March - May 2020


Totally Misinformed

     For many of us, this is a tumultuous and traumatic time. We are all frightened, apprehensive, stressed and wondering how we're going to move forward. Many in my community are on the front lines being direct care givers, first responders or essential workers and must trust the news to keep them updated.

    Many of us are fixated on the news online, cable, blogs regular television stations and social media outlets. I totally get it. Fear of the unknown has always been a motivating factor in psyche of all humankind. It's led people to make decisions and take actions, to our detriment, at times. It is to our advantage to stay informed; but we must also be mindful to be discerning in our consumption of the news. Yes, by all means stay informed. Information is power. Accurate information, that is. Finding ourselves constantly at home by proclamation is different and for many of us this new reality is causing us to be stir crazy. Both children and adults are antsy. 

    Spring is here and wer are all more than anxious to shed the winter gear and spend some time basking in the sun and enjoying the sights and

sounds of spring. Me too; but I am willing to wait this out, follow directions and sparingly watch the news and be mindful of the source.

  To read more Chestier News "visit ScoopUSA Media, May 1, 2020" - page 18

Chester Chaplains need our Help

    I was pleased and honored to have been invited by the Chester Chaplains to their weekly meeting. This was an opportunity to speak directly to some of the unsung heroes, who are on the front lines daily along with everyone else tasked with protecting the lives, safety, and health of our community.

    In accordance with mandates and out of an abundance of caution, this interview was conducted via conference call. On the call along with myself was Lisa Dennis, President and Senior Chaplain, Chaplains, Captain Rosetta Carter, Reverend Ronald Hughes, Brother Shakur Ali, Reverend Hilda Campbell, Captain Ronald Johnson, and Reverend Rocky Brown.

My primary concern was how our Police Chaplains were navigating the landscape throughout this global pandemic. This is a new normal and it's no longer business as usual for most of the world. However, for those on the front lines, the job doesn't stop. People continue to need the assistance and guidance of our chaplains and other first responders as we try to make sense of our new normal.

 To read more Chestier News "visit ScoopUSA Media, April 24, 2020" - page 19

My COVID-19 Hiatus

    The saga continues for all of us and I'm certainly no exception. People all over the country and in some cases the world; have been sheltered in their homes in an effort to stem the tide of this pandemic. Being a person who generally believes in following the rules; I only left the sanctuary of my home to go get groceries. And this is where this story begins. Seems it's always in the market or around some type of food (I'm roasting chicken as I write this).

    That brings me to my quick trip to the market. The aroma of fear hung in the air like the fog hovering about on early morning frost. People were hurriedly going about their business and the faces of most appeared to bear that lost, kind of shell shocked expression. You know the kind of expression that says, "I'm scared, I've no idea what's going on and so I'm going to be as unpleasant as I can be." In an effort to adhere to the social distancing mandates (and rightfully so), people's carts were bumping into one another as they sought to pass one another in the supermarket's narrow isles. This in itself wasn't an uncommon event and it's happened to me dozens of times. What was incredible (to me at least) was the lack of decorum. Folks just push pass, jostling old and young alike, without out even so much as an excuse me; let alone even the pretense of an apology.

    A dozen of eggs that normally cost $1.29 was now priced at $2.79, a markup of 43%. Adding insult to injury, the market had the gall to put limitations on how many dozens of eggs I could purchase, with my dollars which by the way are going into their coffers. Yes, I understand why prices might have to increase due to the cost of importing, transportation, rising employee payroll, due to the shortage of workers during this turbulent time. I get it. I just thought a 43% rise in cost over a week was a lot in a short period. What if the shopper happens to be shopping for a large family. Limitations are useless. I couldn't help but think, how soon before they start rationing goods? Food for thought. No pun intended. I suffer through the rudeness in the supermarket isles, get my needed items, and safely steer my cart to the checkout; only to come face to face-to-face (not literally) with a cashier with a definite attitude. Now, I'm no Susie Sunshine; but, anyone can tell you, I make every effort to be polite and pleasant in my interactions with people. A laugh, a smile, a pleasant greeting or a simple complement goes a long way. 

To read more Chestier News "visit ScoopUSA Media, April 3, 2020"

Career Wardrobe

    I had the pleasure of attending a workshop hosted by Career Wardrobe, located at 62 Marshall Road, Lansdowne, Pa 19050. Previously located in the Police Administration Building in Chester, Pa., Career Wardrobe relocated to its current location on September 16, 2019, to better accommodate its growing clientele. 

In its 25th year of operation, Career Wardrobe is a non profit independent enterprise that provides clothing and professional development to empower unemployed individuals to work. With locations in Philadelphia, Delaware, Berks, Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties, the stores offer up a diverse array of ladies wear, men's attire as well as  impressive outerwear. 

    Sherri Cole, Executive Director, for 20 years is excited about the confidence that's inspired in clients after completing a workshop and/or shopping for a new item of clothing. "Clothing inspires change in people. They gain confidence.", says Cole.

To read more "Chester News" visit SCOOP USA Media, March 27, 2020 page 15

My COVID-19 Hiatus

    Being an introvert by nature I found it to a blessing not having to run around Chester and surrounding areas covering events for Scoop Media. I've always been a homebody, choosing solitude over social more often than not. I have a special appreciation for my quiet time. It keeps me grounded and I just love my own company. 

Don't get me wrong, I love my job in spite of how packed my schedule can be at times. Even more, I absolutely adore my boss. Shout out to Sherri Horsey-Darden, owner and publisher of Scoop, USA, whose been doing a fabulous job of getting out the news that's important to Scoop's readers.

    I respect and cherish all of those that I work with and those who've supported me doing my work as your Chester News Columnist. It's my sincere pleasure to cover your events and stories week after week, for almost a year now. The trust that public officials, community leaders, neighbors, friends have placed in my skills continues to be a blessing to me. 

To read more "Chester News" visit SCOOP USA Media, March 27, 2020 page 15

Widener-Partnership Charter School Wins 7th Annual Heritage Bowl

    WPCS’s group of fifth graders beat out students from Stetser Elementary, Main Street Elementary and Chester-Upland School of the Arts (CUSA) during the city’s 7th Annual Heritage Bowl on February 4, 2020. The students were challenged to tally 20 points by correctly answering questions in the jeopardy-styled game, which focuses on facts surrounding African-American and city of Chester history. Coincidentally, the WPCS team successfully answered the opening and final question of the game.

     This year marks the 7th consecutive year the city of Chester’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Public Property has hosted the Heritage Bowl.  Annually, the event takes place during the first week of February to coincide with Black History Month. “It’s very important that we know what our people have done,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Williams. Williams, who also serves as Director of Parks, Recreation and Public Property is a vocal advocate for educational and recreational youth opportunities in the city. “Education is important and being able to make learning fun is equally as important. This event encourages reading and research of our history. Both of these things can take our young people places.”

To read more "Chester News" visit SCOOP USA Media, March 13, 2020 page 19

One Hundred Years and Counting

In a society where it seems that discarding, discounting and disrespecting our wiser citizens has become the norm; this story is one of those delightful caveats that truely warms our hearts.

Ms. Theresa Trapier Prattis celebrated her 100th Birthday with her family and friends on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at Murphy AME Church at 7th and Yarnall. Born on Feb- ruary 28, 1920, in Charleston South Carolina, to Edward Trapier and Ella Polite; the oldest of two siblings. Prattis married Clayton Prattis, Sr. in 1937. The union was blessed with 8 children; Clayton (Took) Prattis, Jr., Helen Curry, Ronald Prattis, Sr., Josephine Hunter, Doreathea Johnson, Arcina Green, Denise Prattis and Jerome Prattis, 16 grand- children and 28 great grandchildren and 14 great great grandchildren.

When Prattis was born Woodrow Wilson was president, the first radio station began broadcasting, the first handheld hair dryer made it to market, gasoline was 25 cents a gallon, milk was 28 cents a gallon, eggs were 55 cents a dozen and the average family's household income was $3,269.00 a year.

To read more "Chester News" visit SCOOP USA Media, March 6, 2020 page 19

January 2020 - february 2020


Chester City and Biddy League Health Fair

On Saturday, February 22, 2020 the city of Chester held a Community Health Fair on the premises of the Christian Church of Chester located at 308 West 3rd Street, in Chester.

The event was well attended by the community and little ballers were excitedly participating in basketball contest and generally being children, enjoying themselves as only children do. It was a welcome sight to see youngsters running about, playing with one another in their little mock firefighters hats.

To read more "Chester News" visit SCOOP USA Media, February 28, 2020 page 15

Introducing Amachi Chester

The City of Chester, Office of the Community Liaisons is pleased and very proud to announce Amachi Chester. Amachi was founded in September 2000, by organizing Philadelphia into 4 clusters. 

The Meaning of Amachi:

- "Who knows but what God  has brought us through this child." (Nigerian Bio)

-"To carry more than two children on your back." (Alaskan Yupic)

The Chester Community Violence Prevention Initiative, was established in the Office of the Community Liaisons Department following four years of convening the Civic Advisory and Reentry Committees. Both committees, having been established to create a platform where the community could gather and converse about solving various issues in the city of Chester. Compiling data and with an intentional desire to break the cycle of violence in the community, they saw an opportunity to engage the youth of the city in order to improve outcomes in the future. With the efforts of many community stakeholders, the Department of Community Liaisons, headed by Director Lisa Dennis decided to invest in the evidence based mentoring model, Amachi and thus Amachi Chester was born. The team officially started work the week of November 18, 2019. In addition to Director Lisa Dennis the team includes Program Manager, Jamar Daniels, Case Managers Clayven Geathers and Nasir Leach. All are Chester natives, giving them a special insight into the city and the targeted demographic.

To read more "Chester News" visit SCOOP USA Media, February 21, 2020 page 19

State Representative Brian Kirkland hosts Cancer Survivor's Luncheon

    On Tuesday,February 4, 2020 State Representative, Brian Kirkland and his staff hosted a Cancer Survivor's Luncheon, in Eddystone, Pennsylvania. Shannon Kirkland, a Legislative Assistant for the representative welcomed guest followed by a moment of silence, after which everyone dined while quietly sharing with each other about their cancer journeys. Presentations by Faith King, State Representative's Office, Erika Narduccia, LSW, Program Director of Cancer Support Community, Anna F. Katenta, Community Liaison for Merakey Behavior Health and Armenta Washington, Program Manager Outreach at Fox Chase Cancer Center educated attendees on various types of cancer, availability of treatment and the importance of early detection. Mammograms and Colonoscopies are key in the early detection of cancers. Self examinations are also crucial especially with breast and skin cancer. 

    Those who don't have health insurance, have low to moderate income and are 40 to 64 years of age may be eligible for free mammogram, pap test and treatment. Call 1-800-215-7494

Pictured: (Above left) Ladies Group from Salvation Army Survivors. (Right) Quest at tables decorated to indicate different types of cancer. (Below) Ms. Lisha Long, Representative Kirkland's Chief of Staff, Ms. Shannon Kirkland, Legislative Assistant and Ms. Faith King.

To read more "Chester News" visit SCOOP USA Media, February 14, 2020 page 19

Sweep Blue Gala

On Friday January 24, 2020 the Chester Democratic Committee hosted a Blue Sweep Gala to formally celebrate the newly sworn-in elected officials from the city of Chester, Chester Township and throughout Delaware County. Several other newly sworn-in officials from Delaware County attended the event.

City of Chester Elected Officials:

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland (re-elected, 2nd term)

Councilwoman Elizabeth Williams (re-elected, 3rd term)

Councilman William Morgan (re-elected, first full year term)

Controller Edith Blackwell (re-elected, 3rd term)

Chester Township Elected Officials:

Councilwoman Risheena Young-Payne (1st term)

Councilwoman Angela Prattis (re-elected, 2nd term)

More than 400 constituents, local and state dignitaries including a representative from Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon's office, as well as family members of celebrated elected officials were in attendance.

A short program began at approximately 7:15 p.m. and included remarks from Livia Smith, Chairperson for the Chester Democratic Committee, Colleen Guiney, Chairperson for the Delaware County Democratic Committee and several other officials.

Chester County Sheriff Fredda Maddox, served as emcee for the evening. Maddox, a newly sworn-in official herself, took office as Chester County's first Democratic and African American Sheriff on January 6, 2020.

The evening included a formal sit down dinner and music. Words of thanks were given by Jalen Starr, son of Ron Starr, Vice Chairman for Chester's Democratic Committee. This was Jalen's 2nd year giving thanks at a Committee Gala, a duty passed on to him by the elder Starr. "I thought it was a great opportunity to honor my son. To start training him up now for his future in leadership, not necessarily in politics or the party; but, in whatever he decides to do, he'll be a leader." "The Bible says, train up children in the way they should go and when they're older they will not depart from it and I'm raising a leader, says Starr." 

Proceeds from the ball benefit the Chester City Democratic Committee.

Chester FOP honors current and former Police Officers during Retirement/Awards Ceremony

    On Saturday, January 18, 2020, the Fraternal Order of Police, William Penn Lodge #19 held a Retirement/Awards Ceremony to honor more than 50 current and former police officers.

The event, which was held at the Ballrooms at the Phoenix in Chichester was the FOP’s first awards ceremony since 2015.  More than 100 people attended the evening ceremony, including Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, Chester Chief Financial Officer Nafis Nicholas, current and former police personnel and their family and friends.

     FOP President Jonathan Ross began the event by offering a brief introduction. “It’s been a while since we’ve come together in this way but that does not discredit the years of work that tonight’s honorees have put in, “said Ross. “We are a small lodge. Some of us have made a life’s work serving as an officer. That is why it’s important for us to honor our officers— that is why we are here tonight.”

    James Ianni, 84, a former Chester Police Sargent who served with the department from 1967-1987 was the oldest police veteran in attendance. During remarks, Mayor Kirkland joked about accepting all retired officers back to the police force. “I know many of you have been away from the department for multiple years, but it’s never too late to put that uniform back on and help us out, and this includes you Mr. Ianni” stated Mayor Kirkland through laughter. “Whether you’re retired or currently serving this city, I want you all to know that we appreciate you. Often times our men and women who are charged to protect us, do so not knowing what the day ahead may bring,” Mayor Kirkland added.  “I thank not only our officers, but your families, for lending your loved ones to this community.”

To read more "Chester News" visit SCOOP USA Media, January 31, 2020 page 19

Thomas White, Intent with Integrity

     Thomas White is an imposing figure as he sits behind the desk inside his cluttered office in Chester's City Hall.  It would be a grave mistake to assess the man's surroundings or his physical appearance and assume he is the sum total of what you see. First appearances are important; however, not always accurate. Mr. Thomas White is definitely the poster child for that old adage, "never judge a book by its cover." 

Profoundly humble with a strong handshake and a voice that immediately calls to mind one of my favorite radio personalities, Garrison Keillor, host of "Prairie Home Companion," from 1974 through 2016, Mr White's Official title with the city is Community Outreach Coordinator. It's a position of which he's profoundly proud and one he takes very serious. He's tasked with building bridges and making connections with the city's residents and the various entities that make up Chester City government.  

    Prior to his current position, Mr. White was employed by the Chester Education Foundation (CEF).  During his tenure at the CEF he directed their mentoring program and  held the position of Assistant Director, while performing all the duties of Director. His ease of manner makes bridging the gap and filling in the cracks with Chester's many Civic, Community and Pastoral Organizations has a positive impact on the processes. Often making a potentially harmful and/or hazardous situation much less difficult to manage and easily recoverable.     "We must overcome our fears and mistrust and allow people to help us," states White. "Chester City Hall goes above and beyond  assisting its constituents, even resolving the occasional neighborly dispute in an amicable manner," he stated. 

To read more "Chester News" visit SCOOP USA Media, January 24, 2020 page 16

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Lorraine Lavendar-Sams   

 From childhood I remember my parents instilling the virtues of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King to my siblings and I. He was revered in our household and his photograph held a place of honor on the wall, right next to Jesus and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. No one had to tell us that these men held a special place in our hearts, homes and communities; we knew. 

    As a child, I remembered reading the newspaper accounts of the Reverend Dr. King’s fights for freedom and equality for African Americans and for the poor underprivileged across the nation. I remember intently, his model of nonviolence in response to those who mistreat you; as, I was bullied in my early childhood. Turning the other cheek made quite an impression on my adolescent mind and made a great deal of sense to me, in keeping with the teaching of Jesus, which was part of my weekly Sunday School lessons. Like the majority of the African American community, I sat glued to the black and white floor model television as I viewed news coverage of the March on Washington. I was shocked and awe inspired to see so many Black people in one place. As a child, Washington was a mistical, faraway place to me. Up until that time I'd assumed ( wrongly of course) that Washington was for Caucasians. 

    I rejoiced and celebrated his winning of the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and was shocked devastated as the nation mourned his assassination on April 4,1968. 

All of these vivid memories of an icon from, I thought that I knew quite a bit about the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I reviewed his life story, the time spent at the Crozier Theological Seminary from September 14, 1948 through May 8, 1951. I looked over the research that I was able to gather about his relationship with his mentor and close confidant, the Reverend J. Prius Barbour, Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church. Reverend Dr. King, Jr. served as a Student Pastor at Calvary. It was during this period when he delivered a sermon titled "Facing Life's Inescapables," on March 3, 1949.

View more Chester News and photos at SCOOP USA Media, Friday, January 10, 2020, page 19

First Annual Children’s Expo

   State Representative Brian Kirkland hosted the First Annual Children's Expo, in the Community Room of Chester's City Hall, on Monday evening, the 30th of December. 

   It was a defining event as it was the last event of the year for Representative Kirkland and his staff. There's no   doubting the commitment of Kirkland and his staff when it comes to the children and youth of his constituency. He's a single parent and four of the members of his staff are also parents, so they all know intimately the challenges that come with rearing children.

    The staff and volunteers created a virtual playground in the room. With a cornucopia of sweet treats and sugary confections, distributed by their very own princess adorned in blue; children enjoyed every moment of the delicious treats.  Nasir Leach acted as MC, while DJ Cory spun the records on the turntable. Guest were treated to a delightful performance by 10 year old Chester artist Queen Cancer Viva; who's given name is Shyomoa Mills. She's a gifted and prolific singer, who enjoys entertaining. Children participated with parents and each other in dance contest and the room was filled with the giggles and laughter of the young and the young at heart. The atmosphere was filled with the spirit of community. Each table was decorated in keeping with the fantasy Candy Land theme. 

    The Expo was supported by Health Partners and vendors from The Girl Scouts of America, State Police, the District Attorney's Office Task Force on Internet Crimes Against Children, Yell/Hidden Treasures  Mentoring Program, Boys and Girls Club of Chester, Year -Up Job, Pennsylvania State Police, Harcum College and were on hand to distribute information to parents.

 Information on birth certificates and children's health initiatives was available for attendees.

Representative Kirkland is looking forward to making this an annual event and I am certain the community is looking forward to it as well.

City of Chester swears in Councilmembers and police officials

   On Monday, January 6, 2020 the city of Chester swore-in several city officials during a ceremony that took place  inside of City Council Chambers at Chester City Hall. 

    Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland was sworn into his second-term as mayor.  Kirkland, a seasoned politician previously served as State Representative for the 159th Legislative District from 1993-2016. During his first term as mayor, Kirkland was responsible for overseeing the Public Affairs Department, which encompasses the Police Department, the Office of Community Liaisons, the Workforce Development Office, the Office of Re-Entry and Veterans Affairs and the Planning Department. “I am always humbled during events like this,” said Mayor Kirkland. “For nearly 30 years I have committed myself to being a public servant. This community has trusted me to lead and serve.  Do we have problems? Yes, but those problems are no different than any other city.  However, I have been and will continue to work diligently to move this city to higher heights. We have made progress and will continue to move in a direction that is positive for our residents and our community as a whole.”

    Incumbent Councilwoman Elizabeth Williams was sworn in to her third-term as councilperson. Williams, who  serves as the Director of the city’s Parks, Recreation and Public Property Department has been a councilperson for the city since 2012. “Everything I do, I do for our city,” stated Councilwoman Williams. “I work for the people and I enjoy every minute of it.”  

    Councilman William Morgan was sworn in to his first four-year term as councilperson.  In 2016, Morgan was appointed to the position of councilmember after former Councilmember Nafis Nichols resigned.  In 2017, Morgan successfully ran and was elected to finish out the remainder of Nichols’ term.  Since becoming a councilmember, Morgan, who also dually serves as the Director of Finance has helped to balance the city’s budget for three consecutive years.  “When I was first appointed to this position, I expected a magic book to appear on my desk that would help to guide me and make things right,” said Councilman Morgan. “While time didn’t reveal a magic book, I have learned a lot in this position that will allow me to help steer this ship in the direction of success. I am honored to be here and will continue to serve the city of Chester to the best of my ability.”

View more Chester News and photos at SCOOP USA Media, Friday, January 10, 2020, page 16

History in Delaware County

    On Friday, January 3, 2020, Delaware County made history, ushering in a new error with the swearing in of the Honorable Judge Nusrat Rashid. Judge Rashid is the first African-American woman to be appointed to the Judiciary in Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Rashid is also making history in the State of Pennsylvania, being the first woman of Islamic Faith to be appointed to the Judiciary. Witnessing her taking the Oath of Office with the Holy Quran, held by her three (3) children and being robed by her mother, Ms. Ayesha Lateef was a truely awe inspiring moment, where I and many others were visibly moved to tears. 

Honorable Judges Linda A. Cartisano, Richard H. Lowe, Stephanie H. Klein and Kelly D. Eckel were inducted to the Judiciary along with Judge Rashid. Congratulations to all of the newly inducted Judiciary.

    Two things that were most compelling is that a number of the Judicial Inductees are the children or grandchildren of immigrants and that four of them are women. Diversity provides a wider perspective and more opportunity for equality for future generations.

Chester Township swears in new Councilwoman

     Rasheena Young-Payne was sworn in and took her seat with her colleagues as the newest Councilwoman in Chester Township, Wednesday evening. Councilwoman Young-Payne was sworn in by Judge Davis, as her son held the Bible. 

Councilman Calvin Bernard, now Chairman of Chester Township Council and Councilman Richard Knox, now Co-Chairman of the Chester Township Council. Congratulations to all.

Local Congregation honors Chester Firefighters

Pastor and Mrs. Ben Grenier accompanied by their children and members of their congregation, supported by the City of Chester, hosted a Christmas Eve Luncheon for the city's firefighters.  

Grenier has served as pastor of the Full Gospel Assembly Church in Brookhaven, Pennsylvania for the past five years. He's been a Fire Chaplain for the City of Chester for threee and a half (3.5) years and is also Vice President of the Law Enforcement Chaplains of Delaware County. 

He, his wife, Rackell, and the church's congregation (wh have been the hosts of this gathering for our city's firefighters for the past three years) Pastor Grenier states, "Part of my motivation for doing this luncheon is to ensure that our firefighters, who have to work over the holidays get a home cooked meal, as they'll be away from their families."

View more Chester News and photos at SCOOP USA Media, Friday, January 3, 2020, page 15



Umoja Karamu Celebration

    Chester -As an African-American woman, a self proclaimed history buff and a lover of other cultures; I thought of myself very open to various cultures. It appears I wasn't educated in the nuances of my own culture. On Saturday, November 30, 2019, I was graciously invited to the home of Mr. Juan and Reverend Jacquie Martinez for a cultural event. Needless to say, not having any indication or having ever heard of Umoja Karamu, I was both taken aback and more than pleasantly surprised. The Martinez's invited me in, welcomed me and provided me with a timely and much needed history lesson. I listened excitedly and intently to all the information they generously imparted to me. 

    Umoja Karamu, pronounced (You-mo-have Care-a-moo) are Kiswahili words. Translated the word mean Unity Feast. This ceremonial celebration has taken off in African American communities in recent years. This unique and dedicated ceremonial celebration was the brainchild of Brother Edward Sims, Jr. and from its initial inception in 1971, has taken root in African American culture throughout the nation. The feast embraces foods and colors that signify our journey through the middle passage; through slavery; through emancipation; through the struggle for equality and our hopes for our future.

The Umoja Karamu is a ceremonial cultural celebration, totally embracing the history of African Americans; much of which has been lost and/or destroyed in a deliberate effort to erase us from history's narrative.

To read more visit SCOOP USA Media, Friday, December 27, 2019, page 15

Stormwater Authority Ribbon Cutting

    On Tuesday, December 10, 2019 the Chester Stormwater Authority held the ribbon cutting for its newly renovated office; located next door to its current location. The Chester Stormwater Authority has officially opened its new addition with no mortgage. The board proudly announced that the building is debt free. 

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland along with Board members Livia Smith, Chairwoman, Councilwoman Porshe West, Vice Chair, Ms. Joan Neal, Secretary, William Riley, Treasurer, Mr. Joseph Oxman, Solicitor, Mr. John Shelton, Board Member and Reverend Dr. Horace Strand were in attendance and proud to announce that the Stormwater Authority is making substantial strides in their missions in the city of Chester. They've secured a low interest loan from the Pennvest in the amount of $9,946,810.00 to continue their work here in the city. The project in Memorial Park is ongoing and so far has been a rousing success. 

    They are addressing flooding issues throughout the area and there are distinct differences in the quality of life in areas that were previously prone to severe flooding. Residents no longer need to be fearful of the rain in areas where rubbish and excess water runoff contributed to flooding. The Stormwater Authority is assessing and diligently addressing other issues that concern our waterways.

To view "Ribbon Cutting"  photos and additional Chester photos visit SCOOP USA Media, Friday, December 27, 2019, page 15

County Swears In Chaplains From Chester

    Delaware County held a Swearing in Ceremony on Thursday, December, 2019 at the Delaware County Courthouse to administer the oath to 20 Chaplains from various municipalities throughout the county. 

Ms. Lisa Dennis, Brother Shakur Abdul-Ali, Mr. Melvin Deal, Mr. Kendon Gibson, Mr. Ernest Brown, Mr. John Johnson, Ms. Bernice Dorsey, Mr. Leonard Carroll and Ms. Paula Brown were among the Chaplains sworn in by President Judge Kelly. President Judge Kelly stated that, "It's one of the pleasures of his position and an absolute privilege and honor to perform this swearing in ceremony."

The services of our Police Chaplains are invaluable and their presence in our communities can be witnessed not only in tragedy; but, building and strengthening of them as well. They truly serve a higher purpose. 

Congratulations to all the Chaplains and thank you for the dedication.

To view "Chaplains"  visit SCOOP USA Media, Friday, December 27, 2019, page 15

Re-Entry Open House

Our "Returning Citizens" are extremely important to the community; as they bring a wealth of experience and a myriad of talents, to our city. Their experience and talents will be integral in assisting our community in healing, growing and moving forward. With these thoughts in mind, the City's Office of Community Liaison, under the steadfast leadership of Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland and the fearless innovative actions of Ms. Lisa Dennis, Chester's Office of Community Liaison, held its 3rd Annual Open House. 

Participation and contributions from vendors, business owners, civic and government organizations aided in the success of this well attended event. 

To read more visit SCOOP USA Media, Friday, December 20, 2019, page 15

Senior Advisory Committee Senior Christmas Gala

Chester's elder statesmen and stateswomen were celebrated in classic fashion and all of the ladies and gentlemen came dressed for the occasion.

The event, another elegant affair catered by Amir's Catering; delighted guests with courses of soup, salad, an endless variety of entrees ending with a delicious, delectable array of desserts.

It was fantastic to see such a huge gathering of elders in one place. The room decorated in festive Christmas colors. Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, City Council and many of the city's employees left their offices to serve, greet and mingle with elderly citizens. Friends who hadn't seen one another for some time embraced, smiled,exchanged pleasantries and reminisced about old times.

Music, courtesy of DJ Ricky, was spinning tunes from the jazz of Billy Holiday to some serious old Motown and anything in between. Nate "The Landlord" Carter treated the crowd to some humor that only folks 50 and over could relate to. He was not only spot on; he was absolutely hilarious.

To read more visit SCOOP USA Media, Friday, December 20, 2019, page 15

Community Liaisons Share Christmas Joy With Pregnancy Center

I was in attendance as the City of Chester's, Office of Community Liaisons shared holiday joy, in the form of baby clothes and other infant supplies with the Pregnancy Center. 

Later that evening at a tree lighting ceremony to welcome in the holiday season; the Pregnancy Center graciously shared them with mothers and children, in need. This is another example of our community and the organizations that service and support us working together for the betterment of our residents.  Both the City's Community Liaisons Office and the Pregnancy Center do phenomenal work; both individually and collectively.

School Board Hearing Participation

IThe shameful curse of ambivalence appears to have enveloped the parents of Chester's students. On Wednesday, December 4, 2019 a well publicized court hearing took place at the Media Courthouse. This hearing, a continuation of the saga of the CUSD's Receivership, which has been in that state since 2012; was held to potentially decide the fate of the district; and ultimately the fate of Chester's Children. Our children's futures, their ability and right to have a voice in how future generations are educated are in jeopardy.

In my role as Chester News Columnist for this publication, I have the distinct pleasure if engaging in dialogue with many of our city's residents---many of them neighbors, friends and extended family. The comments I hear most often with regard to the CUSD are, "Chester's not doing anything about our kid's school; they don't care. Why isn't the School Board doing anything? The schools in the city are bad. They don't have enough books for our kids. The teachers aren't up to par." These are just some of the comments that I've been privy too; but, the one comment that annoys me more than any other is, "I'm not sending my child to "The High." Chester High School is affectionately referred to as "The High" by the city's natives and long time residents.

To read more "School Board Participation" visit SCOOP USA Media, December 13, 2019, page 15

Amazing Grace

Amid and in spite of the prejudices and prevalent hatred of a tumultuous period in our history, Mrs. Thelma Haskins survived. She not only survived, she thrived and created a dynamic dynasty of her own, that at present spans five generations, of which Mrs. Haskins is the matriarch. She feisty and has all her mental faculties intact. Proof of that being, writing this took her only one month. That in itself is an amazing feat for a woman who's 93 years of age and has the spirit and grit of a woman half her age or younger. Ms. Haskins came down with Vertigo a while ago; however, she's not slowed down and shows no signs of doing so. 

Her cheerful personality shows no scars from painful past experiences. There's a classy dignified demeanor that is evident as is her warm spirit which makes even a stranger feel like family.

To read more "Amazing Grace" visit SCOOP USA Media, December 6, 2019, page 15

The Hope and Promise of the Future

I've known Mr. Jamil Cottman for about 10 years or more. He's always had a generous soul. Born and raised in the city of Chester, Jamil's first encounter with the Criminal Justice System was as youth of 17 years old. He was arrested on a firearms charge and sent to juvenile detention. Having not learned a lesson from his first encounter with the system; Jamil, a young man if 21 now, was again arrested. This time the charges were more serious. Another weapons charge coupled with a drug charge, earned him some substantial County time. Not to mention, this was his second offense. Any more encounters would buy him serious State time. And buy himself serious State time was just what Mr. Cottman did. Finding himself incarcerated upstate at 30 years old. Cottman survived a his period of incarceration; missing his loved ones and above all, coming to the realization that this is not how he wanted to live his life. This convict status was not legacy he wanted to leave his children, nor did he want his mother's memories of her son to be of him behind bars. Cottman made a promise to himself to be a better man, to be an example for those he loved and his community. He's done just that.

To read more "Amazing Grace" visit SCOOP USA Media, December 6, 2019, page 15

November 2019


Senior Center honors Chester’s Veterans

On Thursday, November 14, 2019 the Chester Senior Center, located at 7th and Hayes Street in Chester hosted a Veteran's Luncheon.

The room was filled to capacity with Veterans from every branch of our nation's military. A panel of retired veterans spoke to the attendees about the various programs available to them through the Veteran's Administration (VA) and other organizations that cater specifically to veterans. This information is more important than anyone knows, as many of our veterans don't file for the benefits that their entitled to. This is sometimes due to the volume and complexity of all of those forms; but, the Veteran's Administration and other organizations for veterans are there to assist in this process.

Health Partners Bingo event

   Games of any kind have never been a past time of mine; however, I must say that Health Partners Foundation and the City of Chester made it look awfully inviting.

A Bingo Event was held in the community room at Chester City Hall. To the tunes spun on the turntable by, DJ Raymond Harmon of Chester, city residents tapped their feet, swayed in their seats, snapped their fingers and danced the afternoon away; while enjoying Bingo and dining on the scrumptious cuisine provided by the Red Brick Cafe. Vendors were on hand to disperse information on the services they offered. Medical Technicians were on hand to take blood pressure, monitor weight and advise residents on the benefits of staying on top of basic health screenings, as they get older.

Playing the game of Bingo, just drove home the point of having fun as an added benefit to continuing good health. As we enter the holiday season, I hope people will take the opportunity to have a little fun. It can put a smile on your face and add years to a life.

A Legacy of Service

The Bannister Family has deep roots and familial ties to the City of Chester. Three generations of Bannisters have proudly and selflessly served our country.

Angela Bannister, worked as Administrative Assistant to Councilman William "Al" Jacobs until her retirement on August 30th of this year. Upon retiring, Ms. Bannister promptly moved to Texas to be closer to her family.  Ms. Bannister, an Honorably Discharged Army Veteran was the first generation to commit to service. She served 4 years as a Medical Supply Clerk in the 1980's. 

To read more "Legacy of Service" visit SCOOP USA Media, November 15, 2019, page 15

Why is the Census Important?

The Census is mandated by Article 1, Section 2 of the United States Constitution. The data collected by the census determines how billions of dollars in federal funds will be distributed.

The government does not share demographic information obtained in the census with other government agencies. There are only nine (9) questions on the census and you can submit your census data by mail or online should you not be comfortable sitting with a census taker. All data is confidential and used only to calculate how many people there are in a particular area. This determines how many federal dollars will be allocated to that area.

To read more "Census" visit SCOOP USA Media, November 15, 2019, page 15


I was saddened and totally dismayed, to walk into Chester City Hall on Thursday morning and see the remnants of gun violence. The building displayed the callousness of the cowardly actions of an individual or individuals, clearly not in touch with the concept of respecting other's property. I wasn't just saddened and dismayed, I found myself being angry;  this building is the formal seat of this city's government!  I found this incident of particular significance, as it was following an election. 

Someone once said to me "It's not who’s right; it's what's right."  And that means what's right for everyone. PERIOD! If you want to be heard there's a forum for that. If have a complaint, there's a formal process in which you can lodge your complaint. If you need services there are people to assist you in meeting your needs. If you're in disagreement with any policy or procedure, there's a way to disagree. The solution is most certainly not in firing a weapon at the seat of our city government. This only serves to make our elected officials more resolute in their mission to continue the journey of making Chester a safer community, a more economically vibrant city and confirms that the Mayor and City Council are doing their jobs. They must be, or our community wouldn't have to confront this type of self-sabotaging behavior. It truly is self sabotaging behavior, because, let's face it; normal, law abiding citizens don't wage war on an institution that's a part of their community, for no apparent reason. Where's the pride in our city? 

To read more "Op-Ed" visit SCOOP USA Media, November 15, 2019, page 16

Think Pink Luncheon

  The "Think Pink" Luncheon was a smashing success. It was a fun filled afternoon, packed with helpful, useful information. The community room was transformed into an elegant dining room. The entire room was awash in pink. Each table was fitted with pink tablecloths, made with delicate raised roses. The place setting of gold plates complemented the puff of pink flowers atop the tall vase, with delicately iced cupcakes surrounding the blooms created stunning centerpieces on each table. Attendees commented on the breathtaking decor and classy ambiance in the room. 

  The informational portion of the event was even more impressive; as women recounted their experiences with breast cancer and providers spoke to the group of mostly seniors, about the importance of monitoring their healthcare issues. The message, to continue caring for yourself as you age was touted over and over by each speaker. 

To read more "Think Pink Luncheon, visit SCOOP USA Media, November 8, 2019, page 15

Dunkin Donuts and Zach Ertz make donation to Chester Panthers

Tuesday, October 29, 2019 on a damp evening in Chester's Memorial Park, the Panthers waited wide-eyed and excited for a special guest. The youngsters weren't disappointed and they erupted into applause and cheers as Eagles, tight end, Zach Ertz took the field. These young fans are important to Mr. Ertz as evidenced by the donation of $250 he makes to “Touchdowns for Kids” for each touchdown he scores during the season. 

Mr. Ertz and Dunkin Donuts of greater Philadelphia made a surprise donation of $30,000 in athletic equipment to the Chester Panthers Youth Empowerment and Athletic Association. Made possible through the program "Touchdowns for Kids" Dunkin also donates $250 for each touchdown scored by the Eagles during the season. Since 2013 the program has raised $170,000. The funds donated through this program goes directly to regional youth organizations in the greater Philadelphia area.

Celebration of History

   For the City of Chester, the only city in Delaware County, Pennsylvania; our history is important. Citizens want to know how the city came to be, from a small parcel of land along the Delaware River. It all starts with a Quaker gentleman, from England. His name was William Penn. He's often overlooked in history; however, Mr. Penn's contributions are numerous and can still be witnessed in every sphere of our society today. Matter of fact, his ideology and ideas are the basis for many of the freedoms we enjoy today. Freedoms we so often take for granted.

   Every year in October, William Penn's legacy is celebrated by the Mayor, City Council, Civic, Religious, Political Leaders and citizens from Chester and other municipalities in Delaware County. This year's tribute was informative and memorable. The event was emceed by Mr. Dwayne Lee, Chester City Department of Parks, Public Property and Recreation. Councilperson Elizabeth Williams, an avid supporter of William Penn's legacy, was on hand to speak to the crowd about the importance of the Penn legacy to our democracy. She stated the urgency of passing that legacy on to our children.

Councilperson Williams introduced the attendees to Ms. Debbie Chychota, recounting how they met as she was returning from Sunday Services. She noticed a woman at Penn's Landing Place, at 2nd & Penn. Upon approaching, Ms. Chychota and engaging in conversation; the councilwoman discovered they shared a special kinship. The two women’s shared passion of William Penn's life and legacy in Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania and the United States, keeps them educating others.

To read more "Celebration of History, visit SCOOP USA Media, November 8, 2019, page 15

Keeping Score... Chester community dedicate Scoreboard to Coach

   Like the trunk of a Braided Ficus Tree, the community of Chester came together to honor the legacy of one of their own. The Chester Panthers new scoreboard was dedicated, in honor of former Coach and Mentor Shawn Atkins. Coach Atkins was a dedicated, compassionate, driven individual, a sports enthusiast who always gave his all and expected excellence from his team. The team remembered the lessons taught by their beloved coach and honored him in a manner befitting a Chester hero. 

Many Chester City officials including our esteemed Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland were on hand for the dedication. The team showed their gratitude for the community that so graciously supported them, by giving plagues to those who donated.

   Tracy Burns, Attorney at Law,  one of the recipients of the Panthers thank you said, "25 years ago, Chester embraced me and gave me so much. When the team asked, I didn't hesitate." Other donors included Chester City Council, KC Electric, AJM Electrical, Foster's Funeral Home and Penn Home Health Care.

It takes a village and then some to accomplish these goals. Each person should take a lesson from this. Do whatever you can. Children are our most important resource and believe me, they appreciate any and all efforts.

To read more Domestic Violence Summit visit SCOOP USA Media, November 1, 2019, page 15

Chester Food Giveaway

Health Partners, Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, Chester City Council and members of the Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.,  sponsored its Annual Food Giveaway in the Community Room of Chester City Hall. Judging the crowd, the event appeared to have been a grand success. 

Residents arrived to the smiling faces and engaging personalities of the Health Partners Volunteer Fleet. Alumnae members of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority were on hand to greet the attendees with charm and grace that shows their continued commitment to the City of Chester and Delaware County. 

City officials and employees were on hand to assist residents with their bags. As for the residents who attended, you could see the smiles of gratitude on their faces and hear it in their voices, as they thanked the providers for their provisions.

To read more Domestic Violence Summit visit SCOOP USA Media, November 1, 2019, page 15

First Annual Domestic Violence Summit honoring Veronica (Ronnie) Benson

   Speakers opened up and spoke about their experiences with domestic and gun violence. Citing statistics, former Mayor, Reverend John Linder, currently Co-Chair of Delco United for a Sensible Gun Policy, provided evidence that women are two times more likely to be victims of gun violence and more often than not, become fatalities. African American women are 10 times as likely to be victims of gun violence. Reverend Linder said, "An estimated 1.2 million guns are stolen, every year in our country."

Reverend Hilda Campbell, talked about the need to start changing the generational curses of violence, that have followed us since slavery. She spoke of the sadness in counseling youth, touched by violence. Reverend Campbell said, "We need to do better by our children."

   Dr. Ted Sutton, PhD., delivered a compelling story of redemption. He offered himself as a primary example of how God, education and forgiveness can change the trajectory of anyone's life.

Latisha Adams now confined to a wheelchair told her story of years of abuse, making excuses and continually returning to her abuser. She's now free from her abuser and she now knows her true worth.

Michael Benson, Veronica's uncle, spoke about the power of forgiveness and it's healing power. "In spite of the pain, it's essential for a person to forgive to heal," said Mr. Benson.

To read more Domestic Violence Summit visit SCOOP USA Media, November 1, 2019, page 15

October 2019


Active Shooter, Fire Safety, Emergency Preparedness Forum

   On Saturday, October 12, 2019, First Pentecostal Holy Church hosted a forum to address what residents should do in the event of a variety of emergencies. Though we all hope we'll never have to face such disastrous circumstances; the realities of our society today demand that we all be prepared for these unexpected events.

The Active Shooter Presentation was given by Officer Jose Alvarez. He outlined the do's and dont's, should  citizens find themselves in such a situation.  Rosetta Carter, Director of Community Health Education and Elder Michael Walker, Sr., of First Pentecostal Holy Church served as the Event Coordinators along with Pastor, Elder Vernadine Ellis who hosted forum. 

Following a Continental Breakfast, Officer Jose Alvarez gave an extensive PowerPoint presentation on being prepared in the event an Active Shooter situation is encountered in a church, school or other public venue. He stressed the importance of being aware of your surroundings. This includes exits, people around you, and anything you can use as a defensive mechanism; should you need to do so. He also stressed, should you find yourself in such a situation; "Run, Hide, Call 911(when it's safe to do so) and Fight (only as a last resort)". The first priority is to  SURVIVE. Officer Alvarez says, "Act as if your life depends on your survival; because it does." Always be prepared was the overall message. Don't be in denial, have a security plan. Keep facilities secure and strive for total members awareness. While awareness is key, members should also seek God's power, strength and protection through prayer.

   Remarks following the Active Shooter Presentation were made by Chester Police Commissioner, Otis Blair. Commissioner Blair, addressed a full house saying, "please be aware that there will be significant police response with such an event and that officers will be on high alert, so their mannerisms may be somewhat gruff. They're trained to eliminate the threat to our safety."

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 18, 2019, page 17

Ron Starr, A Gentleman and a Gentle Man

   Ron Starr is the confident young man whose vision and foresight was behind the humongous, lively carnival; enjoyed by Chester's residents at the end of the summer. I covered the event for the paper, and I was so thoroughly impressed by the strong, humble, tenacious, fearless young man I was compelled to find out more about him. I asked him to sit for this interview and he graciously accommodated me. I'd seen him around the city and while my brief interactions with him were always pleasant; his  back story left me in awe. His drive, hardworking nature and genuine love and concern for Chester can be seen in all his endeavors.

   After spending the better part of an hour conversing with Mr. Starr I found him engaging, attentive, empathetic and it became clear very early in our interview; that he's a problem solver. He thinks outside the box. He's a creative thinker; always open to new ideas and different visions. I got the impression that there's not a problem he considers unsolvable. It's that tenacious work ethic that he brings to his job as Chief of Staff, for Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland. He's been working in city government for eight years, having spent more than four years working in the legislature.

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 11, 2019, page 17

Food Matters

Food Matters is a program of Eastside Ministries, Inc., in collaboration with Crozier-Keystone Health Systems, Immaculata University, Shiloh Baptist Church, Harvin Foods and the City of Chester and is supported in part by donations from individuals and area churches. The program  stresses the importance of the direct correlation between food and good health; particularly as people age. The program is a healthy eating initiative, focusing on residents 18 and older, diagnosed with diabetes and/or heart disease.

Read More Lorraine Lavender-Sams newspaper articles, Chester Community News, ScoopUSA Media, October 11, 2019, page 16

Chester’s 7th Annual Breast Cancer Walk/Run

October is National Breast Cancer Month and the color pink is everywhere. Pink is the color that signifies support for breast cancer. It was positively bustling early last Saturday morning; as a brisk breeze blew off the calm waters of Chester's waterfront. Members of City Council, the Health Department, various staffers from other city departments and civic organizations gathered in support of eradicating this deadly disease. Dressed in the purple signature shirts of the city's "Let’s Move" initiative; everyone from the Director of the Health Department to Judges and even political candidates came together to walk and/or run in the hope of stomping out cancer. Strides are being made in the diagnostics and treatment of this disease; but, there's more to be accomplished.

This is an important event. The older you are, the higher your risk of breast cancer. Though women in their 20s can get breast cancer; African American and other women of color are more likely to get it at an early age, more likely to have it diagnosed later, rather than sooner, and are more likely to succumb to the disease.

Men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer and 1% of the male population has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Keeping all these facts in mind schedule your mammogram as soon as possible and take a friend along, as well. As they say, "Think Pink."

Chester Fire Department holds Open House for Community

In spite of the damp blustery evening coupled with a busy day, the Chester City Fire Department opened its doors to the community. This event was held at the culmination of National "Fire Prevention Week."

Parents came out with young children in tow to support our first responders. Our heros didn't disappoint. Fire Prevention Officer, Kevin Postlewait was on hand with his son to talk about the importance of fire safety. Also, doing dual duty; passing out coloring books and crayons and serving up a tasty snack of Philly Soft Pretzels.

Generations of Destiny

   The Mentoring Group Generation of Destiny is making strides in assisting the youth of our community navigate pathways to adulthood.

The group meets every other Saturday at Life in Christ Cathedral of Faith Church, at 3012 West 3rd Street in Chester.

   I was invited to sit in on one of the group's mentoring sessions, which I found informative, productive and extremely moving. This group provides a safe place for area youth to express their points of view and to talk about the pressures they face growing up in today's society.

The group's facilitators, Deacon Bernadette Morgan, Elder Robert Warring along with Leon and Valerie Hinson guide the discussions. This week the the group was graced with the presence of Officer David McClain of the Chester Police Department.

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 4, 2019, page 17

Annual Walk for Life

The Delaware County Pregnancy Center held its Annual Walk For Life Event on Saturday, September 28, 2019 in Chester Park. This event has been taking place in our community for over 45 years; having serviced the community since 1973. The Pregnancy Center was established by three OBGYN physicians, associated with Crozier Chester Medical Center and continues to provide confidential, free of charge services to Chester and surrounding communities. This was the 2nd consecutive year that the event was held in Chester Park.

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 4, 2019, page 17

Community Day

  Chester celebrated its communities on Saturday, September 28, 2019 in Veteran's Memorial Park. Several    city, civic, service and community organizations came out to support and inform residents of the myriad of services available to them.

  In attendance were Mrs. Jacqueline Martinez of Sound Community Solutions. Their organization provides assistance to returning citizens by providing jobs, clothing, counseling and other services; to help those returning to society to successfully reintegrate. Mrs. Tanya Warren, representing Eastside Ministries spoke about the many services they provide. Two of the key services that they provide are day care and after school programs.

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, October 4, 2019, page 17

QUESTION OF THE WEEK January - March 2020


Question of the Week: Can you tell us your favorite person in Black History and share why

Mr Greg Clemmons, a Contractor and Chester resident says, "My favorite person in Black History is the Reverend Al Sharpton because he addresses the underlying causes for a lot and exposes hidden agendas when confronting most topics

Question of the Week: What are your attainable goals for 2020?

   On completion of my examination, my physician informed me that all my yearly health screenings and my general checkup were good. He stood, shook my hand and told me I didn't need to return for a follow-up visit until the spring. My response was "Yay." My doctor smiled and as he departed the exam room he said, "Good to see you. I hope the next time I see you, there's a whole lot less of you."

Actually, I found it absolutely hilarious, because I knew he was right. So, one of my attainable goals for the year 2020 is to shed the pounds I've packed on throughout the past year. Intellectually, I realize I've used food as a coping mechanism during my grief journey; so, I'm prepared to deal with it. 

Read more Question of the Week, SCOOP USA Media, January 10, 2020, page 17

Share with us some of your thoughts and aspirations for 2020!!!

With 2020 a new year is ushered in, as another decade passes into history. 

In a society where everyone appears to lack humanity; I choose to believe that our society is going to be awash with human kindness. In a society where leaders seem to be increasingly more disingenuous, lacking any sense of decorum, relishing every opportunity to criticize, demonize and ostracize anything and anyone that is in disagreement with their point of view; causing divisions so vast, that many fail to see ways to close the divides. At times, they choose not to even try to negotiate the differences; resulting in violence, chaos and leaving populations feeling disenfranchised. 

Read more Question of the Week, SCOOP USA Media, January 3, 2020, page 15

Question of the week October - December 2019


Question of the Week: What's your family's favorite holiday tradition?

    In the 15 month period since I buried my father, all of the traditions that I held dear have changed. I've spent most of that time attempting to develop a new normal, establishing new traditions and just gaining a new perspective, on who I am; now that my father and my bonus mom and the traditions we created together are no longer my reality. 

    I'm slowly and deliberately creating new traditions and making every effort to embrace the people and opportunities placed in my path.  Change is constant and inevitable; so, if there's any tradition I'm looking forward to this Holiday season, it's the tradition of change. 

Read more Question of the Week, SCOOP USA Media, December 27, 2019, page 15

Question of the Week: Do you prefer conducting business online, leaving a digital footprint or do yo

    Technology is king and the majority of the population has embraced it; however, there are times when technology, regardless of how efficient, is no substitute for face to face interaction. 

For example, there are some business exchanges that I feel require the personal touch. I like it when someone greets me with a pleasant good morning. I like having a human being handle my bank transactions. I absolutely find it comforting to look that doctor in the eye when discussing a medical issue as opposed to discussing the issue via email Or video chat.  It appears that everything is done on an online platform and as time goes on, I fear society will lose the warmth and personal touch that goes along with face to face-to-face interaction. 

Read more Question of the Week, SCOOP USA Media, December 20, 2019, page 15

Question of the week: Are you a cyber shopper or do you prefer the brick and mortar experience?

  In an era where many brick and mortar stores are closing and online shopping has become the norm; this writer still prefers to make a trip to a store. Sure there are products that I'll purchase online; however, it's been my experience that the quality of products offered by many online retailers is substandard. Mainly, I stick to retailers whose products I'm familiar with, whose return policies are flexible and from whom I receive quality products. A favorite of mine is Old Navy. I did once order a new remote off eBay and only because I couldn't find it elsewhere.

What I like most about going to the store to shop, is the people I meet. I've engaged in the most interesting conversations and met the nicest folks while shopping. I find it so fun and just utterly rewarding

Read more Question of the Week, SCOOP USA Media, December 13 2019, page 15

Question of the week: Do you unplug from your devices during your relaxation time and why?

  I was never one to turn off my phone except for when I was in meetings or places where devices weren't allowed.  Lately, I've found that I look forward to unplugging with a particular delight. My father is no longer here and my mother is pretty much self sufficient, so I no longer need to be plugged into my devices 24/7. The silence and sitting alone with my thoughts and emotions allows me to better function. So yes, I unplug from my phone. That's what voice mail is for. There are times, even with Bluetooth that I unplug when driving. It's healthy. We all should try it.

Read more Question of the Week, SCOOP USA Media, December 6, 2019, page 15

The question this week was: How do you feel about retailers launching Christmas prior to Thanksgivin

I find it difficult to wrap my head around Christmas decorations in October. Thought I'd get that out there first.

When I was in my youth, people kind of built up to the Christmas Holiday. First there was Halloween, you got your bag full of candy and you attempted to stretch it; putting aside little treats to save for later, hoping they'd last until Thanksgiving when you'd share the ultimate feast with your family. After that sumptuous feast, then the preparations for Christmas began in ernest.  There wasn't any such thing as leaving The family Thanksgiving dinner to stand in line to catch a sale. The decorations were pulled out the day after Thanksgiving; while we the family gathered together again to devour the leftovers. Wreaths were hung, lights were untangled and all manner of decorations were retrieved from storage, dusted off and the house was transformed into a magical palace. Depending on wether your tree was real or artificial;  you went  out and got your tree, hauled it home or took it out of its storage area and put it together. 

To view more "Question of the Week" View SCOOP USA Media, November 29, 2019, page 14

The question this week was: What "Thanksgiving Dishes" do you look forward to?

I had to really do some thinking about what dish I was looking forward to for the Thanksgiving holiday. I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to food and I enjoy cooking. No, I'm mean I enjoy cooking. I get a distinct pleasure from preparing a meal from scratch. From a very young child, the kitchen has been and continues to be my happy place. I was always in the kitchen with my daddy and my grandmothers. Neither my mother nor my bonus mom were outstanding cooks; but, each had other skills that they passed down to me.

To view more "Question of the Week" View SCOOP USA Media, November 22, 2019

The question of the week was: How do you celebrate the veterans in your life?

Mr. John Kearney says "I enjoy celebrating with the Veterans here in the City of Chester".

Councilman. William Al Jacobs, himself a Veteran, states "He's spent the last 8 years celebrating Veteran's Day at the Thanksgiving Day Veteran's Luncheon at Chester City Hall. "I really enjoy it," he said.

To view more "Question of the Week" View SCOOP USA Media, November 15, 2019

The question of the week was: Do you plan to Vote?

Vote. You can't change anything you don't like or make a difference if you do not vote. Please don't complain if you can't be troubled to cast your ballot.

As a young girl, I remember my parents always working at the polls long into the evening, when it was election time. I remember holding my daddy's hand as he went to play with the knobs and buttons on those huge machines. I was to young then to understand how these machines could make any difference. You see, I was a child of the 60's.

Those experiences along with those remarks my parents made to me regarding voting, stayed with me. I'm proud to say, I don't let an election pass without casting my ballot. I'm aware of those who were subjected to physical violence and worse just because they dared to exercise their right to vote. I wouldn't think about not voting. It would dishonor their legacies if I did not cast my ballot.

To view more "Question of the Week" View SCOOP USA Media, November 8, 2019, page 15

The question this week was: How much does a person's character matter

How much does character matter? In today's society it appears to matter very little and is lessening as time goes by. I, however see character as the very core of who you are as a human being. You're not born with it. It's a learned component. I thank God daily for his grace and my parents (both sets) for a set of principles; with which I attempt to navigate through life. I was taught the value of being the best person you can be, by men and women who were the best people they could be always. Character will always be important to me.

To read more Question of the Week view SCOOP USA Media, November 1, 2019, page 15

The question this week was: Do you know your neighbor(s) and if not why?

I believe it's important to know who you're living with and around. It's nothing to do with minding someone else's business; but, more to do with community. The late Gloria Vanderbilt once quoted and she said, "We were put on this earth to look after one another; not to look past one another." This is one of the truer statements that I've heard, in my lifetime.

Does this mean that you have to be in and out of your neighbor's home one a daily basis or that you're a permanent fixture on the sofa, remote in hand (a bit extreme)?

No. It simply means you should know who's living next door, above or below you. I think one should know their neighbors by sight and be able to call them by name. I know my neighbors by sight, can call them by name and no, I'm not a constant visitor in their homes.  However, I feel it's my responsibility to know who they are, how they're doing and if I can assist in any way. 

Read more Question of the Week, SCOOP USA Media, October 25, 2019, page 17

The question of the week was: At what age should a child to have a cell phone

 When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, I'll bet he had no idea of how his invention would change the way we communicated with the world. Yes, I'm sure he believed that we'd be able to speak to our friends and relatives in other cities--maybe even people in other countries. I doubt that he would've envisioned a world in which his invention was continually tweaked to a point where it became the primary mode of communication for nations around the world. But, it's done just that. 

Advances in technology allow us to reach out and touch another person with the touch of a button. Youth have the ability to voice or video call, text, direct message, post whatever they want on social media. Telephones, along with the internet and social media sites give us access to information on a level that may have astounded and pleased Mr. Bell (or saddened him). 

Read more Question of the Week, SCOOP USA Media, October 18, 2019, page 17

september 2019



In spectacular fashion, Chester's Health Department has led the charge in informing  the city's residents about health risk; and more importantly, about the wide range of benefits available to them. In an effort to bring services and providers to the citizens of Chester, Ms. Rosetta Carter, Director of Community Health Education,  has held events at multiple venues throughout Chester.

These events are designed to provide health information to the residents of our community, who have transportation issues and for whom traveling is a hardship. Keeping the venues in the city and close surrounding areas has meant many of Chester's residents received lifesaving health information.

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, September 20, 2019, page 16

Chester: More than meets the eye

Chester is the only city in Delaware County. It's also the smallest and the first city. These are facts often overlooked. Being small means a few things. The first is that most of our citizens know one another and/or our families. Second, we're a close knit community with strong loyalties and deep connections to one another. 

These first two things are a part of what makes this city what it is. Because of our size, the citizens have the good fortune to know our government, civic and business leaders (many on a first name basis). Added good fortune and grace has given us leaders who are approachable, engaging and always willing to help and/or answer our questions. At least that's always been my experience. And guess what? I can be like a bulldog with a bone; particularly when I want answers. Most of all, it means Chester is sort of under the microscope--- in a manner of speaking. Everything done here is examined more closely than it would be in a larger city or municipality. 

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, September 20, 2019, page 16


Working together to save our youth

    The Boys and Girls Club of Chester held a workshop on Friday, September 20, 2019 in the Community Room at Chester City Hall. The workshop was open to Pastors, Youth Ministry Leaders, Drug and Alcohol Ministries, Leaders from all faiths and various Civic Organizations.

    Angela Da Re, a Certified Substance Abuse Specialist with over 20 years of experience and Jessica Fielding, a Project Director for her local prevention coalition; with 12 years of experience were the workshop's facilitators. 

Remarks made by Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland made clear the necessity and importance of the involvement of not only our faith communities; but, also the involvement of ordinary citizens, to assist in the prevention of youth violence. 

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, September 27, 2019, page 16


Chester State of the City Address

Thaddeus Kirkland along with his esteem team hosted the second annual State of the City Address, on Friday, May 31, 2019.

Talen Energy Stadium, home to the Philadelphia Union Soccer Team, graciously hosted the event. Mayor Kirkland started his remarks by thanking and acknowledging City Council members, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, the Police and Fire Commissioners; as well as, the various other organizations and businesses that accounted for the success of the city's endeavors.

The highlights of Mayor Kirkland's speech were the decrease in homicides and violent crimes, made possible by a Police Department almost fully staffed.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 7, 2019

I am my father’s daughter

Father's Day 2019 is Sunday and I'm faced with the stark reality, that this is my first Father's Day without my dad. I so miss his physical presence in my life though I feel his spiritual presence on a daily basis. Yes, I am beyond any shadow of doubt; a self confessed 'Daddy's Girl.' As any daddy's girl will tell you; my daddy was the best daddy in the entire world. There was no other daddy like mine. I'm no exception in this belief and believe it I do; to the very core of my being. Every child should have that feeling about their father. Father's touch our lives in such pivotal ways. This holds true for all children; but, I think especially so for girls. I can only testify to this from the female point of view. The presence of a father in a daughter's life really does shape her perspective of the world and the people she'll encounter traveling the road of life. It's definitely made my view of the world much broader than it would've been; had I not been my father's daughter.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 14, 2019

The Importance of Preschool and Kindergarten Education

In this season of proms and graduations as children prepare for summer break; it's a good time to shine a light on the early education of our children. Education is the mitigating factor that shapes the direction and often changes the trajectory of many young lives.

I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Graduation Ceremony of the Kindergarten Class of 2019, at Stetser School. Stetser's Kindergarten 'Move Up' Ceremony was a motivating occasion that left students with a strong sense of their accomplishments and parents full of pride. There was a large parental presence at this stellar event and all of the young graduates were in rare form. Ms. Elaine Gunderway said, 'Both of my sons attended Stetser. The principal and the teachers are excellent. They take the time for the students.' Ms. Gunderway's son Raymond Jackson was among the delightful young graduates and her older son, John Jackson, 3rd is a second grader.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 21, 2019

6th Annual Father’s Day Brunch

Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, City Council and Ms. Rosetta Carter, Director of Community Health Education for the City of Chester, hosted the 6th Annual Father's Day Brunch at City Hall in the Community Room, on Saturday, June 15, 2019. Sharing hosting duties were Glenn Ellis broadcasting live on WURD Radio 96.1 AM. Mr. Ellis is a well known writer, lecturer, consultant and medical ethicist; who regularly participates in city health events. This important event didn't just just celebrate fathers; it put a serious focus on the health of fathers (and the sons that will one day be fathers). Dr. Christopher Hannum, MD a long time Chester physician; was in attendance. Dr. Hannum discussed the importance of men getting annual checkups and engaging in a dialogue with their physicians; so that medical issues can be diagnosed early and treated. Prostate Cancer remains a major concern and early detection is key. The gentlemen engaged in honest discussion on their experiences with the disease. Councilman Calvin Bernard of Chester Township shared how early detection and honest dialog with his doctor was instrumental in his recovery.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 21, 2019

The Importance of Supporting Community Based Publications


Scoop Media outlet, under the leadership of Ms. Sherri Horsey Darden; is rebranding. In past it was known primarily as a Tavern paper; which catered mostly to bars and taverns. A weekly publication; the paper has always published articles featuring members of the communities it serves and put a spotlight on social and economic issues facing those areas. It's with this in mind that I stress the importance of community involvement. Community based publications are the lifeblood of neighborhoods; and in many cases, the only newspaper that some residents read in any given week. As with Scoop, most community publications are free of charge. This is beneficial to the communities in that the things affecting the people who live in the neighborhoods and surrounding areas are well informed.

Read More, Scoop USA Media, June 28, 2019


Free black community print publications are quickly becoming more difficult to locate. This means that news that matters to communities in dire need of the information these publications disiminate, aren't being made aware of what's happening in the neighborhoods once served by these papers. This is occurring for a variety of reasons.

Media conglomerates are gobbling up smaller news outlets; leaving smaller news outlets struggling for survival. Community Publications that used to focus solely on neighborhoods and neighborhood events find themselves in competition with larger media outlets; covering those stories for major news outlets that used to not cover those minor events. With the competitiveness in news today any story that'll garner a front page headline is fair game.

Over the past few decades print media has taken a backseat to the internet; with all manner of social media platforms supplying 24-hour news. It matters not the validity or source of the news; it appears that all that's important is that it was on the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Google or some other media platform. Citizens don't have to go beyond their computers, smartphones or other devices to have news at their disposal instantaneously. Technology is great and extremely useful; however, what about those citizens who are not able to afford this technology or to whom technology isn't available? What about that segment of the senior population whom aren't technologically savvy? Those who are hardwired to getting their news from newspapers. Even with the popularity of technology; I can tell you of more than a dozen or more people who still read print publications daily. My father read four national newspapers daily as well as all of the community publications that were available. I in turn; follow suit. It's how many marginalized citizens know what's going on in the world where they live and beyond.

The only free print media publications that I'm aware of at this time besides Scoop Media are Chester Matters and Town Talk. That is not to say that there aren't other free community oriented publications out there; but, these are the ones that I've observed being accessible to the Chester community. Chester Matters is due to put out its first print edition since 2018 and has primarily been an online publication. Town Talk is consistent; but, rarely if ever spotlights any news about Chester. 

Scoop Media has been a constant weekly publication in the city since 1960. It continues to inform the communities it serves with news affecting those areas. Always mindful to keep the needs of communities in mind and ever conscience of lesser served populations; Scoop Media has  served the tri-state area for near 60 years and is free of charge to public.

Yes print publications definitely still have a place in our communities, neighborhoods ----our society and we should do all we can to support such publications.

ScoopUSA Media, July 5, 2019 page 13


JULY 2019


What Happens When The Two Most Important People In Your World Fail You?

Our parents are initially the two most important people in any person's life. They're the reason for our existence. They gave us life and we look to them; for our sustenance and our very survival from birth and as we mature. Things taught to us by our parents become an integral part of us; shaping who we are as children and as adults. 

This is an important question; especially if you're a young impressionable child. A child looking for love, self acceptance--a place where you fit in. You're constantly searching for somewhere to belong and someone, anyone to accept you for who you are. 

Society tends to label and compartmentalize many of those young people. This only heightens the problem; further exacerbating issues and situations that could very well have far reaching consequences; long into the future. There are times when it's beneficial to look at past family dynamics when determining what's helpful now--in the present. People, all people are products of their environments. A person can change your behavior, your attire, your residence, and your  general circumstances overall; but, still what's been taught, learned and experienced in the nurturing years will remain.

I've seen the wreckage that remains when the parents fail their young. I've glimpsed the pain and suffering that emerges when generational curses are passed from one generation to another; allowing for misguided myths to continue guiding future generations down a path of destruction.

I've also witnessed the healing and the healthy future rewards that await those who toss aside those generations of old legacies that bog a person down; restricting their ability to move forward. 

Not everyone is gifted with a nurturing spirit and I've always felt that those gifted with nurturing spirits are among the most gifted of humanity. Educators, medical professionals and clergy are just some professions touched with the gift of a nurturing spirit. Mothers and fathers are a child's first exposure to nurturing spirits. How we care for our children is important and has a lasting effect on future development. The basics of their core values are shaped through the intense bond formed with loving parents. 

If the parents are loving and kind the child learns empathy. If the parents are hard and cruel the child learns bullying behavior. And so on.

I'd encourage everyone, blessed to be a parent or not, to make every effort not to fail our youth. Uplift them always, because what we pass to them; they will pass to future generations.

Scoop USA Media July 12, 2019 page 13


The Chester Chaplains are extending an open invitation to  all Faith Leaders and all members of our community to come out and join together in prayer. This is an opportunity to commune with your neighbors, discuss concerns with community leaders, interact with members of the community you're not familiar with or wouldn't ordinarily see on a daily basis. In speaking with many of the members of this city; I've found that a vast majority (especially milenials) don't know who their neighbors are. Above all it's a time to offer and share prayers with our growing changing community.

I've found that as long as  prayer is at the forefront; every other thing falls into place. In my conversations with many of my neighbors, quite a few have questioned the reasoning for praying instead of action. In my opinion we require both prayer and action. I see it as our prayers stirring us to create actions and spur ideas, that propell us to succeed in making our communities strong and viable. This is important in a world where we're becoming increasingly desensitized to the needs of others. "I'm blessed" and "God is good" have become the catch phrases of the day. People regurgitate them with no thought to the true meaning. 

Our community appears to be headed in an upward direction. Seems to me a steady stream of prayer and positive action can only be an added dividend.

Actually, I'm really looking forward to meeting some of you at this event. It'll be an opportunity to hear the positive stories and memories from my Chester City neighbors. And above all,  I look forward to offering and sharing prayers for a city on the rise.

Community Prayer Vigil will be held every Thursday in August, starting on August 1, 2019 and ending on August 29, 2019 at 6:30 pm. All are welcome. Look for announcement in coming issues. Mark your calendars.

Read More Chester News,  ScoopUSA Media, July 26, 2019 page 13

Youth Gun Violence

It seems to me that every morning the news broadcast the story of another death; due to someone's use of a gun. Americans have had a long and storied history with firearms. This history dates back to the establishment of this country. History dates the use of the first firearm around the year 1364. It's said Christopher Columbus came to America in the 15th century; making his Farwell to the indigenous inhabitants, by firing a gun from one of the port windows of the Santa Maria. The native populist of America knew nothing about firearms until the arrival of the colonials landed in 1607. As with Columbus, the early settlers and the those who have followed; firearms became their first choice in weapons. 

That brings us to the 21st century and the epidemic rates at which people are dying or being maimed by someone using a gun. More often than not today it appears people reach for a gun to settle even the most minuté of disputes. This is becoming more evident as we lose more and more children to gun violence. 

Youths are dying at rates unseen in centuries prior and this is especially true of African American and Latino youth. Just this past week I've heard about four shootings; the victims were children in those four killings. How much more of this senseless slaughter of innocents are we to accept? How many more parents will face the grief and the miserable task of burying their young? As a nation and community we have to ask ourselves what responsibility we share in this violence. The sound of our silence is paid for in blood---the blood of of children. And, make no mistake about it a fourteen year old is still just a child; though, society may see them as young women or men. They're still children. The children of mothers and fathers whose grief will never be assuaged. Everywhere there are makeshift memorials of candles and teddy bears marking the spot where some young person--someone's child had their promise snuffed out at the point of a gun. 

See Chester News, Scoop USA Media, August 2, 2019, page 13

Black Excellence

On Sunday afternoon, I had the absolute and distinct pleasure of being in attendance at a networking event that was not only impressive; but, very awe inspiring. It was an all "White Affair" with all of those who attended fashionably dressed in an array of white ensembles.

Certainly the attire was spectacular; but, all the attendees were much more so.

Unfortunately, due to a prior commitment; I was unable to stay for the panel of speakers. I did however make the rounds and spoke with a number of the young entrepreneurs; each one more impressive than the next. This event was put together by young people from our community, in our community. It's refreshing to observe the dedication that this group of young people brought to their various crafts. I applaud their willingness to openly share their experiences with one another. 

I was thoroughly impressed with a budding young entrepreneur named, Cianni Dawkins; who'd made the trip from South Philadelphia, to network with her peers. Ms. Dawkins is eighteen years old and has known since she was fifteen years old that baking was her passion. She's been pursuing that passion since then. She shared with me photos of her creations to date. She's waiting for her website to be completed in the next month and is excited about her prospective success. I've no doubt she'll be a stellar success.

Read More Chester News, Scoop USA Media, August 2, 2019, page 13

Encouraging Another

I'm literally one month away from the one year anniversary of my father's passing. Yes, this past year has been trying and tumultuous since I lost daddy. In that same span of time; I've lost two others that were very close to me. The losses, grief and search for understanding have been frightening and debilitating at times. I thought the tears would never cease and that emptiness was bound to become a permanent companion. 

As the days weeks and months go on (as time does); I am finding my center again. My strength is returning. The roots of my faith are deepening. Though, I've no idea what the future holds for me; I've hope and my faith----well it'll suffice to say it's stronger than ever. Yes, things have changed in my life. There's a new normal.

This brings me to one of the many things that have brought me to this point in my life ---- the encouragement of others. The encouragement and understanding of my sister, my niece and nephews, friends, neighbors, acquaintances and even strangers have helped me to this place in my life. 

I can't talk about the encouragement I received without acknowledging how much a part women, members of my civic community and our city's political community have assisted me in my healing. 

Thank you to each and every person. It doesn't matter if it's a smile, a hug, a prayer, a gentle touch, a gesture, a kind word or a text, phone call or email. It all helped and was equally appreciated.

In a world where everything is so polarizing and many people lack the ability to empathize with others; I was blessed and honored to have the encouragement of so many in my community. This is a definite indication of what Chester is and who its citizens are. 

My grandmother used to say, "If you're not going to say anything nice; don't say anything at all." She was absolutely correct.

Paraphrasing the lyrics to one of my favorite songs; I say, "Human kindness is overflowing and I think it's gonna rain today." 

Encouraging one another on a daily basis should be ingrained in our DNA. It should automatically trigger our moral compass to reach out to someone whose hurting---- to build someone up instead of tearing them down. 

So, reach out and encourage another person today. Spread some human kindness in the world.

Read More Chester News, ScoopUSA Media, August 30, 2019, page 13