Upper Darby’s Yays’ and Nays’ of 2015
The year of 2015 is coming to a close. What will you remember most about the year 2015? Upper Darby has seen its share of changes. New council members were elected, old faces re-election, and somehow no tax increases. In Pennsylvania, we watched our State House and Governor behave like 3 year olds and get nothing accomplished when it came to our school and budget. We watched in horror as Paris was attacked and then again in our own country in San Bernardino. We saluted our men and women who serve our country, but worried how we will win the war on terror. We cried when 10 people died at the hands of a gunman at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, Tennessee State University and then again at in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire on two recruiting centers. Four Marines lost their lives immediately and a Navy sailor, a Marine recruiter, and a police officer was wounded. The sailor died from his injuries two days later.
As a community, we mourned the loss of Councilman John Rankin, we cheered our firefighters as they bravely fought not only home fires, but a 5 alarm fire right on 69th Street that could have left this shopping corridor impassable for weeks. Instead, the fire fighters and our township were able to make the street not only passable but in great condition for the grand opening of Upper Darby’s newest theater, Studio, Movie, Grill in July. In addition to the theater, other businesses made their way into Upper Darby such as IHOP, Shoe Carnival and outside of the 69th shopping district new businesses flourished. The 69th Street Transportation Center was given a facelift and was the hub of excitement when Pope Francis came to call on the Philadelphia area. The Pope helped us all believe that true goodness does exist in this world and Upper Darby was lucky to be right in the middle of the visit. Upper Darby also watched as the first steps to sainthood were taken for Bonner’s own Father William Atkinson.
There were battles that were fought in 2015, too. We watched as the heroin epidemic took too many of our own. We learned about this deadly drug and found new resources from our Delaware County Heroin Task Force. Our own Upper Darby Police Superintendent warned of its dangers, called out peddlers of death who was dealing with their wares to our neighbors, children and other residents. We almost laughed at the absurdity of a meth lab on wheels that our Upper Darby officers discovered in March. We worried about those who went missing and cried for those found but not soon enough, such as Fatima Rahman, Xavier Stern, and the still missing 24-year-old Amanda DeGuio.
We had Upper Darby Police Officers who saved 2 children from a sweltering car. Then we learned of another, Brad Ross, suspected of stealing evidence to feed his own battle with addiction as if to say, no one is immune. We had officers making differences in children’s lives by talking with them, giving out their cards and assisting “Santa” hand out toys. All in all, our police department proved us proud. 2015 is almost gone. These are just some of the stories we shared as residents of Upper Darby.