An annual drug take-back program run by a state representative more than doubled the amout of drugs collected at last year's event, officials said.
The recycling, shredding and drug take-back event, hosted each year by State Rep. Duane Milne, encourages residents to drop off unwanted appliances and electronics, scrap paper and unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Milne's event this year, held on April 27, yielded nearly 575 pounds of meds -- compared to just 200 pounds last year.
Since prescription medications carry such potential for abuse, events like Milne's help residents dispose of unused or expired drugs safely. Drug Enforcement Administration events held across the country on April 27 -- otherwise known as National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day -- yielded a combined 371 tons of medication.
For the past 22 years, students from around the state have gathered to compete in the Pennsylvania State Academic Competition -- and for the past four years, the winners have hailed from schools in Chester County.
A team of four students from Conestoga High School in Berwyn snagged the top honor this year; participants must answer questions on world history, literature, American history, science, current events and "potpurri" -- anything and everything. This year's winning question hinged on participants' knowledge of sports: the Conestoga team correctly identified the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Americans as the two teams who competed in the first World Series in 1903.
Students compete throughout the year to gain entry to the state-wide competition on May 3. The winners get a trophy and $2,000 toward their school's scholarship fund.
Chester County detectives have arrested a West Vincent man who, they say, was running "a major marijuana grow operation" in his house.
On Tuesday evening, detectives entered the home of Christian Titone, 54, on a search warrant. Inside, they found 188 marijuana plants -- part of what Chester County prosecutors called a "sophisticated hydroponic grow operation" that included lights, ventilation and an irrigation system, according to court documents.
Titone had also set up a high-tech surveillance system that allowed him to monitor everything inside and outside the house from HD monitors, detectives said. The detectives also found processed, ready-to-sell marijuana in 12 different strains -- with names like "Afrodite Mother" and "Ace of Spades," they said.
After a heated, months-long community debate, Longwood Gardens received the go-ahead from Kennett Township to tear down three historic houses on its sprawing property in southern Chester County.
Kennett Township supervisors voted 2-1 Tuesday to allow Longwood to demolish the houses after tabling the decision several times. The supervisor who voted against granting a demolition permit, township manager Lisa Moore said, had wanted to wait another 15 days before making a final decision.
The three houses date to the 1920s and once housed Longwood employees. Preservationsists say they're prime examples of the work of E. William Martin, who designed a number of buildings in Chester County and Wilmington, Del.
Sunil Tripathi's family hung photos throughout a chapel on the Brown University campus, welcomed friends and family into the small sanctuary and then simply sat in silence.
It's a tradition in Quaker services -- the idea being that anyone who feels moved to speak should do so. And during the memorial service last Saturday, those who knew and loved the 22-year-old Brown student and Radnor native did just that.
Sunil Tripathi went missing about a month ago in Providence; his family said he had suffered from depression and left a vague note that hinted at suicidal intent. But the Tripathis held out hope, marshaling an extraordinary social media campaign and traveling from Pennsylvania to Providence, R.I. to search for him full-time.
For the past few months, the Chester County commissioners have been hosting what they call "on-the-road" meetings in various communities around the county. March's was in East Vincent Township, in the northernmost reaches of the county; discussion at that meeting touched on everything from preserving farmland to dealing with the construction of natural gas pipelines in the area.
Commissioners say it's a way to connect with residents in a county with so many different faces -- from Main Line towns like Malvern to rural areas like Cochranville. It's also a way to let residents know exactly what the county government actually does -- with one city, 15 boroughs and a slew of smaller communities in Chester County, it's easy to overdose on local government.
This month's meeting was in Nottingham, home to many, many mushroom farms and the national treasure known as the Herr's potato chip factory. (The meeting itself was actually at the Herr's factory, which meant lots of free chips for attendees -- reason enough to go in my book.) Here's a rundown of what was discussed:
- The Chester County Economic Development Council is hoping to revitalize the area along Route 1 in the southern portion of the county. The aim is to preserve rural land in the area while capitalizing on a potential 3 to 4 million square feet of commercial and industrial property, development adviser Bob Grabus said. The development council is launching a marketing campaign and a bus tour for prospective developers in the near future, he said.
- Oxford Borough is building an affordable housing development comprised mostly of three- and four-bedroom homes to help house farmworkers in southern Chester County, for whom finding affordable housing is sometimes tricky. It will be the third such development in the township.
- Representatives from Westgrove and Oxford talked about the county's community revitalization program, which grants funds to the county's "urban centers" -- Coatesville and the 15 boroughs -- for projects like streetscape improvement and infrastructure repairs, all designed to help attract more residents and businesses to the area. Westgrove alone has recieved seven grants from the program since 2003; Oxford credits a $1.2 million streetscape improvement program for helping keep their small town alive.
Alexandra Bigelow's trip to El Salvador last summer centered around building a nurse's clinic in a tiny town outside San Salvador -- standard fare for a high-school mission trip.
But Bigelow, a senior at Villa Maria Academy in Malvern, came away from the trip with a different goal in mind.
On her last day in-country, she asked community members in La Delicias -- the small town where she and her classmates had been volunteering for the past 14 days-- how she could help from home. Their answer wasn't one she was expecting: Women in the community, they said, were in dire need of sanitary napkins.
Human trafficking isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to crime in Pennsylvania -- but two local politicians are aiming to increase awareness and toughen penalities on human traffickers with proposed legislation this session.
State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery) and State Rep. Andy Dinniman (D-Chester) are among the co-sponsors of SB 75, which aims to prevent trafficking and crack down on offenders. Under the bill, "subjecting an individual to involuntary servitude" would become a first-degree felony; johns who knowlingly have sex with a victim of human trafficking would face second-degree felonies. The bill would also make it a third-degree felony to destroy passports or immigration documents in order to keep a trafficking victim from escaping.
The bill was tabled in the Senate in February, but Greenleaf and Dinniman say they are working to schedule a vote soon.
West Chester city councilman John Manion had just finished his fourth Boston Marathon and was relaxing in his hotel room when he heard a loud “boom” from down the street.
“My daughter said, ‘What’s that?’” Manion said. “She’s 9 years old, and I told her it was probably a truck dropping off a dumpster, but it was way too loud for that. Then we immediately heard the next one – and there was no way it was going to be two trucks.”
Manion and eight other runners from a West Chester running group were staying at Marriott Copley Place a few blocks from Boylston Street Monday afternoon after the race, and were blocks from the finish line when two bombs exploded there in quick succession, killing three and wounding dozens more. Manion’s wife had been standing in the area where the second bomb exploded for much of the race before he finished, he said.
The alleged theft of $80 in tickets to movie houses in February 2013 may have tripped up West Brandwyine Township Manager Ronald A. Rambo, Jr., the police criminal complaint against him suggests.
Rambo was arrested and charged by the Chester County District Attorney’s office on April 11 with “misappropriating township funds” totaling $456.30. He is charged with two misdemeanors — forgery and theft by unlawful taking.
Six of the seven allegations involve falsifying medical expenses in 2010. But the seventh involves this year’s movie tickets.
The affidavit of probable cause, made public by the District Attorney’s office, states that “Rambo said he and his wife earn approximately $160,000 per year, and that he does not need the money,” that he is accused of misappropriating.
“Rambo repeatedly said he does not know why he did it.”
The affidavit states that “Rambo said he was having financial problems in 2010 and that his mortgage increased from $2,200 to $2,800 per month.
“Rambo said that he had had a significant credit card debt at the time and was under a lot of job related pressure.”
On April 11, Rambo’s office assistant said that he was not available for comment on the Inquirer report of the arrest and charges.
Here is how the more recent story unfolded, according to the affidavit.
On Feb. 6, West Brandywine Police Chief Walt Werner told county detective Thomas J. Goggin<NO1>(CQ)<NO> that someone who worked with Rambo said “Rambo took a sheet of eight movie tickets from the office without paying for them.”
The accuser was a township employee who is unnamed in the affidavit but is known to Goggin.
On Mar. 18, that employee told the detective that “the township obtains movie tickets from Regal Cinema for the benefit of townshop residents. The tickets are shipped to the township and arrive in sheets of ten with “West Brandywine Township” printed on the back. The theater tickets are sold to residents for a discount rate of $8 per ticket.”
The township employee “said Rambo asked for a sheet of movie tickets on 2/06/1013. Rambo took the sheet of tickets and did not pay for them at that time,” and that “Rambo did not pay for the tickets as of 3/18/2013,” the date of the interview with the detective.
A second township employee has since “moved the tickets to a cabinet near the front window because it is closer to a security camera,” so the detective reported that that employee told him.
The April 11 affidavit states that on April 1, Goggin “asked Ronald Rambo if he paid for the movie tickets he removed from the township office. Rambo said he would check his records … On 4/03/2013 Rambo admitted that he did not pay for the movie tickets.”
The April 11 press release from District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan painted with a broader brush.
Noting that the “Township Manager has broad authority over financial issues for the township,” Hogan stated that Rambo “reviews and approves employee remimbursement requests, even when the employee reimbursement request is submitted by the Township Manager himself.”
For the most part, Rambo was accused of falsifying reimbursements.
When Hogan’s county detectives looked into the Rambo matter, they “were advised that the defendant had been confronted with prior instances of misappropriating funds and had agreed to repay the Township, but then continued to misappropriate funds.”
— Walter F. Naedele.