Purple ribbons put domestic abuse in spotlight

As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Kennett Square is about to turn purple.

Clara Vasquez (from left) and Terry Moody from the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County listen as Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick reads a proclamation supporting efforts to end domestic violence.

Clara Vasquez (from left) and Terry Moody from the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County listen as Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick reads a proclamation supporting efforts to end domestic violence at Monday night's council meeting.

In an effort to raise consciousness, purple ribbons will adorn multiple county municipalities, representatives of the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County told members of Kennett Square Borough Council at its meeting on Monday, Oct. 5.

Mayor Matt Fetick read a proclamation expressing the borough’s support for the vigilance and dedication needed to eradicate this escalating problem. He also presented a plaque to Terry Moody, the Domestic Violence Center’s development director, and Clara Vasquez, the center’s liaison for southern Chester County.

Vasquez said she counseled about 400 victims in the greater Kennett area this past year. “It’s a huge problem,” she said.

Responding to a question from Borough Council Chairman Leon R. Spencer Jr., Moody said dating violence is a growing concern that affects one in three teens.

“Community outreach is a huge part of what we do,” she explained, She said that the center gave about 50 presentations last year to schools and community groups, and she urged anyone interested in scheduling a program to contact the center. She said she routinely tells people: “Domestic violence is not their problem, it’s our problem.”

Moody urged participation in the Chester County Rally to End Domestic Violence. It will be held Sunday, Oct. 18, at 1 p.m. at Kerr Park in Downingtown.

On a lighter note, council members heard from Rich Lyons, who heads the Kennett Area Park Authority. Lyons deemed the eight-week summer concert series at Anson B. Nixon Park a huge success and reported that the Sept. 27 Rock the Park fundraiser there attracted more than 700 people, who each paid $10 to attend.

Lyons said that the crowd, which was not expected to be so large, overwhelmed some of the services, a situation that would be corrected next year. In fact, the Delaware-based band, Love Seed Mama Jump, has already offered to return, he said.

Claire Finfrock, recreation coordinator for the Kennett Area Park and Recreation Board, also provided an upbeat report. She said grants have helped to fund improvements at Herb Pennock Park, which hosted five, well-received sports clinics this summer. A summer camp at New Garden Elementary served more than 120 children, she said.

Finfrock said the board is continuing to pursue grants and hopes to replace the aging playground in 2016 with an ADA-compliant structure. She said the group is also in the preliminary stages of exploring the possibility of paving the parking lot.

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The Chester County Rally to End Domestic Violence is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 18, at 1 p.m. at Kerr Park in Downingtown

Mary Hutchins, executive director of Historic Kennett Square, requested that the borough approve limited, free parking downtown for the holiday season, as it did last year. The board agreed, and shoppers will be able to park up to three hours for free on Nov. 28, Small Business Saturday, as well as from Dec. 17 through Jan. 3.

Hutchins also sought approval to repeat the borough’s “Christmas in Kennett” arrangement with Longwood Gardens. She said Longwood would provide shuttles so that its guests can take a break from the gardens and travel to the borough for dining and shopping.

About 800 people took advantage of the program last year, she said, adding that some of them might not have visited Kennett Square otherwise. This year, Longwood has also offered to decorate the drop-off area around the Genesis building

“It’s pretty difficult to find any kind of a drawback to this,” Danilo P. Maffei, the board’s vice chairman, said before the unanimous vote to approve it.

In other business, the board unanimously approved an application for the borough’s 10th Annual Halloween Parade, which will be held on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 3 p.m.

Spencer said two vacancies exist on the Shade Tree Commission, which “performs a very vital function” and can’t operate until the positions are filled, since it doesn’t have a quorum. He urged residents to consider volunteering.

Finally, Kennett Fire Company Chief Chris Plumley reported that the company would be participating in a pilot program to improve communication with non-English speaking patients through the Christiana Care Health System. The system will allow emergency medical services providers to connect patients with an interpreter, using an iPad, so that the patient can see the person giving them information.

Applauding the improved communication, Spencer added: “We’re proud of the fire company for being in the pilot.”

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