July 11, 2015 |
The basketball courts are easily overlooked: Just three blacktops and a dimmed scoreboard bracketed by a couple of sets of metal bleachers. They stretch along an otherwise barren block of Seventh Street near downtown Chester, in the shadows of a railroad overpass. But in the gritty city of 34,000 with a remarkable basketball tradition, the Seventh Street courts are king. For many, they are home - a relief, an escape, the premier athletic battleground. A tiny haven of safety within one of the region's most dangerous cities.
April 4, 2015 |
His basketball story, like so many before and after him, was born in that most famous of Philadelphia arenas. For Bo Ryan, whose Wisconsin team faces undefeated Kentucky in Saturday's national semifinals, the road from basketball fan to basketball lifer passed through the Palestra. It was on his first visit that he discovered to his delight that kids could stand at the baseline and retrieve basketballs during a team's warm-ups and pass them back to the players. "I went down there and I'm hustling and I'm hustling and this one guy took a liking to me because he thought, 'Hey, I can get a lot of shots with this kid feeding me,' " Ryan recalled.
February 14, 2015 |
Four years ago, Democrats took control of Chester's government with a sweeping victory in a city long controlled by Republicans. They hoped to bring change to a Delaware County municipality plagued by crime, financial problems, and difficulty attracting economic development. The same issues remain today - in fact, Chester's 30 homicides in 2014 set a record. Except now, Chester also has infighting and a growing divide within its Democratic leadership, as State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, the city's senior Democratic politician, is running to unseat Mayor John Linder.
January 13, 2015
PHILLY-BASED actor Christopher Mann has landed what could be the role of a lifetime - portraying legendary civil-rights activist Cecil B. Moore in Tigre Hill's upcoming film, "American Zealot. " A movie about Moore's life would be timely, given all the buzz around the new movie "Selma" and nationwide protests about police brutality following the untimely deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. "I know he'd have a problem with the way things are," Mann, 50, said of Moore - a Philadelphia lawyer and politician who headed up the local NAACP and led the fight to integrate Girard College.
December 6, 2014 |
Many in public education have long argued they are fighting a war against conservative interests that want traditional urban schools abandoned rather than improved so that charters and private academies can replace them. The argument gains credibility when you consider how badly the Pennsylvania Department of Education has messed up the Chester Upland School District. Now it is trying to remove Joe Watkins, the district's chief recovery officer, from the position he was appointed to by former state Education Secretary Ron Tomalis in August 2012.
November 29, 2014 |
Chester High School freshman Jameisha Johnson is the first to admit that school was not working for her. She struggled academically, had serious behavioral issues, and was placed in an alternative-school program. Then two Widener University professors and their cadre of student tutors stepped in with a pilot program aimed at increasing literacy for at-risk students, simultaneously providing hands-on experiences for their education majors. "My grades went up. My behavior improved.
November 17, 2014 |
I WANT so badly to be angry with Staci Dawson because anger is a lot easier for me to feel than despair. And this foolish mother's story fills me with despair. Not for Dawson, 22, who has made her bed. But for her 3-year-old daughter, who is too young to know that her life just flipped upside down. You might have seen Dawson's pretty, sad face in the news last week as the Delaware County District Attorney's Office trumpeted the length of the sentence Dawson received for her straw purchase of two handguns.
October 23, 2014 |
Rahim Hicks loved to fish, enjoyed NASCAR, had an entrepreneurial streak, and was a junior member in a volunteer fire company. Jamir Williams failed to finish eighth grade, never learned to read, was found to have ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder, and, according to his family, was profoundly affected by his brother's unsolved killing. Prosecutors say the paths of the two Chester men intersected at 3:30 a.m. July 24, 2010, in the doorway of J&S Seafood on Kerlin Street. Words were allegedly exchanged and five shots fired.
October 12, 2014 |
A Delaware County Court jury on Friday convicted a Philadelphia man of first-degree murder in the 2011 kidnapping and stabbing death of a cab-company manager whose body was found wrapped in trash bags inside a cab in Chester. Shamar Alexander, 30, of the 1000 block of North 46th Street, also was found guilty of possessing an instrument of crime and abuse of corpse. The jury deliberated about two hours. On the night of June 23, 2011, police discovered the body of John "Tony" Dillard, 57, a manager of Germantown Cab Co., inside a cab parked in a lot in the 100 block of Lamokin Street, not far from the Chester High School athletic fields.
July 9, 2014 |
The struggling Chester Upland School District adopted a $118 million budget Monday that raises taxes by 3.4 percent, but a $12.3 million shortfall lingers, according to state-appointed receiver Joe Watkins. As the district continues to grapple with financial and academic problems, Watkins said he hoped to close the gap with help from the state. "We are in the process of righting this ship and are confident that we will succeed," he said, noting that the 3,000-student district shaved $6.2 million from the preliminary budget to narrow the spending gulf.