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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
December 22, 2015 | By Caitlin McCabe, STAFF WRITER
The Delaware County District Attorney's office issued arrest warrants for three Colwyn Borough fire company officials Monday, ending a 10-month investigation into accusations that fire officials stole tens of thousands of dollars from station funds. According to a spokeswoman for the District Attorney's office, theft charges were brought Monday against Gary Brice, former chief of Colwyn's Fire Station 92; Betty Cellini, the station's former president; and her daughter, Lauren Cellini, the company's treasurer.
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.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
August 20, 2016 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Staff Writer
Robert Dudley Bell Sr., 89, formerly of Drexel Hill, an educator who knew how to play and prompted others to do the same, died Saturday, Aug. 6, of cancer at Shannondell at Valley Forge, a retirement community. A child of the Great Depression, Mr. Bell, who grew up at 50th and Catharine Streets in West Philadelphia, developed a knack for turning household items into toys. The imagination and playfulness he showed early on reemerged later. As a teacher and recreation director in the William Penn School District in Delaware County, he introduced games and projects to schoolchildren from Aldan, Colwyn, Darby Borough, East Lansdowne, Lansdowne, and Yeadon.
NEWS
June 7, 2016 | By Caitlin McCabe, Staff Writer
When Stephen Mullin arrived in Colwyn Borough last summer, he and a team of state-appointed consultants came ready to rescue the struggling municipality notorious for its financial woes and political turbulence. His first order of business: assessing Colwyn's latest financial audit. The borough didn't have it. Its 2013 audit? Colwyn didn't have that, either. As for 2012? Nothing. For more than three years, Mullin found, the tiny Delaware County borough that borders Philadelphia kept virtually no financial records.
NEWS
March 10, 2016
A two-alarm fire Tuesday night at an industrial park at 522 Ellis Ave. in Colwyn, Delaware County, damaged 15 to 20 vehicles, an official said. The fire spread to a building at the location, the official said. No other details were immediately available. Among the businesses at the site are Autopart International, a distributor of aftermarket automobile parts, and Dennis' Frameworks Corp., according to public records. - Harold Brubaker
NEWS
December 23, 2015 | By Caitlin McCabe, Staff Writer
A trio of former top officials from the Colwyn Borough fire company were charged Monday with theft and conspiracy after a 10-month investigation revealed that they stole more than $52,000 from their own organization. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan announced felony charges against Gary Brice, 49, Station 92's former chief; Betty Cellini, 50, Brice's girlfriend and the company's former president; and Cellini's daughter, Lauren, 26, the company's former treasurer. On Monday afternoon, Brice was in custody after failing to post $50,000 bail.
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.
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