Author: Katie Kohler

Crime time debate rages: DAs push to restore mandatory minimums; some disagree

By KatieKohler kkohler@myspiritnews.com Top prosecutors and law enforcement authorities from Southeastern Pennsylvania stood in unison on Friday at a press conference to urge state lawmakers to restore the sentencing guidelines for violent offenders, but a local state representative has come out against their position, saying mandatory minimums are unconstitutional and don’t work. The legislation that law enforcement supports, House Bill 741, is scheduled for a full House vote next week. Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan cited statistics for the City of Chester that included 120 people shot and 26 murdered in 2016. So far in 2017, Whelan said...

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‘We Want to Go Home’ Getting from dialysis treatments is hard for Community Transit riders

By KatieKohler Seventy-seven year-old Verna sits on a vent in the lobby outside the offices of DaVita Dialysis at Crozer Chester Medical Center. Her treatment ended a few minutes before 8 a.m. but nearly two hours later, she is still waiting for her ride home. On a bitterly cold mid-March morning, the doors open a few times shooting an Arctic blast into the area Verna, and others who finished dialysis, sit in heavy coats, hats, and blankets. They are waiting for a ride home from Community Transit, a private, nonprofit transportation company certified by the PA Public Utility Commission to...

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The Trouble with Names in America

By KatieKohler Javier Avila, the 2015 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year who brought his one-man show to Delaware County Community College recently, and I have a problem. Our names. My maiden name was Katie Bambi which led me to be mercilessly teased with such taunts like, “where’s Thumper” and “Hey, did they ever find the guy who shot your mother?” Avila grew up in Puerto Rico where he also had a common name. There were four “Javiers” in his class and two “Javys.” Marriage resolved my issue. Moving to Pennsylvania resolved Avila’s who, all of a sudden, had an...

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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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