Author: Katie Kohler

Infant mortality a growing issue in Delco

Infant mortality in Delaware County increased from 7.4 to 9.6 per 1,000 births from 2008 to 2013. It disproportionally impacts Black babies with over triple the infant mortality rates. A major contributing factor is the under-utilization of prenatal care supports among Black mothers. Data from the Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) Wellness Index shows that in 2014, 43 percent of Black women started prenatal care in the first trimester, compared to 72 percent of white women. Mothers who receive late (defined as beginning in the third trimester of pregnancy) or no prenatal care, are more likely to have babies with health problems. The U.S. ranks 56th in the world for infant mortality with 6.1 deaths per 1,000 births; Delaware County is above Pennsylvania’s rate of 6.7 with 9.6 deaths per 1,000 births. The data was gathered from the Pennsylvania Department of Health accounting for every live birth and every death from 2008 to 2012. Infant mortality is defined as the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. This rate is often used as an indicator to measure the health and well-being of a nation, because factors affecting the health of entire populations can also impact the mortality rate of infants. “How kids come into this world, what their health status is, if we are not able to sustain their life, I think it’s a...

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People pray for the lost and GPSAR comes to the rescue

As the chief of Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue (GPSAR), you’d think Mark Hopkins would be easy to find. He’s not. The location of his office wasn’t discovered until a lost reporter made three loops around the suburban property. It is almost happened upon, when a cluster of vehicles and the small sign on the brick building is noticed. But one door is locked. The other opens to a stairwell where the options are up or down. Following where it appears to be lit, down the steps to a seemingly empty hallway where you make a quick left and...

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Empty search frustrates local police chief of ‘phenomenal town’

During Collingdale Police Chief Bob Adams’ ride home after work he can’t ignore the feeling he gets when driving by Melissa Ortiz-Rodriguez’s house on Lafayette Ave. On April 19, 2013, the mother of two, walked out of her Collingdale home to catch a train to visit her best friend in Newark. She never arrived. It took her husband, Jose Rodriguez, four days to report her missing. On the familiar street his mother was born and raised, the frustration hits Adams when he pulls up to the stop sign. The children playing ball or riding scooters in front of homes...

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Students suspended after assault on female after school

A disturbing video circulating through social media shows a female, 15 year-old freshman student at Penn Wood High School – Cypress Street Campus being attacked. Shenise Taylor says after high school dismissal on Friday, Jan. 6th, her daughter began her usual walk to Park Lane Elementary School to pick up her younger sister. At about 3:30 p.m. on Weymouth Road, she was attacked from behind by a group of three girls and two boys. The victim recognized two of the attackers as students of the high school and two as students of the middle school (one boy she couldn’t identify). There appears to be no reason for the attack and nothing was stolen from the girl. One onlooker tried to break up the attack. After the attack, the girl, who her mother describes as “dazed,” picked up her sister from school, walked home and called her mother at work. The concerned mother called the school on Friday but did not receive an answer and figured everyone had left for the weekend. Taylor and her daughter went to the school last Monday morning and met with various security officers and Assistant Principal Katherine Lawson who informed her of the video which, until that point, Taylor was not aware of. “I watched the video and I cried. I couldn’t watch the whole video. I saw my daughter getting beat. I’m not...

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Cops down, crime up, cops promoted

By KatieKohler kkohler@myspiritnews.com Over the course of 2016, the Chester Police Department lost about 25 percent of its staff and six more detectives were set to leave by Jan. 1, 2017. In Jan. 2016, as in previous years, the total number of the department hovered around 102. According to city officials, 17-20 employees left over the course of the year but Chester officials announced late Monday that five cops were promoted from the patrol division to the detective squad. In a late afternoon statement, city spokesperson Aigner Cleveland issued a press release saying in part that city officials, “have been strategically looking at feasible ways to reassign and redeploy manpower within the department to fill needs,” Attributing the statement to Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, it claims the city has enough money in its 2017 budget to fully-staff a 106-member police force and is anticipating hiring other patrol cops to fill vacancies left by the promoted detectives. Newly-promoted detectives are Capt. James Chubb (27 years of service and the senior member of the department); Jamison Rogers (six years of service); Rhaheem Blandon (seven years of service); Steven Byrne (10 years of service); and Brian Pott (six years of service). All but Chubb were corporals in the patrol division. Chubb was a patrol captain. Returning detectives are Anthony Polites (18 years of service); Joseph McFate (17 years); and Victor Heness (16 years). Most...

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