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Colwyn

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NEWS
April 19, 2013 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
COLWYN is 170 acres of political chaos. Jammed between Cobbs Creek and Darby Creek on the Southwest Philly border, the Delaware County borough's declining tax base and shifting demographics have fanned the flames of racism and led to a dysfunctional local government. Employees without health benefits, skyrocketing legal bills, a speakeasy in the firehouse, a cop with 15 active warrants in her name, secret expenditures and a police chief collecting a paycheck from home . . . for nearly two years now. The town of 2,500 people has bounced from one crisis to another in recent years, after Democrats, lead by Council President Tonette Pray, took over following decades of Republican control.
NEWS
May 17, 2012 | Tony Wood
Its police department in turmoil since an incident in which an officer allegedly Tasered an imprisoned teenager repeatedly, Colwyn has lifted its latest state of emergency and reinstated another officer who had been placed on administrative leave. In contrast to a raucous meeting this month that was punctuated by shouts and a fistfight, at a brief and uneventful emergency meeting on Wednesday night Mayor Daniel Rutland and Council President Tonette Pray announced that Lt. Wesley Seitz, suspended after he reported the alleged Tasing incident, would return to work.
NEWS
January 2, 2013 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Delaware County firefighter was injured Sunday in a blaze that destroyed a house in Colwyn. Fire departments in the southeast part of the county received a call about 6:30 p.m. for a fire at a twin on the 200 block of Walnut Street, according to Chief Chris Caruso of Darby Fire Company No. 1. A 24-year-old volunteer firefighter whose name was not released was using a hose in the house when he received two electric shocks, possibly from live...
NEWS
November 15, 2012 | By Jessica Parks, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Colwyn borough might have to rehire the police chief it removed in 2009. Commonwealth Court judges ruled last week upheld an arbitrator's finding that Bryan Hills, who contended his dismissal was racially motivated, was unfairly terminated. It was the second time the arbitrator's decision had withstood a court challenge. The Delaware County borough has 30 days to request a hearing before the state Supreme Court, but if the decision stands, Hills would have to be reinstated with some back pay. He said the Fraternal Order of Police will negotiate with borough officials to figure out the next steps.
NEWS
February 27, 2014 | By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, Inquirer Staff Writer
COLWYN A Delaware County grand jury has been reviewing records from Colwyn, the tiny borough wracked by infighting and allegations of wrongdoing, according to the newly hired borough manager. Paula Brown said she turned over the records last week to the grand jury from the hard drive of a borough police photocopier. Brown said she did not know the subject or scope of the investigation but speculated it may be tied to numerous complaints made against the borough over the last few years.
NEWS
March 5, 2014 | By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Its rowhouses and twins are tucked neatly into less than a third of a square mile in easternmost Delaware County, Philadelphia a splash away across Cobbs Creek. Colwyn, founded in the 17th century, was once a sleepy bedroom community. Now it's a hotbed of discord, with a fractious government, a police department emerging from chaos, and, most recently, allegations of fiscal malfeasance. "It's just a mess," said a borough councilman, Frederick Lesher. That's hard to dispute.
NEWS
September 7, 2012 | By Robert Moran, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Colwyn Borough councilman has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that he was assaulted by police at a council meeting last year. Council President Tonette Pray disputed that any assault occurred at the June 9, 2011, meeting. "None of that happened," Pray said. "Basically, this is all political. " Councilman Sunday Nwegbo was arrested for disorderly conduct at the meeting. In October, he was found not guilty in District Court. At that meeting, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, Nwegbo was criticizing McDonald Ford, then the borough's treasurer, when Ford "attempted to physically attack" Nwegbo.
NEWS
July 1, 2012 | By Anthony R. Wood, Inquirer Staff Writer
Their superiors took action after they complained about the behavior of the fellow police officer who admitted Tasering a handcuffed teenager. However, instead of disciplining Trevor Parham, the officials acted against the four current and former Colwyn, Delaware County, officers, they allege in a federal lawsuit. In addition, Colwyn resident Maurice J. Clark Sr., 64, claims in the suit, filed Thursday in Philadelphia, that nine months before the Tasering incident, he had been harassed repeatedly by Parham and jailed wrongly.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
August 26, 2015 | By Caitlin McCabe, Inquirer Staff Writer
The fire station that sits along Spruce Street in tiny Colwyn Borough isn't much. A handful of bunk beds, a small hall, and two fire trucks rest within the concrete walls that have yellowed over decades. At the entrance, for months, many of the red letters spelling the name of the company - Colwyn Boro Fire Co. Station 92 - were missing, leaving a jumbled scramble of letters and words. Only recently were they replaced. To onlookers, the unassuming fire company, created more than a century ago in the Delaware County borough of 2,500, idles in a state of disarray.
NEWS
July 28, 2015 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mary Ann Mellon Melchiorre, 79, of Ardmore, a mother, lawyer, and brokerage firm officer, died Thursday, July 16, of complications from dementia at Saunders House in Wynnewood. Born in Philadelphia, she was the daughter of Lawrence J. and Kathryn Pizzagno Mellon. Ms. Melchiorre grew up in Colwyn and graduated from West Catholic High School. She went to work for the former Bell Telephone Co. of Pennsylvania, where she met Joseph Melchiorre. The two married and moved to Ardmore to raise a family.
NEWS
May 26, 2015 | By Caitlin McCabe, Inquirer Staff Writer
After years of financial disarray, government infighting, and lawsuits, Delaware County's tiny Colwyn Borough has been thrown a life preserver. Earlier this month, it entered the state's Act 47 program, a near last-resort option for towns declared "financially distressed," and after nearly three weeks Colwyn officials say they are making progress in their efforts to save the troubled 0.3-square-mile borough. Colwyn leaders next month will begin meeting with a state-appointed coordinator, who will work with borough officials to develop a comprehensive recovery plan.
NEWS
April 17, 2015 | By Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer
Stephen Rozniakowski was so enraged when he found out that his former girlfriend, Valerie Morrow, had bought a new car with her husband that on Dec. 12, 2014, he phoned her 60 times and sent her 20 e-mails while she was at work. The harassment continued for two more days, as the former Colwyn Borough police officer threatened to release personal information and photos, and "embarrass her at work" if she didn't respond. Even as Morrow applied for a protection-from-abuse order on Dec. 15, he continued to call.
NEWS
February 24, 2015 | By Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
The council members sat quietly and cast their votes, unanimously agreeing to seek state assistance to manage Colwyn Borough's finances. Moments later, they started screaming. Again. They shouted, pointed fingers, and paced the room. The council president - who had forgotten his gavel - banged an eyeglass case on the table in a futile effort to quiet the group. It was a typical Thursday evening at Colwyn Borough Hall. The Delaware County borough government is fraught with infighting, lawsuits, allegations of wrongdoing, and an investigation by county detectives into potential financial mismanagement.
NEWS
February 6, 2015 | By Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
A former Colwyn Borough police officer who was entangled in scandal when he Tasered a teenager in 2012 has been charged with falsely claiming he is still a Colwyn officer. Trevor Parham, 42, of Yeadon, was arraigned this week on charges of impersonating a public official. He was stopped for speeding in Lower Merion in October, according to a police affidavit, and told the officer he was a Colwyn officer. Parham was acquitted of criminal charges in 2012 for Tasering a 16-year-old boy shackled to a bench in a holding cell, in a case that drew attention to the small Delaware County borough's police department.
NEWS
December 18, 2014 | By Justine McDaniel, Inquirer Staff Writer
Hours after resigning from the Colwyn police force, a man fatally shot his ex-girlfriend and wounded her 15-year-old daughter at their home in Glenolden on Monday night, officials said. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said his office could seek the death penalty against Stephen Rozniakowski. The 9 p.m. shooting occurred just hours after Rozniakowski was served with a protection-from-abuse order for Valerie Morrow. Whelan said Rozniakowski had been "obsessively" stalking Morrow since she ended a relationship with him and returned to her husband in the summer.
NEWS
May 9, 2014 | By Laura McCrystal, Inquirer Staff Writer
COLWYN At the least, Paula M. Brown says, the records that she has uncovered since taking over as manager of Colwyn Borough are unsettling. They may even be criminal. One councilwoman in the tiny Delaware County borough signed checks from the borough coffers to her husband. Another was paid after resigning from the council. A third says she lent the borough $15,000 out of her own pocket to cover its payroll, and is now seeking repayment. And a onetime ranking police officer took home nearly $100,000 in pay in a single year - for what was supposed to be a part-time job. Brown said she has turned those records and others over to the Delaware County District Attorney's Office, which has acknowledged it is investigating possible financial mismanagement by borough officials.
NEWS
April 29, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
SOMETIMES Catherine Stumm would break off a phone call and say, "I've got to drive the old ladies. " Never mind that the "old ladies" at the Southwest Philadelphia Senior Center were probably 10 to 20 years younger than she was. To Catherine, chronological age meant nothing. It was how you felt, and Catherine was vigorous, fun and rarin' to go well into her 80s. Catherine M. Stumm, who worked part time at the old G.C. Murphy Co. five-and-dime while raising six children then went to work in the payroll department of the former Quartermaster Depot, a loving family matriarch and devoted churchgoer, died Friday.
NEWS
March 5, 2014 | By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Its rowhouses and twins are tucked neatly into less than a third of a square mile in easternmost Delaware County, Philadelphia a splash away across Cobbs Creek. Colwyn, founded in the 17th century, was once a sleepy bedroom community. Now it's a hotbed of discord, with a fractious government, a police department emerging from chaos, and, most recently, allegations of fiscal malfeasance. "It's just a mess," said a borough councilman, Frederick Lesher. That's hard to dispute.
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