Many senior citizens, continuing their athletic pursuits, have scheduled to test their competitive spirits at the upcoming Delaware County Senior Games.
“The games are a great opportunity to spend time with people your own age and compete,” said Wallingford resident William Hushion.
He has participated previously in the Senior Games while amassing medals in basketball, mini golf and track and field.
Taking place from June 12 to June 22, the “never too old to play” themed games are being conducted for the 22nd year.
The Senior Games are being provided under the leadership of the Delaware County Council in conjunction with Delaware County Parks and Recreation and the Delaware County Office on Aging.
“The Delaware County Senior Games encourages residents to be socially and physically active throughout the year,” said Delaware County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle. “Residents who participate in the games build solid friendships. Those friendships and activities help our seniors maintain a healthy level of physical and mental fitness.”
Glenolden resident, Kathleen Clair, recently participated in the 2012 U.S. Masters Swimming Spring Championship and is looking forward to her fifth year of participation in the games.
“I’m always a bit embarrassed by my swimming achievements, but I am happy to promote it for Delaware County Council, the Senior Games, and any individual who might want to get involved but is afraid to compete,” she said. “It’s all about the fun.”
At the spring championships in Greensboro, N.C., in April, Clair placed 11th in the 200 breast stroke, 18th in the 100 breast and 20th in the 500 freestyle.
“Getting older doesn’t mean the juices stop flowing,” said Clair, a teacher at Interboro High School. “A lot of people who reach 50 think their life is behind them. They only talk about the past. It’s sad when you meet individuals who don’t have a motivating force.”
This year’s games will feature the introduction of pickleball, a game combining elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis while played with a paddle and wiffle ball. Other more traditional sports including basketball, golf, tennis, track and field, shuffleboard and a Nintendo Wii bowling tournament will be hosted at venues throughout the county.
More than 500 seniors, volunteers and supporters will occupy, among other facilities, the Springton Tennis Club in Newtown Square, Sproul Lanes in Springfield and Sun Valley High School in Aston.
Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded in every age category and all participating seniors and volunteers receive a free Senior games T-shirt. In addition, all medalists and volunteers are invited to the Winner’s Circle Reception hosted at the Drexelbrook Corporate Events Center in Drexel Hill.
Delaware County Council values its senior citizens and is dedicated to providing information, referrals and resources that can be of valuable assistance to our seniors.
Through the County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA), the council is committed to helping seniors who need assistance in maintaining their independence, dignity and quality of life.
Council encourages senior citizens, their families and their caregivers to contact COSA when they have a question, concern or problem.
To register for the Delaware County Senior Games visit www.delcoseniorgames.org.
In 1912 the Titanic sank, Fenway Park opened and the Girl Scouts of America was founded. A loaf of bread cost 5 cents, a first-class stamp was 2 cents and a gallon of gas was 7 cents.
Forty-six centenarians, born in 1912, were honored at Delaware County’s 10th annual Centenarian Birthday Luncheon on Wednesday, May 8, at the Drexelbrook Events Center in Upper Darby.
The eldest celebrant, Nancy Fisher of Manor Care Yeadon, will turn 108 on Dec. 23. Fisher, who grew up in Goochland County, Va., is the last surviving of her siblings. She is the youngest of 11 children. Fisher has one son, Daniel Culbreth, 86, who still lives in Goochland. Fisher attributed her long life to her faith in Jesus. Fisher attended the luncheon with her goddaughter Shirley Brown of Yeadon, friend Je Brinkley, and her nephew, Joseph Hayden.
“Her number one priority is her faith,” Hayden said. “She’s worn out nine Bibles and she loves reading it. In addition to reading her Bible she eats garlic every day and she drinks more water than I can drink in a day.”
Established in 2002 by the Delaware County Office of Services for the Aging, the centenarian luncheon is just one of the highlights of Older Americans month in May. The entertainment was provided by the choral concert presented by the Worrall Elementary School third-grade chorus in the Marple Newtown School District.
This year’s centenarian luncheon hosted two World War II veterans: Sarah Nader, a veteran of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), of Granite Farms Estates in Middletown; and Frank Corr, a veteran of the U.S. Navy who now lives at Rose Tree Place in Upper Providence.
Nader was born in Houtzdale, Clearfield County. Until a few years ago, she was a master at table tennis. She served in the U.S. Army from 1943-1945, starting out as a private and advanced to first sergeant. She received the American Service Medal, WAC service ribbon, victory medal, good conduct medal and the American theater ribbon.
She turned 100 the day of the luncheon. Nader was presented with a resolution from Governor Tom Corbett, delivered by David Gingrich, deputy secretary of the State Department of Aging. Sarah.
Corr, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, served in the U.S. Navy. He worked at Gimbels department store in Philadelphia, and later at Winston Publishing Co. where he retired in 1976. He will turn 100 on September 30.
Another amazing survivor, Serge Koolish, turned 106 in March. He was born in the Ukraine and spent three years as a war prisoner in Germany during World War II. He lives in his own home in Brookhaven.
“Words can’t express how proud we are of these remarkable centenarians,” said Tom McGarrigle, county council chairman. “All of these senior citizens have so much wisdom and experience to share with us. It is truly an honor and an inspiration for us to recognize them today.”
Other centenarians who were honored at the luncheon included: James Alexander of Chester who was a member of Bethany Baptist Church for 78 years where he sang in the men’s choir,
Margaret Benson, who lives independently in her own apartment in St. David’s, and Ella Mae Gale, was a nurse who worked in pediatric care at Delaware County Hospital.
Although there were 46 senior citizens at the event, Delaware County Office of Services for the Aging Planner Barbara Nicolardi said officials identified a total of 138 seniors who are 100 years of age or older in the county. Those who were unable to attend the luncheon will receive flowers and proclamations at their residences.
Police from six municipalities and the county now have specialized training to de-escalate encounters between law enforcement and community members challenged by mental illness.
The Delaware County Office of Behavioral Health conducted an intensive, four-day training program earlier this month for local police officers who will be part of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), a nationally recognized program for law enforcement officers to de-escalate a psychiatric crisis.
CIT training is designed to give police officers the skills needed to effectively and humanely respond to public safety situations involving persons in psychiatric crisis.
The training was delivered by mental health professionals, CIT law enforcement instructors and other experts in the field.
On June 7, 18 officers graduated from the CIT training and are now certified as the first members of the Delaware County CIT program.
The officers and their police departments are: David Gasiorowski, Aston Township Police Department; Timothy Habich, Brookhaven; Nicholas Spayd, Delaware County Park Police; Robert Frazier, Ridley Park; George Faulkner, Sharon Hill; Nicholas Paytas, Andrew Graff, Andrew McKinney and Patrick McKenna, all Springfield; Thomas Thompson, Frank Guille, James Hoback, Eric Colella, Robert Wheatley, Kelly Seace, Joseph G. Mazzone, Donald Peterson and Amanda Pombo, all of Upper Darby.
Police are often called upon to respond to public safety situations involving people in psychiatric crisis. The situations have the potential to be dangerous to all who are involved, including the person in crisis, family members and the police.
“CIT Training provides officers with the tools to interact effectively and humanely with people who have mental illness,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan.
“These situations can be high-risk and sometimes escalate into an incident that requires force. With CIT training, we hope to minimize the risk to the person in crisis and the responding officer, and to lessen the need for the use of force.”
The goal of the program is to integrate police-based crisis response, behavioral health intervention services and community-based services.
A Delaware County CIT steering committee was formed in 2011 to develop the initiative, based on a successful national model.
Members of the steering committee include William Chambers, deputy administrator for the County Office of Behavioral Health, Upper Darby Police Captain David Madonna, Springfield Police Officer Joseph O’Berg, and representatives from Crozer Keystone Health System, Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital, Holcomb Behavioral Health, Horizon House, the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Widener University, Forensic System Solutions and the Family Training and Advocacy Center.
Goals include the safe response to a crisis that reduces violence and injury, reducing the number of times a person with a behavioral health disorder has contact with the police, connecting individuals with services, and promoting system wide communication.
Chambers said there are 10,000 people receiving behavioral health services in Delaware County. He pointed out that statewide, a large number of prisoners have mental illness. Out of 1,900 inmates at Delaware County Prison, 95 have a serious mental illness.
“The best way to keep people with mental health challenges out of prison is to connect them to treatment programs, housing, and supportive services,” Chambers said. Police nationwide have complained that people who have mental illness would be better served in treatment facilities instead of being arrested and incarcerated.
CIT training classes focused on engaging the homeless, veteran’s issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, cultural issues, risk to officers, family and consumer perspectives.
County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle and Councilman John McBlain thanked the graduates as they received their CIT certificates on Thursday.
“It is a sad fact that we have residents who suffer from mental illness and drug abuse, and they often don’t have the resources or ability to get the help they need,” Chairman McGarrigle said. “Our goal is for the Crisis Intervention Team to have the tools they need to de-escalate a situation safely and to refer the person to services that might help them.”
“The CIT approach helps everyone collaborate, to work with our community partners, and to coordinate our efforts. So on behalf of County Council, I sincerely thank you all for working toward a better outcome for these situations, these individuals and their families.”
In an effort to stop motorists from texting while driving, Delaware County Council recently launched a text ban awareness campaign called Stop the Texts, Save Lives.
The campaign is to alert drivers of all ages that Pennsylvania law prohibits texting while driving. That law also includes the banning of reading emails, sending emails and Web surfing while driving. Violators of the texting while driving law will have to pay $50 fine in addition to court fees.
“Not only is texting against the law, it is also a serious risk to people lives,” said District Attorney Jack Whelan. “The statistics are alarming. There are countless examples of tragic accidents, some fatalities, caused by a distracted driver who had his eyes off the road to read or send a text. This has to stop.”
County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle said the County is partnering with Delaware County Transportation Management Association to conduct an outreach campaign to reach young people attending county schools. The campaign will include pledge forms for students to sign.
“With increasing demands on their time, people feel they have to juggle many tasks at once. As a result, there is a new safety epidemic on our roadways and that’s distracted driving,” McGarrigle said. “We want people to know it’s against the law now; but we also want people to know the risks. We have to focus on ways to change people’s behaviors, not just through legislation, but through enforcement, public awareness and education, we need to stop distracted driving.”
The risk of crashing while driving and texting increases by 23 times. Reading or sending a text diverts the driver’s eyes from the road for at least 4.6 seconds, the same as driving the length of a football field, blind, at 55 miles per hour. Studies show that texting while driving has a greater negative impact on safety than driving drunk, according to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Association.
“In 2009, nearly 5,500 people in the United States were killed and a half million were injured in distracted driving crashes,” Whelan said. “Text messaging is of heightened concern because it combines three types of distraction — visual, manual and cognitive. Texting takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and your mind off your driving. Granted, there are many distractions activities that cause accidents, but texting is the most alarming distraction.”
One of the criticisms of Pennsylvania’s ban on texting is that it will be hard to enforce because it will be hard for the police to distinguish if someone is texting or talking. In Pennsylvania, people are still permitted to talk on handheld phones.
A Consumer Reports poll shows that young drivers who grew up in the age of technology are more likely to use mobile phones behind the wheel, with 30 percent of them admitting they’ve recently texted while driving.
“Despite all the warnings about cell phone use behind the wheel, many drivers, especially young ones, still aren’t aware of the serious danger, or they are willing to risk it,” Whelan said.
Delaware County Council will travel west to the township of Chadds Ford for its next evening meeting, 6 p.m. Wednesday March 14 at the Chadds Ford Township municipal building, housed in a renovated mill at 10 Ring Road.
County Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle announced recently that council will meet in Chadds Ford as part of ongoing efforts to enhance communication with residents by taking their meetings out into the community.
“Council is excited to hold a public meeting in Chadds Ford, our westernmost municipality that was once a quiet crossroads town that’s grown into a successful suburban community,” said McGarrigle. “It is our hope that these evening meetings will encourage our residents to become more involved with local government and in turn, help us to communicate more directly with our residents.”
County Council will conduct its regular business meeting, plus invite input from local residents during the public comment portion of the meeting. There will be no daytime meeting of County Council on March 14 at the Government Center in Media.
The Chadds Ford meeting marks the seventh evening Council meeting held in various communities since Council launched this outreach effort with a meeting in Collingdale in February 2009.
Since then, Council has held evening meetings in the City of Chester, Haverford, Concord, Brookhaven, Clifton Heights and now Chadds Ford.
“Delaware County is a diverse community and Council is privileged to be able to meet in various municipalities from the east to the west,” Chairman McGarrigle said. “Chadds Ford is a semi-rural community with a strong historic fabric. People connect at community events like Chadds Ford Days and The Great Pumpkin Carve and there are many historic and cultural treasures in Chadds Ford that benefit all county residents.”
Township Supervisor Deborah Love said Chadds Ford is happy to welcome county government to its historic municipal building that was converted from an 1868 limestone mill that once housed Howard Pyle’s Summer School of Art.
“There is so much to be proud of in Chadds Ford. We are home to many historic sites including the Brandywine Battlefield, and we serve as the western gateway to Delaware County,” Love said.
One interesting fact is that prior to 1996 Chadds Ford Township was known as Birmingham Township. After many years of confusion over distinguishing its identity from Birmingham, Chester County, a number of residents of Birmingham, Delaware County, requested the board of supervisors to pass a resolution seeking a change of name from Birmingham Township to Chadds Ford Township.
Chadds Ford municipal government is housed at the historic Turner’s Mill site. Built as a mill in 1868 by Joseph Turner, the stone structure was used as Howard Pyle’s Summer School of Art from 1898 to 1903. The township acquired the property in 1976 and construction of the municipal building began in 2005. The building was brought down to four of the original stone walls, then rebuilt with a new roof, barnwood flooring, and an additional 1,500 square feet of office space.
“This award-winning re-use of the 19th century mill is representative of our community's values in preserving the beauty and history of our township by integrating old and new,” Love said.
For information: Delaware County Council will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, at the Chadds Ford Township building, 10 Ring Road, Chadds Ford. The township building is located on the corner of Ring Road and Baltimore Pike.
There will be no daytime Council meeting on Wednesday, March 14.