into the blue bins. Plastic bags are not recyclable with single stream materials and can contaminate the stream causing everything to be pitched. If you have single use bags to recycle, you can bring them to Giant or Acme.
Review those fire safety rules. On Wednesday West Chester Police and Fire Departments responded to a house fire at Regimental Dr. in East Bradford Township. The fire was called in by a neighbor after two young heroes reported seeing smoke coming from the home.
The accolades. Congratulations to Fern Hill Elementary Principal Dr. Rebecca Eberly on being a Millenial Superstar! I’m sure her students already knew it and now everyone else does too.
Also, shout out to West Chester University which was selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to participate in a program to help diversify the Commonwealth’s teachers. As part of that effort WCU hosted 45 students of color from Parkway West High School in Philadelphia this week. The full day of immersion program was designed to answer the question “Why Teach?”
Finally, high fives to the East High School boys basketball team on their record setting regular season and for securing the number one seed in the PIAA District 1 tournament. Go Vikings!
Give back. Join Moms Demand Action at the West Chester Public Library this Saturday to remember the victims of gun violence by creating origami soul boxes for the Soul Box Project. Over 65,000 people are killed or injured by gunfire in the U.S. every year. The goal of the Soul Box Project is to show people the numbers by collecting one hand-folded origami box for every victim of gunfire in the U.S.
Hello. To Kyle Gallner when you see him on the small screen. The West Chester-native and East graduate will be playing Eric Fisher, a murder suspect in CBS All Access’s new series Interigation. The nonlinear murder mystery dropped on Thursday. Kyle got his start on Veronica Mars.
Also welcome back to the West Chester Story Slam. The popular five-minute story-telling event is returning with a heart-break themed event Feb. 11 at Side Bar. I’ve never been but I’ve heard it’s a pretty awesome time.
Goodbye. To West Chester University football team’s original twitter feed. If you want to follow the Golden Rams they are now at @WCUGoldenRamsFB. (If you want to follow Hello West Chester – I’m still at @HiDubC )
The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? I am sneaking in a trip to my favorite stylist between kids’ birthday parties. We are also planning on taking the kids to see the West Chester Wildcats on Sunday. We’ve never been but it looks like fun (and kids under 12 are free. Score!) And don’t forget Valentine’s Day is next Friday – get your orders in now!
Also, looking for a fun Galentine’s activity? This teacup succulent activity sponsored by the Chester County Master Garderners looks like fun. The event is Thursday, Febraury 13 from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. but you need to register online by February 12.
Mark your calendars:
- Flamenco dancing, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, Feb. 7
- West Chester Wildcats Basketball, Melton Center, Feb. 9
- Valentine Workshop for kids, Old Soul Decor, Feb. 9
- Community Meet & Greet, Gryphon Cafe, Feb. 9
- Opera Tutti presents the True Story of Cinderella, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 9
- Heartbreak Hotel Story Slam, Side Bar, Feb. 11
- An evening of Jazz: Love Songs, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 14
- Murder Mystery Masquerade Party, West Chester Public Library, Feb. 14
- Kenny Rogerson Comedy, Uptown! Performing Arts Center, Feb. 21
- Live Planetarium Show: A Star is Born, Mather Planetarium, Feb. 21
- First Female President of Ireland to speak at West Chester, Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, Feb. 25 Details
- Wild & Scenic Film Festival 2020, West Chester Historical Society, Feb. 27 Details
That’s it. We made it. That was a heavy one this week. Hope everyone has a great week. Next week I’m hoping to dig into the details of the Renewable Energy Study (wish me luck) and I was promised an update on the Borough Summer Camp program, which I need to track down. If you know of anything I am missing please feel free to shoot me a note. I’d love to hear from you!
Also, click the follow link at the bottom of your screen to get all the updates. See you next week!
- Beer and Girl Scout Cookie pairing, Iron Hill, Feb. 29