Tech Center offers new concepts for career educationAn outpost on the road to the future for students in the southern Chester County area welcomed the curious to take a look last month. What those who attended the open house saw was how the world of vocational-technical education has changed over the years.

Actually, it's not even called "vo-tech education" anymore. What students who attend the new Chester County Technical College High School get is so much more than the old automotive repair and food preparation curriculum.

The school is located on 78 acres off Pennock's Bridge Road in the rolling hills of Penn, just off Route 1. Considered the first institution of its kind in Pennsylvania, the school is a hybrid of high school vocational-technical education and classes from Delaware County Community College.

The unique dual enrollment program allows students to graduate high school with up to 16 college credits and the option of remaining at the school to earn an associate degree. College students are also invited to enroll in the extensive courses offered at the new school, which serves the Kennett Consolidated, Unionville-Chadds Ford, Oxford Area, Avon Grove and Octorara Area school districts.

It is a continuation of the forward-thinking programs offered by the county's two centers for Arts and Technology, now located in the Coatesville and Phoenixville areas. And it is something that we think the county can be proud of.

With a curriculum partially established and driven by state-generated data on job availability and statistics, Steidler said the entire concept behind the school is to have students fully prepared for additional secondary education or the work-force upon graduation.

The $38.6 million, 123,976-square-foot school was completed this fall. It has a secondary student enrollment capacity of 600 and a post-secondary student capacity of 2,500. Currently, 440 students are enrolled in classes, and Steidler said that number is growing daily. Training is available not only in automotive repair and culinary arts, but also computer information systems, veterinary, health care and more than a dozen others trades and occupations.

One of the school's champions is Kennett Consolidated School District Superintendent Rudy Karkosak, who told a reporter that the new school has been a long time coming.

Karkosak said his district has more students attending the new tech center than it had at the Coatesville campus. He attributed this to the convenience of its location as much as the unique nature of some of its programs. And for the most part everyone is pleased to have the school up and running.

No retrial for local trooper on steroids

A Chester County judge Monday denied a new trial or a sentence reduction for a state trooper sentenced to three years probation for possessing anabolic steroids.

In denying the request, Judge Howard F. Riley lectured Jeffrey Dillig, 36, of West Chester, who was once stationed at the Avondale barracks.

"You are fortunate to end up with probation. There was a distinct possibility of jail time given the violation of the public trust - the dishonor which it brings to law enforcement in general," Riley said.

Dillig was found guilty in November on eight counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was charged by state police internal affairs investigators after police in Delaware found vials of anabolic steriods and dozens of syringes in a van Dillig had reported stolen from a West Goshen hotel in August 2006.

Dillig was suspended without pay and is scheduled to have an administrative hearing concerning his employment status soon.

At his trial, the prosecution presented evidence that the trooper's DNA was on two needles found in the van and that a urine test showed Dillig's blood contained two steroids-nandrolone and boldenone - and more than 14 times the normal amount of testosterone.

The case began in 2006 when Dillig was thrown out of the East Bradford house where he lived with his girlfriend. Dillig rented a moving van and called a friend, Daryl Wright, to help him load his belongings in the van. Dillig and Wright then drove the van to the Microtel Hotel on Route 202 and stayed for the night.

The next day, Wright returned to Altoona and Dillig looked to rent an apartment. When the van was stolen from the parking lot of a motel where Dillig was staying, he reported it to the police.

Less than a week later, police found the van along a highway in Newark, Del. Police searching the vehicle discovered the steriods and syringes.

Earlier this month, Dillig requested a new trial or a reduction in his sentence.

At the hearing Monday, Dillig's attorney, Joel Peppetti, argued the jury shouldn't have heard testimony from Wright regarding Dillig's previous drug use.

Peppetti also argued that testimony at the trial from police regarding Dillig's physical appearance at trial compared to what he looked like while working as a state trooper should not have been introduced and was prejudicial.

Assistant District Attorney Michelle Frei said that during a hearing before Dillig's trial, Riley had ruled Wright's testimony was admissible.

Also during the trial, Riley had ruled testimony regarding changes in Dillig's physical appearance was relevant.

But Riley granted Dillig's request to transfer the supervision of his probation to another county if he relocates.

Peppetti said Dillig was trying to relocate to either Cambria or Blair counties, where he has family and friends and is seeking alternative employment.

Frei said the prosecution didn't object to another county supervising Dillig's probation if arrangements can be made for continued steriod testing. Any probation violations would be reported to Chester County.

Frei said she was glad Riley ruled against a new trial or a reduction in probation.

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