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Snow surprised by appreciation award

By LorettaRodgers lrodgers@chesterspirit.com The coordinator of the city’s recycling program, Chester resident Phoebe Snow, thought she was attending a recent City Council meeting to answer questions about recycling. But Snow was greatly surprised when Councilwoman Portia West called her to the front of the meeting room and presented her with an award for dedication and… This content is for Print + Digital and Digital members only.Log In...

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Chicks: the deadly Easter basket treat

  You may have noticed signs hanging in your local farm supply, hardware or home improvement stores: “Easter Chicks Coming Soon.” Every year around now, hatcheries and some backyard breeders gear up for what is, for the most part, the only time of the year when there is a big demand for chicks. Many people… This content is for Print + Digital and Digital members only.Log In...

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Fresh food center opens downtown, Chester gets first co-op grocery

By JessicaBautista jbautista@chesterspirit.com Business owners along the Avenue of the States all agreed that retail traffic is routinely low, but with the grand opening of Chester’s first “community-owned grocery” store over the weekend, many are optimistic that Chester’s Central Business District is one step closer to revitalization and Chester’s Co-op may be the catalyst needed in generating more foot traffic. Chester, recently called a “food desert” in one press account, now has its first community-owned grocery store, providing low-cost, locally-grown produce, vegetables, meat, herbs and many other items carried by big-name supermarkets outside the city. In being community-owned, the market is run by the members who shop there and the shelves are often stocked with items requested by shoppers. Members pay $50 to join, a $200 refundable investment, and agree to work three hours a month. Non-members will be able to shop there for the first two weeks. The market, significantly capitalized with a $150,000 grant from The Reinvestment Fund on the fourth request for funding, the co-op was the brainchild of Tina Johnson, a Chester-resident and community activist who said she realized long ago the market could benefit people on several levels, aside from the demand for access to quality food. “I live in the city and I know unemployment has been a big issue,” Johnson said. Johnson said the co-op idea dates back to 2005 and in...

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Neighborhood design plan unveiled

By LorettaRodgers Spirit staff / lrodgers@chesterspirit.com The lack of residents attending last Thursday night did not dampen the enthusiasm of Chester’s Planning Department while presenting a new design plan for the Union Square neighborhood. Representatives of CH Planning, Ltd., a Chester-based urban planning and design firm, using large display boards, chronicled the planning process from conception to a final working draft. The plan focuses on the revitalization of West 2nd through 5th streets and recommends improved streetscapes, new commercial opportunities and enhanced access to waterfront amenities. It also addresses blight conditions, including vacant lots and buildings, the lack of community-serving goods and businesses, increased traffic and the demand for parking, resulting from the construction of PPL Park. For more than a year, city planners have worked closely with residents to establish a realistic vision that is implementable, focusing on physical improvements which include the installation of green landscaping, medians, lighting, traffic signals and building renovations and redevelopment. “Please remember that nothing here is set in stone,” said Chester City Planner William Payne. “This is a work-in-progress. We know we can’t do this all at once. The first phase will be taking control of the ground by cleaning the area up and addressing the vacant lots and buildings.” Chester Director of Economic Development James Turner said the plan’s primary focus is to determine, with residential input, what is necessary to...

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Old boss welcomes new Marines at Cocco’s Aston homecoming

By LorettaRodgers Spirit staff / lrodgers@chesterspirit.com Twins Daniel and Mark Asebedo returned from 13 weeks of basic training at the Marine Corps training Center at Parris Island, South Carolina with a few things in mind. They wanted to visit their family and especially see their former boss, Bruce Bley, and their fellow workers at Cocco’s Pizza in Aston. “They said they really missed our pizza, cheese steaks and mozzarella bacon fries,” laughed Bley. “I know one thing for sure, and that is we really missed them.” The Asebedo brothers live in Brookhaven with their grandmother, Carole Watson, and are 2009 graduates of Sun Valley High School. While at Sun Valley, they were members of the Marine Corps Jr. ROTC program. They worked at Cocco’s before enlisting in the Marines and are happy with the choice they have made. “Boot camp was tough, but we know the U.S. Marine Corps is for us,” said Daniel. “It is an honor to serve this country.” Bley and the staff of Cocco’s Aston collected funds to send Watson to Parris Island to witness her grandsons’ graduation ceremony. She said without the help, she would not have been able to attend. Bley speaks very highly of the newly-minted Marines, calling them, “two of the best employees I ever had. These are just really great kids,” said Bley, “They are responsible, respectful and have an...

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