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Health - Bristol Township

Bristol Twp Family Continues to Mourn Murdered Loved One

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It was nine years, one month and one day ago since our last contact.

That was the last time we talked about Joseph “Joe” Britton. His family went to Silver Lake Park, to celebrate his life and agonize over his death. They released balloons in the air, perhaps thinking it would lessen their pain and symbolically let him go into the heavens.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

This wasn’t an episode of “Law & Order” where all the answers needed were detected, answered and suspects arrested in  a one-hour episode. 

Fall 2013 – The Murder & Investigation 

On September 14, 2013, Britton 31 of Levittown, was brutally murdered, battered to death, specifically in Philadelphia. Left for dead, slumped over in a parked vehicle in the Wissinoming section of the city.

The answers were not easy or fast.

The idea of “closure” didn’t lighten his family’s pain and unbearable sense of loss when the arrests and convictions happened. 

Credit: Submitted

The Britton-Palmer clan reached out months after Joseph’s murder because they were frustrated with the pace of the Philadelphia Police investigation. A “violent animal,” they said at the time, Matthew Miller, was in Bucks County custody for stabbing a Bensalem Township Police officer in the chest, but hadn’t been charged yet for murdering Joseph. 

Two other suspects were part of the “robbery” that led to the Levittown man’s killing. Krista McDevitt and Ian Pawlolowic turned state’s evidence testifying against Miller.

They are out and about these days. 

McDevitt has been seen by the family in and around Bristol Township.

Miller is serving life for the murder and 15 to 31 years for stabbing a Bensalem Township Police officer in the chest that same year. In 2020, his appeal to have his homicide conviction overturned was denied by the Superior Court on Christmas Eve . He is incarcerated at SCI Coal Township 

The two convicts testified and would have you believe it was supposed to be robbery and it got out of hand. The reported robbery netted the trio $1, according to one press account. 

Present Day 

To this day, no one in Joseph’s family believes that for a ”f**king minute.” 

As we sit in what resembles a group therapy circle, discussing Joe’s murder and its impact on the family, the Eagles game flashed on the screen in the background.

To this day, the family hasn’t fully recovered from the loss. Especially now, with McDevitt’s presence in and around Bristol. She’s paid her price with years of her life and then some. But her presence has definitely reopened once barely scabbed over gashes to the family’s collective soul.

Sisters Dawn Britton and Amanda Simmons in discussing the loss of their Brother Joe.
Credit: Jeff Bohen Lower Bucks Source

“Joe was no angel” was one of the first two things his mother Donna said in 2014. She recognized `’This wasn’t something a mother could fix.’ 

Moms are moms. They instinctively want to fix life’s hurts and disappointments.

On the tenth anniversary of Joe’s murder, the family made sure to take time to remember and share the impact of his loss and their thoughts about two of the three killers walking about.

Surviving the sudden and tragic loss must be one of the greatest challenges humanity can offer.

Donna’s husband Bill, Joe’s four sisters, Stacy Sharper, 43, Dawn Britton, 42,  Amanda Simmons, 36, Brandi Schmitz, 33 and Joe’s roommate, Howard Hilgendorff, who is very much a part of the family, shared how each keeps Joe’s memory alive and restore themselves. 

But again, this isn’t Hollywood. 

Healing?  

I had to heal myself before I could forgive. I went through therapy. I also got to finally grieve deaths from years ago, Donna said, and it helped a lot. 

“But I’m not sure how I’ll react if I see Krista” she said with no affect attached.

But I am definitely in a better place than I was back then, she says.

For her husband, the grief is still palpable. Still alive almost as if it was the day after Joey’s murder, it seems the gaping wound is still fresh. There was also another family loss years before he didn’t mourn, another son, he said. 

Schmitz is in a different place than everyone else and was so from when Joey was originally murdered, she said. I’ve always been at peace with the situation. I go to Church. I see the situation in a spiritual sense. I know my brother is in a better place. And I have forgiven them since day one. I pray for them. I just don’t know what my reaction will be if McDevitt and I cross paths. I still miss him. 

Joe Britton's Mom, Step-Father & four Sisters Credit:Lower Bucks Source

Simmons was pregnant at the time of his murder days away from giving birth. She says the media accounts “made it difficult” but found “clarity” during the trial. Finding out what actually happened made me very angry for a long time. She recognized how poisonous anger is and was for her. 

“I am always talking to my brother. I know he’s there and we have this ongoing conversation in which he hasn’t answered me yet, but he lets me know it’s ok to forgive them,”  Amanda says, her voice quivering slightly, tears forming in her eyes.

“I’ve forgiven them but I’m still angry” she said.

“I am angry, bitter, vengeful, that’s where I am,” sister Sharper said. Her rage towards McDevitt is especially fresh now since “she’s out and about.”  

“I don’t know what I’ll do if I see her.”

Dawn, the oldest sister, said,  “me and Joey were peas and carrots. She remembers her connection and how he used to hide things from her. The entire family erupted in laughter, remembering his pranks. 

“I told my boss at Walmart, she said, if I see her, I might have to come into the office to calm down for a second. I have too many blessings to be dealing with her now. I’m still dealing with things, and I have worked too hard to give it all up.”

“It’s bad enough I can’t go near the sporting goods section where the (baseball bats) are…, her voice trailed off, followed by small pools of grief forming in her big brown eyes.

Hilgendorff said their connection was unusual since he’s old enough to be his grandfather. He was really a good guy still trying to find his way, but we became really good friends. Hilgendorff never really said anything directly about the trio of felons who killed his friend seemingly and knowingly focusing on his fond memories of “Joey.” 

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross became famous after she published her book “On Death and Dying” in 1969. She identified five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance  They are often talked about as if they happen in order, moving from one stage to the other. You might hear people say things like ‘Oh I’ve moved on from denial and now I think I’m entering the angry stage’. But this isn’t often the case, says Healthline.

In many ways, this family is still navigating the trauma of Joe’s murder. Each in their own respective place, holding onto to their memories, engaging their pain at various points and the reality that the sudden and traumatic loss of a loved one to violence really has no end.

“Closure” is and can be elusive but there is progress. And that alone can breed freedom. 

Collectively, they wonder if that holds true for murdering “Joey.”

Editor’s Note: If you want to read more about how this story developed, you can visit LevittownNow.com and search under “Joseph Britton.”

Credit: Joanne Ames Lower Bucks Source

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Health - Bensalem Township

THE Giant Co. & Customers Raise More Than $400,000 For Healing Our Planet Initiatives

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Through its Healing Our Planet initiative, The GIANT Company today announced it raised $403,360 in partnership with its customers to support Planet Bee Foundation™ and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful™. During the month of May, customers at GIANT, MARTIN’S and GIANT Heirloom Market stores were invited to round up their grocery purchases to the nearest dollar to support each organization.

“Action inspires action and small changes such as tree plantings and pollinator awareness can make a big difference when it comes to helping our planet, so thank you to our customers who rounded up at the register to support these green initiatives,” said Courtney Hopcraft, manager of charitable giving and community relations, The GIANT Company. “Over the four years of our Healing the Planet campaign, more than $6 million has been raised to grow health and sustainability initiatives centric to creating healthier communities and a more sustainable future.”

Announced earlier this month, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful in partnership with The GIANT Company announced it will award Healing the Planet grants later this summer to local community organizations for tree plantings across Pennsylvania. Additional funding from The GIANT Company will support Pick Up Pennsylvania and local clean up, recycling and greening events.

“Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is grateful to The GIANT Company for their support of native tree planting in their operating areas in Pennsylvania. Funding will also support our Pick Up Pennsylvania program, so we can continue to meet the needs of families, friends, neighbors, civic groups, nonprofits and municipalities working towards a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania,” said Shannon Reiter, president, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. “Cleaning and beautifying communities tends to reduce littering and other illegal behaviors, making it a better place for all residents and providing a foundation for community and economic development.”

Credit: Submitted

Planet Bee Foundation drives awareness for pollinators and the importance of bees as a pathway to STEM, conservation, and innovations in agriculture. Funding raised by The GIANT Company will support local beekeepers, research programs, and school and community programs.

“On behalf of Planet Bee Foundation, I wish to extend our deepest gratitude to The GIANT Company for their donation, which has educated and impacted over 109,000 youth. Their generosity has sponsored STEM and Agriculture Education programs in schools, provided supplies to teachers, offered grants to local beekeepers, provided education at public events, and maintained beehives in community gardens, exemplifying their commitment to local communities,” said Debra Tomaszewski, founder and executive director, Planet Bee Foundation. “We are humbled and inspired by The GIANT Company’s commitment to sustainability, the health of our planet, and the well-being of the families they serve.”

For more information on The GIANT Company’s Healing Our Planet initiative, click here please.

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Falls Township

“Bridging the Gap” with Coffee in Bristol Twp.

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If you visited The Bridge Coffee Shop  in Levittown on Saturday, there was a good chance the barista serving you also moonlights as a Bristol Township Police officer for the community.

Dozens showed up and were greeted by officers from the township who were on hand to greet the community and answer any police related questions locals might have.

Sgt. Jason Mancuso said the focus of the event was to bridge gaps that might exist between locals and the department.

Credit: FB – Bristol Township Police

“All we’re trying do is bridge the gap in the community. A lot of people are often afraid to call the police because it creates anxiety, or they think the department is too busy. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for the community, they’re not here for us. We want to partner with the community,” he said.

Credit: Bristol Twp Police

 

Coffee lovers were greeted by officers from the department and customers with young children in several instances introduced and shared a first time experience with a in person police officer.

The Bridge, which opened for business late last year and started out as an idea to create a  community gathering space for fellowship, is supported by Restoration Church.

It’s the perfect place for a community gathering such as a coffee with a cop event, said Andrea Newtown who helps run the day-to-day operations at The Bridge.

 

We just want the community to know the department is for them to help and assist in any way possible, said Mancuso, we want to humanize the badge and let people know we live and work here too just like the community. We will do everything in our power and within the boundaries of the law that we can.

Prior to his promotion to Sgt, Mancuso took over a case in which a Croydon family was being terrorized for reasons that still remain a mystery to many. His work, the victim (s) said, was instrumental in putting that man behind bars and is one such example this publication was privy to see up close.

Credit: Submitted

 

Credit: Laughs for Recovery

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Health - Bensalem Township

National Weather Service Issues Heat Advisory for Tuesday thru Thursday

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A heat wave is expected this week with a heat advisory set for Tuesday through Thursday forecasters say with an excessive heat watch in effect beginning Wednesday  

Temperatures are expected to reach mid-80s and the 60s for nighttime for Sunday evening.

 

Credit: National Weather Service the start of a forecasted 7 day heat wave. Monday and Tuesday may seem cooler since temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s compared to the rest of the week. Night time temperatures for the week are expected to be in the 70s.

The high temperature forecasted for Monday is expected to reach 90 degrees and heating up Tuesday and Wednesday- Juneteenth Day.  Thursday through Saturday temps are expected to be near or reach 100 degrees, while Friday might surpass 100 degree mark.

Credit: NWS

 

Please be mindful in the summer, your vehicle can act like an oven. Do not leave kids, elderly or pets in the car even for a quick errand. Keep plenty of water/hydrating liquids with you at all times and stay hydrated and please check up on relatives and neighbors, especially seniors with pets.


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NOAA Weather

Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia Airport, PA

Last Updated on Jun 5 2024, 7:54 am EDT

Current Conditions: Fog/Mist

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Temp: 68°F

Wind: East at 5mph

Humidity: 87%

Dewpoint: 64.0°F

Your 5-Day Forecast at a Glance

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