Author: Katie Kohler

Delco suicide rates rise; White males are the majority victims

By KatieKohler kkohler@myspiritnews.com Numbers from the 2015 Death Review Team show Delaware County had higher than average suicide deaths in recent years. The 77 suicide deaths in 2015 and 92 in 2014 mark this highest since 2009 (78). All figures are above the national average of 69. The 45-64 year-old demographic accounted for 42 percent of suicides with males making up the majority at 68 percent. The numbers were based on 2007-2015 death reviews. The Delaware County Suicide Prevention Awareness Task Force (DCSPATF) presented the report. DCSPATF is in the business of prevention, intervention, and post-intervention program implementation, facilitation, and promotion. It also aims to lessen the stigma associated with suicide and suicide loss. The stigma is present, especially among men who do not seek mental help. Families of victims, sometimes for religious or insurance purposes, ask the coroner or medical examiner for the death to be classified as “accidental.” Jim Elliot, chairman of DCSPATF, says the stigma is a national issue and another 10-15 percent can be added to the total suicide numbers since the death may not be classified as such. The media is also responsible for perpetuating the stigma by the wording of suicide deaths. Elliot does not use the term “commit suicide.” “People only die by suicide or complete a suicide,” he believes. The word “commit” infers a sense of guilt or creates a sense there is something faulty...

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At 103, her world is all about food, family, friends and the Lord

By KatieKohler kkohler@myspiritnews.com Annabelle Wright lives in Chester but her world is different than most. A neighbor spots her in the building’s lobby and is overjoyed to see her. “She is the best!” she tells Wright’s two visitors before letting her know about the washing machine on the fritz. “If I meet somebody they seem to like me….I wonder myself,” Wright says flashing her razor sharp, sometimes dry, wit. “I love people. Some people aren’t as friendly as others, but I don’t have no trouble and get along with most anybody.” For 103 years Annabelle Wright has seen the...

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Thinking About Traditions on a Hot Night at Chester

By KatieKohler Reputations are earned. The opposing team doesn’t get the same feeling when they play the Yankees in the playoffs as they do if they were paired with the Tampa Bay Rays. When Tom Brady had the ball in his hands in the waning minutes of the most recent Super Bowl, Falcons fans were nervous because they knew what he was capable of. It takes a high school or college program at least a decade of sustained winning and multiple championships to earn a reputation that gives them an advantage before the game is even played. Locally, no team possesses this storied reputation and home court advantage more than the Chester High School basketball team. The Clippers have won a Pennsylvania-record eight state championships, 23 district titles, and made 36 appearances in the District 1 Class AAAA championship game. “It takes a while for it to happen. You can’t have a program winning for five years and then not winning. Every year we are in the mix to win a state championship. That’s how you build your reputation as a winner,” said Athletic Director Andre Moore who discussed Chester’s Biddy Basketball program where kids, as young as six years old, play in front of big crowds. Born and raised in Norristown, I was well aware of the Clippers’ lofty status in high school basketball hoops. It’s hard not...

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Times change but local church stands firm on decision to oust Boy Scouts

By KatieKohler kkohler@myspiritnews.com Aldan Union Church cut ties with the troop it founded over 90 years ago in 2013 after the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to lift its ban on gay members. The church’s Council of Elders made the decision to sever the relationship with Boy Scout Troop 2 and Cub Scout Pack 2 with a vote to terminate the charter on Sept. 30 and it took effect Jan. 1, 2014 when the Boy Scouts’ new policy took effect. Since then, America has moved its moral compass even further with the legalization of same-sex marriage and public accommodations for transgender persons. Today, the church remains steadfast in its commitment. “Yes, we still stand by our decision and, yes, we lost some members as a result of the decision,” said Pastor Paul Thompson, who has been at the church for 39 years. The day after the church vote, then-Troop 2 Committee Chairman Mark Wilson made a motion at American Legion Post 1000 in Aldan to transfer the charter from the church to the post. The troop currently meets at that location. “While we were saddened to end our longstanding relationship with the Aldan Union Church, we respect their decision.  We are grateful that the American Legion Post 1000 welcomed our scouts and allowed us to seamlessly continue serving youth in the Aldan community with our life-changing programs that instill...

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Ex-Southeast Delco teacher is a record-setting star runner

By KatieKohler kkohler@myspiritnews.com Bill Schultz still gets some pretty good mileage. The Collingdale resident known for his transcontinental run in 1990 still logs over 3,000 miles a year. He easily recalls the details of his cross-country trek which started when he took his sabbatical from teaching at Harris Elementary School. He started on Feb. 21st with his hands and toes in the Pacific Ocean, with the goal of 30 miles a day for 100 days. He called the school every week and a different student would interview him and ask where he was so they could keep track on...

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