Philadelphia

iStock / WITF

As Philadelphia heads for a record year of drug overdose deaths, a task force is proposing a series of actions, from combatting stigma to considering allowing safe sites where drug users could inject heroin.

Mayor Jim Kenney was joined by Governor Tom Wolf in outlining the task force's findings Friday.

Kenney convened the 23-member group in January to focus on developing a plan to combat the city's opioid epidemic.

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.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps / University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

Rates of obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, breast cancer screenings and childhood poverty are all on the rise as Allegheny County fell in state rankings released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Gene J. Puskar / AP File Photo

Population data has a way of freaking people out. After all, population determines federal allocation dollars, which trickle down to the state, county, and local levels, said Peter Borsella, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, which released county and metro-area population estimates on Thursday. 

So let’s get this over with: From 2015 to 2016 Pennsylvania waved goodbye to just fewer than 8,000 people. Most counties lost population, though 19 posted some growth.

Jacqueline Larma / AP

Jewish centers in York and Harrisburg were among those affected by a wave of bomb threats in at least 11 states Monday. This came the day after more than 100 headstones were knocked over at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia.

Judge Rules Bill Cosby Case To Be Decided By Outside Jury

Feb 27, 2017
Bill Fraser/Bucks County Courrier Times / via AP Pool

 A jury from outside the Philadelphia suburbs will be brought in to decide the sexual assault case against Bill Cosby, a judge ruled Monday, rejecting a defense request to move the trial itself because of worldwide media reports that brand the actor a "serial rapist."

Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill said jurors will remain sequestered during Cosby's June trial on charges that he drugged and molested a former Temple University employee in 2004.

Headstones Vandalized At Jewish Cemetery In Philadelphia

Feb 27, 2017

Philadelphia police say approximately 100 headstones have been damaged at a Jewish cemetery in the northeastern part of the city. The vandalism occurred less than a week after a similar episode in a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis, where more than 150 graves were targeted.

Ringling Bros. Circus To Close After 146 Years

Jan 14, 2017
AP

After 146 years, the curtain is coming down on "The Greatest Show on Earth." The owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus told The Associated Press that the show will close forever in May.

The iconic American spectacle was felled by a variety of factors, company executives say. Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups all contributed to its demise.

Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

What little difference four years can make.

Students at Kenderton Elementary have seen five principals and heard countless broken promises in fewer years.

Pennsylvania Seeks Safer Ways To Buy And Sell Online

Dec 13, 2016
Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

Allentown’s Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Police Chief Keith Morris announced recently that people who are engaging in internet-based sales and purchases can now conduct their transactions at a designated parking spot in front of the police patrol station at 10th & Hamilton Street. The idea is to provide a place where people can buy or sell items with a heightened level of safety.

Philadelphia To Ban Employers From Asking Salary History

Dec 8, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

 

Philadelphia will soon ban employers from asking job applicants for their salary history.

Supporters have argued such questions perpetuate pay discrimination against women and minorities.

Councilman Bill Greenlee, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, told The Philadelphia Inquirer "it's about fairness."

He said employers should base the salary offer on what the job is worth and what experience the applicant brings.

A spokesman for Mayor Jim Kenney said he will sign it into law.

Around 4,700 public transportation workers in Philadelphia went on strike at midnight, shutting down many of the city's transit options.

The members of the Transport Workers Union Local 234 and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA, were unable to agree on a new contract.

The strike is causing widespread disruption, and raising concerns that if the situation is not resolved it may interfere with Election Day next week.

Retraining The Brain After Losing The Ability To Smell

Oct 2, 2016
Todd Bookman / WHYY

  In 2012, Chris Kelly caught a cold, which then moved into her sinuses. It was a run-of-the-mill nuisance, until she woke up one morning and realized her condition had become something far more serious.

"I opened my eyes, I went into the bathroom, I uncapped the toothpaste, and was immediately aware that I couldn't smell anything," says Kelly, who was born in Maine and now lives in the United Kingdom.

This wasn't a stuffy nose. This was like the on/off switch had been flipped.

It's A Girl! Philly Zoo Determines Baby Gorilla's Gender

Sep 27, 2016
Matt Rourke / AP

Workers at the Philadelphia Zoo have finally determined the gender of a baby gorilla born last month, and it's a girl.

The baby's 21-year-old mother, Honi, had been holding it so closely after its birth Aug. 26 that zookeepers couldn't confirm if it was male or female.

The zoo is encouraging the public to help name the baby western lowland gorilla.

It is partnering with a sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo that rehabilitates Grauer's gorillas whose families have been killed by poachers.

Biden Attacks Trump In PA Visit Over House Collapse Comments

Sep 27, 2016
David Goldman / AP

 

 

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday questioned Donald Trump's "moral center" as a result of the Republican presidential candidate's comments about America's housing collapse.

At a rally for Hillary Clinton at Drexel University, Biden said that Trump had bragged at Monday's presidential debate about profiting from the failed housing market. He said Trump's policies are not helpful for the country, calling the candidate "painfully uninformed."

PHOTOS: Re-Imagining Abandoned Train Line To Rail Park

Sep 16, 2016
Lindsay Lazarski / WHYY

At the Reading Viaduct, it's hard to imagine that this shaded and quiet section of Philadelphia was once a part of a bustling thoroughfare to transport goods and people into Center City. 

When the viaduct was built more than 125 years ago, Philadelphia was know as the workshop of the world — a mismatch of small industries and small businesses— from hat makers to textiles manufacturers to meat markets. At the time, Philadelphia's City Hall was under construction and considered one of the tallest buildings in the world.

WITF

The ticking departures board at Philadelphia's main train station could make its own exit soon. But just how long the letters will continue to flip and signal passing trains at 30th Street Station remains in question.

Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert says the plan to swap the Solari board with a digitized model is in its early design phase with no replacement timeline. A flipboard has directed station travelers for at least 35 years.

Tolbert says the model has grown obsolete, making it difficult to find replacement parts.

Matt Rourke / AP

 

Look around any Rust Belt city and you can see the effects of urban decay. There's aging infrastructure, blighted buildings and abandoned homes. Even as cities begin to see a resurgence, it can be hard to shake the physical legacy of decades of decline.

But if you think post-industrial decay is hard to overcome, try something even more traumatic, like a dictatorship or, say, World War II. Some European cities have found a way to revive public spaces and re-engage the community in civic life, all while remediating the physical toll left by history.

Mel Evans / AP

 

 

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has belatedly reported receiving $160,000 in gifts from friends, including $45,000 worth of roof repairs and other home improvements.

Philly.com reports the Democrat omitted the gifts on annual statements of financial interest he filed from 2010 to 2015.

Williams issued a statement through his 2017 re-election campaign citing "the need for greater transparency."

His attorney, Samuel Stretton, called the omissions a "terrible mistake."

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.

National Cancer Institute

 

new study finds a link between the racial makeup of Philadelphia neighborhoods and the number of primary care doctors who work there.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Christiana Care Health System, the University of Pennsylvania, Boston University, and the French Institute for Agricultural Research, measures primary care doctors per resident in Philadelphia's census tracts.

Sean Brown knows his way around a candy shop.

"My candy knowledge is pretty crazy," he says. "Put me up against anyone in a candy battle — and I'll beat them."

But Brown is less interested in the candy than the wrappers. For the past five years, this Philly-based artist and (full disclosure!) former neighbor of mine, has been transforming the refuse from Skittles, Tootsie Pops, Starburst, Mamba — and whatever other candy he can get his hands on — into works of art.

Theresa Stigale / EOTS Flickr Group

Frank Rizzo, the outspoken former police commissioner and mayor, is seen as a hard-nosed law-and-order figure by some.

But to Black Lives Matter activists in Philadelphia, Rizzo's time in public office was marked by violent crackdowns on black activists and statements that many viewed as racist.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's highest court has declined to intervene in the criminal case against the state's top prosecutor. Jury selection is set to begin outside Philadelphia on Monday.

The Supreme Court on Friday turned down Attorney General Kathleen Kane's request that it take up her claim that the grand jury that investigated her was unlawful and unconstitutional.

We will get back to the news in a minute. But first, a public service announcement from the Philadelphia mayor's office regarding dumpster pools.

It comes from Karen Guss, communications director for the Department of Licenses and Inspections, who told The Two-Way that it was "just another day for us":

Scott 412 Foto / flickr

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he became addicted to watching the Republican National Convention this week. He described falling asleep on his couch watching the late night shows and cable news.

“I’ve been watching conventions since I was in second grade,” Peduto said. “I can’t think of a convention that I actually became compulsively obsessed with watching.”

Christina Spicuzza / flickr

Cleveland and Philadelphia, our neighbors to the north and east, will be hosting the Republican and Democratic conventions respectively. If you traveling to those cities and want to enjoy them beyond the political trappings of the convention centers travel and food contributor Elaine Labalme joins us with suggestions for seeing the cities.

Wikipedia

When Presidents take office, they swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. A new book edited by Ken Gormley, the recently-appointed president of Duquesne University, looks at how past presidents have interpreted the Constitution.

Philadelphia has approved a tax on soda — and it's the first major U.S. city to do so. Now, a legal fight is brewing between the city and the soda industry.

The bill passed Philadelphia's City Council by a vote of 13-4.

Mayor Jim Kenney supported the tax. After the law passed, he called it "a historic investment in our neighborhoods and our education system."

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