Monday, October 31, 2011

DA's office releases details on vets court

The Delaware County District Attorney's Office recently updated its website to include information about the Veterans Treatment Court.

The Veterans Treatment Court link can be found under Victims Services tab on the DA Office homepage.

The county announced it was working on a veterans court back in July.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

County council candidates square off

The six candidates - three Dems and three Republicans - squared off during an hourlong debate Wednesday night at Delaware County Community College.

It started out civil but got heated when certain topics were discussed. The major sticking points between the candidates seem to be transparency, health department and taxes.

To read more about the hot topics, check out this article.

Also, ICYMI, here is candidate profile article.

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As a resident of Delco, what do you think about the candidates?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things heat up as Election Day gets closer

With Election Day just two weeks away, local political issues are heating up.

First, M. Kendall Brown, the Democratic candidate for Delco District Attorney, still had an inactive law license as of Monday afternoon. She maintained that she applied a long time ago and there has been some kind of mixup with the reinstatement process.

Here are more details.

My colleague, Cindy Scharr, originally reported on Brown's inactive license back in March.

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Switching gears ...

***

Late Tuesday afternoon, officials from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party delivered a letter to the campaign of Chester Mayor Wendell N. Butler Jr., a Republican seeking re-election against Democrat John Linder, a current city councilman. The Dems want Butler to stop running advertisements of Butler and President Barack Obama.

Another one of my colleagues, Kathleen Carey, wrote the initial story about the sign debacle here.

Here is the full story from Wednesday's paper.

Candidates to square off in upcoming debates

The League of Women Voters has planned two debates this week related to races in the upcoming election.

The six candidates for Delaware County Council – three Republicans and three Democrats – will participate in a debate Wednesday night from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Academic Building at Delaware County Community College in Marple, according to Marita Green, vice president for voters services for the Delaware County League of Women Voters. The six candidates are running for three expiring seats on the five-member county council.

The candidates for county council include Democrats Lin Axamethy Floyd, a former president of Nether Providence Board of Commissioners, Pastor Keith Collins and Lansdowne Mayor Jayne Young. The GOP candidates include incumbent Tom McGarrigle, county Solicitor John McBlain and Colleen Morrone, vice chairwoman of the Concord Board of Supervisors.

The county council debate will be moderated by Michelle Howard, a member of the Chester County League of Women Voters.

A second debate has been planned for Thursday night for the Chester mayoral candidates and the candidates for city council. The debate is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. at Lathem Hall at Widener University in Chester.

For the first hour of the event, Chester mayoral candidates Republican incumbent Mayor Wendell N. Butler Jr. and Democrat John Linder, a current city councilman, will square off, according to Green.

During the final half hour of the event, the four candidates for two expiring city council seats will participate in a debate. The Republican candidates include incumbent councilman Shepard A. Garner and Nolan Woodland. The Democratic candidates include Nafis Nichols and Elizabeth Williams.

Green said the Chester debate was organized with the help of student groups and Inner City Alliance. The debate will be moderated by CBS 3 reporter Dray Clark.

Monday, October 24, 2011

U.S. Rep. Meehan introduces small biz bill

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, recently introduced legislation that would help small businesses that are in the startup phase.

"The facts of what we're seeing go back to the first principle of job creation," Meehan said Friday, while citing statistics about the role small businesses play in job creation.

Meehan introduced House Resolution 3231, the Jump Start for Job Creators Act, on Oct. 14. The bill, which was referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means, currently includes a handful of bipartisan cosponsors, including two Democrats and one Republican.

The bill would amend current law to allow start-up businesses to expense their deductions up front at a higher rate, according to Meehan.

In a nutshell, the bill would increase the maximum deduction for small business start-up expenses to $20,000 over a longer period of time, and increase the ceiling for start-up expenses to $75,000. Under current law, the maximum deduction for small business start-up expenses is limited to $5,000 if the total start-up expenses are less than $50,000, according to Meehan's spokeswoman Maureen Keith.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Local Dems plan another event for Saturday

In addition to the Democratic event in Chester Saturday, other local candidates will be participating in a statewide day of action event in Haverford.

The event in Haverford will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Haverford Township Municipal Building, located at 2325 Darby Road in Havertown.

Democratic candidates for county council, including Jayne Young, Keith Collins and Lin Axamethy Floyd will be speaking at the event along with Democratic county judge candidates Larry DeMarco, Sally Ann Heckert-Bikin and Michael Schleigh. M. Kendall Brown, Democratic candidate for district attorney, will also be on hand along with a slew of Democratic candidates in local Haverford Township races.

State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford, will speak at the event along with state Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Upper Merion, and U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-8, of Pennsylvania. Murphy is also a Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania Attorney General.

After the rally in Haverford, Democrats will participate in canvassing.

Similar events are taking place across the state and county Saturday.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, is expected in Chester. The event in Chester will kickoff at 10:15 a.m. at the Chester Fine Arts Center East, located at 17 E. Seventh St. in
Chester.

After that, volunteers will gear up for a day of knocking on doors and making phone calls.

Delco Bar Association releases results of surveys

The Delaware County Bar Association's 1,114 members were recently asked whether they believe nine sitting judges, including three judges on the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, should be retained for another 10-year term. Sitting judges are retained with a yes or no vote.

The 410 members who returned their ballots voted overwhelmingly to retain all nine judges, including Delaware County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Joseph P. Cronin Jr. and judges Kathrynann W. Durham and Kevin F. Kelly, according to the Oct. 12 results of the bar association’s retention plebiscite.

In addition to deciding whether to retain Cronin, Durham and Kelly on Election Day, Delco voters will have the chance to choose five new county judges. Election Day is Nov. 8.

The eight candidates include Democrats G. Lawrence DeMarco, Sally-Ann Heckert Bikin and Michael F. Schleigh. All three are attorneys. Heckert Bickin is also a registered nurse; Schleigh also serves as a councilman in Lansdowne.

The Republican candidates include Spiros “Spike” E. Angelos, director of Delaware County Public Defender’s office; county council Vice Chairman Christine Fizzano Cannon; Magisterial District Judge John P. Capuzzi Sr., who serves portions of Haverford and Marple townships; District Attorney G. Michael Green; and Widener University law professor Nathaniel C. Nichols.

Back in April, the bar association released results of a selection survey. The Republican candidates received the highest number of votes in the "well qualified" category.

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As a resident of Delco, what do you think about the bar association's surveys?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Democratic leader to visit Delco

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, is expected in Delaware County this Saturday for a Democratic statewide day of action event.

The event will begin at 10:15 a.m. Saturday at the Chester Fine Arts Center East, located at 17 E. Seventh St. in Chester.

GOP candidates unveil economic plan

The GOP candidates for Delaware County Council unveiled their economic plan Wednesday.

Read the entire plan here.

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As a resident of Delco, what do you think of the plan?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

County annouces new location of veterans affairs office

County officials announced Tuesday that they decided to move the office to the lobby of the Government Center so that it will be more accessible to veterans.

The county’s veterans affairs office has been located in several areas of the county Government Center in Media over the years.

Delaware County Council Chairman Jack Whelan said the relocation of the veterans affairs office is the final step of an upgrade process of service and outreach for veterans.

Whelan also said that plans for a veterans treatment court are moving forward.

The county originally announced the veterans treatment court back in July -- a few days after a Democratic press conference on the same issue took place. The county, however, maintained that it had been working on the project since April -- long before the Democrats' press conference.

Michael Schleigh, one of the Democratic candidates for county judge, said he was pleased to hear the county is moving forward with its plans for the veterans treatment court. At the same time, he said the public should be invited to join the process.

For example, Schleigh said the veterans court task force meetings should be open to the public.

Whelan said he allowed one uninvited individual to stay at the initial task force meeting. But he said some future meetings may have to be closed if confidential issues are discussed, such as the criminal background of specific veterans.

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What do you think? Should the county involve the public more in the process? Should the task force meetings be open to the public?

Friday, October 14, 2011

GOP candidates for Delaware County Council receive endorsements

The GOP candidates for Delaware County Council announced Friday that they were endorsed by The Delaware County Committee of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades, which represents 14 unions in the area.

The GOP candidates include Colleen Morrone, Tom McGarrigle and John McBlain. The announcement was made today at the PPL Park in Chester.

Morrone, McGarrigle and McBlain are running against Democrats Keith Collins, Lin Axamethy Floyd and Jayne Young.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Council officials announce details on absentee ballots

At the Delaware County Council meeting Tuesday, Councilman Andy Lewis said the Delaware County Election Bureau will be open 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Oct. 29 to distribute absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 election.

Residents have until 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1 to file the absentee ballot applications. After the Election Bureau receives the application, it will send out the absentee ballot to the residents immediately, said county spokesman Bill Lovejoy. Voters then have until 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 to fill out the absentee ballot and mail or drop off it off at the Election Bureau, which is located on the ground floor of the Delaware County Government Center in Media.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Meehan to host college night event

U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, R-7, of Upper Darby, announced he will be hosting a "College Night" event to help high school students prepare for college.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at Delaware County Community College in Marple.

Meehan said representatives from more than 25 colleges and universities will be there along with speakers from the Pennsylvania Department of Treasury and Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

National 'Take Back' drug initiative planned

County officials recently stressed the importance of disposal of unused or expired medications and announced that a national “Take Back” drug event will take place later this month.

The third national “Take Back” event will take place 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 29 at 14 locations in Delaware County.

County officials said residents can anonymously drop off prescription drugs at the following locations:

• Aldan Municipal Building: 1 West Providence Rd., Clifton Heights, PA 19018
• Brookhaven Municipal Center: 2 Cambridge Rd., Suite 200, Brookhaven, PA 19015
• Eddystone Police Department at Lighthouse Hall: 1401 E. 9th St., Crum Lynne, PA 19022
• Glenolden Police Department: 38 Boon Ave., Glenolden, PA 19036
• Marcus Hook Community Center: 7 West Delaware Ave., Marcus Hook, PA 19061
• Marple Township Police Department at the Giant, 2910 Springfield Road, Broomall, PA 19008
• Media Police Department: 301 N Jackson St.
• Middletown: PA State Police Barracks, 1342 W. Baltimore Pike, Middletown, PA 19063
• Nether Providence Police Station: 214 Sykes Lane, Wallingford, PA 19086
• Radnor Township: Municipal Building, 201 Iven Ave. and Wayne Senior Center, 108 Station Road, Wayne PA 19087
• Sharon Hill Borough Hall: 250 Sharon Ave., Sharon Hill, PA 19079
• Springfield Township Building: 50 Powell Road, Springfield, PA 19064
• Tinicum Township Police Department: 629 North Governor Printz Blvd, Essington, PA 19029
• Upper Darby High School: 601 Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill, PA 19026

Thursday, October 6, 2011

GOP candidates receive endorsements

Jack Whelan, the Republican candidate for Delco District Attorney, announced today that he received the endorsement of the Delaware County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27.

Whelan, a former assistant district attorney and current chairman of Delaware County Council, is running against Democrat M. Kendall Brown.

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On another note ...

The Republican candidates for county council - Colleen Morrone, Tom McGarrigle, John McBlain - announced today that they received the endorsement of SEPAC, a political committee comprised of representatives from multiple chambers of commerce in Southeast Pennsylvania – including the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

Morrone, McGarrigle and McBlain are running against Democrats Keith Collins, Jayne Young and Lin Axamethy Floyd.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vitali blasts Corbett's Shale proposal

State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford, blasted Gov. Tom Corbett’s Marcellus Shale proposal Monday, calling it an early Christmas gift to the drilling industry.

Corbett’s plan would allow counties to impose an impact fee for up to 10 years to help pay for the cost to regulate the drilling and fix the damage it causes to the environment.

“It’s an early Christmas present for the drilling industry and I will not be voting for this plan,” Vitali said Monday.

The Corbett administration estimates that the plan would generate up to $120 million in the first year and up to $195 million by the sixth year.

“We need more revenue that is fairly distributed to scale back the cuts in basic education, higher education and health care,” Vitali said.

Vitali has been a strong proponent of a Marcellus Shale tax through legislation he introduced earlier this year. House Bill 33 would raise an estimated $492 million in 2012, with revenue rising to $671 million in 2015.

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What do you think of Corbett's proposal? Do you agree with Vitali?

Monday, October 3, 2011

County prison receives good review

The George W. Hill Correctional Facility recently received a good review from the American Correctional Association following a standards compliance audit.

The review took place July 25-27 at the 1,883-bed county prison on Cheyney Road. According to the report, the prison received a 100 percent score on the ACA’s 60 mandatory standards.

The audit report did not specifically mention the problems the prison had with premature releases of prisoners last year.

Seven prisoners, including a murder defendant, were released prematurely from the prison in 2010. All were recaptured but the slipups caused prison board officials to revamp intake and release procedures the facility.

The facility also received a 98.6 percent score on the nonmandatory standards. The prison was in compliance with 299 of the 303 nonmandatory standards that were applicable to the facility, according to the report.

The four points missed related to tripling of inmates in some cells, and the lack of natural lighting in the expanded medical unit, prison Superintendent John A. Reilly Jr. said.

Here is the full story.

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As a resident of Delco, what do you think about this review of the prison?

County to host senior forum, jobs expo

County officials will be hosting two Senior Citizen Resource Forums this month.

The first forum is scheduled for tomorrow from 1-3:30 p.m. at the Drexelbrook Corporate Events Center in Drexel Hill. The second forum will take place 1-3:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Concordville Inn in Concord.

The free forums were organized by the County Office of Services for the Aging and are open to senior citizens, their families and caregivers. A panel of representatives from county programs will provide information about resources and supports for senior citizens.


Switching gears...

County officials will be hosting a Jobs Expo from 9 a.m.-1p.m. Oct. 13 at the Springfield County Club, located at 400 West Sproul Road in Springfield.

The expo is being organized by the Delaware County Transportation Management Association in partnership with county council, the Delaware County Workforce Investment Board, the County Office of Employment and Training and the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

Representatives from several companies will be present at the expo.