Thursday, February 11, 2016

Archive: July, 2013

POSTED: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 11:30 AM

A former Chester County prison lieutenant -- already charged in the alleged sexual abuse of two young girls -- is facing another wave of charges related to the sexual abuse of five more children.

Leroy Mitchell, 60, of West Bradford, took in more than 50 foster children over the years. Three of the five children mentioned in the new charges were once foster children in his care. The five victims were between three and 10 years old when the alleged abuse occured, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said.

Hogan said in a release that Mitchell allegedly plied victims with food and candy to "reward" them during the abuse, and added that one of the five victims named in the latest set of charges was allegedly abused as early as 1966, when the child was five and Mitchell was a teenager.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 4:38 PM

Police are investigating a July 29 shooting in Caln that wounded a Coatesville man.

Gupree White, 25, of Coatesville, was shot once by an "unknown caliber handgun" at around 10:40 p.m. on July 29, Caln police said. The incident occurred in a car on the 100 block of Foundry Street.

White was a passenger in the car, police said, but they didn't specify who was with him or who was driving the vehicle. Police have not yet located the shooter and are continuing to investigate, they said.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 1:28 PM

Five buildings on the West Chester University Campus were evacuated Tuesday after a minor gas leak on the campus, officials there said.
A contractor working in a trench on campus had hit a gas line Tuesday morning, university spokeswoman Pam Sheridan said, causing a small gas leak. Workers could smell gas leaking from the line, she said, and alerted the campus.
The incident occurred in "an open outdoor space" surrounded by several classroom buildings and dormitories, Sheridan said.
University officials sent out alerts via text message, the university website and a campus-wide PA system to warn anyone in the area to stay away from the area. Brandywine Hall, Allegheny Hall, Wayne Hall and Killinger Hall -- all dormitories -- and the Merion Science Facility were evacuated.
Students aren't on campus currently, Sheridan said, although the university is holding several summer camps. Students attending camp were not in the vicinity of the leak.
At around 1 p.m., PECO representatives had arrived to shut off the gas valve and stop the leak, Sheridan said, and the evacuated buildings were re-opened.
Sheridan said she wasn't sure what project the contractors had been working on.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 5:39 PM

West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta has just released the results of a community conversation the borough held back in May on residents' satisfaction with the county seat. Among the positive feedback: West Chester residents like the borough's diversity, "lively downtown," "tree-lined streets" and burgeoning arts scene.

But suggestions for borough-wide improvement tend to reflect some quality of life issues that residents have raised over the past year. Improvements requested by residents include "addressing late night noise and bar traffic issues" (which we've written about in the past) and "fostering an ongoing relationship with West Chester University to address mutual interests" -- namely, making sure rental properties are in good shape.

Residents also suggested increasing affordable housing availability, adding parking meters that accept credit cards and improving public transportation options for going in and out of the borough. And though they appreciate the retail downtown, they're also looking for more food shopping options (preferably, a Trader Joe's) and even asked the borough to consider converting Gay Street, a main thoroughfare, into a pedestrian mall.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 3:26 PM

WEST CHESTER, PA _ The Chester County Commissioners today 
approved the appointment of Jeanne Casner, MPH, PMP as Director 
of the Chester County Health Department. She replaces Margaret 
Rivello, who recently retired. 
 “The Chester County Health Department is one of the most 
highly respected health departments in Pennsylvania, and has pioneered 
many programs that have been recognized and repeated nation-wide,” 
said Commissioners’ Chair Ryan Costello. “We are pleased to find 
someone of Jeanne’s caliber to lead the department.” 
 Casner has 20 years of health-related experience at the federal, 
state and local government levels, including the Centers for Disease 
Control and Prevention (CDC), Fulton County Department of Health 
and Wellness, and Keane, Inc. where she was senior public health consultant and business analyst – all 
based in Atlanta, GA. She holds a Master of Public Health degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in 
sociology, both from the University of Michigan. 
 “Jeanne’s appointment follows the retirement of Margaret Rivello earlier this year,” said 
Commissioner Kathi Cozzone. “We thank Margaret for her many years of service to Chester County, as 
well as all health department employees for continuing to provide excellent services to our citizens while 
a search for a new director was conducted.” 
 Commissioner Terence Farrell commented, “Jeanne Casner brings a strong background of 
knowledge and experience to the County position and we trust that, under her leadership, the Health 
Department will continue to provide programs and services that have established Chester County as the 
healthiest county in Pennsylvania.” 
Jeanne Casner, newly appointed 
Director of the Chester County Health 

Chester County's Health Department has selected a public health official from Georgia to replace its outgoing department director, who recently retired.

County officials said Jeanne Casner, of Atlanta, will take the place of outgoing director Margaret Rivello. Casner has 20 years of experience in the public health realm, they said in a release, including stints at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness and the healthcare technology group Keane, Inc. 

POSTED: Monday, July 15, 2013, 5:07 PM

The Pennsylvania State Police will be cracking down on aggressive driving on U.S. Rt. 30 throughout the state this week.

The Highway Enforcement of Agressive Traffic (HEAT) initiative will focus on Rt. 30 from the Ohio border to the New Jersey border for the next five days, using helicopters and "fixed-wing aircrafts" to spot aggressive drivers. They'll also target speeders and aggressive drivers in work zones with help from local police.

Officials said Rt. 30 has seen about 9,800 crashes and 96 fatalities statewide since 2008. In the counties surrounding Philadelphia -- Chester, Delaware and Montgomery -- there have been 2,367 crashes and seven deaths in the same time period.

POSTED: Tuesday, July 9, 2013, 2:30 PM

The Chester County district attorney's office is adding a new detective to their investigative division, replacing a detective who retired last year.

Robert Balchunis, who hails from the West Goshen Police Department, will be assigned to the Chester County Detectives' Major Case Squad. Balchunis has been a police officer for 15 years and previously worked for the Westtown-East Goshen police department before moving to West Goshen. He was named Westtown-East Goshen's Officer of the Year in 2001 and 2012, the district attorney's office said.

In a press release, District Attorney Tom Hogan said Balchunis was "well respected by law enforcement throughout Chester County" and  "a perfect fit" for the unit.

About this blog
Aubrey Whelan covers Chester County for the Inquirer. A native of a Philadelphia suburb so small it doesn't have a zip code, she grew up reading the Inquirer and was thrilled to take a job there in fall 2012. Previously, she covered crime, courts and D.C.'s Occupy movement for the Washington Examiner. Aubrey graduated from Penn State in 2011, where she worked for the award-winning campus newspaper and majored in journalism and French. Contact her at 215-495-5855 or You can also follow her on Twitter at

Aubrey Whelan
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