This newspaper takes a fair amount of heat for the way it often represents the city of Chester.
There are those who believe we never miss an opportunity to kick dirt in the city’s face.
I disagree, of course, but that does not change the perception. We cover the news, regardless of where it takes us.
That’s why we were in the city yesterday for the big coat giveaway for city kids held by the Union pro soccer team and the Sons of Ben booster club. You can read that one here. It was a good story about the city of Chester. Yes, lots of positive things happen in the city, too.
That's why I was at the Chester City Council meeting last night.
Let me explain.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive an e-mail last week from city comunications director Emily Harris informing us of the night council meeting and honors to be bestowed on distinguished citizens and organizations who volunteered in the mayor’s anti-violence campaign last summer.
In the wake of a spate of fatal shootings, Chester Mayor Wendell Butler instituted a crackdown, including a strict curfew and ban on public meetings, in five troubled sections of the city. It was not popular with all city residents, but it was effective.
This newspaper backed the mayor’s moves on our editorial page, lauding him for taking what we saw was a necessary step to stem the street gunfire that had become all too common in many Chester neighborhoods.
Butler also initiated a summer-long series of rallies on Thursday nights in various sections of the city. We gave them a lot of coverage as well.
While I was glad to see those who were involved in the anti-violence move honored, I’ll admit I was a bit flabbergasted when Harris indicated that the Daily Times was one of the organizations being honored.
Let’s just say not everyone is always thrilled with the way the city get portrayed in our pages.
I decided to go to the council meeting myself to accept the award on behalf of the newspaper.
The first person I met when I walked into City Hall was Mayor Butler. He greeted me the way he always greets me, with a broad smile and a firm handshake.
“How are you, Phil?” he inquired. I wish I could say I get that kind of greeting from all municipal officials we cover.
That does not mean we will shy away from covering the serious issues the city continues to face, including crime.
We have two items in the paper today from the city, including still another shooting.
We were not alone in being honored by the city. Among those also drawing praise was one of our top bloggers, Stefan Roots, who writes the Chester City Blog. You can check Stefan's blog out here.
Mayor Butler and Corey Long, who handled the introductions of each individual and group, spoke from their hearts in thanking the residents for their efforts.
Here is a complete list of those honored:
Distinguished Citizens Award:Minnett Boulware
Nicole Lundy Jimerson
Invaluable Service Award:
Black Men in Motion
Brothers of Concern
Stefan Roots, Chester City Blogger
The Chester Spirit
Chester Youth Collabotative
Delaware County Daily Times
White Rock Church
Women of Strength
We offer our congratulations to them all. And we’re proud to have been included.
Make no mistake. Every person in this county has a vested interest in the turnaround that is taking place in the city of Chester.
This newspaper has no intention of walking away from that effort.