Happy 2014, Malvern, East Whiteland and Willistown.
With a new year here, I'm doing a little forecasting into five of the stories I'm looking forward to seeing unfold in the coming year. Clearly, any one of these could be settled immediately without much fanfare, but as we head into January and beyond, I'm going to be looking at the following:
1) The Ruling in the Malvern Shooting Case: Recent court documents suggest that Merritt Dudas, the 24-year-old Collegeville man who allegedly shot and killed 21-year-old Malvern resident Drew Ferguson, will be going to trail in the early part of 2014. According to police files, Dudas signed a confession during their investigation, but until charges are officially leveled and the alleged shooter has his day in court, this case remains unresolved, a sad reminder of how violence can turn up anywhere.
2) Malvern's New Mayor and Borough Board: November's election found something pretty unusual: four write-in candidates taking open seats and beating an incumbent mayor in an election. It will be interesting to see what Todd Lexer, David Barmwell, Matt Radano and incoming mayor Dave Burton will bring to Malvern politics.
3) Development in Malvern: One of the major issues surrounding recent borough board upheaval is land development in and around Malvern. The East Side Flats property is still hotly contested among the borough's residents, and with a new year coming, it will be interesting to see if any new ground is scheduled to be broken and what those projects might look like.
4) Teacher Negotiations: The current contract between the Great Valley School District and its teachers is up in June. The District has already outlined how it hopes to deal with negotiations at a previous meeting. While things don't seem to be as testy as they are in, say, West Chester, contract negotiations are always something worth keeping an eye on, even the ones that go smoothly.
5) Continued construction on Route 202: I mean … it's got to end sometime, right?