Author: Katie Kohler

Feeling teacher vacancies, William Penn seeks diversity

By KatieKohler The William Penn School District is feeling the sting of the 61 percent decrease in teaching certificates handed out by the state between 2013 and 2015. A memo addressed to the school board in October lists 17 retirements and 26 resignations across the district. Human Resources Director Joe Conley called the number of departures “exceptionally” high since the average is between three and five a year. “This is extremely unusual. We had a lot of teachers who started together and retired together. I don’t think it’s a number we will see again for many years,” commented Conley. According to Conley the criteria for retirement varies and the district offers an attractive retirement medical program. Most of the vacated positions have been filled. Currently there are postings for a school nurse, speech therapist, and long-term subs for employees on leave. The number of U.S. college students graduating with education degrees slipped from 106,300 in 2004 to 98,900 in 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The numbers are worse in Pennsylvania as it suffered a 61 percent decrease. In 2013, the state awarded 18,590 teaching certificates. In 2015, it handed out 7,180. School board members have spoken candidly about financial restraints and underfunding. Many of them commented during previous meetings about not being able to compete with the compensation packages offered by other districts. “We...

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Friends call Mitchell scandal ‘politics at its worst’

By KatieKohler Last Wednesday afternoon, District Attorney Jack Whelan announced the arrest of, and laid out a list of charges against, longtime Upland Councilman Ed Mitchell, 73, including illegal wiretaps, felony theft offenses for receiving up to $133,000 in kickbacks for covert recording devices, cameras and security systems installed at inflated costs throughout Upland Borough Hall. Whelan called it a flagrant violation of public trust, but to former high ranking officials, the charges don’t match up to the Mitchell they know. One longtime family friend, who asked not to be identified, said Mitchell had no motive to steal...

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Gotcha! Alleged postal robber was on parole

By KatieKohler Charles Sampson, a 61 year-old Chester man of the 200 block of West 21st St., was arrested Friday for the Nov. 30th attempted robbery of the Chester Post Office. Sampson’s arrest came just days after the announcement of a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to the suspect’s arrest and conviction was published in The Spirit. Sampson, charged with attempted robbery, is in federal custody and was scheduled for an initial appearance and detention hearing before a federal magistrate in Philadelphia Monday afternoon, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) said. According to an affidavit of...

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Wanted: Attempted post office robber

By KatieKohler The United States Postal Inspection Service and Chester Police are asking for the public’s help in apprehending a suspect wanted for attempted robbery of the US Post Office on Edgemont Ave. On Wednesday, Nov. 30th at approximately 12:49 p.m., the suspect, armed with a handgun, attempted to rob the office. Authorities describe the suspect as a Black male with a bald head, five-feet eight-inches tall, wearing an olive green sweatshirt, blue jeans, black work boots, and carrying a large blue and white golf-style umbrella. Further details of the attempted robbery were not available. “There aren’t a...

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Food champ, others, give back with holiday meals for homeless

By KatieKohler On Thanksgiving, CityTeam on Sproul Street in Chester, served over 150 holiday dinners fine dining style complete with linen tablecloths, menus and waiter service. The guests weren’t the only ones thankful for the hospitality, which also included a to-go meal and a pie. For a volunteer and a CityTeam staff member, gratitude was at the top of the menu. Surrounded by a team of adults receiving instructions on the tray line, it would have been easy for Tavia Isaac to have been a bit intimidated. Preparing a full Thanksgiving meal for her large family could have...

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