Delaware County Council Member Christine Fizzano Cannon introduced a resolution at last week's meeting declaring April 27 to May 3 Children's Health Insurance Awareness Week and the efforts of a coalition dedicated to getting the word to all county residents about the CHIP program."Insuring Delaware County's Children Today is a coalition of volunteers organized to alert families and guardians of private coverage for health insurance for children under age 19 who aren't covered. The coalition has expanded outreach and education efforts over the past two years to increase enrollment in the Pennsylvania Children's Health Insurance Program, CHIP," Fizzano Cannon said.

CHIP enrollment in Delaware County has increased by 2,651 children, an average of 100 per month since the coalition began its work in 2005. CHIP now provides availability of health coverage for all uninsured children in the state regardless of parents' income for free, low-cost or at-cost health insurance. Providers in Delaware County include AETNA, AmeriChoice and Independence Blue Cross & Highmark Blue Shield Caring Foundation.

Delaware County Chamber of Commerce coordinated the coalition that includes representatives from the business community, insurance companies, the Delaware County Medical Society, CrozerKeystone Health System, Mercy Health System, Riddle Memorial Hospital, Delaware County Intermediate Unit and the school districts it represents, United Way, Goodwill Industries, PathwaysPA, the PA Dept. of Health, the county Library System, ChesPENN Health Services, Coalition of Delaware County Governments, Head Start, other key social service agencies and concerned citizens.

Council Vice-Chair John Whelan welcomed Philadelphia Chapter Blue Star Mothers President Marian Moran of Middletown, who had been instrumental in establishing the chapter in Delaware County. Moran's son is U.S. Navy Aviator Lt. Kevin Moran. Accompanying Moran was Upper Darby Township chapter member Jeanne Koroly whose son is U.S. Navy Aviator Lt. Robert Koroly.

The Blue Star Service Flag is an official banner authorized by the Dept. of Defense. Families and associations who have members serving in the Armed Forces during any period of U. S. war or hostilities may display the Blue Star Flag. A gold star replaces the blue star for any military member that dies or is killed while in service.

Whelan also gave an overview of a U.S. Senate hearing related to Philadelphia International Airport and the negative impact of increased air traffic over county neighborhoods. U.S. Senator Arlen Specter had asked Whelan to testify to discuss airspace redesign and flight scheduling practices at the airport.

While all those who testified recognized the importance of the airport to the viability of the region's economy, Whelan was adamant in defending the rights of citizens who suffer the deafening noise and potential safety hazards of airplane traffic over homes, schools and workplaces, he said. (See related story).

In agenda business, County Solicitor John McBlain presented the first reading of an ordinance to issue $30 million General Obligation Note to amend the original amortization schedule. Council approved advertising the ordinance including a public hearing. Approval is expected at the next council meeting.

Council appointed Margaret Keegan of Ridley Township to the Delaware County Solid Waste Authority to 2013; and Gregory Hume of Prospect Park to replace Elizabeth Signor to the Community Transit of Delaware County Board.

Council approved memorials for the graves of the late service persons Anthony Affannato of Newtown Square; Anthony Campbell of Eddystone; John Carcia of Sharon Hill; John Maloney of Havertown; Robert Steiner of Folsom and Robert Warfel of Aldan.

During public comment, Whelan responded to an East Lansdowne resident's request that the Tax Claim Bureau "go after" delinquent school district tax payers.

The county has procedures in place that work to collect delinquent taxes. We try to work with those who have difficulty paying so that they do not lose their homes. Properties are sold to reclaim taxes owed for those who do not comply, he said.

Whelan also replied to a citizen's concern about the lack of a county health department and the alleged large number of incidents, particularly in Chester and the Southern part of the county, of AIDS, pregnant women without medical care, children without medical benefits, and other health care concerns.

Chester has a city health department, clinics for those in need of medical care that partner with a number of medical care providers, Whelan said.

The county has enlisted the help of John Hopkins University Hospital to evaluate and provide a report for the possible need, or no need, for a county health department. Council believes the Delaware County Department of Intercommunity Health that partners with local hospitals and associated emergency systems provides an efficient and equitable tax-based system to deliver services to county residents. If the county formed a separate health department, it could result in higher taxes, something council wishes to avoid, Whelan said.

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