No one can say the 2009 has been an especially good year financially. And certainly the national healthcare debate failed to encourage anyone's hope for a civilized resolution.

But here in Southern Chester County, as year rolled along, each month brought at least one event to warm the heart.


In this, the coldest and darkest month we were happy to hear that the mushroom growers of the Avondale and West Grove area took home the lion's share of prizes at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.


Braving the cold winds, the London Britain Land Trust volunteers turned out on a Saturday morning and removed invasive plants from the future walkway. In Penn Township, Kim Rosci won a national hair-styling contest, illustrating that the women here have access to the best in hair care.


Southern Chester County emergency responders staged an exercise at the Avon Grove Charter School, honing their skills at handling incidents in a school situation. Meanwhile, West Grove received word that it had been approved for a grant to replace the Evergreen Street stoplight.


The Chester County Technical College High School opened a restaurant to the public staffed by culinary students. During the same month, the Avon Grove Charter School celebrated Earth Week with a massive cleanup of its campus.


The farmers markets emerged from their long winter's nap and began selling fresh produce to residents. Meanwhile, students from the Avon Grove Charter School released trout they had raised from eggs into the White Clay Creek.


In Landenberg, work finally began on the bridge in the village after a decade of closure. In West Grove, a peacock found its way into the borough, much to the delight of the residents it visited for several weeks.


The Avon Grove Recreation Association Community Theatre group presented a rousing production of "Guys and Dolls" and had the wisdom to cast Patrick Murphy as Nicely-Nicely Johnson. A little to the north, the Moore Farm in London Grove Township celebrated its 100th birthday. In Nottingham at the annual fireworks celebration, a soldier returning from Iraq proposed to his girlfriend in front of thousands of cheering visitors.


The Avon Grove Library wound up a successful summer program with an afternoon of T-shirt dyeing. At the Southern Chester County YMCA, animal lovers raced and walked to benefit an animal refuge project.


Southern Chester County Emergency Medical Services (Medic 94) was named a semifinalist in state safety procedures. They would find out in October that they had been named winners. In Avondale, the Presbyterian Church announced that it is open during the noon hour for anyone who wants to come and play pick-up basketball.


Chenoa Manor animal sanctuary held an open house and raised money to restore its old barn -- to be turned into an art studio for youth. In London Britain, the shops along Route 896 celebrated the opening of three new establishments: a restaurant, a hair salon and a computer repair shop.


Avon Grove High School football team went on a tear, winning the league and losing in districts to one of the best teams in the state.


Avon Grove High School presented "The Wizard of Oz" using two casts and including scores of children from the elementary schools and older. In New London, Linda Jacobi, whose life was saved during a heart attack by emergency responders, met with them and thanked them at an informal reception.

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