Chester County Press 12-14-2022 Edition

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Simpson retires as chief of regional police department

Gerald R. Simpson, whose ingenuity and long-range vision helped create the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department (SCCRPD) for which he served as Chief of Police, officially retired from the department at the close of business on Dec. 9, follow-

ing a 39-year career. The announcement was posted on the SCCRPD’s social media page:

“Chief Simpson wants to thank the [Public Safety] Commission for the great opportunity to serve the residents of New Garden, West Grove and Avondale as the Regional Departments’ first Chief of Police,” the announcement read. “There

were many accomplishments including having the department become accredited by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association.

“The [Public Safety] Commission wants to recognize Chief Simpson for his vision and efforts in helping to establish the Regional Police Department and having it become the respected department it now is.”

Kennett Square merchants open up for ‘Tinsel on the Town’

The Kennett Square merchants hosted an evening of shopping and Santa visits on Dec. 9 with “Tinsel on the Town.”

On Friday evening, promptly at 4 p.m., Kennett Square’s State Street became a mall for easy strolling with businesses opening their doors and greeting guests. The festivities continued well past the usual closing times for most merchants.

From Center Street on the west to Broad Street on the east, the sidewalks and streetlights were adorned with lights and decorations for the holiday season. Food and drinks were flowing, and parents of young children were shuttling their

bundled offspring in strollers along the sidewalks to see Santa.

As the hours moved toward 6 and 7 p.m, the crowds increased, but they were no rival for the thousands who showed up for the Tree Lighting parade on Black Friday, Nov. 25. Still, there was enough going on for visitors to find at least an hour’s worth of entertainment and buy a few bags of reasonably priced gifts.

Santa Claus, who was positioned with his wife in chairs at the corner of State and Union streets, said he had a healthy line of visitors coming along to share their wishes for most of the evening. He added that he has been working at the downtown Creamery on Birch Street, which also has been


Tree lighting in Landenberg

New turf for Kennett’s fields

Kennett High School’s Legacy Fields are getting new artificial turf.

The board accepted the bid for $1.97 million from Land Tek Group for a project to replace the 14-year-old ground cover as well as for several other additions.

Kennett Consolidated School District Director of Facilities George Wolhafe announced that there were three bids at the Dec. 5 board meeting, of which Land Tek Group was the lowest bid.

Also included in the project to replace the artificial turf of the three athletic fields at Birch and South Walnut streets are turnstiles for the high school and Legacy Fields, wider steps to the field at the high school, bleacher screening at the high school and ADA-compliant ramps at the high school.

The work is scheduled to

begin in May of 2023 and will be completed by the end of July.

The general lifespan of artificial turf is 15 years, Wolhafe said. Additionally, Kennett’s grounds are tested for safety and maintained every year, he said.

Members of the board inquired about the composition of artificial turf as the motion was placed on the table for a vote.

Wolhafe said below the faux grass is a composition of sand and crumbed rubber. The new turf is generally the same composition as it was 14 years ago, although manufacturing improvements may have been made in the past decade-and-ahalf, he added.

The sand-and-rubber composition materials tend to soften the falls of the athletes, Wolhafe said, responding to a question from board President Vicki Gehrt.

Board member Ethan Cramer, who was formerly

Kennett Square Borough finalizes budget for 2023

Kennett Square Borough Council last week unanimously approved a spending plan for 2023.

The approved budget yields approximately $5.1 million in borough revenue, which includes taxes and fees, and nearly

$4.5 million in total grant revenue.

The net tax impact of the 2023 budget is an increase in taxes of 8.1 percent.

The approved budget reflects a substantial investment in capital improvement projects and

infrastructure upgrades after several years of only modest increases.

The 2023 budget includes funding for capital projects like the long-planned reconstruction of Birch Street, as well as improvements to sidewalks, streets

and alleys, repairs to fire hydrants, and relining of sewer pipes. Approximately $1.5 million is being allocated for the modernization of the police station.

By allocating funding for these investments, the borough is leveraging its

own resources to maximize grant funding opportunities from federal, state, and county sources.

Detailed information about the 2023 budget is available on the borough’s website at www.kennettsq. org.

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Photo by Richard L. Gaw The McNelis family of Lincoln University was among the many families and friends who were in attendance at a craft fair and Christmas tree lighting at The Landenberg United Methodist Church on Dec. 10. The event invited several local craft vendors to showcase their talents, and offered a sweet bar and free hot chocolate, children’s activities, Christmas carols and an opportunity for visitors to make a donation to the Toys for Tots campaign. Lieutenant Joseph Greenwalt has been named Photo by Chris Barber Young Roman stares, nose to glass, captivated as the electric train circles in the window of Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop. Photo by Richard L. Gaw Gerald Simpson, who served as the Police Chief for the New Garden Township and Southern Chester County Regional Police departments since 2010, officially retired on Dec. 9 after a 39-year career in law enforcement.
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as Acting Chief of Police for the department. A 15-year member of the department, Greenwalt has served in the rank of Police Officer, Corporal, Sergeant and Lieutenant. He is a graduate of the NJSACOP Command and Leadership program and graduated from the 280th Session of the FBI National Academy in December 2021.

Greenwalt credited Simpson for launching several new initiatives during his 12-year tenure as police chief.

“When I started at the New Garden Township Police Department in 2007, the police department was lacking leadership, and I remember saying to myself how crucial leadership is in an organization,” Greenwalt said. “After assessing the needs of this organization, Chief Simpson came to this department at a time when the existing department was not meeting the needs of the growing community of New Garden, and he brought that to this department – first to New Garden and ultimately to the entire region of our coverage area.

“With Chief Simpson’s input and leadership, our community policing efforts became a front-line action for us, and he also made it one of his priorities to provide our constituents with a 24-hour, full-service police department.”

“I care deeply for the people in the communities that I have served,” Simpson said. “As I reflect on the many people I have worked with,

the communities that I have served and the sentiments that I have received and the people I have reached out to in the last week, I am very honored to have been a part of this law enforcement community in southern Chester County.

“I am not completely leaving the field. I am still going to be involved in shaping law enforcement in the commonwealth for some time.”

Forms regional police department

Originally hired at the Chief of Police of the New Garden Township Police Department on Dec. 13, 2010, Simpson quickly galvanized the department through bold initiatives that set to redefine it from a small unit working out of an outdated station to a regionally recognized law enforcement presence. Simpson began to explore the possibility of combining local police units into a regional police department, and on July 2016 by a unanimous vote, the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors approved Ordinance No. 218, which entered the township into an intergovernmental cooperation with the Borough of West Grove to establish a regional police department that linked together the township’s police department with the borough’s police force.

The SCCRPD began operations in January 2018 and provides coverage for New Garden’s 12,000 residents over 16.3 miles, and 3,000 residents of the borough in a .65-square mile radius. In

2019, the department established an agreement with the Avondale Borough Council to provide police coverage for the borough’s 1,400 residents.

New facility opens in 2019

After an asbestos issue forced the department out of its headquarters on GapNewport Pike, the New Garden Township Police Department shared an interlocking, 1,100-square foot group of interlocking trailers.

Beginning in 2013, Simpson launched the concept to create a new home for the police. He and former New Garden Township supervisor Bob Norris toured several newly built police facilities in the region on a fact-finding mission to see how police departments were working in the confines of their new buildings. In February 2017, their research was folded into a relationship with the Wilmington-based architectural design firm Tevebaugh


After a 374-day construction period, more than 150 residents, elected officials, police officers and their families gathered on Sept. 21, 2019 for the dedication of the new home of the SCCRPD, an 11,716-squarefoot, $5 million facility at 8934 Gap-Newport Pike.

The facility includes a 400-square-foot lobby and a 540-square-foot community multi-purpose room; a secure administration area, which will include offices and a conference room; a detective bureau area and interview and testing rooms; storage and locker rooms; and holding cells and two sally ports for transportation of the incarcerated and storage of vehicles retained as evidence.

Neil Morris, Esq., an

attorney with Offit Kurman and the legal counsel for the SCCRPD’s Public Safety Commission, praised Simpson for championing the department’s drive to receive accreditation from the Pennsylvania State Chiefs of Police Association – a project that was conducted by Greenwalt and former department administrator Sandy Lutz.

“Chief Simpson constantly stressed training and continuing education for his officers, and it was his idea to better the department by establishing the policies, rules and procedures necessary to achieve accreditation,” Morris said. “That’s no easy task. You have to revise all of your polices, provide more education and more training [in order for the] association to certify

that you have met those high standards to receive that label for your department.”

“You – the men and women of the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department – your purpose is to be peacekeepers first, and law enforcement officers, a close second,” Simpson said on the day the new facility was dedicated.

“In this beautiful building, every room has a purpose. There was nothing in this building that was placed by accident.

“It is all by design, and it has a purpose. Hopefully, that purpose helps us fulfill our mission to keep our representative communities safe from harm.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email

United Way of Chester County announces golf tournament

2A CHESTER COUNTY PRESS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2022 Local News Chester County Press
Continued from Page 1A 717.529.8737 2 S. Hess Street Quarryville, PA 17566 162493 All Types of Tree Removal, Trimming, Pruning, etc. PA Lic. Emergency & Storm Clean-up Stump & Brush Grinding Lot Clearing Reasonable Rates Free Estimates Fully Insured
Simpson congratulates Officer Riley Miller, who was the recipient of the 2021 Commissioners Award as officer of the year at the department’s awards ceremony, held on May 12, 2022 at the New Garden Township Building. Photos by Richard L. Gaw During his 12-year tenure as police chief, Simpson empowered his department to uphold its core values of Human Life, Integrity, Justice and Duty. Courtesy photo United Way of Chester County will host its second annual Chester County Stronger Golf Classic event on April 24, 2023, at Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester. Participants will enjoy various hole contests, on-course refreshment stations, luncheon, cocktail hour and hors d’oeuvres, dinner and awards, while contributing vital support to United Way of Chester County in their fight for the education, health and financial stability of every person in Chester County. Corporate sponsorships are available at all levels. For more information on sponsorships, please contact Christina Wagoner at 610-429-9400, ext. 4101 or Event and registration information can be found at

Tinsel on the Town...

hosting crowds, and his “dance card” is getting full.

He shared that he is from Delaware and has observed Kennett Square as “special” in the way it celebrates the holidays.

“Not many towns celebrate like this,” he said.

Among the destinations for those who were strolling cleared State Street, four places stood out:

Many folks from out of town stopped by The Mushroom Cap, which sells not only fresh and prepared mushrooms but the industry-related souvenirs. The shoppers seemed eager to browse, spend money and engage owner Kathi Lafferty with questions about the region.

Quite a few also stopped at Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Shop and its adjacent candy store. Mrs. Robinson outdid herself with electric trains in both of her front windows as well as a tree on display of her lifetime collection of ugly ornaments.

Little kids pressed their faces against the glass from the outside of Mrs.

Robinson’s to watch the trains circle a miniature toy neighborhood. Their parents browsed inside, interested in the assortment of teas and other offerings that were for sale there.

Over at the corner next to La Verona restaurant the Work2gether business brought out the supply of locally made wines and was entertaining thirsty guests.

Down at the west end at Liberty Place Market, the crowd was heavy, and visitors were cheerfully and casually eating and drinking the offerings of the vendors there. It was a large center of conviviality.

Owner Larry Bosley looked over the crowd with satisfaction. “It's always like this on Friday nights in Kennett Square,” he said.

Kennett Square moves on to its next crowd pleaser on New Year’s Eve. At the center of town, the giant lighted mushroom will descend at midnight announcing the arrival of 2023. That event traditionally attracts large crowds, even when the weather is disagreeable.


Local News


Continued from Page 1A

a member of the Kennett Square Borough Council, said below the turf layer on the property is an efficient drainage system.

Wolhafe said he believes most if not all of the southern Chester County high schools have artificial turf rather than natural grass on their fields.

The two other bids for the project were $2.79 million and $2.30 million. When board members asked why the other bids were so much higher, Wolhafe said the bidding process often prompts companies to “throw out” high bids randomly and frequently, even when there is no real probability that they will be accepted.

In other business:

Gehrt was re-elected president of the board at the reorganization meeting. Likewise, David Kronenberg was reelected vice president.

Superintendent Dusty Blakey reported that the

After much deliberation, we at the Chester County Press have deemed it necessary to adjust our subscription and single copy costs in order to keep pace with the manufacturing, shipping, mailing and operating costs. Beginning in the new year January 1, 2023, the cost will be:

17-year-old from Delaware who confessed to calling in a bomb threat that closed

the high school for an afternoon had been arrested.

Blakey added that he is

pleased with the support of and cooperation with the local police.

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Photo by Chris Barber Kennett High School’s three Legacy Fields at Birch and South Walnut streets will get new artificial turf starting in May.
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Kennett Township provides update on community sewer system

Currently, there are 20 families living on Ashford Drive, Red Oak Lane and Spruce Lane in Kennett Township whose homes are connected to the Ashford Sewer System, a community-based sewer configuration.

Originally constructed in 1995 by Sumser/Sun Tech Associates, the system had issues right from the start that involved the need for nitrate removal; DEP citations and fines; tardy bill payments to vendors and certified operators; and eventually, all of it led to the perplexing task of finding out who was in charge, given that the original management team had relinquished all duties.

In 2003, Kennett Township took on the de facto responsibility of funding repairs, maintenance costs and improvements, and in 2006, the township took over the system. While the system continues to service its limited amount of customers, a recently-created 299-page summary report served as the basis for a Dec. 7 meeting that spelled out an historic overview of the system, provided a snapshot of expenditures and revenues, and

painted the broad brushstrokes for the system’s future “in order to provide a common ground for the residents of Ashford and the township to move forward in a constructive manner.”

Moderated by the township’s Director of Finance and Human Resources Amy Heinrich – who compiled the report with her staff – the meeting’s intent was to “end the speculation of what happened to the system in the past,” she said.

Connecting the dots of the financial overview of the system was made more difficult, Heinrich said, because the records found only dated back to 2012, and expenses from 2006 to 2011 were found to be in paper documentation only – and do not include maintenance services and pumping fees.

ing effluent samples and coordinating laboratory testing; and providing the township with a monthly report.

AECOM, the township’s engineering firm, is developing a request for proposal (RFP) in order to establish a contract with a vendor that will establish day-to-day operations and an annual maintenance contract – all of which will be overseen by AECOM and Ted Otteni, the township’s director of Public Works. Expenditures will also include a pump-andhaul contract, compiling a Chapter 94 Annual DEP report, and monthly utility costs.

“The DEP requires that a licensed operator be in charge of the system, and nobody in the township is a licensed operator at this point in time,” Otteni said.

forecasts the overall figure will register a $50,650 negative balance, meaning that the township will likely spend more than it recoups over that time.

The current quarterly sewer rates stand at $541 per household -- $2,164 a year – which Heinrich proposed will remain the same, with no increase.

“There is a lot of downside potential, anything from inflation to exactly what emergency repairs we might have,” Heinrich said. “We’re certainly not comfortable, unfortunately, in reducing rates, but we want to make every attempt not to increase rates.”

misinformation or no information that leads to guessing, and when people guess they speculate, and speculation never leads to a good thing.”

‘The options are complicated’

Otteni said that, at most, one home or two could eventually be added to the system.

“We’re not going to add another 20 homes and cut anyone’s costs in half,” he said.

Hoffman suggested that the township include a once-a-year one-sheet of information in its invoices to Ashford Sewer System customers that provides tips on at-home safety practices, which will lead to more compliance.

Oversight for next



Heinrich said that the township’s goal is to provide a more regulated routine oversight process over the next 15 years that will include inspecting and testing pump stations and tanks; checking wet wells for grease; conducting electric flow meter readings; providing cleanouts and pump-and-haul of the system; collect-

“The DEP permit that we operate under stipulates that there has to be weekly inspections with weekly testing of the water for certain components.”

According to compiled figures from 2006 to 2022 and for 2023 to 2036, the sewer fees and expenses for the system have fluctuated – and will fluctuate -- from a positive balance to a negative annual balance. Currently, there is a positive balance of $16,571, but by 2036, Heinrich said that she

Heinrich and Otteni said that ratepayers in the Ashford Sewer System can better maintain its condition by incorporating at-home practices such as not flushing fats, oils and greases down their sinks, as well as drain cleaners, pesticides, paint and paint thinners, paper towels, bones, eggshells, coffee grounds – and most especially, flushable wipes.

Moving forward, Heinrich and Otteni urged residents to contact the township.

“Communication is key,” Otteni said. “If there is something you don’t understand, call us. I would rather address a question than have

Following the presentation, township representatives heard from residents whose homes are tied into the Ashford Sewer System. Former township supervisor Whitney Hoffman – who is also a ratepayer in the system – asked whether or not the system has the capacity to tie into more homes in the vicinity, which if conducted, would potentially change the per-home rate payment scenario.

“Because of the depth of research that has gone into creating this report, and the depth of understanding of capacity and history, that certainly makes it more feasible to consider whether it is possible to add more [homes],” said supervisor Scudder Stevens. “We are creating a more cohesive plan in the long run with Ashford Sewer System, but I have a recollection that there had been discussions with other HOAs about coming in, and that [the proposal to tie in to the system] had been rejected.”

While township officials admitted that the report and subsequent presentation does not answer all of the questions regarding the system and its history, its projected future and its impact on its customers, it does provide a platform for continued monitoring and open communication with residents.

“The options are complicated, but we are open to looking at them as you can see from the reports that have been generated, all of the details and time and efforts spent with our engineers trying to find something that works better than what is currently there or improves on what is already there, to make it better,” Stevens said. “We’re trying to do that.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email


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4A CHESTER COUNTY PRESS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2022 Chester County Press Local News

Giving thanks

(Part 2)

Two weeks ago, we worked on building up the attitude of gratitude by expressing our thanks—for the beautiful new library that is being built in Kennett Square, for the federal, state, and county funding that has been allocated for major projects in Oxford and Kennett Square, and for the police officers who serve and protect. Here are a few more things that we’re thankful for this holiday season:

Our firefighters: Over a 24-hour period last week, three firefighters—one in New York State and two others right here in Pennsylvania—lost their lives while attempting to rescue others. In the tragic blaze in Pennsylvania, two firefighters succumbed to injuries they suffered after getting trapped on the second floor in a three-alarm house fire in Schuylkill County on Dec. 7. Assistant fire chief Zachary Paris, 36, and Marvin Gruber, 59, of the Community Fire Company New Tripoli died as heroes. Their deaths are a stark reminder that the men and women who serve as firefighters risk their own safety when they respond to an emergency situation. Just as we appreciate the police officers who might be asked to risk their own lives to save others, we are also always thankful for the men and women who serve as firefighters.

Our elected officials who understand the importance of their roles and take the responsibilities of their jobs seriously: Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell recently shared that he had been called a traitor, among other names, because the Chester County board of elections certified the November election results. As a county commissioner, Maxwell, a Democrat, also serves on the board of elections. There was no reason for the Chester County Board of Elections NOT to certify the recent election results, of course. But conspiracy theorists and election deniers are everywhere in today’s political climate. Maxwell said that he was deeply concerned about what will happen if these ugly attacks, and the politicians who spread them, gain more ground in future elections. A few days after Maxwell sent out the email to supporters, Marjorie Taylor Greene, a U.S. Representative from the great state of Georgia, said that if she had organized the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, she would have “won” and there would have been more armed people taking part. That kind of talk is not befitting a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Elected officials have a responsibility to follow the law, to lead, and to set an example for others. We’re thankful that Chester County has, for the most part, avoided electing a Majorie Taylor Greene, and we also appreciate the efforts of our serious elected officials like Maxwell who do their jobs and do them well.

Local non-profits that help those in need: If you’re fortunate enough to be relatively healthy and gainfully employed (or comfortably retired) then this holiday season will be merry and bright. But for those who are less fortunate, the holidays and the winter months to come can be very challenging. We are very thankful that southern Chester County is blessed with so many nonprofit organizations that provide assistance to those in need. The Oxford Area Neighborhood Services Center and Kennett Area Community Services are on the front lines of helping those in need. The Kennett Area Senior Center and the Oxford Senior Center provide programs for the elderly. The United Way of Southern Chester County helps provide support to many other non-profit organizations in the area. Even in a vibrant area like southern Chester County, there are still many families in need. This holiday season, if you are gainfully employed, or comfortably retired, and if you are in relatively good health, please consider helping others. There are dozens of non-profits in the area that are worthy of your support. Please help them if you can.


No more empty seats at our holiday tables

Where I live, the seasons change fast. We’ve barely put away our jack-o’-lanterns in Kansas City when a cold wind blows in from the prairie, bringing down leaves — and soon after that, ice storms and snow.

But no matter how cold it gets, we always look forward to seeing family and friends over the holidays. We all want our homes to be filled with joy, comfort, and the people we love the most.

But many of us will miss someone at the holiday table, because our country’s overdose crisis now touches almost every family and community.

Overdoses took over 108,000 lives this year, more than any year on record. Overdose deaths affect all of us — whether we are Black, brown, or white, and whether we live in a big city or a small town.

Every one of these deaths is a tragedy. It’s also a tragedy that so many lives could have been saved with effective and proven treatments like buprenorphine, a form of Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), the gold standard of care for opioid use

disorder. But outdated laws stop providers from prescribing this lifesaving care.

I think of Jodi, who lives in rural New Hampshire. This is Jodi’s 13th holiday season without Kory, who died from an overdose on Christmas Eve while Jodi was nine months pregnant with their second child. Kory had struggled to access treatment throughout a long battle with addiction.

I also think of Shantae in Brooklyn who will be celebrating the holidays without his son Jerome, an ambitious young kid who hoped to become a bricklayer to support his girlfriend and child. Jerome was on a path to build a brighter future when he died of an overdose.

I think of Lisa, on the north side of Chicago, who gathers her family without her son Shane. Shane was a funny guy known for making the whole room laugh, who was only 25 when he passed away. The week Shane died, he spent days on the phone with his insurance company trying to get treatment for his addiction. His family later found out his appeal had been denied.

I could go on, but I won't,

because I have good news. There is a bill in Congress right now that could help people like Kori, Shane, Jerome, and their families. The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act removes barriers to accessing buprenorphine and other treatments, and many lives can be saved if we pass it.

For more than two years, a broad coalition from both political parties has been working to pass the MAT Act. More than 500 organizations and 264 members of Congress have come together to support this bill.

But after passing the House in June, the MAT Act stalled in the Senate. Advocates are now pushing for it to be included in the Omnibus spending bill Congress will vote on in December.

We, and the 117th Congress, have a unique opportunity to pass the MAT Act and save lives. So as I look out my window at the first flurries of snow, I remind myself to pick up my phone to call my members of Congress in the House and Senate to ask them to pass the MAT Act now. I hope you will, too. If our lawmakers come

together to pass the MAT Act as one of their final accomplishments in this Congress, we will remember them for saving lives and helping families.

They will show us, even in a deeply divided era, that elected officials can help turn our families’ private pain into public action and solutions. Join us in calling on Congressional leadership to get the MAT Act done, so there are no more empty seats at our holiday table.

Ellen Glover is the Drug Policy, Harm Reduction, and Criminal Justice Campaign Director at People’s Action. This op-ed was distributed by

A Botanical Christmas masterpiece at Longwood

Longwood Reimagines itself each year where the holiday spirit begins from the entrance where you’re assured of a showplace of Botanical Wonders to follow. A gigantic lantern is on display in the Rose Arbor where lights flow through the openings like leaves reflected on the square near the Flower Garden Drive. The Gardener’s Tree standing tall at the cross walks and rightly so with subtle innovative styling and colorful lighting for they are the imaginative workers which make it all happen. From the outlying tree houses with Woodland and mushrooms as their underlying themes to the Wildlife tree where gourds are decorated with a jeweled overlay with lights flickering through

the design, the emphasis is on natural tributes culminating in the heightened ecstasy of the Conservatory which serves to underline and inundate your carefree holiday mood with floating boats of decorative trees and a fantasia of colored lights and innovative ornaments savoring the seasonal mood. Not only the poinsettias forever in bloom with a special favorite, Santa Claus Pink, but horticultural artists have a unique palette in the Music Room as well where even the mannikin wears a floral gown, and an easy chair of moss is decorated with an in-laid pillow of roses. There is a living Bromeliad tree in festive holiday decor emanating from a metal structure; Perpetual Bloom, a rotating tree is front and center for you to view. The Silver Garden lives up

to its name with silver resin pressed with orchid blooms and grapevines with white moth orchids with Spanish moss decorating the corridor just outside. Twelve-foot high Children’s Trees monopolize all of the Ballroom, where various schools divine their home-spun notions of the season while music fills the Open Air Theater as fountains spray to impossible heights with the crescendo blending with Holiday favorites. Another seasonal favorite is the Garden Railway where even the cars carry mushrooms and gourds while kids look to “Thomas” to bring back the dream of the storyline. Attention to detail is another Fait Accompli never over-looking nooks and crannies for they are filled with imaginative creations like the poinsettia flowers on the tiny

cut log on the mantelpiece of the Pierre DuPont house not entirely overshadowed by the Harvest tree front and center. Floating Luminaria make the walk down to the Italian Gardens breathtaking, and at the Chimes Tower “blue lights” are reflected in the water of sheer delight. You would have to wear blinders not to “wow” at every stop with the eye-popping reminders, even speechless at times at the forever changing lights spilling over in the tunnels leading from one spectacular exhibit to the other with everything possible in-between like giant icicles hanging down from trees.

Christmas is never complete without a trip to Longwood. No wonder they are one of the foremost Botanical Display Gardens.

County Commissioners appoint Roman as director of Chester County Workforce Development Board

West Chester native has been serving as acting director

Jeannette Roman has been named director of Chester County’s Workforce Development Board (WDB) by County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline. Roman has worked for the WDB since 2010, most recently as the acting director.

Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz said, “The Workforce Development Board is an integral part of Chester County’s focus on the economy and the needs of employers and employees, and Jeannette is the ideal person to lead the agency. Her years of experience within the WDB give her an understanding of the agency as well as Chester County’s workforce strengths and challenges. Her

desire to help employers and workers throughout the county are a real bonus.”

The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA), the backbone of WDBs, became law in 2014 with a mission of keeping the nation’s jobs pipeline filled with qualified and diverse workers – all while helping businesses and improving the quality of life for those workers. Among the goals of WIOA are to increase access to education, training, and employment, particularly for those with barriers to employment, and to reduce welfare dependency and increase economic self-sufficiency. Out of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania, Chester County is just one of 23 that have Workforce Development Boards.

Commissioner Josh Maxwell said, “Providing the tools, training and programs for our residents to gain employment and financial stability is critically important, especially today with the rising cost of living. By the same token, our businesses need trained and qualified workers to compete and remain healthy. Jeannette has the experience, knowledge and skills to balance both these needs.”

“Jeannette is passionate and invested in Chester County because she grew up here, and that personal connection is invaluable,” said Commissioner Michelle Kichline. “Her years in workforce development for the County have helped her to establish connections with our economic and business

partners like the Economic Development Council and our Chambers of Commerce. These factors, combined, give Jeannette the strength to lead our Workforce Development Board.”

Roman lives in the Coatesville area with her four children.

Chester County Press Opinion
Editorial Chester County Press
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Overdoses took over 108,000 lives this year. If it acts quickly, Congress can save lives — and keep more loved ones together for the holidays.
Ellen Glover Courtesy photo Jeannette Roman is the new director of Chester County’s Workforce Development Board.

In the Spotlight

County preschoolers now eligible to receive free monthly books

It has long been the aspiration of Jan Michener, the founder and director of Arts Holding Hands and Hearts, Inc. (AHHAH) to get more books into the hands of Chester County’s youngest readers, and from its start in 2013, it has achieved just that.

A few years ago, the organization spearheaded a grass-roots campaign that built, designed and installed nearly 100 pop-up lending libraries (P.U.L.L.) throughout Coatesville, Kennett Square and Oxford that has collected and distributed over 60,000 books.

Last year, AHHAH formed the Greater Coatesville Imagination Library -- a local affiliate of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library -- that gives children from birth to five years the opportunity to receive a free book in the mail once a month. In less than one year, the program registered more than 650 preschool-aged children living in Coatesville to receive a free book a month.

Michener’s aspiration got a whole lot larger.

In a county-wide effort that includes foundations, school districts and libraries, AHHAH recently announced the establishment of The Chester County Imagination Library, an initiative that will expand the work of The Greater Coatesville Imagination Library to include all preschool children in Chester County as part of a mission to increase literacy levels for preschool age children in the county.

The Chester County Imagination Library will provide books to children through donations from foundations, corporations and individuals. A $30 donation will provide one

year of free books for a Chester County child, which will be mailed directly to children’s homes and include instructions and tips for parents to make the most of reading together as a family. Each title is selected by a panel of early childhood literacy experts, who choose books to meet the age-specific developmental needs of young children.

The organization’s goal will be to register more than 4,000 county children for the program by the end of next June.

“As of right now, we have over 2,000 children enrolled in the program, and I told our team that I think we’re going to reach 4,000 by Jan. 1, 2023,” Michener said. “Being literate prepared for kindergarten is a huge step to a child becoming a reader by the time he or she reaches the third grade. If every child in Chester County gets a book every month from birth to age five, by the time they reach kindergarten, they will have the literacy skills to become a reader.”

Michener said the program will cultivate mutual aid communities of care and compassion.

“We’re not just supplying a book, we’re setting up and partnering with agencies all over the county that will be supporting the children and their caregivers on how to engage and bond over literacy, so that these children will not just survive, but thrive,” she said.

AHHAH’s beginning partners in the Chester County Imagination Library include the Justamere Foundation, Penn Medicine, the United Way of Southern Chester County, the Kennett Consolidated School District, the Mighty Writers, Casa Guanajuato, the Oxford Library and the

Kennett Library, among other county agencies.

“Literacy is a lifelong journey that leads to success in all phases of life,” said Christopher Manna, director of the Kennett Library. “The Imagination Library provides that initial spark for life’s journey.”

The establishment of The Chester County Imagination Library is the latest accomplishment in AHHAH’s vision to provide every child in Chester County with the tools and opportunities they need to achieve their highest capacity. Through its many programs and initiatives, it addresses the needs of each child and engages the community around the goal of empowering youth to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations.

Since launching in 1995, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. The flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, a non-profit organization that has registered 2.2 mil-

lion preschool children and gifted nearly 200 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland. The impact of the program has been widely researched and results suggest positive increases in key early childhood literacy metrics.

To register a child, share the program with an eligible family, or to support the Chester County Imagination Library, visit

For more information about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, visit www.imaginationlibrary. com.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email

Chester County Sheriff’s Office partners with Domestic Violence Center of Chester County for ‘Lights On for the Holidays’

Continuing a call for assistance and protection of women, the Chester County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) led a winter holiday project for the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County (DVCCC): Lights On for the Holidays. Joined by women’s service sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha-Iota Tau Omega and WSFS, members of the CCSO provided donations for the basic need of electricity at safe houses and offices of DVCCC.

“As the weather turns cold, among the greatest gifts we can give domestic violence survivors are light and heat in a safe space where they can reclaim their lives,” said Chester County Sheriff Fredda Maddox.

Throughout the year, one role of deputies at the CCSO is to serve Protection from Abuse orders that provide protective relief by prohibiting abusers from contacting survivors and their children. Sometimes, however, survivors are forced to leave their homes for safety and end up at an emergency shelter or

transitional home. Although men are sometimes abused, the majority of survivors are women.

According to Dolly Wideman-Scott, CEO of DVCCC, far too often survivors face a life-threatening dilemma: stay with the abuser or become homeless. They may not have the money or established credit to pay mortgage or rent, utilities, food and other basic necessities.

“We have three programs to help survivors and children keep a roof over their heads—emergency shelter, transitional housing and independent housing,” Wideman-Scott said. “We’re grateful when the community helps us with bills for lights and heat. It helps us focus on assisting survivors as they focus on jobs, life skills, health and keeping their families together.”

Call DVCCC’s 24-hour free hotline, 610-431-1430. Call or text (in Chester County) 911 if you are in immediate danger.

Chester County Press WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2022 Section B
The Chester County Imagination Library is underway Courtesy photo Michener and AHHAH also spearheaded the P.U.L.L. campaign that built, designed and installed nearly 100 popup lending libraries in Coatesville, Kennett Square and Oxford that has collected and distributed over 60,000 books. The Chester County Imagination Library is a local affiliate of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which has become the preeminent early childhood bookgifting program in the world and distributed nearly 200 million free books to preschool children in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland. Photo by Amanda Murphy Celebrating the start of the Chester County Imagination Library are, from left to right, Shelby Bentley of the Justamere Foundation; Jan Michener, the founder and director of Arts Holding Hands and Hearts, Inc. (AHHAH); and Chris Manna, director of the Kennett Library. Members of the Chester County Sheriff’s Office, WSFS and women’s service sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha-Iota Tau Omega (not shown) present donations to keep “Lights On for the Holidays” at the safe spaces of the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County.


Brett Jonathan Witte, of Lincoln University, Pa., passed away on Dec. 3, 2022. He was 40.

Born in Washington, DC, he was the son of Carl Witte and Joyce (Smith) Witte.

He graduated from Avon Grove High School. He was an extraordinarily talented artist. He was also a skilled tattoo artist, and proud of his business, Rogue Toad Tattoos. He became an Eagle Scout when he was 17 and his love of the outdoors pervaded every aspect of his life. He was a compassionate person. Most of all, he loved his daughters.

In addition to his parents, he is survived by his daughters, Melanie and Evelyn; his sisters, Michelle Lewis (Edward) and Kristin Kassner (Andrew); and his brothers, Carl J. Witte and Bryan Witte (Annie).

A Celebration of Life service took place on Dec. 9 at the Christian Life Center in Lincoln University, Pa.

Interment will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Brett’s memory may be made to a GoFundMe for his daughters: https://tinyurl. com/wittegirls.

Arrangements are being handled by Matthew Grieco of Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc. (484-734-8100).

To view Brett’s online obituary, please visit


Harvey William “Bill” Hansen, Jr., 60, of Oxford, passed away on Dec. 6, 2022.

Born in West Grove, he was the son of Edith Whiteside Hansen of Nottingham and the late Harvey William Hansen, Sr. Bill retired from Du Pont in 2008 after 25 years of service and in 2010 became the caregiver for his parents.

He was always willing to lend a helping hand and enjoyed working on his lawn, cars and tractors.

He is survived by his mother; daughter, Kaitlin Hansen of North East, Md.; three siblings, Karl Hansen (Shehnaz) of Nottingham, sister, Mary Hansen (Curtis) of Nottingham and Frank Hansen of Los Angeles, Calif.; and four nephews, Eric Wiley, William Scott Hansen, Brandon Hansen and Mykhailo Cox.

Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc., 86 Pine St., Oxford, where friends and family may visit from 10 to 11 a.m.

Interment will be in Rose Bank Cemetery.

Arrangements are being handled by the Edward L. Collins, Jr. Funeral Home, Inc. in Oxford. Online condolences may be made at


Robert Maurice DeGezelle, of Kennett Square, passed away on Nov. 22, 2022 at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Del. He was 76.

He was the husband of Catherine Elizabeth DeGezelle, with whom he shared 24 years of marriage.

Born in Coatesville, he was a son of the late Maurice DeGezelle and the late Verna Hoffman DeGezelle.

He served our country in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Robert worked for many years for the Reading Railroad. He also partnered in Unruh and Sons contracting as a home contractor for many years. He enjoyed stamp collecting and was a member of the Brandywine Valley stamp club. He was an avid reader and writer and kept journals throughout his life. One entry was titled “Chronicles of a Rambling Man.” He loved traveling and especially visiting all types of museums.

In addition to his wife, Robert is survived by two sons, David DeGezelle (and his wife Kendra) of Reading and Christopher Unruh of Wilmington, Del; two daughters, Debra (and her husband Dallen) of Austin, Tex. and Melanie Unruh of Albuquerque, N.M.; four brothers and sisters, Darlene Marsh of Georgia, Don DeGezelle of Glen Mills, David DeGezelle of Honey Brook, and Diane Depew (and her husband David) of Gap; five grandchildren, Michael, Kaylee, Ashley, JJ, and Rory and one great-grandchild.

Services were held on Dec. 3.

Interment will be held privately.

Contributions in his memory may be made to either the ACLU or Sierra Club.

Arrangements are being handled by Grieco Funeral Home & Crematory (484-734-8100).

To view his online tribute and to share memories, please visit

2B CHESTER COUNTY PRESS WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2022 Chester County Press Obituaries TheChesterCountyPressfeaturesadedicatedchurch/religious pagethatcanhelpyouadvertiseyourhouseofworshipand/or business.Thepageisupdatedweeklywithnewscripture.Only$10 Weeklyforthisspace. Weareofferingaspecialdiscountof25%offeachandeveryhelp wanted/classifiedadvertisementtoanybusinessthatadvertiseson thePRESSchurchpage. For more information or to place an ad, contact Brenda Butt at 610-869-5553 ext. 10 Alleluia Meets First and Third Thursday at 6:30p.m. Nottingham Inn, Nottingham, PA Compliments of Lions Club of Oxford P.O. Box 270 Oxford, PA19363 HERR FOODS, INC. NOTTHINGHAM, PA 932-9330 ENCOURAGES YOU TO ATTEND THE CHURCH OF YOUR CHOICE Landenberg Church United Methodist AllAre Welcome 205 Penn Green Rd. InHistoricDowntownLandenberg Landenberg, PA 19350 610-274-8384 Services Every Sunday9:00 am 484-734-8100 | 405 W. State St. Kennett Square, PA 19348 Matthew J. Grieco, Supervisor, Funeral Director / Certified Celebrant Cremation, Burial, Pre-Planning Our Family Serving Your Family Specializing in Personalized Life Celebration Events at Venues of all kinds Our funeral professionals offer a combination of ingenuity and have over 100 years of combined experience. As we guide you through the decision making process, we will explain options while ensuring your family’s needs are being met. We feel our service to the families of Southern Chester County is more than a business; it’s a tradition of comfort and trust. Wherever a beautiful soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories. NC F KUZO FUNERAL HOME, INC. KENNETT SQUARE, PA Keely W. Griffin, Supervisor 250 W. State Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348 610-444-4116 FOULK FUNERAL HOME OF WEST GROVE, INC. Curtis S. Greer, Supervisor 200 Rosehill Road, West Grove, PA 19390 610-869-2685 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9


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