The Interboro School Board issued a letter in response to the resignation of school board member Christine Alonso.
CHESTER — As Japanese officials took to the airwaves on the morning of Aug. 15, 1945 to proclaim the nation would soon accept the surrender terms of the Potsdam Declaration, the American people, who had toiled for years to ensure that result, waited by their radios across the date line on the evening of Aug. 14.When word came at 7 p.m. that President Truman had confirmed Japan’s capitulation and that a formal surrender was set for Sept. 2, “Delaware County… exploded into the noisiest, merriest, wildest and most spontaneous celebration the county has ever known,” the Chester Times reported the following day.“Thoughts of gasoline rationing and tire shortages floated away with the war as almost every vehicle capable of operating was put into use” and car horns joined pots and pans, industrial whistles, church bells and other improvised noise-making. At 7:15, the planned eight blasts of the city fire siren at Fifth and Market streets officially marked the surrender. “Impromptu parades, led by fire company apparatus in many communities, quickly organized,” while in Chester “carloads and busloads of yelling men and women and children converged on the local ‘Times Square’ – Seventh and Edgmont Avenue. A double line of cars extended half-way back in Deshong Drive as the traffic jammed up. And there was no let-up until some six hours later.”The celebration started prematurely Sunday night, Aug. 12, as a false 9:43 p.m. report of surrender from the United Press made its way to radio broadcasts. Though the UP countermanded the news flash two minutes later, city residents had taken to the streets shouting, “The war is over.” Across the county in Upper Darby, the Cardington-Stonehurt Fire Co. gave five blasts from its siren and West Chester Pike and 69th Street traffic came to a halt, “as confused motorists, many of them with radios in their cars, were caught up in the spontaneous celebration,” the Times reported.The pent-up enthusiasm came at the end of the largest war the world had ever known, one in which Delaware County sent roughly 30,000 of its residents to fight. As of that evening, 869 were known to have given their lives in the conflict, according to Times records.At home, residents had devoted five years of ‘round the clock industrial efforts since the start of the Lend-Lease program in 1940, and adhered to increasingly strict wartime rationing.The efforts of World War II veterans and sacrifices on the homefront continue to resonant with county leaders today. “Think about your grandparents and great grandparents and what they did to save our country, what they did to save many countries around the world,” said Bob McMahon, mayor of Media Borough, in advice younger generations. A veteran of the Vietnam War, McMahon is a co-founder of the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum and the Veterans National Education Program.“(The current global landscape) would not exist if we didn’t have people that not only went to war, but believed in it. They knew what they were getting into, and they were signing up left and right,” he said, believing an Axis takeover of the U.S. would have followed had Americans not gone to Europe and the Pacific. “And we saved China at that point. You don’t see that in the news today,” he said, referring to the Japanese occupation of China and ensuing war crimes during the concurrent Sino-Japanese War.Before tens of thousands of county residents embarked on that war effort in the wake of Pearl Harbor, the county’s industrial waterfront ramped up production in 1940 to support the British war effort. Chester and vicinity would form a key Mid-Atlantic center of what President Franklin Delano Roosevelt deemed the “Arsenal of Democracy” as he launched the Lend-Lease program with Great Britain.“Everything related to licking the Japanese and licking the Germans … you were all singing the same song. You were playing different musical instruments – the farmer was one, the refinery worker, the steel worker, the chemical worker were others – it was a great big symphony that was all composed to lick the Axis,” said R. Anderson “Andy” Pew, retired corporate officer and director for Sun Oil Co. and U.S. Air Force veteran, in a recent interview with the Times. Pew’s father, Arthur E. Pew Jr., served as chief engineer at Sun Oil during the war years.Sun Oil’s innovation in the years prior to the war would prove vital to supplying 100 octane aviation fuel to give Allied fighter and bombers an edge and maximizing gasoline output needed to supply the two-theater war. “My father and his brother Walter Pew, figured out you can so-called crack the (crude oil) at high temperature and pressure and it comes out at 80 octane,” versus the less efficient distillation process previously used in refineries, Pew said. The two pledged their inheritance against any damage to the Marcus Hook refinery by the process to ease the fears of uncle and Sun Oil President J. Howard Pew.Arthur Pew Jr. would further the development in the late 1930s by taking another risk, this time on eccentric, auto racing French World War I veteran Eugene Houdry, a mechanical engineer turned self-taught chemist. The Houdry Process of catalytic cracking, using an aluminum oxide catalyst to raise octane levels, was a leap in oil refining and allowed the ability to ship 25,244,505 barrels of 100-octane aviation fuel during the war, according to a 1945 statistic from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.Finding initial limited support from Standard Oil of New York upon arriving in America, Pew jumped at the chance to recruit Houdry. “My mother was fluent in French … Eugene Houndry came and lived at our house in Bryn Mawr for six months or so,” said Andy Pew. “They sat a card table in the living room and my mother translated. Out of that came the first Houdry catalytic process,” he said.The rapid technological changes across industries to meet wartime demand and limited workforce would prove difficult for production at home. “The problem was, not just for Sun but all refineries… you had a lot of experienced personnel that had been drafted or volunteered. We had a fair number of inexperienced people running the refinery out in the yard,” Pew said.County industries would overcome the rapid retooling and short training time windows as over 100,000 workers at about 250 sites supplied all branches of the Armed Forces and the Merchant Marine. Chester’s Ford Motor Company plant became the largest of America’s three tank depots, Westinghouse’s Steam Division and Merchant Marine Division turned out $140 million in propulsion equipment in 1944 alone, and Baldwin Locomotive in Eddystone retooled to produce over 1,000 M4 Sherman tanks. Sun Ship grew to be the largest privately owned shipyard in the world during the war, stretching from Chester’s East End through Eddystone Borough. Its four yards contributed two-thirds of all new U.S. tankers in 1942 and one-half in 1943, averaging 40 percent by the war’s end.Chester’s role in the “Arsenal of Democracy” brought to the attention and airwaves of its namesake in England in June 1941. The mayor and citizens of Chester, England sent trans-Atlantic greetings to Chester, Pa., over a special broadcast of the BBC’s “London Calling” program on June 18, 1941. The radio program coincided with city Mayor Clifford H. Peoples proposing a local committee be formed to aid the English city. “Through this plan, this city would figuratively adopt its British namesake and provide money and clothing,” which are urgently needed overseas,” the Times reported June 17, as the industrial North West and West Midlands of England endured the German Blitz air raids. “The committee would also encourage the change of correspondence between the cities, school children, service clubs, etc.,” according to the Times.One city resident, Margaret Dykes, of 1416 Williston St., wrote the Times that she lived in Chester, England, in 1898, and recalled ‘pleasant memories of a very beautiful city,’ which she hoped to hear was spared by the Blitz during the broadcast as ‘such quaintness and beauty can never be replaced.’While no further evidence of a sister city program can be found in the Times and local historical archives, city residents would find themselves planning for their own Blitz contingency plans by the end of the year. “If bombers come roaring up the Delaware River to hit at the vital defense industries clustered along its bankers, Chester will be ready,” the Times wrote ten days after the Pearl Harbor attack. With presumed knowledge of the German’s planned Amerikabomber, capable of a roundtrip attack on the Mid-Atlantic region, and Graf Zeppelin aircraft carrier – neither of which came to operation – the Chester City Council of Defense took a cue from English cities. The council began a registry on Dec. 17 to designate homes in the city’s outlying neighborhoods and surrounding municipalities which could house up a planned 7,000 children evacuated from industrial waterfront neighborhoods.
Two Delaware County veterans of the Pacific Theater were on hand for events surrounding Japan’s surrender in August and September 1945. The Japanese unconditional surrender culminated years spent overseas for both men - Woodruff “Woodie” Benson, of Middletown, and Ed Buffman, of Upper Providence – in the hard fought effort to defeat the imperial power.“I remember at the beginning of August that the war was still a long way to go. Then on Aug. 6 they dropped the first bomb and about three days later they dropped the second,” said Benson. The 1938 Glen-Nor High School graduate was then in Okinawa, shuttling troops and equipment from Clark Field in the Philippines. “I left home in January ’42, got home in November 1945. I never got home in the meantime,” said Benson, an Army Air Corps Captain, who flew 1,400 hours, with slightly over half in combat hours, as head navigator in a troop carrier outfit.About Aug. 29, Benson was among the crews called to Atsugi air base ahead of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s arrival. “One of our engines was having trouble. By rights we should have turned around gone back but after being overseas that length of time we didn’t want to miss this final bit,” said Benson, who had spent extensive time stationed in the jungles of New Guinea. Held over awaiting engine parts, “I was there when MacArthur came in with the 11th Airborne in a C54. I had kind of a ringside seat, if you will, before they even signed the peace on the Missouri. That was one of my really thrilling times.”However, apprehension remained ahead of the formal Sept. 2 surrender. “There were 250 of us in Japan for two days and we really did not know at that particular point how true this peace would hold,” Benson said, having been instructed to “get out of there fast” and “not have any kind of incident.” While sleeping under a plane in a roofless hangar, a Japanese squad arrived and decided to drill outside alongside Benson’s. “We all had our .45’s there but it wouldn’t have done much good,” he said. “But all they were trying to do was make us feel uneasy, which they certainly did.”Decades after the war, Benson would become involved with the American Legion and working with students after befriending the late Post Commander Oliver C.P. Armitage, longtime Chester banking and real estate figure and U.S. Navy corpsman during the war, at Lima Estates. “I never got into the VFWs or American Legions until Ollie Armitage got here. If I wouldn’t have joined if Ollie would not have been my good friend,” he said.Benson would be among the Legionnaires who inaugurated a patriotic essay contest at Middletown’s Glenwood School, connecting elementary students of the 2010s with the Greatest Generation. “The kids were always very positive,” he said. “Ollie would say ‘how many would like to get in the service?’ and a lot of them would put their hands up.”“The thing that was so good in World War II, was that everybody was involved. They either had a kid that was in the services, some of them two or three – my two brothers were both in,” he said.Ed Buffman would follow in his father’s footsteps in the U.S. Navy, enlisting out of Roxboro High School in 1943. Serving as a Gunner’s Mate, Second Class from 1944-’46 on the U.S.S. Missouri, he saw battle at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Kyushu and Honsho.“My father was in the Navy; he was in 30 years,” Buffman said. “I had all the ideas of being on a PT boat, being in a submarine. He said ‘you’re not going to be on any of those little things.’” Following the wishes of his father – a veteran of World War I and retired Chief Turret Captain who was called back as a commissioned officer for World War II – Buffman was Gun Captain to 25 sailors manning a battery of five 20 millimeter guns on the Missouri.“Those guys were great. I have five on each gun; not one of them ever ran from the gun or anything,” he said. When the Missouri was struck by a kamikaze April 11, 1945 off the coast of Okinawa, “the ship was aflame, smoke all over. I cut through midship and looked down there and said ‘don’t worry, everything’s under control.’ I had a great group of guys,” he said. Five days later, the Missouri would shoot down 11 and ½ kamikazes during a daylong attack.After extensive battle to ensure Japan’s surrender, Buffman would volunteer to join “Malone’s Marauders,” under Commander L.T. Malone, as one of six gunner’s mates to land on Japan after the initial surrender sent to mountains unprotected to rid Japanese ammunition. With Marines still guarding ships in the uneasy days following the initial surrender, groups of sailors had to make the initial landings. “We were told ‘if you’re approached by Japanese soldiers, sailors or anyone – if they have an armband that’s white, don’t shoot them. If they don’t have an armband, shoot them,” he said.When the time came for the formal surrender aboard the Missouri, the monumental occasion seemed an uneventful 20-minute formality for its crew, Buffman said. The dignitaries were nearly left in the lurch when the table for the signing sent from the HMS King George V was found to be two small. “At the last minute… two sailors from my division were sent to the mess hall to pick up a table,” he said. Buffman would finish out his time on the Missouri with a tour of duty in Europe, which he characterized as a “pleasure cruise” after the combat of the Pacific. “We were treated like kings,” he said.In the 1990s, Buffman would come to be active in veterans’ organizations and education programs. Serving as VFW Media Post 3460 Commander from 1999-2001, he would go on to be All State Post Commander. He would help launch the Media Theater Veterans Alliance in 2001, which to date has honored 75 veterans at the opening of productions.In 2005, he co-founded the Media-based Pennsylvania Veterans Museum with borough Mayor Bob McMahon and fellow Pacific Theater veteran, the late John “Bud” Hendrick Jr. The museum teaches 500 students per year and the general public the contributions of U.S. veterans from all wars.Buffman was forthright in what he hopes younger generations can take away from his peers and the war effort. “They called the World War II guys ‘The Greatest Generation,’ because they are the greatest generation,” he said. “The values of the World War II generation are far different than their thoughts now, such as respecting each other, respecting the flag, and respecting the National Anthem.”
A number of Chester residents have been stepping up to battle the illegal dumping of trash in their community with recent clean- up efforts. This past weekend, community groups including Making A Change Group, The Bridge Church and volunteers from Covanta, a trash-to-steam facility, gathered near the Edgemont Park Apartments to clean up a large pile of illegally dumped trash and furniture.
If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos . - E.O. Wilson
CHESTER — Chester Upland School District teachers are questioning why they have been directed to come into school buildings twice a week to teach remotely when classes resume next month.
Monday evening school board meetings resulted in three different outcomes to the question of reopening school in the coming weeks. Penn-Delco returned to a hybrid opening, Wallingford Swarthmore voted to go all virtual until Oct. 2 to start to the school year and Garnet Valley is delaying a decision one week.
UPPER DARBY — An armored police vehicle many in the township referred to as a tank has been sent west as administrators move to modernize the police department. But others, including the county's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 27, say it's a move to defund the police.
PHILADELPHIA — A Sharon Hill man was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison Monday and ordered to pay $43,632 in restitution for robbing nine banks in Montgomery and Delaware counties between April and December 2018, according to a release from U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain.
PHILADELPHIA— Dunkin' and its greater Philadelphia-area franchisees, in partnership with Scholarship America, recently announced the recipients of its eleventh annual Philadelphia Regional Scholarship Program. The program helps high school seniors and college students in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Kent and New Castle counties in Delaware pursue a part-time or full-time undergraduate degree at the institution of their choice.
PHILADELPHIA — Operations at the Philadelphia International Airport are soaring out of the recession in what may be their best year on record to date and officials are hoping and planning for it only to get better.
The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a petition to hear a whistleblowing case brought by a former West Chester University employee who was terminated from her position after reporting alleged manipulations of university budgets to get more state dollars in their coffers.
To assist flood recovery efforts in flood-stricken areas of northcentral and eastern Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday the availability of $6.25 million for streambank restoration and recovery efforts by local communities.
The Pennsylvania State Police Troop K Media Barracks saw the second-highest number of crashes related to driving under the influence in the state last year, according to figures released Wednesday.
LOWER CHICHESTER >> Gov. Tom Wolf visited Delaware County Tuesday to speak about the more than $180 million being invested in state roads as part of the Resurface PA initiative.
Voter registration numbers for Republicans have decreased since the May primary while some numbers have increased for Democrats and others have waned.
SPRINGFIELD >> Among the Springfield School Board’s August actions items was a temporary solution to the issue of what to do with the district’s three dozen buses now that the construction of the new high school is beginning. After an unsuccessful plan to lease a portion of property from the Holy Cross parish for a bus lot, the district has made a similar deal with Cardinal O’Hara.
MEDIA COURTHOUSE — For the second time in nearly three years, a 51-year-old convicted sex offender is charged with child pornography offenses — this time allegedly posing as a teenager and sharing images on Facebook while on probation.
The widow of a contractor killed in 2012 will be able to file a wrongful-death negligence claim against the Chester Water Authority for his death, according to an opinion issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Tuesday that overturned 30 years of precedent.
MARPLE>> The management company of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia-owned Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery in the Springfield neighborhood of Marple Township is responding to reports of not maintaining the grounds of the final resting place for thousands.
HARRISBURG>> The public school funding lawsuit led by the William Penn School District will continue after a state judge Tuesday denied an application of mootness brought by two leading Republican state lawmakers.
CHESTER >> Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack was among three casinos in the state to be granted an online gaming license this week, while a fourth has finally taken up the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s offer to apply for a sports betting license.
MIDDLETOWN >> In a second-floor classroom at Penn State Brandywine Wednesday, Ian Stoddart held a truncated mannequin thigh and squeezed it with his fingers.
PHILADELPHIA >> A formerly licensed Wayne stockbroker with two prior securities-fraud related convictions pleaded guilty to his third Wednesday in federal court, according to a release from U.S. Attorney William McSwain.
CHESTER >> The Chester Stormwater Authority and Widener University are on the verge of a settlement that could resolve the issue of Widener’s impact fees with the authority as it also awaits for direction from Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge Spiros E. Angelos.
MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> A Philadelphia man was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder and related offenses in the October 2016 stabbing death of his former girlfriend, 46-year-old Fabine Sunny Siryon.
MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> Two Chester men wanted in the 2017 shooting death of 28-year-old Shaquan Cruz-Chappell and captured in Maryland earlier this month were returned to Delaware County Wednesday to face first-degree murder and related charges, authorities said.
In the aftermath of a state grand jury report finding hundreds of Catholic priests abused thousands of children since the 1940s — and church officials covered it up — community and church officials had their own response as legislators vowed to strengthen laws against childhood sexual abusers.
media courthouse >> A 46-year-old murder victim was likely pinned in place on the kitchen floor of her Darby home while her murderer repeatedly stabbed her in the chest, according to Delaware County Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Bennett Preston.
DARBY BOROUGH >> Fifteen homes sustained damages and another four properties in the borough were deemed “affected” during Monday’s flash-flooding event, according to initial assessments conducted Tuesday by the county.
MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> Testimony began Tuesday in the trial of a Philadelphia man charged with the fatal stabbing of his former girlfriend in October 2016.
MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> A convicted felon from Marcus Hook was charged Monday with selling two stolen firearms to an undercover agent was who posing as a convicted felon, officials said.
Torrential rains sparked widespread flooding and havoc throughout Delaware County for part of the day Monday, with raging waters in at least one town followed by some white-knuckle dramas and life-saving heroics.
PHILADELPHIA >> A Delaware man was sentenced to four years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $314,000 restitution for scamming two victims out of their savings in bogus investment opportunities, including a Nether Providence widow.
MEDIA >> A Drexel Hill woman has been arrested for smuggling drugs into her boyfriend behind bars in the Delaware County Prison, officials said Thursday.
CHESTER >> Fire people were displaced following a two-alarm fire that gutted one row house and damaged two others on either side when flames extended through the common roof area late Wednesday.
MEDIA COURTHOUSE >> A Philadelphia woman who defrauded Medicaid of nearly $212,000 with bogus billings for behavioral health services was sentenced to one to two years in a state prison and six years of consecutive probation Wednesday.
Republican President Pro-Tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate Joe Scarnati, of Jefferson County, and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf submitted opposing briefs last week on the legal status of the school funding lawsuit filed against them and four other executive agencies and legislative officials.
CHESTER >> The healing power of art is providing families with another outlet to cope with the loss of a loved one to gun violence.
ASTON >> Members of the state House Democratic Policy Committee heard testimony Monday afternoon on how to connect commonwealth citizens with good jobs by matching workforce development efforts with jobs that need to be filled.
Whether Americans will be able to download plans to build their own plastic guns at home will be debated in federal court yet again this week, with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and eight other state attorneys general siding squarely against the idea.
PHILADELPHIA >> A Folcroft man, identified as a second suspect in the July 19 robbery and attempted sexual assault of an 82-year-old woman in her Philadelphia home, is in police custody in Philadelphia.
Stephanie Tucker of Collingdale had only just started at her new care-manager job when she got diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer on Oct. 29, 2017.
District Attorney Katayoun Copeland and the Delaware County Heroin Task Force have taken their efforts to remove dangerous prescription drugs and combat opioid use on the road.
Delaware County’s 911 emergency communications lost service for 55 minutes Wednesday because of an issue with a third-party router, county officials said.
The Republican candidate in the 7th U.S. Congressional District special election this November will be Pearl Kim, the GOP nominee for the 5th Congressional District race the same day.
CHESTER>>A second suspect was charged Friday in connection with the Jan. 23 death of a 20-year-old city man, gunned down over what authorities believe was a secret affair with his best buddy’s girlfriend.