Posted by: Daily Times, Written by: Colin Ainsworth
CHESTER — In a city rife with accomplishments in music performance and production, Jahlil Beats became the first Chester native to bring home the industry’s top prize of peer recognition on Sunday at the 61st annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
Beats received the honor for his production work on Anderson .Paak's “Bubblin'," which tied with Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future and James Blake’s “King’s Dead” for best rap performance.
“Chester – we did it; we on the map, baby,” Beats said by phone Tuesday. “It’s a long time coming. We got more work to do.”
“Bubblin’” brought .Paak his first Grammy win, after 2017 nominations in the Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Urban Album categories. Beats helmed the production based around an original composition from Antman Wonder, who also received a Grammy for his co-production credit. Famed hiphop producer Dr. Dre, president of .Paak’s label Aftermath, mixed the record.
“It’s a dream; we worked for this,” Beats said of the win. “It’s my first nomination, so I’m one-for-one. It means the world to me, my team and my family – we work hard for this.”
The award means recognition of “artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry” by his industry peers. For genre-specific awards, members of the Recording Academy (formerly the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, or NARAS) are directed to vote only in their areas of expertise.
Beats, born Orlando Tucker, learned audio production in his father’s home studio. “I was born into it,” he said, noting his father, also a producer, earned his Certified Audio Engineer credential in 1988, Beats’ birth year. “At the age of 10 or 11 got me into production.”
“My dad gave me an old mixer… and mic,” Beats said. “I was recording on his mixer in my bedroom, selling (recordings) in (Chester) high school. I was making mix tapes; recording all the best artists in the city of Chester. That was my first start.”
After garnering national attention for work with singer Chris Brown, Beats’ breakthrough success came in 2011 with Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill’s “Ima Boss,” which spent 17 weeks on the Billboard Hot Rap chart. “I played it for Meek Mill by mistake,” Beats said, as he intended to give the track to another rapper. “That record put both of us on the map.”
Beats’ win marks the first competitive Grammy win for a city native since the award’s creation in 1958, though several Chester musicians have been recognized by NARAS in other capacities.
Singer Ethel Waters, who had three recordings posthumously entered in the Grammy Hall of Fame between 1998-2007 following her 1977 death. City native and current Springfield resident John Vanore – jazz musician and record producer, current Widener University artist-in-residence and retired director of music and recording technology – is a longtime voting member of NARAS.
The city’s greatest presence on the Billboard charts came before the institution of the Grammys. In 1954, traditional pop vocal group The Four Aces had seven Top 40 singles, including the number one “Three Coins in a Fountain,” and two of the year-end Top 30 records in retail sales. The same year, Bill Haley & His Comets’ released “Rock Around the Clock,” which after an inauspicious start as a b-side would explode the following year with an eight-week run at number one. The song made history as the first rock ‘n’ roll record to hit number one on the pop charts.
Posted by Pivot.Today, Written by Denise Romanelli
Today’s chamber of commerce provides a more robust venue for business leaders in the community for networking, education, and peer engagement. Chambers foster partnerships and provide tools for commercial and industrial initiatives in the community.
Their purpose is to vitalize and stimulate the economy through business relationships. Their work is for the best interests for the communities they serve as business advocacy and grassroots activists for political and municipal operations in the county.
Posted by: Daily Times, Written by: Kathleen E. Carey
MIDDLETOWN — Elwyn is looking to a future that would include a smaller geographical footprint while planning to engage the community to preserve open space and create meaningful development.
Charles S. McLister, president and chief executive officer, joined other Elwyn executives in attending Monday’s Middletown Township Council meeting to make the public aware of some of the changes coming to the human services organization.
Although only in the conceptual stage at this point, McLister explained that as part of charting a five-year vision for Elwyn, the organization is considering continuing to shift from its on-campus residential model to a reduced-size campus, where educational and other services would continue to be met. The move would also include selling a sizable portion of its real estate, including the former Sleighton School property.
In 1826, Sleighton was founded as the House of Refuge in Philadelphia and eventually became a farm school for girls before closing in 2001.
“It’s really been changing,” McLister explained about Elwyn’s service paradigm. “Thirty years ago or more, we had 2,000 adults or more living on our campus in Media. Now, there’s less than 200 ... This was a beautiful property that was built for a model that is 150 years old.”
McLister wanted to make Middletown officials aware of his plans.
“They welcomed it,” Middletown Township Manager Andrew Haines said of the council’s reaction to the Elwyn boss’ visit and update. “(McLister) articulated where they want to go. Elwyn’s a very established landmark in the township. What goes on is of interest.”
And, Haines explained, the Elwyn team outlined what it expects to unfold in the next few months and years.
“They talked about they are working on a vision that they’re going to have a master plan of what they want to look like,” the manager said, explaining they spoke of their history and how the prevailing mindset at that time was to isolate members of their community and not have them be visible.
Now, both Haines and McLister said, that has changed.
As part of that, Haines said Elwyn officials wants to divest the organization of lands not immediately tied to their core goals, and that includes the old Sleighton farm.
“They have no intention to do anything with those lands,” the township manager said.
“They don’t necessarily support their mission.”
The seeds of Elwyn were planted in 1849 when physician Alfred L. Elwyn attended a meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston, Mass. There, he saw an experimental classroom for children with intellectual disabilities in line with the
theories of Dr. James Richards at the South Boston Institute for the Blind.
According to the organization, those with intellectual disabilities and mental illness were often outcast, jailed or sent to live on the streets at that time.
However, Elwyn believed in a better option.
In 1852, the doctor opened a school in Philadelphia and invited Richards to serve as its superintendent. Eventually, the operation was moved to Middletown, where Elwyn has been headquartered for more than 155 years.
Since that time, Elwyn has grown to become the oldest non-profit human services agency of its kind with operations in nine states and 6,000 employees - 1,400 of them in Delaware County - and serving 20,000 people.
Elwyn is also responsible for 157 adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities
who live on campus as well as another 289 who live in the community. Of these adults
who live in the community, 220 are in group homes, 26 are in life sharing arrangements
and 43 receive in-home supports.
Elwyn also provides children’s services on campus with 400 special needs students at The Davidson School and 180 receiving support from Elwyn Developmental Centers.
There are also behavioral health services on the Elwyn campus for 22 adults and 14
children as well as 50 individuals who live in personal care homes on-site.
Comparatively, in southeastern Pennsylvania alone, Elwyn provides non-residential day
program and supported employment services for 1,000 adults.
In his remarks to Middletown Township, McLister explained the revamping of the Elwyn model.
“Our headquarters campus and its 300 acres were built for an era when persons with
intellectual disabilities and autism were shunned, marginalized, persecuted and hidden
from view,” he said. “Today,” McLister continued, “a modern approach requires that on behalf of our members, we pursue maximum dignity, expanded independence and essential inclusion. By modernizing our facilities, Elwyn ... will de-institutionalize the experience of our membership.”
He explained that Elwyn will continue to support adults with intellectual and physical
disabilities in living independently in the community, in homes and in apartments.
And, McLister said, another component will be revitalizing children’s services and the
school, creating an aesthetic and a technological functionality more in line with
In this stage of the planning, McLister said Elwyn has three priorities.
First, he explained, the organization wants to define itself – what it does and where it’s
going to do it.
“We know what we’re good at and what we can support,” he said.
Secondly, he wants to design a facility that reflects what the people who go there and
work there deserve while also improving the Elwyn community, preserving open space
and making Elwyn unique.
“As a member of the community and a future member of the community, we believe in
that,” McLister said.
Finally, he said he wants to determine how to use the property that’s not going to be
occupied, both through collaborative open space and thoughtful, well-planned
commercial development that works for people.
“We see down the road we can efficiently use 70 acres,” he said, explaining that there are about 500 acres they own now between the Middletown and Sleighton properties. “What is our footprint going to be? ... We don’t have shareholders that buy stock ... We don’t
have to turn that entire portfolio into equity.”
Advocates applaud Elwyn for reinforcing the model of in-community living.
Eileen MacDonald, executive director of the Delaware County Advocacy and Resource
Organization, said that’s something her organization has lobbied for since the 1950s.
“”That is the direction we continue to move in – to let people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities be participating in their communities,” she said. “It’s what we
Her organization has under 400 active members but advocates on behalf of the more
than 2,200 Delaware County residents identified as having intellectual or developmental disabilities.
She spoke of how societal attitudes have been shifting over the decades.
“It’s been a real positive change,” she said. “The community is becoming much more
accepting to our community members.”
In the meantime, McLister and the Elwyn staff want to engage the community in creating a sustainable, meaningful model for the future by first, clarifying their footprint, identifying property they aren’t going to use and then determining what thoughtful development and collaborative preservation of open space looks like.
In envisioning the next five years, McLister shared his vision for Elwyn.
“I hope that we’re the most effective provider of human services to people in the
country,” he said. “(And,) it shows up in the buildings and the communities and the
homes that we use.”