Newsworks

Emma Lee / WHYY

This story is part of a WHYY series examining how the United States, four decades later, is still processing the Vietnam War.

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It was Bonnie Raines' job to case the joint.

Her target: the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. If all went according to plan, Raines and fellow anti-war activists would pull off a burglary that would go down in history as exposing J. Edgar Hoover's secret surveillance of groups demonstrating the war in Vietnam.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Last year, some schools in the Philadelphia area became "sanctuary campuses," promising to protect undocumented students and those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The Trump administration's announcement last week that it will end DACA, a program shielding some  young people from deportation, could test that resolve if it, in fact, sunsets as promised in March.

Leaders of some "sanctuary campuses," such as the University of Pennsylvania — President Donald Trump's alma mater, immediately condemned the government's reversal.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Five years ago, the Obama administration launched Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The program, which temporarily allows young undocumented immigrants to study and work in the U.S.,  has helped nearly 30,000 people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

A press conference — held by the Office of Immigrant Affairs and the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition — celebrated the fifth anniversary of DACA at City Hall in Philadelphia. 

Summer School With No Walls Keeps Kids Engaged, Active

Aug 3, 2017
Emily Cohen / NewsWorks

The mention of summer school might conjure images of students stuck inside on beautiful days and kids upset at their parents for forcing them to attend.

But there's a summer program that's the opposite of that — and it's outdoors.

Families are already at the community pool, splashing and squealing in the water before 9 a.m.

Outside the fence, 6- and 7-year-olds stand in a circle, playing a rhyming game outside a picnic pavilion at the Boyertown Community Park in Berks County.

Matt Rourke / AP, file

Federal authorities say Philadelphia Congressman Bob Brady agreed to pay $90,000 from his campaign fund to get a rival out of the 2012 Democratic primary.

Brady hasn't been charged, but prosecutors say in a court filing that he authorized a $90,000 money transfer to retire the campaign debt of his opponent Jimmie Moore, who dropped out of the race months before the primary.

Wolf Not Alarmed By Lack Of Budget Progress

Jul 24, 2017
Peter Crimmins / WHYY

While touring a cancer immunotherapy developer at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf insisted budget negotiations in Harrisburg are progressing well, even though House members came in on Saturday and then failed to strike a deal.  Wolf visited Adaptimmune, which received state money to build a new, LEED-certified medical manufacturing facility in the Navy Yard, two days after Republican House Speaker Mike Turzai called an emergency weekend session to hash out a way to fund the newly-approved state budget plan.

After 4 Years, Head Of PA Higher Education Retiring

Jul 20, 2017
Steve Cannon / AP

The head of the system overseeing Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities intends to step down Sept.1. 

Chancellor Frank Brogan will retire after four years at the helm of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

His announcement comes a week after consultants advised an overhaul of the system's governance after a strategic review of the schools, which include West Chester, Millersville and Bloomsburg.

Kenn Marshall, spokesman for the state system, praised Brogan for obtaining more funding for it.

Evan Vucci / AP

Several congressional districts around Philadelphia are shaping up as battlegrounds in the mid-term elections next year.

The often-quoted Cook Political Report just changed its outlook for one of them, the 6th District held by Republican Ryan Costello, from "likely Republican" to "lean Republican," giving the incumbent a more narrow advantage in his re-election battle.

The 6th is one of a ring of districts in the Pennsylvania suburbs that the National Democratic Campaign Committee is targeting next year.

PA May Make It Easier For Non-Violent Criminals To Get A Fresh Start

Jul 2, 2017
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

2004 was a tough year for Ronald.

In less than a month, he was arrested twice — once for theft and once for conspiracy.

Rate Of Hospitalizations For Opioid Overdoses Rising Rapidly In PA

Jun 29, 2017
Toby Talbot / AP

Many who overdose on an opioid in Pennsylvania never need to go to a hospital. Some are treated by first responders, or bystanders who carry naloxone, a drug that can halt an overdose before it becomes fatal.

Some succumb without help.

But a growing number of Pennsylvanians are winding up as hospital patients as the result of opioids — 66 percent more in 2016 than in 2014. The numbers do not include emergency room visits.

Why Is Pennsylvania Called A Commonwealth?

Jun 27, 2017
Matt Rourke / AP

Ever wonder about something you see or hear in the region that you wish our reporters would explore? Now's your chance!

Here's how it works: Share your questions with us. Then, we'll let the public vote on the one they want us to investigate. Finally, if your question wins — and if you're game — work with us to get to the bottom of it.

Kris Hart

If there's a checklist for starting a political campaign, one item would have to be, "Am I qualified to run?"

Businessman Kris Hart planned to announce his candidacy for governor of Pennsylvania in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Thursday, but quickly changed his plans after he learned — from me, I'm afraid — that he didn't meet the state residency requirement to serve as governor.

What Happens When You Mix An NFL Draft With Watercolors?

Apr 28, 2017
Emma Lee / WHYY

Art is having a hard time competing with football.

The NFL draft has taken over most of the Parkway, as well as the famous Rocky steps that lead to Philadelphia Museum of Art, completely blocking its front entrance.

The museum will remain open during its regular hours throughout the draft, via it West side entrance, at the rear of the building near the Schuylkill River.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

There are all sorts of eureka moments that might make someone decide to remake their lives, from a bad breakup to a health scare to job loss.

Gerrymandering Battle Draws A Crowd In PA

Mar 1, 2017
Dave Davies / WHYY

Could a citizens' group defy tradition and change Pennsylvania politics?

Fair Districts PA, which has taken on the issue of gerrymandering in state political boundaries, is at least making some noise.

Thousands Protest Trump Immigration Orders At Philly Airport

Jan 30, 2017
Paige Pfleger / WHYY

An estimated 5,000 protesters filled the sidewalks and roadways outside of Philadelphia International Airport Sunday to denounce President Donald Trump's executive actions restricting entry into the country. It was the second straight night demonstrators gathered at the airport demanding that Trump lift his ban on immigration into the United States from several Muslim-majority countries.

Chanting "no hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here," the droves of protesters assembled peacefully down a long stretch of road outside Terminal B. 

So, What's The Deal With Pennsylvania's Liquor Laws?

Dec 30, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

For decades, Pennsylvania had some of the screwiest liquor laws in the nation. But this year, after decades of false starts and abandoned bills, the General Assembly finally passed laws to make it easier to buy alcohol.

Disability Rights Activists React To Trump Presidency In Philadelphia

Nov 9, 2016
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

When North Carolina was called for Donald Trump, a crying Dynah Haubert left the Sheraton ballroom.

She and other activists were among the crowds of Pennsylvania Democrats watching election results come in — until they could take no more.

It was back in July that Haubert experienced her first purposeful involvement in politics on the stage at the Democratic National Convention. "It's always been up to us. I felt that finally it's not just us shouting into the wind," she said.

PA’s Voting Machines Are So Old, They Can’t Be Hacked

Oct 26, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

For weeks, we've been hearing about whether a cyberattack could somehow interfere with the upcoming presidential election results.

Different types of voting machines are used on Election Day throughout the area, and some are more vulnerable.

"I don't think a large-scale attack is likely," Henry Carter, an assistant professor at Villanova University, said. His expertise centers on cybersecurity and cryptology.

FinisherPix

 

For a handful of triathletes training in a pool in the suburbs of Kansas City, simply swimming laps is too easy.

Instead, they've got their legs constricted so their arms do the work of dragging their bodies through the water.

The area is an Ironman triathlon training destination for reasons that might surprise the locals. Triathlete Sarah Piampiano says she comes here because Kansas in late summer is a lot like... Hawaii.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

 

Former President George W. Bush is in Philadelphia Friday to raise campaign money for Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

The event at the Union League in Center City includes a "VIP photo session" and a luncheon. It's closed to the media, as are many political fundraisers.

"He's going to raise a lot of money," said insurance executive and GOP fundraiser Manuel Stamatakis, a member of the host committee for the event. "I ask people for money all the time, but I've had people calling me, unsolicited, saying they want to contribute to Pat Toomey."

Ad War Emerges In Race For Pennsylvania Attorney General

Oct 4, 2016
NewsWorks and AP file photos

 

In the race to replace disgraced former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, voters will choose between a self-styled government reformer and a state senator -- both from Montgomery County. With just over a month until Election Day, the TV ad war has begun.

Pa. Immigrant Detention Center Strikers Pause For A Week, Citing Threats

Aug 25, 2016
Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

 

*UPDATED

More than a dozen women who crossed into the U.S. illegally with their children continue to protest their long detention in a Pennsylvania facility.

A hunger strike that started Aug. 8 has paused for a weeklong "fast" of one meal a day, before the women resume the strike next week.

"We have been pushed to suspend the hunger strike by the threat of immigration officials, who have told us that, if our health weakens, the government will take away our children and send us to adult prisons," said the mothers in an emailed statement.

PA High Court Says SRC Can't Cancel Philly Teachers Contract

Aug 16, 2016
NewsWorks

 

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Philadelphia School Reform Commission broke state law when it canceled its contract with the city’s teacher’s union.