The easiest way to be in the know.

It’s Friday, December 17. After years of no cost pickups, Borough Council voted this week to install a fee for some bulk trash items. Plus, West Chester police outlines its plans for the next three years expect more community involvement, a focus on diverse communities and a continued crack down on nuisance crimes such as noise violations, the Borough’s plastic ban goes into effect, dominating sports prowess and last minute gift ideas! We’re ending this year on a tear. Who’s ready? Let’s catch up.

West Chester resolves to eliminate single-use plastic and it will starting Jan. 1

This all started with a some kids on a mission.

Now this is not exactly breaking news but here it is: the West Chester ordinance banning the use of single-use plastic bags and straws will go into full effect January 1, 2022. Originally passed in the summer of 2019 after a moving presentation on the ills of plastic waste from the students of the Friends School, the ban has faced several state mandated delays to its implementation. After years of stall tactics, the ban finally went into effect in July however it has not been enforced by the borough. Businesses were granted a 6-month adjustment period to transition their supplies and ready their systems. That period is set to end at midnight on December 31. 

The Basics of the West Chester Single-Use Plastic Ban:

What is banned? 

  • single-use, carry-out plastic bags (think those thin plastic bags with handles) 
  • single-use, plastic straws 

Where are they banned?

The Borough of West Chester. This means your trips to Giant or Acme will not be affected. 7-11 runs would. However, TBD if they are participating. 

What does this mean for residents, visitors to the Borough? 

In theory it means you should bring your recycled bags when you shop downtown and drink those drinks without a straw. In reality, paper versions of both will still be available. New this week businesses will not have to charge for bags used for food delivery or takeout but all others will cost you 10 cents.

Getting rid of the plastic waste has been a goal of the borough for a while, now we finally get to see the effects of eliminating the 6 million plastic bags used in the borough each year.

West Chester PD’s 3-year plan

This week the West Chester Police Department shared its vision for the future and it’s a world where they are seen as an “essential community partner” in making the borough “a safe and thriving place for all residents and visitors.”

To get there, they have devised a four-part plan that involves:  

Data-driven approaches to law enforcement in addition to standard crime statistics the department is looking to use data to identify emerging crime trends, quantify quality of life issues such as noise violations, vandalism and landlord/tenant relations and help inform community policing strategies. 

Community partnership building and communication especially in the way of increased presence, university relations, and outreach to “immigrants, women, older adults, youth, and people of color.” Additional efforts were outlined to help ensure transparency and improve emergency preparedness.

Department workforce development including efforts to “increase the diversity of department officers” and training in “de-escalation, mental health, special needs and implicit bias.”  

Investment in department infrastructure especially in regards to incorporating new technologies. One of the priorities of the department is building out its camera infrastructure including adding decibel cameras that will monitor noise levels and expanding “license plate recognition systems.” State accreditation is another goal of the department with a target completion date of January 2022.

The plan, which was developed with input from a number of people representing most of the major institutions as well as a number of the residents, was generally well received. “I think the whole plan is pretty thorough,“ said Councilman Don Braceland after the plan was presented last week to the Public Safety Committee Meeting. 

If you’d like to know more, you can review the full plan here.  

The warnings

This has got to stop. This week three juveniles were arrested in connection to a threats posed at Pierce Middle School last week, Superintendent Bob Sokolowski informed parents of a so far unfounded Tik Tok rumor predicting violence at schools on Friday, and a bomb scare was reported at West Chester University. These incidents are not being taken lightly. Each will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and individuals will also face school-based disciplinary action – however, it would be far better to never have had them happen at all. Please keep an eye out for each other this holiday season and as Dr. S suggested maybe take a break from social media.

Lock those doors and get someone to pick up those packages. In other warnings, West Chester PD would like to remind you to keep an eye on those packages. If you don’t plan to be home when a package is delivered, try to arrange with a neighbor or friend to pick it up. West Chester is currently experiencing a 53% increase in part one crime over last year. Not totally surprising considering the situation last year but still concerning.  

Don’t forget to water that tree. And here’s another seasonal favorite for you from your friendly neighborhood fire fighters, keep that tree watered. An under-watered tree can go up in seconds while a well-watered tree takes a few minutes. 

Please, don’t do that here. Police Chief James Morehead reported last week that arrests have been made and loose ends tied up in the investigation of the Dean Street burglary earlier this fall. Communicating success. Check.

The Accolades.

Sabrina Ann Couture, Downtown Holiday Window Decorating contest winner in the small window category.

Round of applause to this year’s winners of the Downtown Holiday Window Decorating contest. Taking first place in their division: Sabrina Ann Couture, Kati Mac Floral Designs, and Malena’s Vintage Boutique and the People’s Choice award winner, Charlie & Co. Barbershop. What holiday style! Why not check them all out (and the 46 other participating locations) this weekend, while knocking off some last minute holiday shopping? 

While we are here, a hearty pat on the back to West Chester Police Officers Hill and Turner who were recently awarded certificates of commendation stemming from their actions on October 10. Both were onsite when a man walked into the police lobby requesting to see an officer. In his possession he had crystal meth and a needle. “Believing he had hit rock bottom, letting his three children down he made the decision to find a police station. I’m glad he found West Chester,” Chief James Morehead said in his remarks. 

In a letter to Chief Morehead the subject explained how scared and embarrassed he was, fearful of how he would be received, but upon his arrest he was treated, he wrote, with nothing but respect and dignity. Since his arrest he has enrolled in treatment facility, built up a support network and regularly attends AA meetings.  

Finally, some sports shout outs. The fall sports All-Ches-Mont Leagues have been named and West Chester was well represented. The following local athletes all received first team honors. Way to go! 

Football: Congratulations to Rustin’s Dayshawn Jacobs, Dan McNasby, Aarron Meadows, Chris Yanko, Anthony Meadows, and Damon Jacobs; East’s Mitch Ragni and Ryan McIntire; and Henderson’s Dylan Grim and Casey Killoran.

Boys Soccer: High fives to East’s Niklas Nowak; Henderson’s Ethan Jarden, Adam Gomaa, Ryan Kuegler, and Tino Kneis and Rustin’s Ryan Jackson, Danny McGonigle, Mohamed Elhendawy, and Dimitri Makris.

Special shout out to Mohamed who was named American Division MVP; All-State, All-Southeastern PA.

Girls Soccer: Kudos to Sydney Slusser of East; Maura Fisher, and Becca Miller of Henderson and Lindsay Krafchick, and Maegan Quinn of Rustin.

Special shout outs to Sydney who was also named National Division MVP; All-State, All-Southeastern; PA Soccer Coaches Association All-State – whew, that’s a mouthful. Lindsay who was named second division MVP and Coach Ashley Ainsworth of Rustin who was named Coach of the Year by her colleagues. 

Field Hockey: Way to go to Henderson’s Hillary Hoffman and Molly DiCampli; East’s Kathryn Palmer and Carey Werley and Rustin’s Taylor Krafchick.

Girl’s Golf: Good job, Victoria Kim of East!

Boy’s Golf: Nice work, Ryan D’Ariano, Eric Miller, and Trevor Talerico of Rustin; and Josh Baker of Henderson

And while we are speaking sports, shout out to Fugett’s 8th Grade football team. They went 7-0 this season. Nice job!

Hello. 

Say hello to some extra room in town. WCU students prepare for the last of their finals this week.

Say hello to some new bulk trash fees. After years of no-questions asked, complimentary bulk trash pickup, the borough has added some stipulations. This week Borough Council approved a proposal that would require residents to pay a $35 fee for the removal of very large bulk trash items. According to the updated fee schedule this would include all items over 75 lbs or exceeding 2’ x 3’ x 5’ which still gives you wide range to get rid of a lot of junk for free.

Also, you will now need to pay to get your tires recycled through the borough. $10 for up to 17” wheels; $25 for anything over. 

“We actually get charged when we take [large items] to the dump,” Public Works Director Alberto Vennettilli said.   

And, the cost of 20-gallon recycling containers is going up too. You know, inflation. 

Also say hello again to WCU! Live. The popular performance series is back after a two-year COVID-induced hiatus. Performances are set to return March 2022 with Johnny Peers & the Muttville Comix. See the full list of performances here

Also, saying, “nice to see you,” to new lights on Montgomery Avenue. As one parent wrote on Nextdoor, “I am relieved to see that WCASD has finally come to the realization that students crossing Montgomery Avenue for Henderson HS in the dark is unacceptable.”  

Goodbye. 

An Art Moderne style home on W. Gay Street.

Say goodbye to the only example of Art Moderne architecture in the borough. This week Borough Council approved the plans to demolish the brick residence at 339 W. Gay Street and replace it with a twin. The home’s simple lines were characteristic of the style which was seen in contrast to the opulence of Art Deco. Since the home is outside the confines of the historical district there is little that can be done to preserve the little 1930s brick home but the Borough’s Building and Housing Director Kevin Gore promised to take pictures and document the floorplan. Oh, we knew her when… 

Also, you can say goodbye to the state’s K-12 masking order for schools, but sorry, boys and girls, you cannot yet say goodbye to those masks. This week this District reminded everyone the school’s masking policy is not based on the state’s order but is rather a component of the Health and Safety plan that was approved by the school board this summer. Under that plan masks are to be worn as long as there remains an elevated level of transmission. The District has indicated it will be reviewing its policy in January. 

Finally, this week we say goodbye to Borough Council Members Don Braceland, Bill Scott and President Michael Galey. Thank you to all members for their time – Bill Scott has served for 25 years – and commitment to the borough. 

Pay it forward.

Do you know Eddie? Well, you should because Eddie Knows West Chester – and if he didn’t before his little venture, he certainly does now. Henderson alum Eddie Caufield, well known in and around the baseball dugout after serving as the team’s manager throughout his high school career, now has a new gig as West Chester’s business writer. After graduating from Penn State Brandywine, Eddie, who is on the autism spectrum, wanted a way to give back to the community that had supported him since middle school and spreading the word about everything the town has to offer was his answer. “I want to encourage people to shop local, eat local and keep it local,” Eddie told the Daily Local’s Peter DiGiovanni. Want to support? Just follow along.   

Also shout out the Benchmark Credit Union whose employees raised over $4000 for the Chester County Food Bank just by wearing jeans to work (and donating to the nonprofit for the privilege.) Holidays can be especially tough for those struggling financially. If you would like to make your own donation, you can do that here and feel free to treat yourself to a day in your jeans, sweats or pj bottoms as a reward for your good deed.

The freakin’ weekend. 

Slim pickings for cut your own trees this year.

What are you up to this weekend? We are getting ready for Santa. Since we will be traveling over the holiday, the big man has offered to make a special trip to our house on Saturday night – right between gymnastics and a couple of basketball games. Merry Christmas.

If you too are wrapping up for the holiday, here are a few last minute gift ideas for you. For Grandma and Grandpa Disc Hounds offers VHS to Digital for $99; for those dog lovers with that dog that just can’t seem to behave and for your friend with a sweet tooth – I’m heading for a couple teachers on my list. Then swing by Kildare’s to celebrate completion in style.

Also, heads up Dia Doce’s mini holiday cupcakes are back but you must order by December 22 and pick up on December 23. I did this for Thanksgiving and it was wonderful. The perfect hostess gift.

This will be my last Roundup post of the year, so I wish you all a very merry holidays and a Happy New Year! I think next year will be our year. 

Mark your calendars:

December 17 – Lenape Brass Band, Taylor’s Music, 116 W Gay St, West Chester, 5 p.m.

December 17 – A Very Gospel Christmas, Uptown! Theater, 7:30 p.m., tickets $28 advance; $33 at the door

December 18 – Last day of West Chester University fall semester

December 18 – Cookie decorating, Oscar Lasko, 1 E. Chestnut Street, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. This event is free but you must pre-register choose from one of 8 slots 10:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. Also note, masks are required at this event.

December 18 – The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (play), Uptown! Theater, 2 p.m. or 7 p.m. Tickets: $25 adults; $15 kids.

Dec. 18 – Santa on a fire truck, Downtown West Chester, 3 p.m.

Dec. 18-19 – Holiday History Stroll, Chester County History Center, 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. or 1 p.m. Sunday; Festive 1.5 hour tour of West Chester’s early churches, department stores and cultural sites – and the walking tour with a toast to the season. Tickets $25

Dec. 21 – Winter Solstice celebration, Everhart Park at the Labyrinth path, 4:45 p.m. 450 luminaries will light the curving stone paths. 

December 31 – New Year’s Eve! Head downtown and cheers to surviving another year. You deserve it!

That’s it. Stay safe, stay healthy and I’ll see you next year. 

New to the blog? Follow along for the latest from West Chester.

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