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Race for Peace, Haverford Police to Hold Annual ‘Skate for Peace’

Race for Peace and the Haverford Police are holding their 4th annual Ice Skate for Peace on July 19.

Race for Peace is a nonprofit group that seeks to promote better relations between police and African Americans. It is just one of several events that Race for Peace holds during the year to bring police and Black people together to foster friendship and understanding.

“Race for Peace Organization brings communities together through programs, resources, and activities for the family, and to reach an understanding between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said Alim Howell, an activist, advocate, and spokesperson for the group. Howell and his father, Andrew Howell, of Delaware County, started the organization in 2016.

“All of the Race for Peace events bring together diversity and unity within the community. In addition to bringing a positive engagement with our police officers. Having youth alongside Police in a positive manner is very great to see,” said Howell.

Haverford Police Lt. James Kelly said the department has been working with Race for Peace for about 10 years to try to foster better relations with the community. And various other departments in the area, including Lower Merion, Philadelphia, Radnor, and Tredyffrin are also involved.

The Skate for Peace event allows people, especially youngsters, to meet police officers in a friendly environment and talk and get to know each other, he said. Haverford Township owns the indoor ice rink and donated the time to Race for Peace.

As a bonus, the Philadelphia Flyers will be hosting a simultaneous event in the parking lot, with some players, food, fun, and its mascot, Gritty.

“It’s helpful,” said Kelly, about the connections with the community fostered by Race for Peace. “The world has a lot of problems right now. To solve them, it always starts somewhere. It starts with one person at a time, as Race for Peace founder, Andrew Howell, says.”

Race for Peace President Hameen Diggins said, “Our young people are awesome! Having the youth show up to our past events was an honor. We want to see greatness from them to create better connections with the new generations.”

Rental skates will be available for those who don’t have skates and also both human and mechanical ice skate helpers will be on the ice for those who do not know how to skate.

About 10 Haverford officers and command usually staff attend, as well as police from other area departments, Diggins said.

The event runs from 5 to 7 p.m. on July 19 at the Havertown Skatuim, 1002 Darby Road #3616, Havertown. Everyone is invited to attend.

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Radnor Ice Skating Ban Overturned After Residents Object

The Radnor Board of Commissioners lifted a ban on skating at The Willows and Fenimore Parks in Radnor Township following objections from community members.

At a BOC meeting last week, Bill White, township manager, laid out the reasoning behind the pond’s closure earlier that week.

He cited safety concerns and a few instances in which children had fallen through the ice. He also mentioned a third incident in which a hole in the ice was spotted near an unmanned sled and prompted a concerned passerby to call the police. In that case, however, no child had actually fallen through the ice. White clarified that while no children were seriously injured in any of the incidents, the risks posed were still great enough to cause the board to review the ordinances and subsequently issue closures.

White apologized for the lack of communication prior to the ban being instituted and acknowledged the burden it would place on the community. He added township ordinances had never technically allowed skating on the ponds.

Local residents, many of whom had been skating there for decades, were frustrated. They said a “skate at your own risk” sign was the simple and obvious solution.

“This proposal to ban ice skating is nothing short of a display of cowardly leadership,” argued T.J. Doyle, a township resident, in reference to the sudden ban.

A few residents also raised concerns about children’s mental health, which has suffered durnig the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My wife can’t be here tonight. She’s a child-psychologist. She can’t handle her case-load right now, because there’s so many young people who can’t understand what has just happened over the last two years and now we’re not going to let them outside, to play in fresh air and skate on a pond? Makes no sense,” said resident Matthew Marshall, a former Ward 1 interim commissioner and longtime Radnor resident.

To many residents in neighboring communities as well, the ponds are local attractions. A few citizens attended the meeting to voice their objections to the ponds’ closure. For many, the ponds are a focal point of the area’s long-standing ice skating tradition. Residents described that as far back as they could remember, during the winter’s coldest weeks the parks would transform into frozen wonderlands teeming with parents, coaches, athletes, and children.

Twelve-year-old Owen Doyle, who lives in Fenimore Park and grew up skating there, offered what was perhaps the evening’s most compelling argument. He recalled the many years he had spent on the ice and his first memories of it. He explained those memories had gone as far as shaping who he was as a person. He mentioned, “One of my [most formative] memories is having my dad carry a chair over to the pond so that I had something to prop me up while I learned how to ice skate.”

“Please don’t take this away from us,” Doyle said in conclusion.

No community members spoke in support of the ban.

After a long series of objections, commissioners decided to reinstate the “skate at your own risk” sign.

“With the sense of the board being what it is, perhaps we could return to ‘skate at your own risk’ while we work on the various legislative or procedural improvements that may be needed to ensure greater safety,” White said.

The “skate at your own risk” sign was scheduled to be put back up on Tuesday.

“We won a minor moral victory last night, but will continue to work with the Radnor Board of Commissioners to enact legislation to keep ice skating freely permitted on the Fenimore and Willows ponds,” Marshall said on Facebook afterward.

“It has been a privilege and tradition to ice skate on these ponds for many generations of Radnor residents. Thanks to everyone who participated in public comments. Please skate at your own risk and watch out for your children’s safety. Common sense makes a comeback!”


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Energy Transfer Veterans Memorial Rink Debuts, Offering Fun for Everyone

Just in time for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Delaware County’s latest and much-anticipated fun spot has opened: Energy Transfer Veterans Memorial Rink.

Skaters lost no time gliding on the ice at the new 60-by-100 foot ice skating rink in Edgemont, sipping hot cocoa, or relaxing by a fire pit. A ribbon-cutting Thursday with speeches from dignitaries marked the opening of the new rink, operated by Flight on Ice.

Steve Byrne, executive director of Visit Delco PA told the Delaware Valley Journal that they had been discussing the idea of an ice rink for the county for six years and are thrilled it’s finally happened.  Construction workers spent many hours transforming the empty parking lot on West Chester Pike into a winter wonderland for Delaware County residents and visitors to enjoy.

“The goal is to be a three or four months attraction,” Byrne said. He hopes skaters can enjoy the rink into March “as long as the weather holds up.”


(Left To Right): Paul de Botton,National Reality Corporation; Ron Gravina, chairman, Edgmont Township Board of Supervisors; Rep. Chris Quinn; Claude de Botton, National Reality Corporation; Joe McGinn, Energy Transfer; Steve Byrne, Visit Delco, PA; Colby Cohen, Flight Entertainment; Mike de Botton, National Reality Corporation; Sen. John Kane; Sen. Tim Kearney; Chief Joe Daly, president, Delaware County Veterans Memorial; Jon Schaffer, Flight Entertainment


“There’s something for all ages. Families, college kids coming home, they can hang out at the fire put and have fun,” said Byrne. “It’s something different. I overheard somebody saying, ‘This is what Delco needed.'”

Former National Hockey League player and Radnor native Colby Cohen led the ribbon cutting.

“Just about every day of my childhood I passed by this piece of land. To be able to bring an outdoor rink to Delaware County is truly incredible,” Cohen said. “This is a very special night and I’m glad to share it with a community that shaped me into the person I am today.”

The former defenseman played for the Colorado Avalanche and in the AHL with the Providence Bruins, the minor league affiliate of the Boston Bruins. Cohen currently works as a studio analyst for Chicago Blackhawks games on NBC Sports Chicago.

State Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Media) came out to lend his support, along with state Senators John Kane (D-Chester/Delaware), and Tim Kearney (D-Chester/Delaware).

“One of the best parts about being a state representative is to see your community come together at a great attraction like an outdoor ice rink,” Quinn said. “This is where family memories are created.”

This family-friendly attraction also includes ice skating sessions, a lounge area, a 2,000-sqaure-foot heated tent, and various food and beverage options.

Jon Schaffer, owner and president of Flight Entertainment has been aspiring to open a Flight on Ice location in Delaware County for quite some time. There are currently Flight Entertainment locations in Egg Harbor City and Long Branch, New Jersey, as well as Albany, N.Y.

“Our company is based in Delco, I’m from Delco, and it’s our backyard,” Schaffer told Main Line Today. “I couldn’t picture doing any more of these (Flight on Ice rinks) without doing one in Delaware County.”

One of Schaffer’s goals is to raise proceeds for the Veterans Memorial Charitable Foundation through different events and fundraisers. This includes every Monday being a day for veterans to contribute to the charity.

Paul de Botton, and the de Botton family, who own the land where the rink is located, also donated the site of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial

The rink will stay open throughout the winter, possibly into March if the weather permits.  It’s open from Monday through Friday will be 3-10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

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