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NEWS
July 9, 2014 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
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.
NEWS
July 9, 2014 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the rural reaches of Chester County, a group of Democrats discontented with the direction of the county party has proposed a bold move: secession. It's a startling turn for a group that for decades has made inroads in solidly Republican territory. Their counterparts in Montgomery, Delaware and Bucks Counties have leveraged those gains and now boast the majority of registered voters. Chester County is growing at a faster clip than any of them, and the latest registration figures put the party within striking distance of the GOP. But a festering feud last month led to a shake-up among party's top leaders and sowed discontent at a time when some say the party needs to unite behind Tom Wolf's campaign for governor.
NEWS
July 6, 2014 | By Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
Donna Payne stopped at Bottom Dollar Food for the first time Thursday morning. By the time she reached the checkout line, the 44-year-old Chester resident had a cart brimming with chicken wings, bread, eggs, soda, and popsicles. "This cut down half the price from the other stores," she said. Most of the other stores she visits are not in her own city. Bottom Dollar opened its Chester store last month on Edgmont Avenue, becoming the city's second full-size supermarket. The other one - a nonprofit market called Fare & Square, operated by Philabundance - opened in the fall.
NEWS
July 3, 2014 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
West Chester has received an extension on its first payment to purchase the Barclay Grounds, but officials say the move is not a sign that the borough is backpedaling on its promise to save the cherished park from development. "We're going to get all the money we need to purchase the property. I have no doubt," Mayor Carolyn Comitta said. "It's messy. Nothing is ever a straight line. " The property, a shaded 1.3-acre lot that is privately owned but has long been used as a public park, drew widespread attention last year when a new owner proposed building four homes on the land.
NEWS
June 27, 2014 | By Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writer
Saying stricter federal nutrition guidelines are too much to swallow, the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District has decided to remove its 1,300 high school students from the program that is to go into effect next school year. In deciding last week that the students would not join the 31 million across the country who get free or reduced-price lunches through the National School Lunch Program, the district said its own food policies were healthy enough for its high schoolers. The district's middle school and four elementary schools will still participate.
NEWS
June 25, 2014 | By Michaelle Bond, Inquirer Staff Writer
The West Chester Area School District's board moved Monday to delay until later this summer its vote on how to redraw its voting regions, which could change the way residents vote and campaign during school elections as early as next year. The board voted, 8-0, to send back to committee a map that would have divided the 75-square-mile district, which includes parts of Chester and Delaware Counties, into three regions of about 36,000 residents each. Later this summer, the school board's ad hoc electoral committee will further discuss how best to divide the district.
NEWS
June 22, 2014 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
Kamri Staples was determined to let nothing stop her drive to a career in medicine - not the chaos in Chester's struggling public schools, not lack of money, not even a bureaucratic screw-up that evidently robbed her of a chance to transfer to elite Episcopal Academy. Now, by winning a national honor that makes her a rarity in the troubled district, the 17-year-old can laugh at what she calls her one moment of high anxiety: when she got to watch a gall bladder removal during a Lankenau Science Symposium, right around lunchtime.
NEWS
June 20, 2014 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Bala Cynwyd parking lot operator claims in a federal racketeering lawsuit that officials in Chester City conspired with the owners of the Philadelphia Union and PPL Park to stop the company from operating its lots during the Union's Major League Soccer games and other events. For four games in 2013, the suit claims, Police Commissioner Joseph Bail ordered three ranking officers to close the lots owned by T.I.C.B. Partners by blocking streets with city vehicles or police tape. According to the lawsuit, Bail was also put on the payroll of the company that manages the park and paid $400 for every event he attended there, though it did not specify his duties.
NEWS
June 17, 2014 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
When officers found Andrea McQueen in a snowbank at the scene of a car crash in March, the Coatesville woman was calling out the same words again and again: "My baby. My baby. " Only after police searched along the Chester County road did they realize a child hadn't been ejected from the woman's vehicle. McQueen, who survived the crash, was screaming for the baby she had been carrying for 27 weeks and two days. The driver who hit McQueen while allegedly driving drunk at 113 m.p.h., Remington Simmons, now faces a charge several prosecutors said was rarely used by their offices: murder of an unborn child.
NEWS
June 14, 2014 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
A delicate plan to save West Chester's Barclay Grounds from development suffered a setback Thursday when the Chester County commissioners pledged just a fraction of the grant money requested, leaving a $375,000 gap. The commissioners said they would consider giving more to preserve the land - a tree-shaded plot long used as a park - but only if the borough puts up its own cash for the project. "This is a highly unique situation, for us to even be involved in an open-space project in the borough," said Ryan Costello, commissioners chairman.
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