West Chester Weekly News Roundup

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

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

It’s Friday, August 21. This week we are talking people behaving badly. High Street Caffe is open again after actions by its owner led to a mass staff exodus earlier this summer. Also, drilling on the Mariner East 2 pipeline is halted as crews work to assess the damage of a fluid spill. Plus, Kooma’s expanding, and where West Chester falls among the best places to live in PA. #1 in my book, not in theirs. Grab a late August lemonade – spiked if you’re associated with High Street Caffe – and let’s do this.

High Street Caffe looking like it’s having a rough summer.

Restaurant owner behaving badly. I’m not sure how I missed this the first time through but racist Facebook comments from High Street Caffe owner Donald Syracuse resurfaced this week. Remarks made earlier this summer led to the entire front of house staff including long-time General Manager Kevin Coley to quit the (once) popular cajun-fusion establishment in protest. Mr. Syracuse has tried to walk back his comments saying he was simply sharing lyrics to a John Lennon song.

Original comments have since been deleted but in the age of the internet nothing really goes away…

While the restaurant temporarily closed in July and part of August, they have hired all new staff and have recently reopened with a limited curbside menu. New staff. Same owner. Just saying.  

Plus, great West Chester options whose owners haven’t made incendiary comments all over social media. (At least that I’m aware of…)

“Enough is enough.

PA Lawmakers in a letter to Governor Wolf 
Drilling fluid flowing into Marsh Creek Lake on Aug. 11. (Photo: P.K. Ditty)

That d*$&# pipeline. In case like me, but not Erin Brokovich, you were blissfully checked-out last week, you may have missed the 10,000 gallons of drilling mud that was spilled into Marsh Creek Lake – a direct result of work being done on the Mariner East 2 pipeline. A spill like this, apparently called a “frac-out”, occurs when drilling mud is released through fractured bedrock and travels toward the surface. While the full environmental impact of the spill is still TBD, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) determined this week that Sunoco’s activities damaged the lake and surrounding wetlands in a manner that amounted to a violation of the Clean Streams Law. The fluid, which is known to contain chemicals that are detrimental to aquatic life, is classified an “industrial waste” under Section 301 of the law.  

Sunoco has been ordered to halt all drilling on the Mariner East 2 pipeline and provide a long-term restoration plan to the agency addressing how to rectify the damage by August 27. DEP approval is needed before drilling can begin again. 

Hoping for a more permanent solution nine local lawmakers including Rep. Carolyn Comitta of West Chester and state Sen. Andy Dinniman wrote to the Governor, the EPA and the PA Department of Health this week urging that Sunoco’s license be revoked. 

This is going to get messy. After much back and forth with East Bradford Township, it looks like developer Toll Brothers is closing in on a deal to construct 56 townhomes on the site of the old Daily Local Building (250 N. Bradford Avenue). The plan for the new development which is being called West Chester Crossing received preliminary approval by East Bradford Township in July. The townhome development will feature a contemporary design, offer a nature trail that extends from the Bradford Square townhomes to the Bradford Square shopping center and a dog park. 

However, despite the development technically being in East Bradford, it will need to access the Borough sewer system. Before this access is granted Borough Council has requested the developers first reline 422 feet of sewer pipe that is in need of repair

The Denney Reyburn Apartments on W. Bernard Street.

Here’s to growing old gracefully. In other development news, the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Lancaster, a  public authority working to promote redevelopment of underutilized properties and development of affordable housing, is looking to purchase and rehabilitate the Denney Reyburn Apartments on West Bernard Street. This week the Borough voted to grant the org tax exempt status to purchase and improve of the property. Serving the over 62+ low-income community, revitalization of the Denney Reyburn apartment building, should this project move forward, would be another step in improving the affordable housing situation in the Borough.  

The warnings. See something, say something. West Chester police are looking for help identifying a group of individuals involved in an assault that occurred early Saturday morning. Contact the West Chester Detectives Unit at 610-436-1337 with any information.

You can’t recycle plastic bags curbside. West Chester was recently fined by their recycling processor for having plastic bags in their recycling stream. If you would like to recycle these bags (and you should), you must bring them to one of the recycling stations outside the grocery store or better yet, use a recycled bag and never worry about them again. 

Contract tracers don’t ask for SSN or payment. Out this week from the Borough, cyber-criminals are using the guise of contact tracing to steal personal information. Contract tracing is a disease control method that relies on notifying people that have come in contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19. PA’s goal is to contact everyone that has been exposed in a matter of 24 hours. While contact tracers do ask for some personal information such as verification of date-of-birth and address, they never ask for social security numbers, bank account information or personal details unrelated to the exposure. Also, initial contact is always made by phone.  

West Chester gets an “A” for living.

Accolades. Congratulations to West Chester on receiving an “A” in the Niche.com annual ranking of best places to live. Niche.com is a data aggregate for schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces. Each year they release a best places to live list – ranking communities on things like cost of living, education, diversity and crime. And while A is nice, 78 PA towns received an A+ including Chesterbrook which was named the best place to live in the country.

Keeping West Chester from reaching A+ status were relatively low marks in Crime and Safety (C+) and housing (C). 

Also, shout outs to these 6 restaurants selected (in part by your comments) as the best restaurants in West Chester by 6 ABC. 

“When you come across a bagel that doesn’t need to be toasted, you know you have found a winner.”

former New Yorker Stephanie Barr Wientjes via Feed Us West Chester

Hello. To Rolling Star bagels on E. Gay Street (right next to Barre3, so you know, perfect for post-workout carbo-loading). The New York-style boiled bagel joint opened its doors on August 10 for dining in and carry-out with outdoor seating coming soon. 

To (potential) contact tracing. Split Rail Tavern is recording customer’s contact information should contract tracing become necessary. Could this be something other restaurants will try?  

Finally get ready to say hello to more outdoor dining options at Kooma. This week Borough Council approved the proposed “sidewalk cafe” which should more accurately be called a “parking spot cafe” but despite what you call it Kooma will soon be bringing outdoor dining to the spaces in front of their N. Church Street restaurant.  

Goodbye. To Spence Cafe – relax, just for the week. They are taking a much deserved vacation (may I recommend some time on a lake?) and will be back Wednesday 26 with all your curbside favorites. Also, taking the week off Yori’s… learned that one the hard way.

To the 2020 QVC West Chester Christmas Parade. In case you missed the original announcement, this year’s Christmas Parade is cancelled. “The most important thing we can do right now is keep our citizens safe,” Dave Fairman, interim president Greater West Chester Area School District said in a statement on social media. 

The Chamber is looking for other ways to bring a socially distanced holiday to West Chester. So stay-tuned hopefully some holiday cheer will be on it’s way soon. 

To West Chester Connect. The mobile app was supposed to make it easier to notify the Borough of service related issues such as potholes or downed branches but at an annual cost of $3,600. According to data provided the Borough, West Chester Connect has received less than 20 requests so far this year. That works out to a cost of just over $180 per request. Even at it’s peak in 2017 it was only receiving 80 requests a year.

Have complaints or feedback for the Borough? You can submit requests through the website or there is always email. 

“We want to make every kid in the community look their best.”

Champions School of Barbering
Champions School of Barbering on S. High Street.

Pay it forward. Miguel Nieves, founder and CEO of Champions Premier Barber Shop is offering free haircuts to anyone experiencing hardship at this time. This Saturday and next Champions is offering free back to school haircuts to any kids who needs one. Reservations are required as are masks and a clean bill of health.

Also paying it forward this week, Borough Councilman Bernie Flynn who donated a garden tractor for use at the Greenfield Sports Complex. 

Celebrating this crazy kiddo this weekend with chocolate cake and lots of pink.

The freakin’ weekend. What are you up to this weekend? We are going to quietly celebrate somebody turning 3 with her favorite chocolate cupcakes and a promised bouquet of flowers.

I saw this “Marshall Square Park Adventure” scavenger hunt created by resident Michael Karas that I thought sounded fun to try with the kids.

Also, need a little pandemic company? The Brandywine SPCA is holding a feewaived adoption event until the end of the month. Adoption fees waived on cats and kittens 6 months and older. We got our (not-so) little Tootsie at a similar event this winter. 

And we are very excited to try this next week. It will be our first timing dining in the open air market and our first time dining out at Mae’s. Can’t wait! 

Stay safe. Stay healthy and I’ll see you next week. 

P.S. All you dog walkers – West Chester now has a fully operational doggie water fountain!

New to the blog? Follow along for the latest updates from West Chester. If I’m missing something, and I probably am, send me an email

3 thoughts on “West Chester Weekly News Roundup

  1. I honestly can’t believe that High Street Caffe is still in business! I graduated WCU in 1996 and it was just getting its start. But in this day and age, when do you hear of a restaurant sticking around 24 years?

    Like

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